283: The Path to Health Reimagined


There is the old (and outdated) path to health.
And there is what I call a better path to health.

In this episode of the Grace & Grit podcast, I invite you to consider both to ensure the path you are taking is the one that will help you create the level of well-being you truly crave.

Have a listen and if it helps, please consider sharing it.

The Path to Health Reimagined

Transcripts are auto-generated.

Welcome to the Grace and Grit Podcast made for women who want their healthiest years to be ahead of them. Not behind them. Join your host Courtney Townley right now. As she breaks down the fairy tale health story, you have been chasing all of your life, indispensable action steps and lasting change.

Hello, my friends, and welcome to the Grace & Grit Podcast. This is your host, Courtney Townley. And as always, I’m so excited that you’re here listening to the show today. Now, I don’t know about you, but I grew up listening to I Love Lucy reruns. And if you know anything about I Love Lucy, if you’re a fan, you probably remember the episode where Ethel and Lucy are working in the Chocolate Factory. They’ve swapped jobs with their husbands for the day. And they’re struggling to keep up with the conveyor belt of chocolates.

They end up putting chocolate everywhere in their pants, in their mouth, and their hat. So it appears that they’re doing a good job. And it makes for great comedy, right? It’s a great TV moment. And I feel like there’s an invisible conveyor belt in the wellness industry.

Now this conveyor belt isn’t throwing chocolate at us, unfortunately, it’s throwing information at us. Information is coming at us Fast and Furious, we’re struggling to keep up. And so one of two things happens.

Number one, we’re completely paralyzed to take action because we are in a state of information overload. Or we try to apply everything that we hear all of the time, to the point that we’re not really doing anything, well, we’re not doing anything consistently. So neither of these things, the overwhelm or the burnout is particularly useful to creating sustainable change.

So, on May 24, I am hosting a workshop called Shut Out the Noise to really help women that are tired of trying to keep up with all the information and ready to make real traction along their health journey.

And the good news is, you don’t actually need more information to do better. You simply need a process and a framework that you can apply time and time again to access your own knowing and show up for yourself on a more regular basis.

So, if that sounds like something that might be useful to you, I would encourage you to join us on May 24, you can register for this event by going to graceandgrit.com/shutoutthenoise.

Now interesting thing recently, in my home here in Montana, it’s been raining a little bit here and there. And we have a mud puddle in our driveway, which drives my husband crazy. Because he can’t stand having these muddy driveways. But anyway, we have this muddy driveway, we have this mud puddle.

And about a week ago, these two ducks appeared. And they started swimming in this mud puddle. And they haven’t left. And it’s stressing me out. Because I want a better life for these docks. I want these ducks to know that it is not safe for them to be swimming in this mud puddle. Because there’s actually a lot of cars that pass this area. There’s a lot of animals in this area. It’s not clean, there’s not food. It’s not a healthy place for them to be. But I don’t speak duck. Right. But I do speak to humans, I do talk to you. And ladies, some of you are also making decisions that might be helping you to survive.

Like I know those ducks are just in survival mode. They need water. Right? They think there might be food in there because of all the other wet plot places they’ve hung out. But it’s really not a great place for them to be. And I don’t just want you to survive. I don’t want you just to be in this survival mentality. I want you to thrive. And I think because you chose this Podcast to listen to today, I think that you want the same.

There is this old and very outdated path that we have been continually sold, promising to lead us to health. And I consider this kind of the muddy puddle path. It’s not really leading you to health.

In fact, I would argue that it’s actually depleting your health and there is a much better path available to you. So in this episode of the Podcast today, I want to invite you to consider both of these paths to ensure that the path you are taking is the one that will help you to create the level of health you truly crave for yourself.

Specifically, there are seven game changing shifts I want to offer you today, if you are ready to stop surviving, and really start thriving, and let’s be honest, not all of you listening today are in that space. Some of you just want to lose that 15 pounds before your next big event, which is like a week away. And if that’s you, there’s no judgment. But this probably is not the Podcast for you. Because that’s not the work that I’m interested in doing.

For those of you who are really ready to create meaningful and above all sustainable change, keep listening. Here are the game changing shifts I want to share with you today.

