THE BLOG

Stay Healthy to Enjoy Life, Not to Get a Six-Pack

01/21/2015 01:07 EST | Updated 03/23/2015 05:59 EDT
Liquidlibrary via Getty Images

Somewhere along the way, we lost the soul of what food and activity was.

Every time I go to a workplace to do a seminar, or work with kids I see it spiral out of control a little more. Three things break my heart, and I'm doing everything I can to be a positive voice for change. That's my dream for my website www.onefitcity.com. Show the world the beauty of health.

Here is what I see happening:

1) We no longer eat food to fuel our body, give ourselves energy and live life to its fullest. Now, we avoid foods that we think will make us fat, or, we give our foods to scientists to remove fat and sugars. We ask them to find ways to allow us to overeat, but not gain weight.

We replace natural with artificial. What we eat could be killing us, causing disease or total body pain and loss of energy. So we balance that with the only upside anyone can think of -- at least it's not making us fat.

Body fat and appearance isn't the issue. And it never should be. What we are doing is making ourselves unhealthy.

We have villianized food and it's become the enemy. Here's the fact: food keeps us alive. Food provides us the energy to chase our dreams. Food is fuel. My dream is for people to understand serving size. Real food, eaten in proper portions. Remembering that we have evolved to a point where food is no longer difficult to harvest. There are thousands of calories available to eat at a moment's notice. We need to get back to respecting food. We currently eat too much, and our body, like our homes and cities, has a waste disposal side.

Imagine putting three or four times more waste into your sewer system at home than it was designed to handle. Why do we think our body is different?

2) My heart breaks when I see empty trails, or beautiful landscapes untouched. Somehow, exercise got equated to going to the gym. The gym is not for everyone.

This is my primary mission these days. Just move! It's so good for you.

In the last 30 years we began to idolize body types of people who like going to the gym. We made it the ideal. We made it something that we feel shame for not having. The gym is a great addition to your life if you love it, however, it's not the only option you have for being healthy.

I admire the work that goes into the body of a fitness cover model. It's a commitment to a total lifestyle that most of us won't make. I don't feel shame that I don't have a six pack. I spend my time enjoying meals at my favorite restaurants downtown in my hometown of Winnipeg. I exercise so I can explore the great outdoors. The physique you see in a magazine is a calculated plan. Cardio at certain times, two workouts a day and strict calories. It can be admired, but I will never expect anyone to look like a cover model. Give me a group of friends, comfortable with their bodies and enjoying a night of food and laughs any day over a flat six pack.

I'm not saying all fitness competitors miss out on everything. However, having dieted down in my life to try it, I'll say it's tough and I missed out on some fun stuff. No one wants to hear about my sit-ups routine or my bench pressing. However, the stories I've got from my Contiki Tour to Thailand have people in stitches and dreaming of their turn to ride on an elephant.

3) Stress kills us, and it's not going to go anywhere. So we need to learn to manage it a lot better. Many people turn to Yoga for this. That makes me happy. The only concern I have is this.

Are you learning yoga, or just getting flexible?

I explain my thoughts fully in my "fun blog" where I talk about life and relationships as I see it. I called it "Redneck Zen." Really simply put, I grew up in the country. I've been doing Yoga, without the stretching, since I started riding my dirt bike and walking through wheat fields.

It's not the breathing, or the poses. It's a connection to the moment, it's linking the entire system and realizing you are part of a community, a universe and something bigger than you. Life is about figuring out what really matters, changing what you have control over, and the rest, well, the rest you take a few deep breaths and trust that good things will happen if you do your part. It's a shame we can't totally control everything, but there is a lot of joy waiting when you figure out one important truth.

It's not about flexibility, it's about being flexible.

The moment you can walk into any situation, good or bad, and you can be yourself, chase your dreams and love your neighbor, that's the moment you are really practicing Yoga. Like I say, for me, I had the pleasure of learning that up in a tree staring over the Manitoba prairies. When the doctors told me I was sick when I was a kid, I lost a lot of things I loved, but one truth remained.

I'm alive and there is work to be done. Everything I've ever lost, I've found something better.

I've rambled on a lot in this blog post, so I'll sum it up.

We need to fix our inactivity, over-eating and stress levels. Not so we can be pretty, but so we can absolutely enjoy life. I put the video up in hopes it gets shared and maybe makes things click for people. There is a lot of power in being positive. I put the "fit" picture up to reinforce the truth that I'm happier now and enjoy my life even without the 6-pack. Weight loss will never answer the soul questions the same way a conversation with friends will. Eat proper portions of local, fresh foods. Fuel your body, then go out and use it to have adventures. Do everything with the end goal of being kind, laughing and enjoying every single day you have on this planet.

Find your joy, and don't let anyone steal it.

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