I want people to think of their bodies a little differently.
Your body, strangely enough, is in no way connected to itself really. It's a bunch of little cells all huddled closely together. They work together to make structures. Each cell has a unique job, and those jobs and their proximity to each other are what give us life. Sort of. It's not the totally science/spiritual evolution of man, but it will help with understanding my blog.
Whatever we are doing isn't working. I don't care about our weight, or appearance. I care about one very important fact: we are dying earlier than we should, from diseases that experts have labelled preventable.
We are all going to die, that's an accepted truth. If you want to prolong life, we need to take the focus off of weight loss, and put it on being really, really, totally healthy.
It's easier than you think. I'm hoping the thought of taking care of your cells vs. the entire body helps.
Let's get the gym thing out of the way first. The gym is good for two things:
1) Getting sexy
2) Preparing for more intense adventures and extreme tasks.
The battle ground I want to focus on is the workplace. I've been on a mission to change the way we see our office places. It's full of people to help you stay on track, and to keep boredom at bay when you do go for walks, hikes, etc. My goal, and what I do for a living, is to work with offices places for a full year, get people thinking longevity. Reduce absenteeism and the less noticeable presenteeism by getting staff healthy and focused on their productivity.
To accomplish this doesn't require a gym membership. It's simply getting people to move. Get in groups, have fun with each other, bring back play, and make sure you get your heart rate up and you move around just to be alive. That's enough for the fitness portion of this.
Now back to the original thought of not being attached, but cells that are huddled close.
When we eat food there is a strange thing that happens. We break it down and digest it into pieces we can use.
That digestion requires vitamins and minerals, as well as energy. Every process in your body requires input of basic building blocks. When we eat healthy, local, natural, delicious foods our body gets nutrients from them. We get the nutrients we need to break down the next meal, and a surplus for running things like brain function, immune function, sleep patterns, muscle repair, metabolism and everything else that goes on in the body.
Our body is set up with a lot of faith in your food choices. Digestion gets first dibs on nutrients in the body.
You put a spinach salad with almonds, raspberries, topped with hemp hearts and a great tasting homemade vinaigrette in your body, and you can digest it and send the left over vitamins to your body as needed. This is what we call nutrient-dense food selection. Your body trusted you, and you came through. The system sent critical nutrients to the stomach, and they came back with more help then they went in with.
Good job, and it beats the second scenario:
You put in fast food in your body that has been frozen, packaged, shipped, stored, thawed, refrozen, advertised as delicious, and then grilled. Houston, we have a problem. Worse is if you washed that thing down with a sugar-filled pop. The nutrient value of the meal is low, the calories are high. That means your trusting body and digestive system got the signal to come down and get nutrients. The problem is, you fooled the vitamin squad. They came down, and it cost more to digest the food then they could find nutrients in the food. What you are left with is carbohydrates, fats, and protein. Not much in the way of nutrients. Thanks to that sugar-filled pop, you have lots and lots of carbs.
So now, you've got all this energy released from the sugar (that's the carbs), and it's going to be stored. Guess how it's stored? If you said fat, you'd be correct. So we've added fat to the system, that we just stole nutrients from.
Nutrients like the B vitamins that play a role in the suppression of depression.
Nutrients like calcium that are leached by the pop to counter act its effects, weakening our bones.
All the while not replacing nutrients like iodine which regulates the thyroid, or zinc to help deep sleep.
This is why experts say our food affects mood, immunity etc.
Remember how we were talking about cells and they are independent of each other? Well they communicate through hormones, electric impulses, and the movement of blood and fluids through out the body.
Think of your body as a city. Your legs, arms and body are neighbourhoods. In each neighbourhood you've got houses -- some neighbourhoods have VIPs like the heart, liver, kidney etc. They get priority, but everyone shares the same basics. What if a city runs out of power? Water? Waste disposal quits? Then what? Then we have a crisis. Then, the city shuts down some of the neighbourhoods deemed "unnecessary" in order to preserve the greater good. The extra needed materials are redistributed.
In the case of the city, why did the power shut off? The hydro electric damn wasn't being fed properly.
Improper feeding causes a breakdown in the function of critical functions of our body, same as a big city. There's some warning signs, there's a few people who get up and say "Hey, we are doing this wrong, we'll pay for it soon!" All we have to do is make some minor changes.
On a regular basis, the food we put in our body needs to be nutrient dense. We need to be sure that every operation and system in the body has the necessary basics they need to survive. Then we can enjoy the food that kills us in peace. It's the balance that's important.
The same nutrients that aid in digestion keep us happy, and our metabolism revving high. It keeps our mental clarity, and the same nutrients keep viruses and disease at bay. I'm not even going to start into cells replicating themselves and replacing themselves. Without the proper nutrients they can't replicate properly. They try, and they fail. Or they get damaged and replicate themselves incorrectly because we don't have the right nutrients in our body to protect our cells (antioxidants). In both cases, that's how cancer starts in the body, in very broad simple terms.
I love pizza, Dr. Pepper, candy, cinnamon buns, wings and anything you want to name. But more than that, I enjoy being alive and healthy. So I chose my battles. I make sure that I fight off a few cravings, and eat nutrient-dense foods. I do that more often, and with purpose, than I eat junk food. In my house I make sure four things happen:
1) I don't store junk food -- when I want it, I go out and buy it. Not regularly. It's a treat, and it stays that way
2) I have healthy options -- ones that don't suck. If the food doesn't taste good, I usually don't eat it. The food I post pictures of actually makes me happy. It may even make my mouth water just looking at it.
3) I measure and pay attention to serving sizes. Even healthy food can be overeaten.
4) If it's processed and packaged, I limit it. If it's a "good food," and a guy in a lab made it "light" so that I can have more of it but get less pudgy, I don't eat it. Diet anything doesn't belong in a human's body on a regular basis.
I'm not asking anyone to be a health nut. I hope that you see how simple this really is, and how it's an entire system. One day of bad eating doesn't make you fat or unhealthy. Consistently depleting the system will make you that way.
I hope this makes sense for why we promote moderation. Personally, I try to limit myself to three meals or snacks a week that I know won't help me be a better, healthier person. I regularly fail at the number three, and tend to be closer to four. That being said, my cholesterol numbers are good, my blood pressure is impeccable, and I'm a very happy person. When those things change, I'll worry.
Choose food to be healthy, not to lose weight. Be happy and have a tonne of fun being alive. Get out and see the world.
Here's some ideas from my work from my personal blog and social media life. It's part of my One Fit City mission in Winnipeg.
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