Number one, the old muddy path to health would encourage you to hustle for your worth. The better path to health is building a practice of acknowledging your worth. There’s a big difference between hustling for your worth and acknowledging your worth.

So acknowledging your worth is choosing to believe that your worth is baked in to your humanity. You don’t have to work for it, you don’t have to prove it, you don’t have to accomplish anything to be worthy. And yet, everywhere we look, that’s kind of the messaging that’s sold to us. Right?

If you look this way, if you weigh this much, if you have six pack abs, and on and on it goes right. You are worthy of your own time and attention. But a lot of you don’t believe that you are you believe other people are all their crises and their demands and their needs come before your own. And I just want to offer you that that is an optional way of thinking to beliefs are recycled thoughts.

You can at any point in your adult life, choose to believe that you are worthy of your own time and attention. Because that’s the beauty of being an adult you get to change your mind. You get to change your beliefs. Not only are you worthy of your own time and attention, but you are worthy of other people’s time and attention. I also think that acknowledging your worth is deciding hard that your age, your weight, your photogenic capabilities, do not determine your worth. No one but you gets to define your worthiness unless you want them to. But I don’t know why you would want them to. So acknowledging your worth building a practice of that because ladies, it really is a practice a lot of us are just have been in this vicious cycle of hustling for our worth. For a large chunk of our life. That’s what we’ve been practicing. So building a new practice of acknowledging your worth is going to feel a little awkward. But the reason it’s so important, is because we hustle for our worth, we exhaust ourselves, it is never ending when we think that we have to prove or earn, where does that stop.

And I also think that when we hustle for our worth, we really get wrapped up in this idea that we need validation from other people, that we are good, that we are lovable. And really, that’s your work. So you can get busy building a practice of validating yourself. Or you will spend the rest of your life hustling for your worth. Which really is I always think of hustling as our attempt to outrun self doubt. And self doubt is a human emotion. She’s never gonna go away entirely. But if you think that you can outrun self doubt you will spend the rest of your life trying to do that.

I always offer that I think the counter the thing to do with self doubt when she shows up is to start doubting your doubt. You don’t have to believe her. You don’t have to believe everything. self doubt tells you you don’t have to believe anything that self doubt tells you. So when we are hustling for our worth, which I do believe, is largely the messaging that we hear, when it comes to the dieting industry, right?

We’re like the hamster on the wheel, trying to go faster and faster, outrun our self doubt, we’re not really getting anywhere. And it’s costing us a tremendous amount of resources. So how does one shift from a practice of hustling for their worth, to a practice of acknowledging their worth, it really boils down to starting to pay meticulous attention to the way that you talk to yourself, and the way that you talk about yourself. You will never make time for things you don’t care about. If you want to show up for yourself more often, you have to genuinely care about yourself. And caring, in my opinion, is a practice. All right, game changer.

Number two, the old muddy path, the outdated path, is trying to live by someone else’s standards. The better path is choosing your own standards. What does this mean? It means that you get to decide to live your life by design, based on who you want to be in the world. So at the core, it’s liking who you are, what you do, how you spend your time, and why you do the things you do. And it matters because and I’ve talked about this a lot on this Podcast integrity, pain is a very real thing.

When we don’t like who we are, when we don’t like how we are showing up in the world. When we don’t like the reasons for doing the things that we do. We feel out of integrity with ourselves. And that is very depleting to our health. It doesn’t actually help ignite or restore health. But what does Ignite and restore health is authenticity and full expression to fully engage and show up for the things that you’re here to cause contribute and inspire.

So, how does one pivot or reroute from a practice of living by other people’s standards to start living by their own? Well, again, you can’t live by your own standards if you don’t know what your standards are. So you start asking yourself good questions.

Who do I want to be in this one and precious life? What are the standards that I do want to live by what’s important to me? What do I value? am I choosing to live by these standards? Or am I living by default, and default for an awful lot of women is living by the standards of other people. The way other people want you to live your life versus how you are choosing to live your life.

I said it before I’ll say it again, you are an adult. And the beauty of being an adult is you get to decide to change your mind at any time.

