Are you feeling broken? Search beyond the diet. Dig past the food. Muddle your way through the exercise. Now what do you see? Likely shear and utter confusion.Perfect.
The word “diet” refers to:
the kinds of food that a person, animal, or community habitually eats; example: a special course of food to which one restricts oneself, either to lose weight or for medical reasons;
The second definition is most often what you might think of when you think of a diet:
to restrict oneself to small amounts or special kinds of food in order to lose weight.
Diets are often the go-to when you’ve had enough, and you decide it’s finally time - again - to take charge of your health and lose weight. Maybe you set that New Year’s Resolution. A perfect pick is the newest diet that’s had success and jump in with two feet on January 1.
If this sounds all too familiar, then you’ve been down this road before. I would venture to say that the Resolution diet didn’t stick. Don’t worry, it wasn’t you. Life likely got in the way and that very strict-way-of-life just became too hard to maintain. Face it, you can only live on eggs, kale, salmon and veggies for so long without some kind of reprieve. So you slowly, or maybe not-so-slowly, revert back to what you know: your traditional, feel good way of eating.
The problem with diets is that they are too strict to stick for the long haul. They do not easily transform into something manageable for your busy lifestyle. Not allowing yourself the freedom to explore and fall off the wagon takes unbelievable willpower. For short term goals? Great! Wanting to living healthier longer? Let’s rethink that resolution.
Food is what you eat. Right? Actually, let’s be more clear, so you may get an accurate picture of your own personal health...
Food is nourishment that allows our bodies to work, to grow and to complete necessary repair. There are nutrients critical to life, growth, development and wellbeing and sadly, most of us are missing these essential building blocks for greater health.
Today’s “food” is more like food-like substances, created in a lab or factory. It’s injected with flavor, dyes, sugar and chemicals to ignite the feeling of euphoria in our brains - to taste amazing, encouraging continued purchase and promoting the highest grossing product sales possible. Let’s not forget the side effects of these substances, which can include hyperactivity & ADHD, obesity, cancer and autoimmune disease. Truly this can’t be food.
Food should be of plant or animal origin, containing essential nutrients for life. When we consume food substances that don’t help us sustain life, we create inflammation, causing sickness, disease and obesity. Sure we can eat it, and these lab creations tell our brain these substances are good. But our bodies can tell the difference, much like your truck can tell the difference between unleaded and diesel fuel. Sputter, sputter.
You likely can’t see straight, there are so many possibilities for exercise programs. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is not for everyone. Yoga may not be what gets you moving in the morning. The definition of exercise in your life should simply be about movement that your body enjoys but in a variety of ways to create resistance, increased heart rate and promote blood flow. Flashback to the time of living off the land, growing your own food, hunting animals for consumption. Do you think our ancestors even thought about HIIT or yoga? Using your body, moving your body in a variety of difficult ways - these are key to a healthy life.
You get to define what exercise looks like for you. While marathon training may be the best thing since gluten-free sliced bread, you still need to make sure you take care of those aching muscles and move them in other ways, too.
The best philosophy when figuring out your own health is to forget everything you think you know. Erase the chalk board. What works for you will likely be different than what works for Rich Roll. Once you are to the point when no health philosophy makes sense anymore, you are at the perfect ground zero. Begin trying foods, real foods, one at a time and noticing how they make you feel. Start walking every day or as often as possible. Use your muscles and lift some things. Take small strides in making changes; don’t overhaul, or the changes likely will come and go with that New Year’s Resolution. Piece by piece, as you understand what works for you, the confusion will begin to dissipate.
Health is how you feel inside and out. It is may be directly correlated to the amount of energy you have. Health may be seen through the appearance of your skin and is exhibited by your mood. Health is not your weight.
So, forget that New Year’s Resolution. Say no to the new diet. Start something more. Keep to the 80/20 Rule. Eat real food at least 80% of the time. Limit the foods that are marketed on television, on billboards and in the grocery store (the ones that will help you eat Keto or Vegan or gluten-free, without really changing much more than a brand) to 20%. You get one body, one chance. Live a life full of health and vitality, or live a life just full. It’s your call.