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An Open Letter To Anyone Who Thinks They’re Failing At Being Healthy

Dear someone who feels like you’re failing at being healthy,

I know you’re probably feeling stuck, unmotivated and disappointed in yourself for not hitting the mark when it comes to ‘eating clean’ or getting your sweat on every day. You may even be feeling sad, embarrassed and ashamed because of it.

But here’s the thing…

You don’t need to go on that diet everyone else is on. You don’t need that go-hard-or-go-home mentality. You don’t need that magic fat-burning pill (it doesn’t exist). You don’t need have your heart sink as you work your way through yet another list telling you to embrace the Top 50 Ways To Lose Weight Fast. You don’t even need to count every calorie or weigh every ounce of food you put into your mouth.

You don’t need more, you need less—less confusion and overwhelm, so you can have more simplicity and joy.

And most of all, you don’t need to have it all figured out to start doing what’s good for you and makes you feel good (that’s the other thing—what’s good for you doesn’t have to suck).

How do I know all this?

For over 10 years of my life, I struggled with my body.

I struggled with: The insecurity-triggering number it brought up on the scale; wearing nothing but baggy tees and sweatpants because I was convinced that everything else made me look like a whale; and how ‘not myself’ being in my own skin made me feel.

I also struggled with how starved my body was for food all the time, even when I wasn’t physically hungry, and how out of control it made me feel when someone put cake, pizza or pasta in front of me.

And the things that chronic overeating did to my body and mind over years and years? They brought me to my knees and made me want to give up.

But I didn’t.

It’s now been 6 years since I’ve healed my relationship with food and stopped eating my emotions, but I still remember vividly what the struggle felt like.

If this is where you are right now, here are three very important lessons I’ve learned along the way that I’d like to share with you, with hopes that it will help make your journey feel less overwhelming, and keep you putting one foot in front of the other:

1. It’s OK to start where you are. Struggling to pick the healthy choice at every meal? You’re normal. You’re not alone and you’re not a freak. You’re just a wonderfully imperfect human being.

Start small. Work with what you can do right now, even if it’s just adding some extra mushroom to your pepperoni pizza, or starting off with a 5-minute yoga sequence if adding movement into your day feels weird still.

Most people forget that amazing results come from the tiny little things we do every single day, not the grand, all-out effort we put in once a month.

2. Looking and feeling your best, and staying that way, won’t happen in a straight line. You’ll be excited. You’ll start on your new journey, make some progress, and then hit a wall and feel down about it. You may even feel like giving up.

I want you to know that this is normal. It means that your ever-wise, intelligent body has figured out what you’re up to and is trying to hold on to what it knows and what it thinks it needs (but every now and then, you know better).

This is why you need to keep persevering and challenging your body (surprise it!) to help it reach its full potential. Progress and success will come in spurts, and probably when you least expect it. Be patient and enjoy the process.

You will get there if you don’t give up.

3. You need to stop being your own worst enemy. If you’re constantly struggling to stay motivated, here’s something I’d like you to consider: When you just “don’t feel like it” because “what’s the point?” or “[fill in the blank with something great you want to achieve] is something that happens to other people, not me”, it’s self doubt that’s wreaking havoc on your mojo.

And this self doubt? It’s coming from the space between your two ears. Yup, they’re all yours.

This is why I need you to stop listening and giving in to these doubts (tell them to eff off if you have to!). Go out there and do what you want to anyway.

Start being your own best friend (and talk to yourself accordingly), and I can promise you that your life, body and health will start changing in ways you’ve always wanted them to.


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  1. Megan Reddix

    Megan Reddix

    May 6, 2016 at 11:27 am

    This is beautiful, Michele, thank you. I struggled with eating disorders for many years of my life and made a pretty significant life and mentality change about 7 years ago. I’ve dealt with insecurities since then and have fallen into spirals of depression, but I finally found things that worked for me, to help me feel good about the way I am. I dove deep into my faith, starting practicing yoga, started running, and decided that cake and wine were not my enemies. Everything is good in moderation!

    1. Avatar

      Michele Lian

      May 11, 2016 at 12:55 pm

      Thank you so much for reading, Megan! Your journey sounds pretty similar to mine–I’m so glad that you found your way out of depression and are doing so well now 🙂 xo

  2. Amanda


    May 6, 2016 at 5:57 pm

    Yes! It feels like the more we learn about health, the more we have to feel guilty about….but I really believe that guilt makes everything worse, not just in how we feel, but in what the extra food or lack of exercise does to our bodies. As in, feeling bad about the cookie makes the cookie do more damage. In the world today, it’s almost impossible to do everything exactly right, not only because of all the conflicting information, but because temptation (and hidden sugars!) are everywhere. The best we can do is exactly that: if we’re putting in the effort and nailing it 70, 80, 90 percent of the time, we’re on the right track. And let’s feel good about that 70% rather than bad about the 30%. 🙂

    1. Avatar

      Michele Lian

      May 11, 2016 at 12:59 pm

      You’re spot on, Amanda! There’s just too much to feel overwhelmed about, too many diets to go on and too many things that we “shouldn’t” eat, and if we let them, they can drive us insane. I tend to aim for sticking with my goals 80% of the time, and the other 20%, I give myself some leeway to make mistakes, explore and just be human. Thank you for reading and sharing your perspective 🙂

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