Game Changer number three. The old and muddy path that we were sold to health is hyper focus on your body make your body the scapegoat. So if you’re feeling unfulfilled in any way, hyper focus on making your body better. I did an entire episode about this just a couple episodes ago, it was episode 265 of this Podcast.

The new path the much better path is learning to nurture the wholeness of your humanity. This means that you are not just a body you are a multi dimensional and dynamic being. And health is not an exercise in isolation. It’s not about isolating parts of yourself. It’s about integrating the wholeness of who you are. Every part of your humanity affects the other parts of your humanity.

Your mental health for example, which I just did a whole episode on in the last episode of this Podcast. Your mental health affects every relationship, every fiber of your being. So we can’t just focus on changing the body. Right?

If we want to improve our health we have To focus on our mental health, we also need to focus on our relationship health. When relationships are not healthy, that creates a tremendous amount of mental distress. And remember, the human body does not know the difference between real and imagined stressors. So mental stress, again, can be a massive contributor to breaking down our physiology. feeling like you have no meaning or purpose in your life is going to affect your physical well being. Because if you don’t feel that you are worthy that you have meaning and purpose to your life, why would you show up to take care of this life.

And yet, what we are sold is that if we just hyper focus on fixing the body, build more muscle, lose fat, you know, keep a lean figure weigh a certain number on the scale, we will be happy and fulfilled. Clearly, that’s problematic for so many reasons. And it does not honor health for so many reasons. So how do we shift from hyper focusing on the body which a lot of women have done most of their life, to starting to grant ourselves permission to really nurture the wholeness of our humanity?

Well, we have to start uncovering where the biggest areas of stress are coming from in our life. And sure, for some people that really is food, right? For some people, it’s because they’re never moving their body. So food and exercise can be real contributors to an overflowing stress load. But having worked with an awful lot of women over many, many years, the greatest stressor for a lot of women, is the way that they’re interpreting their life, the way that they’re interpreting what happens in their life, their inability to set boundaries, their lack of confidence, their struggle to have Crucial Conversations to nurture the health of their relationships.

All of those things are just as detrimental to the human body. As you know, not eating nutrient dense food and not moving your body. So we have to stay very honest about where the stress is coming from, and where are the areas of greatest stress and a little hint for you, it’s probably the areas you like to avoid the most.

Again, I said this in Episode 265. But it’s really important that I repeat it because I don’t think we can hear it enough. Your body has never been the problem. Your body is always doing the best it can with the message it has. So I like to believe that my body is always working for me. Based on the messaging I’m sending it. So what is the real problem is our inability to manage the stressors of our lives. And again, we can’t control everything that happens in our life, obviously. But we can control how we show up within those things, where we set boundaries, how much time and energy we’re willing to give certain things. That’s our work. And that can have a huge bearing on the health of our body.

All right, the fourth game changer. The old muddy path would say focus on building a pretty facade look the part look healthy look like an athlete look awesome in a swimsuit on the beach. But the better path to health is focusing on building a sturdy foundation. You can have an awesome looking home with an imploding foundation. I’ve actually shared this in past episodes, right? My husband and I were looking at buying a house in Boston, and it looked amazing from the outside. But when we walked in, you could literally feel the floor sinking because the entire foundation was imploding.

Judging somebody’s health by how they look, is like judging somebody’s social media account based on what they choose to post on their social media account. It does not give you the full story. In fact, it gives you a very small fraction of the story. Health isn’t a look. It’s a way of being and it is built on a story On sturdy ground, with the right materials and the right tools.

The reason I talk so much on this Podcast about managing your brain and managing your emotional landscape is because I believe those are the tools that we build a sturdy foundation for health with. If we don’t believe that we are worthy if we struggle to allow certain emotions into our life, and so we’re just constantly numbing them, it is very difficult to build a sturdy house, right, you will not have a solid foundation. So you can keep doing diets and you can keep doing extreme things. But the key word, there are key words plural is that you keep doing them. And you’re never really feeling whole. So we reroute to a better path. By again, looking at who we’re being in the world, really looking at our capacity to feel all the emotions that come with the human experience, not just the feel good ones. We question the choices we’re making. Right?

