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The Power of Slowing Down to Speed Up to Reach Your Health and Wellness Goals

Published on: February 11, 2024

In a world that seems to move at lightning speed, it’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of chasing our health and wellness goals. In my years as a dietitian and the countless hours spent in the gym, I’ve seen firsthand how this relentless pursuit can lead to burnout, frustration, and ultimately, giving up on our aspirations. But what if I told you that sometimes, the key to success lies not in speeding up, but in slowing down?

Picture this: you’re determined to shed those extra pounds, so you dive headfirst into a rigorous exercise regimen and restrictive diet plan. You push yourself to the limit, sacrificing sleep, social outings, and relaxation time in the name of progress. Initially, you might see some results, but eventually, your body rebels against this relentless pace, and you hit a plateau. Frustration sets in, and you’re left wondering why all your hard work isn’t paying off.

This scenario is all too common, but it doesn’t have to be your reality. I’m here to tell you that sometimes, the most effective approach to achieving your health and wellness goals is to slow down and focus on sustainable habits and consistency. 

“In the midst of movement and chaos, keep stillness inside of you.” – Deepak Chopra

In the fast-paced world we live in, it’s easy to fall into the trap of rushing through tasks, including our meals and lifestyle choices. While it may sound counterintuitive for some because we’re used to doing the exact opposite, taking the time to slow down and be mindful can actually help us achieve our health goals more effectively in the long run. Here’s how:

Practice mindful eating. As a dietitian, I can’t stress enough the importance of mindful eating. Slowing down during meals allows us to fully savour and enjoy our food. When we eat mindfully, we’re more in tune with our body’s hunger and fullness cues, which can help prevent overeating and promote better digestion. Plus, mindful eating encourages us to make healthier food choices and appreciate the nourishment our food provides.

Quality over Quantity. Just as we emphasize nutrient-dense foods over empty calories, we should prioritize the quality of our efforts over the quantity. Instead of cramming as many workouts as possible into your week, focus on making each workout count. Whether it’s through proper form, intensity, or variety, prioritize quality movements that align with your goals.

Manage your stress. Rushing through tasks and constantly multitasking no doubt increases stress levels, which can have negative effects on our physical and mental health. By slowing down and taking time to focus on one task at a time, we can reduce stress and improve our overall well-being.  

Rest and Recovery. Rest days are not a sign of weakness; they’re essential for progress. Your body needs time to repair and rebuild after intense workouts, and depriving it of this rest can lead to burnout and injury. Remember the wise words of Jim Rohn, “Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.”

Better decision-making. When we rush through decisions, we may not fully consider the consequences or explore all of our options. Taking the time to slow down and weigh our choices can lead to better decision-making, especially when it comes to our health habits. Whether it’s choosing what to eat for a meal or deciding whether to exercise, giving ourselves the space to think things through can lead to more positive outcomes.

Build sustainable habits. Rapid changes and quick fixes are often unsustainable in the long term. We see it all the time. People change their diet drastically, lose weight fast, and then end up gaining it back (plus more) even faster. By slowing down and focusing on gradual, sustainable changes, we can build habits that are more likely to stick. Taking small, consistent steps towards our goals allows us to develop healthier habits that become ingrained in our daily routines over time.

Increased awareness. Slowing down allows us to become more aware of our thoughts, feelings, and behaviours. This heightened awareness can help us identify any obstacles or challenges that may be hindering our progress towards our health goals. By recognizing these barriers, we can develop strategies to overcome them and stay on track. 

The Bottom Line

So, if you find yourself stuck in a cycle of constant hustle and burnout, I encourage you to take a step back and reassess your approach. Incorporating moments of slowness and mindfulness into our daily lives can have profound effects on our habits and overall health. Remember that progress isn’t always linear, and sometimes, slowing down is the fastest way to achieve your health and wellness goals. As Lao Tzu famously said, “Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.” By taking the time to slow down, we can cultivate greater awareness, make better choices, and ultimately accelerate our progress towards a healthier lifestyle.

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Kaitlyn is a registered dietitian and fitness enthusiast dedicated to helping busy women improve their health through sustainable habits.

She’s seen firsthand how difficult it can be to balance a demanding schedule with a healthy lifestyle. That’s why she is passionate about empowering women with the knowledge and skills they need to prioritize their health, even when life gets hectic.

She aims to spread the word about the power of habits and to make healthier living more manageable for busy women who are trying to do all of the things, like herself.

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