What you eat literally controls almost every function of your body and mind. Food connects us to one another and to our bodies.
Food can reinvigorate our health, bring families together, restore vibrant communities, improve the economy and the environment, reduce pollution, and help our kids get better grades and avoid eating disorders, obesity, and drug abuse. Food can even reduce poverty, violence, homicide, and suicide.
In other words, food is powerful medicine. It is information. What we eat can have a profound effect on our lives.
At the same time, what we eat is only one “ingredient” needed to make a healthy human.
You see, we need real, whole, fresh food, but we also need things like movement, connection, meaning, and purpose.
When you take out the bad stuff and put in the good stuff, you create balance. Your body knows how to create health from those ingredients.
The Feel-Good Wheel
My team and I created the Feel-Good Wheel to showcase the 8 aspects to explore when seeking a balanced, fulfilled, and feel-good life. In this post, I want to talk a little more about some of these and why they are just as important as diet and nutrition.
Community. When my patients have a support system, they are far more likely to sustain weight loss and feeling better. Having a community to support your health journey is very powerful in the short term for change. Yet the right community can also help you sustain those lifestyle and behavior changes that are so important to long-term success, health, and happiness. Being connected to others is a necessary ingredient for health, just like food, water, air, sleep, or movement.
Emotional health. What thoughts and beliefs are keeping you stuck? Stepping into your feelings with vulnerability, love, and kindness so that we can turn our emotional compass into an ally instead of a foe, makes getting healthy a heck of a lot easier. When I focused on my emotional health, my relationship with myself, my family, and my friends improved significantly.
Mindset and practice. Even with all the knowledge and tools to become healthier, happier individuals, it is often our mindset and daily practices that will be the strongest guiding force to carry us through our health journey. For me, working with someone to create a morning routine which involves meditation, journaling, and movement was a pivotal part of making the most of my days.
Purpose. A life of meaning and purpose, a life in balance with connection, community, love, support, and a sense of empowerment, are essential for health. Today’s overwhelming stresses—including social isolation, overwork, political tension, and disempowerment—create enormous strain on our nervous system, leading to burnout and breakdown. Why are you here? What is your calling? Understanding our purpose and sharing our unique gifts allows us to unleash our creative energy, embrace our quirks, and tap into joyful living.
Body and movement. Exercise is probably the most powerful medicine and a one-stop-shopping miracle potion. Scientists refer to exercise as a “polypill” because it treats everything. Your body is a complex, beautifully designed system that can become your greatest tool. Finding a way to move and exercise that you enjoy and that energizes you is an important part of your best health.
The path towards feeling good means gaining a deeper understanding of what is truly important to you, then taking tiny steps towards holding your needs in balance.