Healthy Lifestyle Change: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

As I prepare to launch my first online course, Rebalancing the Five Elements: a 5 Day Course to Heal You From the Inside Out, I’ve been thinking a lot about our motivation for making healthy changes. Obviously, it’s a good thing when we have the motivation to improve our diet or exercise more. Or is it?

What Lies Behind Our Desire for a Healthier Lifestyle?

As a veteran practitioner of a healthy lifestyle, if I’m honest with myself there are times that, underneath the desire for better health, is a sense that I’m not good enough. A feeling that I need to desperately change my body. A subtle or not-so-subtle self-hatred that tells me I’m not acceptable as I currently am. And I know I’m not alone – these feelings are the fuel for the multi-billion dollar alternative health industry (that I’m a part of).

Too often, our desire to live a healthier lifestyle is all tangled up with feelings of inadequacy, body image issues, and a lack of self-love. So we try to discipline ourselves with diet and exercise regimes that would be really good for us, if we weren’t using them as a weapon against ourselves. If you’ve ever promised yourself you would cut out sugar, and then felt like crap about yourself for having a cookie, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

Often we go to extremes when we make lifestyle changes, but gradual changes are more likely to last.

Often we go to extremes when we make lifestyle changes, but gradual changes are more likely to last.

Why Self-Discipline Can Be Bad for Your Health

It’s tempting to think that the solution to this is more discipline. This time I mean it. I really will exercise 5 times

this week. But getting stricter with ourselves and beating ourselves up even more when we slip isn’t the solution, because the problem isn’t that we slipped. It’s that we don’t believe we’re OK as we are. And no amount of external change is going to make that feeling go away. You can do yoga every day and eat nothing but kale, but that feeling of not being good enough will still be there if you take discipline as your route.

Even if you do manage to stick to your regime, you won’t get the health results you’re looking for. Why not? Because our mental and emotional states effect our biochemistry, which effects how every cell in our body functions. And when we constantly think thoughts about how we’re not good enough, we flood our system with stress hormones and compromise our body’s capacity to function at its best.

How to Make Healthy Changes

So what do we do? How do we make healthy changes without beating ourselves up? In this week’s video, I go deep into this issue and guide you through the whole process: how to tell when your motivation for change is unhealthy, stopping any destructive patterns, and making the switch from self-hatred-fueled discipline to organic change based in self-love and compassion. Below the video, I’ve posted the basic steps to remind you how to work through the process because, let’s face it, this is stuff we need to work through again and again to heal it.

If you’re looking for a way to revitalise your health that works with your inner self and not against it, check out my new online course: Rebalancing the Five Elements: a 5 Day Course to Heal You From the Inside Out. I’m offering this course at a discounted price of $35 (regular cost $50) for the first fifteen people so I can get feedback. I still have a few spots left at the discounted price, so if you’d like to take advantage of this, sign up now!

Whatever your health aspirations and practices, remember that treating yourself kindly is at least as important as eating well and exercising. So take today as an opportunity to practice self-compassion. It’s exactly what your body needs.

Your health ally,



Make the Switch from Self-Discipline to Self-Love

1.Be Honest About Your Motivation

Examine your desire for change, and be honest if there’s any belief that you’re not good enough behind it. Hints that it’s not coming from a good place include a sense of urgency and a tendency to make extreme changes in your lifestyle.

2. Take a Deep Breath

Resist the urge to launch into a strict program of change. Take a deep breath and remind yourself that it’s not an emergency, and that it’s healthier to make gentle, gradual changes.

3. Tap Into the Feeling You Want

We don’t actually want the things we want – we want the feeling we think that change will produce. You can have that feeling now by imagining yourself making the changes you want to make. How does it feel in your body? The more you can tap into those feelings, the less desperate you’ll be for the external changes, which creates more space for changing from a place of self-love.

4. Practice Self-Love and Compassion

Once you’ve cleared some of the urgency, you can adopt healthy habits to create more joy in your life, rather than to make yourself acceptable. Notice the difference between acting from self-love versus acting from a feeling of not being good enough. Catch yourself when you slip back into beating yourself up, and remember that self-love is the best thing you can do for your health.



Moss Andrewes is an acupuncturist and practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine, specializing in women’s health and chronic illness. Originally from the UK and now residing in Canada, she is a writer, speaker, and event organizer, focusing on health, sustainable living and community. Her lifelong passion for making the world a happier, healthier place has led her through many adventures, including off-grid sustainable living, disaster relief, and various community health projects. She currently lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba, with her partner and two cats.

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