Our Three Core Values of Health

I was talking to a new client yesterday and he said he wasn’t as healthy as what he used to be. I asked him what being healthy meant to him.  It got me to thinking about what health is to me. I was making a list of what my core health ‘values’ were. I’ve realized it all comes down to 3 things: Habits, Balance and Gut Health.

The word “health” refers to a state of complete emotional and physical well-being.

I started to brainstorm my own principles of health, what would I say if I was to explain what my coaching was about to a stranger?

Basics of health are things like getting plenty of water, eat plenty of whole foods and vegetables, and get great sleep.  Sleep is something high on my priority list at the moment because it’s something I’ve been struggling with and it has a huge impact on our hormones and immunity, in particular, weight loss.  But those three things are just elements of ‘being healthy’.

Gut Health

Gut health, one of our core values of health

Being happy is a huge value of health that I have, and a lot of it comes from our gut. What we put into our mouths affects our gut health and how we feel both physically and emotionally.  For me good health isn’t necessarily about kilos or how far you can run, it’s about having the energy and motivation to be your best self possible.

As a health and fitness coach I have many clients who come to me because they want to lose weight, but often what the main problem is, is that they have a gut health problem.  Limited diets with lack of variety and not enough fiber is doing more harm than they realize.

Gut bacteria play several important roles in your health, communicating with your immune system and producing certain vitamins.  Your gut bacteria can also affect how different foods are digested and produce chemicals that help make you feel full. As a result, they can affect your weight.  

Signs your gut health needs a check-up include:

  • Trouble with weight gain.
  • Mood issues, depression, and anxiety. 
  • Poor immune system.
  • Digestion issues such as constipation, diarrhea or inflammatory bowel disease. 
  • Low energy levels.
  • Skin issues like acne or rashes.

To learn more about Gut Health, read here


Many of us have the mindset of being healthy means restricting what you eat and forcing yourself to exercise.  Neither of those sounds particularly appealing and definitely not a long term solution. What good health needs to be, is sustainable.  It’s not sticking to a diet for 8 weeks to lose 5kg for your sister’s wedding then letting it all go because it was too hard. Having a sustainable healthy lifestyle links in with habits.  If we develop healthy habits it takes the will power out of living well. It will come down to automatic actions you don’t need to think about, a bit like turning on a light before walking into a dark room.  Instead of having to convince yourself that the salad is the better option when you look at the menu.  


At the end of the day, the key is balance.  We can’t eat perfectly 100% of the time, and why would we want to? Good health and happiness is being able to enjoy a piece of cake at a birthday party and not feel guilty. It takes the good and bad out of being healthy.   I personally believe one of the most unhealthy habits a majority of people hold is to judge all food as good or bad. I cringe when I hear people talk about how naughty they were. Did you steal a chocolate bar from the supermarket? No, you just ate one, hiding in your car at that so no one would see you. Acting guilty, like you had stolen it.  

Food is to be enjoyed.  Slow down, taste it all, and if it’s not good enough quality to be enjoyable why are you eating it? Likewise with exercise, it isn’t a punishment for what you ate.  Find a way to move that you love. It’s ok if lifting weights at a gym doesn’t float your boat, find what does. Or at least find something you can learn to love.  

I’d love to know, what is good health to you?

Author: Jill Lister-Martin. Certified health and fitness coach, Mum, lover of licorice, wine and adventures.

Click here to work with me to lose weight, feel great, boost your confidence and achieve your health and fitness goals. Check out my programs and feel free to book a time to chat and ask any questions.

How to stop Dieting and still get Results.

Stop dieting and still get results.
Lose weight for good.
How food should make you feel.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve spent a majority of my life worrying about what I put in my mouth. I’ve counted calories, counted macros, cut carbs, tried juices and shakes. I got to the point of wondering if I was going to have to be always be focused on a strict diet to achieve or maintain a weight I was happy with. And most of the time even while I was so focused on what I ‘should be eating’ it didn’t necessarily help me lose weight anyway. Fortunately, an education in nutrition coaching helped put me on the right path. I want to pass on some of that wisdom so you can stop dieting and still get results.

For the average person who isn’t an elite athlete, we shouldn’t need to worry about measuring and calculating everything we eat. It is not sustainable long term. What do slim healthy people think about? Definitely not constantly worrying about what they are eating and if it’s “good” or “bad”.

Have you ever heard the phrase living ‘as if’? What would your life look like if you were already ‘thin’, or you’d already lost the 10kg? You wouldn’t be living on a diet of doughnuts because you wouldn’t want to go backward, but you would also have a very different mindset when it came to food.

If we aren’t on a diet, how do we lose weight?

The key to stop dieting and still get results is through creating good nutrition habits. And as a result, create a sustainable weight loss and still enjoy food.

