How to get healthier without changing everything

This weekend, I went to Amber Lilyestrom’s Ignite Your Soul Summit this past weekend in New Hampshire. Amber was my business coach for the past seven months, and I love her. And while there, one of her speakers (Karen Kenney who I also love) talked about boundaries. She said a lot of things about them, but the thing that stuck out most to me was this:

 One the most loving things you can do is to say “no”.

Read that line again.

One the most loving things you can do is to say “no”.

It hits you in your face, right? After all, we’re not used to that kind of honesty, but the truth is one of the most loving things you can do for yourself is to say “no” and one of the most loving things you can do for others is to say “no” – especially when it comes to your health.

Let’s run through a scenario.

You’re finally getting back to the gym and are looking forward to your work out that evening. You’re grabbing your gym bag and planning the commute time in your head when someone stops by your office and asks you to review his copy for a project  (which, btw, you’re not on). You agree because he has helped you in the past, but you don’t really want to. You really want to go spinning. But you stay, and you rush your advice because you still think there is a way to get to class. When you finally realize you’re going to miss spinning, you begrudgingly accept this fact and help him in a grumpy (read: less than ideal) state. On the way home from the office, you blame him for not getting to the gym and you spend the drive home beating him and yourself up.

If you’re human, you can relate to this scenario. And if you’ve been reading this post, you can probably guess what I’m going to say: Saying “no” could have prevented all of that. And, look, you don’t have to curse your co-worker out to set the boundary. In fact, you could have still helped him if you wanted to by saying, “I can’t right now but, if you send it to me, I’ll take a look tonight. I want to be fully present when reviewing.” Regardless of your method, setting that boundary would have ensured you spent time getting healthier instead of spending your precious time self-loathing.

So here is the moral of this post: Better boundaries = Better health. I talk food. I talk working out. I talk sleep. But I don’t always cover boundaries when talking health. But here’s the thing: You can’t eat well, move your body or get to sleep on time unless you set boundaries.

So, set boundaries and say “no”. If you need some help on how to that, I released a bonus podcast episode with Amber earlier this week. Go to iTunes and subscribe to The Full Plate to take a listen.  

Erica Ballard is a Healthy Living Expert and Coach who helps working professionals increase their productivity and success through food. If you liked what you read, and want more of it, sign up for her newsletter today.