Does this thing I’m engaging with is this choice that I making, in line with the standards that I have for my life. So going back to that integrity conversation, we reroute by making sure that we’re measuring progress in ways that are not just a look or a number on the scale, or a certain level of muscle muscle definition.

We judge our progress more on how we feel in the body, versus what we think about the body. A lot of us are doing a lot of thinking about our bodies, but we’re not actually doing a lot of time developing the space inside the body. Right? We’re not spending a lot of time embodying our body being in it. And there’s a big difference. So deep health isn’t really a visible thing. It’s what happens behind the scenes. It’s a lot of the work that no one ever really sees. How do you behave when no one’s looking? How do you think how do you feel? What is your chemistry doing? Versus what color did you paint your house

Game Changer number five old muddy path. In effective path is hyper focusing on reaching a destination. The better path to health is orienting yourself to a direction. So as long as you’re alive and breathing, health is something you will rumble with, right I say rumble not to to interpret that it’s going to be a struggle. But that health will always be a concern as long as you’re alive. Right. It’s a lifelong journey of self discovery and practice. It’s not something that you either have or you don’t. It’s not something that you achieve one time and have it forevermore. Health is not a destination you arrive at. It’s a direction. Life is always changing. So health is always changing.

So I’ve shared the analogy with a lot of my students and probably even on this Podcast about walking through the woods. Let’s just say you’re on a hike, right? You’re walking through the woods, and you get off the trail and you realize you’re off the trail.

And you kind of start to panic a little bit because you realize that you you are heading a direction you didn’t intend to go. You don’t sit down in the woods and pitch a fit and create dramatic storylines, about what an awful person you are and how capable you are of getting back on the path. Nope, you just pivot yourself right back onto the path and you keep walking. And this is how I like to think about health.

You are going to make everybody is going to make a lot of misaligned choices in their lifetime in terms of getting out off the path Have what they deem health to be. I do it all the time. And I have built a practice of just getting back on the path, getting back into traveling the direction of health. And so it’s developing those practices that help us to pivot sooner and faster. Because I’ll tell you, I’ve actually been on backcountry hikes where there was no trail, right? And I was with very skilled outdoorsman.

We always really knew where we were. But if I was left, when I first started doing these hikes on my own accord, like if I was by myself, there would be a lot of panic, because I wouldn’t know how to reroute myself. Because there was a long time that I didn’t know how to read a compass. And I didn’t know how to, you know, figure out based on nature, where I was where I was oriented.

I feel sometimes that this is what happens in the wellness space is we just get lost. And we don’t have the tools or the practices that help us to reroute in the direction we intended to go. And those practices are things really, that that’s what I teach, like, that’s the work that I do in the world is helping women to develop the practices for rerouting themselves, no matter what happens.

Remember, health is a verb, right? Health is an action. It’s not a destination. My hope is that you will be engaged in the movement of health in the direction of health for the rest of your life, doesn’t mean you’re not going to make mistakes, or you’re not going to make misaligned choices you are. But if you have the tools to realign quickly, you will keep traveling in that direction.

All right, game changer. Number six. The old muddy path, the very ineffective path to health really kind of encourages us to hyper focus on regression. I know that a lot of you might hear that say no, no, no, like diets help you progress. But the energy at which we sign up for a lot of things, is encouraging us to focus on returning to something we used to be. That’s what I mean by focusing on regression.

The better path to health is focusing on progression, which is where is your life headed? Right? What do you want for your future? I read a post on social media today that I absolutely loved. It said training for my summer body screw that I’m training for my old lady body, dense bones, strong muscles, healthy heart good balance, functional independence. I love that. But seriously, what I’m speaking to here is that an awful lot of women have are, are really focused on trying to get back to something they used to be the body they had on their wedding day, their body before the baby their body when they graduated from high school. And it’s just it’s a sad thing. Because I really think it prevents you from stepping in to what could be for your life.

