Encompassing: Surround and have or hold within

In today’s world of “health,” many companies and modalities focus on a single goal: weight-loss. Many people (especially women) believe that their only value lies in their external appearance, and that the only sign of true health lies in the size of their jeans. Unfortunately, many methods used to attain this “size-zero holy-grail” are short term and difficult to maintain. They can even be harmful for the body and the environment. My invitation is this: view a “healthy lifestyle” as a way to love and respect your body and the world around you. To truly empower our decisions and actions we must value our bodies and our environment. Then, our health, esteem, and inner beauty begins to show on the outside. We’ve discovered that we can stick to healthy habits when we know they are good for us and the world as a whole. By letting go of the single goal of weight loss, our decisions can encompass more than just a jean size. And the best part? The weight usually comes off anyway! But instead of a fast, unhealthy weight loss (that usually doesn’t last long), your body can grow healthier from the inside out.

Our everyday decisions affect more people than we care to believe. Millions of acres of rainforest are cleared and indigenous tribes forced from their homes…for factory farmed beef. Yup. So that fast-food burger is doing damage to more than just your arteries. Or the chemical compounds in cleaning products and chemical “food-stuff” is poisoning our drinking water, fish, and the ground we grow our food in. The waste from soda companies poisons entire villages. Commercial fishing practices destroy entire coral reefs, the ocean’s ecosystem, and our own oxygen supply. That’s why the focus on health needs to expand from just the single factor of weight-loss, and encompass the little decisions we make every day.

Think for a moment…many people spend most of their energy obsessed with weight loss. What if that energy were freed up? If we make decisions every day to be healthier, allowing it to become a natural part of life, so much energy could be spent doing other things! What if Martin Luther King decided to give up civil rights to work on his six-pack? What if Gandhi was more concerned with his balding problem than the people of India? Someone like Gandhi ate in a conscious way, wore clothes that were consciously made, and still freed the entire country of India from imperial rule. Your goals may be very different, but they’re just as important. Free your mind from the obsession of impossible beauty norms, love your body for all it does for you, and your self-worth will begin to show.

Unhealthy habits frequently turn into degenerative issues farther down the road. Much energy and money will be needed to deal with these issues as they occur. Diabetes, heart problems, and autoimmune diseases are expensive and time-consuming to treat. Taking the time to develop healthy habits now will save yourself from much of the pain and expense in the future.

So we invite you to make small changes every day in the direction of your true health. Your body, your planet, and those around you will thank you. And, you’ll probably lose weight too! Not a bad deal.

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