Guest Blog: Donnie DeSanti with Life In Balance

Making ANY lifestyle change is hard. Whether health and fitness or going for a more sustainable routine, finding a new balance can be the hardest part of making a change.

Trying to work out, feed myself and my pup, and get work done can feel like a herculean task, let alone line drying my clothes, gardening, and making healthy, eco-conscious changes. I wind up cutting corners, getting greasy take out with tons of non-recyclable packaging, oversleeping, not making it to the gym, and feeling guilty and hypocritical about the whole ordeal.

They're intertwined, for me. Health and wellness starts here and extends outward to the world around us. When you're healthy, well rested, and focused, making consistent lifestyle changes - whatever they may be - is much easier, so I reached out to health and wellness coach extraordinaire Donnie DeSanti for tips. I photographed Donnie's wedding years ago, and then became a Life in Balance tribe member. I've always loved his realistic perspective on change and goals, so here we go!  -Reese



The other day I read a meme that said “Sometimes you eat salads and go to the gym. Other days you eat cupcakes and refuse to put on pants. It’s called balance.”

I think it’s a good reference to the challenge that people have with achieving this so-called “balance” in their life. 

What exactly is this, and how do we know we’ve achieved it?


What exactly is this, and how do we know we’ve achieved it?


Personally, I think we get it a little twisted and beat ourselves up over it. It’s that elusive goal that is right around the corner that we never quite reach. I see it in clients trying to achieve more balance with their health but seem to always fall short after a few days/weeks.

The key is we have to look at the habits we have and start a new loop of habits that will create lasting results. 

Stick with me here for a bit and let me explain.

The reason a person doesn’t get up to go to the gym at 6am every other day is because it feels down right uncomfortable. The same goes for eating healthy in the beginning or resisting that second piece of cake. All these things bring up feelings of resistance, uncomfortableness, and discontent. So the easier thing to do is to go back to what we are used to, and that’s our old habits, because, well, they feel good!



So where do we start in breaking these old dusty habits?

There are a few things I do with clients to help shake things up.

First thing you can do is find someone to be accountable to. In my clients' case, it’s me. But this can be a friend, sibling, or partner, only someone who is on the same page as you and has your back. If, for example, you say you’re going to the gym then give that person your word, or either you both go together. No one likes a flake! 



Second, I like using the 5 second rule with clients. Anytime you are confronted with some of those icky feelings I mentioned, take a moment and count backwards from 5 to 1 and then take action! For example, you are torn between eating a salad or cheesy enchiladas. Take a second, count down, 5..4..3..2..1 and go with the salad. It sounds simple but science has shown these 5 seconds are enough time to break up the habit loop that your brain is used to. Give it a try!

Lastly, start with the small wins first. Often times people are trying to change their whole life in one week. Sometimes I work with a person for a whole year before they get to where they want to be. Start small with something that you can do regularly with no difficulties. For instance, a person may be trying to overhaul their whole diet, and that can be difficult all at once. Why not try just keeping it clean with one meal a day for a few weeks and see how that goes. Once the person becomes comfortable with one meal then they can move up to two meals and so on. 


As the saying goes, the best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time. 


Just remember the habits you have now are habits you learned over time, and that means you can unlearn them and create a healthier lifestyle for yourself. 

-Donnie DeSanti, Life in Balance



A special thank you to Donnie for chiming in! I've been implementing his tips - and keeping myself accountable with my greener habits to you all - and it's been a huge help. Now, back to eating that (hopefully not endangered) elephant!