We are meant to evolve and grow. And regression does not allow us to do that. So we pivot by becoming more future focused, more focused on who we want to be moving forward, versus who we’ve been in the past. And you know, I have some people asked me that question, which I think is a very legit question. If I’m future focused, doesn’t that prevent me from being in the present moment? And I always say no, because if you’re really clear on who you want to be moving forward, it allows you to make decisions in the present based on that.

So again, it’s that concept of living life by design versus life by default. And just remember this, you can’t go back no matter how hard you try, you cannot go back to something you have been. You are meant to evolve and grow. And your best yours truly are ahead of you if you want them to be.

Alright, the last game changer that I want to talk about today is this. It’s really important that we learn to lead ourselves rather than constantly follow someone else. The old path would encourage you to just follow right the old path to help But how was that turned out? Again, it doesn’t turn out because you have to keep recycling, the process that you’re following, right, or the list of rules and regulations that you’re following, the better path to health, the more sustainable path is learning to lead yourself.

Self-leadership, just so we’re clear, and in terms of how I talked about it, is having a developed sense of who you are, what you can do, and where you want to go. Combined with the ability to manage your thoughts, emotions and behaviors on the way to getting there. That’s the key. Self-leadership is the key. And one of the big players in self-leadership is our ability to coach ourselves, right? Which means we are willing to get to know ourselves. We’re willing to be honest about our capabilities. We’re willing to uncover what we truly want for our life. And then we get to do the work, the real work of health, which is developing our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors, to live in a way that allows us to be fully expressed and deeply authentic. right to live in a way that is in deep alignment with what you truly want for your life.

Self coaching is really the work of staying in integrity with yourself. Because no one is the authority on your life. But you it’s the only way to live authentically is to lead yourself. And I’m not saying you know, don’t take classes and don’t work with people who are a little further down the pipeline and don’t, you know, listen to teachers or mentors, all of that can be valuable. But at the end of the day, the primary objective of doing any of that should be to be able to lead yourself. So make sure that the things that you are dedicating time, energy and resources to in terms of changing your life really helps you to change your life in a sustainable way. I’m always saying that, you know, I’m not really interested in once in a lifetime transformations, I’m really interested in equipping women with the skills they need for a life of transformation.

Life is transformation. It’s always changing and always evolving. And so the same tools, and the same strategies are always going to work in every situation. So we have to learn how to make hard choices. And we also need to learn how to make decisions hard. And I don’t mean, make decisions difficult. I mean, make decisions in a deeply committed way. And I know a lot of us get hung up here because we think well what if I make the wrong decision. The only thing that makes a decision wrong is you choose to believe it’s wrong. What is true is that you will make decisions that don’t lead you in the direction you want it to go. That is true. And so in that situation, it’s not that you have to quit on yourself and stop making decisions for yourself. It’s simply a matter of recognizing that, oh, it’s time to make a new decision.

So, if you are ready to start down a better path to health, to develop or refine your self-leadership skills. Again, I just want to offer you that on May 24. I’m teaching the Shut Out the Noise workshop. It’s a 90 minute interactive workshop, I’m going to give you a companion guide. So you kind of walk away with the beginning of this foundational state to be able to lead yourself very powerfully in the health arena, but well beyond. Because anything that you do to improve your health is going to help you to improve every area of your life.

I’m always joking with my other friends and colleagues who are coaches, that we’re all really teaching so much of the same work. And we’re all in radically different niches right I have I have friends who are finance coaches and wealth managers and I have friends who are business coaches, and everything in between. And yet we are all teaching people the same skill sets, with, of course, slightly different tweaks, but the skill sets of self-leadership I think that’s what a good coach does it teeth, they teach you the skills of self-leadership.

Alright, my friends, thank you for being here today. I hope this was helpful. I hope there were some good reminders in here. We’re thinking about actually creating a PDF on this Podcast of the old path versus the new path, because I think it’d be a really helpful thing for a lot of women to have so they can reference on a regular basis. So I hope it was worth your time. I hope you have a great day and I will see you again very soon take care

Thank you for listening to the grace and grit Podcast. It is time to mend the fabric of the female health story. And it starts with you taking radical responsibility for your own self care. You are worth the effort and with a little grace and grit anything is possible


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