06 Jun Do You Have To Be Boring To Be Healthy?
Does committing to being healthy mean your life must become boring? One of the most common assumptions I see people make about nutritionists is that they’re boring. Often people think that our job means taking all of the fun out of our client’s life and replacing it with kale.
NUTRITIONISTS: HEALTHY BUT BORING?
In the early days of working as a nutritionist I was very aware of this, and very aware of not conforming to what people expected a nutritionist to be like. I graduated in my mid 20s while most of my fellow students were in their 40s. As they were heading home to make nutritious meals for their families, I was getting ready to go and meet my friends for drinks.
After graduating I was very careful to keep ‘nutritionist Kimmy’ and ‘real Kimmy’ separate. I couldn’t have people finding out that I didn’t spend my spare time sprouting seeds for fun…
15 years has passed since I graduated and at 39, I no longer feel the need to hide who I really am. That being, someone who is sociable and likes to have fun. In fact, I believe it to be one of the reasons I have the relationships that I do with my clients. Rather than having unrealistic expectations of them, it’s my desire to show my clients how they can live their lives to the full, without compromising their health in the process.
When considering health and fun, we must take a look at our definition of fun. Like many people, for a long time I associated going out and drinking with having fun. I remember a journalist once saying to me that they preferred interviewing me (back when we did things in person) to another nutritionist because they were “boring and didn’t drink”. I morphed from feeling I had to hide my fun ways, to realising it’s what made me relatable to many people.
And then I gave up alcohol and had a minor identity crisis. Who was I if I wasn’t the fun nutritionist who liked a glass of wine? I was the proverbial boring nutritionist. But this was a story and it was not one based in truth.
I’ve stopped drinking for extended periods of time on a number of occasions. (If you’ve always drunk alcohol and never had time away from it, I highly recommend it.) That time, I gave up for a year. During that year I was determined to go about my normal activities and not miss out on holidays or social events simply because I wasn’t drinking. What I realised was this: I don’t need alcohol to have fun. I am perfectly capable of having loads of fun with absolutely no booze whatsoever. Now, when I look back on that year, I remember two very fun holidays with friends that involved much socialising that was in no way compromised because I didn’t drink alcohol.
IT’S ABOUT BALANCE
Many a client will speak of being an ‘all or nothing person’ when they first come to us. This can apply to many aspects of diet and lifestyle, not just drinking. It’s an easy trap to be stuck in. I was. But I can speak from experience when I say it’s fully possible to overcome that and create a life of balance.
Last weekend my school friends visited Ibiza where I currently live. I had so much fun with them. We ate good food, we drank good wine, we went out and danced until 5am. There was no lack of fun. Yes, the weekend involved eating and drinking more than I usually would, but it was filled with joy. Of course, I don’t go out and do that every weekend. This weekend has, more typically, involved a sound healing ceremony, long dog walks and a 7am sea swim.
At 39 I am in great health, I live my life to the max and I can truly say that I have found a balanced and fun-filled way of living that I am content with.
HEALTH FOR FUN
One thing I hear people say is “well if I die a couple of years early and I’ve had a great life, I don’t care”. But it’s rarely that simple. The consequence of not taking take of ourselves is more typically years of managing chronic degenerative disease(s).
Rather than compromising fun for the sake of health, I believe that prioritising our health enables us to have more fun. Experiencing joint aches or stiffness, gut issues like bloating or abdominal discomfort, or pain from conditions like gout are all common issues – and they are not fun. They really can suck the joy out of life.
One the other hand, living in a way that enables you to stay full of energy, mentally alert, free from pain or discomfort and in good health is what’s going to allow you to keep on living life to the full for as long as possible.