If you’ve ever been successful in losing a decent amount of weight what happened when the diet stopped? When your focused diet ended, did the weight come back on? I’m pretty sure the answer was probably yes. If you were lucky enough to keep it off, I have no doubt the reason it has stayed because you have established better eating habits.

What is a Habit?

According to our friend Dictionary.com, a habit is:

an acquired behavior pattern regularly followed until it has become  almost involuntary

Eg: the habit of looking both ways before crossing the  street.

Habits don’t require will power. They are involuntary actions done after a behaviour is repeated so many times we don’t eve need to think about it.

For most people, living on a strict diet of measured proteins, fats and carbs isn’t a natural habit. Ordering takeaway every Friday night might be a habit, getting a muffin with your coffee every day might be a habit. Alternatively, for many people incorporating vegetables into every meal is a habit they struggle with.

People who have great eating habits didn’t necessarily start that way either unless it’s a life long habit. It is impossible to implement all the healthy eating habits at the one time which is why dieting always fails. If we try to do it all at once we inevitably lose motivation, we are relying on will power rather than habits.

What kind of Healthy eating Habits should I start with?

The key here is to start small. Pick one habit and implement it for at least 2 weeks before bringing the next one in. This isn’t an all or nothing approach. You didn’t learn your old habits overnight so they won’t be replaced overnight either.

  • Eat Slowly- aka eat mindfully. Take your time, smell and taste your food. Turn off the tv and put away your phone. Listen to your mother and put your fork down in between bites. Slow down and listen to your body when it tells you it feels full. If you shovel it all you won’t notice the satiation signals.
  • Drink Plenty of Water. Pick specific times of the day to act as a trigger to drink. When you wake up have a large glass or two, keep a bottle on your desk to sip on throughout the day and make sure it’s empty before you go home. Have a glass before and after you exercise. Find times that you can incorporate more water into your routine without changing anything else. This free online water calculator from Camel Bak is a good on.
  • Incorporate more vegetables into your diet. Once again this isn’t all or nothing, start with making sure you get veggies into at least one meal a day and then make it two meals, then three. This isn’t about being perfect if you need to grab a pre-made salad from the supermarket to get more in, do it.
  • Think about portion sizes. Use smaller dishes and read how many servings are actually in packaged foods. What you might consider being a serve, might in fact be several serves.
  • Incorporate more incidental movement into your lifestyle. When I was younger and dancing full time we used to joke about a teacher who would tell students that “dancers take the stairs”. I never actually heard the teacher say this, is was said before my time, but friends of mine were told and it became a mantra we’d jokingly say whenever stairs came along. The same mantra comes up every time I come across a set of stairs besides an escalator twenty years later. Even my husband says it as we travel through an airport.
  • Become a step counter. This falls under incidental movement in a way, but try and hit at least 10,000 steps of whatever might be a goal for you. I say this with hesitation, I became an addicted step counter at one point (joking/not joking), but it certainly got me moving.
  • Become a food prepper. Make time on a set day each week to cook up a couple of healthy dishes to have throughout the week when life gets chaotic. Alternatively, have ready to grab ingredients for a healthy lunch each day. Tackle one meal at a time. Eating well shouldn’t be hard.
  • Make good sleep a priority. Make sure you get to bed early enough, don’t lie in bed looking at your phone, and have a bedtime routine that helps your body and mind unwind.

Find a way to keep yourself accountable

The idea behind creating good habits to stop dieting and still get results is that habits remove the need for willpower, they become automatic actions. However, in the start, there does need to be a bit of focus to get the habits running on autopilot.

A great way to get habits going is to find a way to keep yourself accountable. Create a visual reminder and tick it off when you’ve successfully completed your habit for the day. There are also plenty of great apps available to help with habits. There are apps to track water intake, log food, track exercise. I’m pretty sure there’s an app to track just about anything else you want to work towards.

Another form of accountability is to enroll support from other people. Make a commitment with your better half to eat veggies for dinner. Commit to a gym class with a friend each week. Find a coach who can help you with your nutrition and fitness goals.

How to Stop Dieting and Get Results

I know it’s tempting to try and live off lemon water and cheese cubes in the lead up to your sister’s wedding, the operative word being ‘try’. I get it, you need to lose weight RIGHT NOW. But it is with healthy habits that make weight loss sustainable and enjoyable. Healthy habits aren’t an all or nothing approach. You can live well, lose weight, keep it off and still enjoy food without feeling deprived or guilty. Food is meant to be enjoyable. Life is meant to be enjoyable and feeling guilty about what you eat shouldn’t be part of the journey.

Author: Jill Lister-Martin. Certified health and fitness coach, Mum, lover of licorice, wine and adventures.

Click here to work with me to lose weight, feel great, boost your confidence and achieve your health and fitness goals. Check out my programs and feel free to book a time to chat and ask any questions.