I was recently at the PaleoFX conference in my hometown of Austin, Texas. It was my first time and I saw a lot of amazing things, and bought some incredible new gadgets and will probably review them later. There was one talk at PaleoFX that stuck out to me on the mildly annoying schedule App, Eventportal, it was about how caring about your health too much is setting you back. I thought to myself, wow what a concept. I know a chiropractor that gives great adjustments, he, however, let himself go completely a couple of years ago and does not monitor his diet or exercise. When someone brings it up he says “Oh the whole ‘insert health related topic that requires effort’ thing.” and proceeds to describe why he doesn’t participate. When I hear someone talk about how they think people care too much about their health, my first thought is that they are projecting, and maybe they are and maybe they aren’t. I wanted to share a bit about my thoughts on the subject. The road to health can be a long one.
I believe that your health and body is your most valuable asset, anything you can do to set your health ahead will set your performance ahead. If you can feel better and produce more, your quality of life and success will climb. I also think that you personally should find and maintain responsibility for your health. When you have that, personal responsibility for your health, you can decide exactly how healthy you want to be. That’s what it is, it’s a choice. You can define what healthy is for you, and what you are okay with feeling like. If healthy for you is well enough to sit at work for 8 hours days, so you can come home and watch television and you are okay with taking drugs to alter your pain levels and make up for brain fog then you probably don’t need to take it real seriously at all. However, in that choice you are accepting your quality of life will go downhill more quickly, and that lifestyle may not last you to the average age of longevity in your 70’s or beyond. You may have to deal with joint replacements, see a ton of doctors, take a lot of drugs and miss out on experiences in life-related to physical activity and traveling. Now to me, that list of things sounds 1000% more tiring and awful and than honing and challenging your body and keeping your metabolism flexible so you can be healthy and agile into old age.
I’ll admit, I am pretty extreme by traditional standards. I watch no television at all, I don’t use social media except to follow athletes, professionals, and role models on Instagram. I loathe Facebook and Netflix. The only TV in my house is not smart, and it’s in a closet on a shelf behind a lot of things. I don’t have a couch, I meditate twice a day. I am always looking for time to read more and try to gain niche specific specialized knowledge as often as possible. I work 50-70 hours a week, doing things I love 100% of the time and make an adequate living for a person my age. I drink vegetable juice most days, eat food prepared by my cook according to an extensive ALCAT food sensitivity test, and I am a member of a cutting edge anti-aging program. I am active in excess of 240 minutes a week, and I try to align my activities with my goals as often as I can. I’m happy most of the time, I have a passion for life and spend most of my time imparting it to others through my work. I spend most of my money on educating myself and improving my living conditions and health. I’m a nut! I wouldn’t change a thing, although I change constantly. My director at work told me recently, I am the most driven and compassionate person on her staff of 100, and she is glad that everyone is not like me because it would be impossible to keep up. She’s right, you don’t need to be like me. You need to be like you, in terms you are happy with. I used to eat microwave chicken strips and play video games 20-60 hours a week, I decided that wasn’t how I want to live. Education and a willingness to learn was the biggest thing that carried me from no standards to what I think is the cutting edge.
So, how seriously should you take your health?
Ask yourself a few questions about it. You’ll find, you are full of great answers and ideas.
1. How do you want to feel?
2. What do you want to look like?
3. How long do you want to live?
4. How active do you want to be?
5. What do you want to accomplish?
6. What do you want to spend a majority of your time doing?
I’m imagining you want to be pain-free, look decent not be overweight, do things you enjoy without worrying about your physical capability and accel at your job. That’s a lot to tackle all at once if you are far from it, and probably why many people feel like being ‘healthy’ in an insurmountable task. However, you have the rest of your life to get it down and any progress is still progress and the first step is identifying how healthy you really want to be. I like to say if you can make something 1% better every day, it will only take you 3 months and change to be 100%. Try to identify the biggest thing holding you back, and spend some time learning about it. We live in an amazing time where you can find out almost anything for free. Try some things! If it’s not working for you, try something else! Check in with your goal and purpose every so often to see that you are on track. Learn new things if your current knowledge isn’t enough to get you there.
The big messages today across the board is that prevention is the key to longevity. Reducing inflammation reduces the rate of aging, and preventing accumulated inflammation will prevent chronic pain and disease. Controlling inflammation occurs most effectively through the diet. Proper use of your body fights inflammation and dysfunction. Experts say you should work on your body in some capacity for 20 minutes a day, that’s not really all that much! Exercise is really only uncomfortable for a while, it sounds crazy but you learn to enjoy the struggle. I learned recently, immense pain and discomfort are synonymous with elite levels of any sport or performance. You want it, you lean into the discomfort and get where you want to go.
Your body is much like any organism, and it will respond to stress(exercise) and it does best well hydrated and rested. If you want to improve something in your body challenge it in that arena, rest and repeat. If you want to prevent decay, keep reminding your body you need whatever it is you want to protect. If you want to feel great, eat with that in mind and learn about what kinds of dairy foods are good for you personally whether you want to investigate food sensitivity, genetic diets, paleo – it doesn’t really matter the route they will eventually get you where you are going. If you have not been pursuing health in a targeted capacity before there may be a learning curve, but once you have a system that works for you, it works!
Live life on your terms, and be confident in your choices, Decide exactly how healthy you need to be too confident in yourself and what you want to accomplish. You only need to take your health as seriously as you want too if it’s not making you happy change it. When you are taking responsibility for your health, you have the power. Don’t let anyone tell you you are trying too hard or not hard enough, as long as you’ve made those decisions for yourself you’re fine.
I highly recommend a book I recently read, Health Yourself by Nic Gil. It is a complete system for finding health with yourself, and a fun read. It was brought to my attention by one of my favorite man, Dr. Kelly Starret who’s blog Mobility Wod is another invaluable resource for those seeking health.
I hope you enjoyed, please leave me a comment, or ask me a question – I love those.