The way in which our society approaches health and wellness is incredibly skewed. In the U.S. there is no doubt that body fat percentage equals people’s view on how healthy or unhealthy someone is. This assumption couldn’t be farther from the truth. While body fat does play a role in the overall health of an individual, it is by no means whatsoever the end all be all. What about a person who remains thin but lives on highly processed, sugary foods?
And what about the person who from the outside looks overweight but maintains a healthy diet of whole foods and regular exercise? What about the bodybuilder who looks great but is suffering from extreme depression? There are many of these cases and everything else in between. Human beings are extremely complex organisms influenced by a plethora of environmental, psychological, spiritual, and physical factors. The idea that one measurement (body fat) could explain a person’s overall health is just plain asinine.
And please let us remember that living a healthy life doesn’t have to be as complicated as the “health experts” (aka diet and food product marketers) would lead you to believe. These basics will help you get started on a path to great health. Keep in mind this is just a start, but I believe the most important one.
1) Eat A Diet Of Healthy, Non-Processed Foods
This is number one for reason. If you did literally nothing else except eliminate processed foods from your diet in favor of healthy options, you would experience a dramatic increase in your overall feeling of health, including increased energy, loss of fat, increased sex drive, and increased mental alertness. Your diet is the fuel that you running on.
If you feed yourself crap, you’ll feel like crap. If you feed yourself healthy, non-processed foods, items like organically grown and in-season produce, naturally bred non-processed meats, whole grains, etc. you will see and feel the difference in every aspect of your life. If you would like more information on what exactly is healthy foods, I recommend checking out Michael Pollen’s work. Just do an online search and you’ll find him. In my opinion, he’s one of the most progressive thinkers of our age when it comes to healthy eating.
2) Exercise Consistently
This is actually way easier than most people think. I understand why it can feel hard at times; I’ve worked 35 hours a week while going to school full time. The reason it is easy is that the possible ways of achieving this are virtually endless. Sure, if you are holding yourself to a standard of hitting the weight room three times a week, a busy schedule might get in the way. But that’s the beauty of exercise in the context of healthy living: it doesn’t have to be weightlifting... or jogging… or sit-ups… or (insert anything you hate here).
You can play basketball or tennis or go swimming or dancing or one of a million other enjoyable things. Exercise is easy because there is always an activity out there that you will find absolutely enjoyable and can schedule into those precious few free hours you possess rather than simply watching TV. And if you’re out of energy when it’s time for said activity, don’t worry, I have a suggestion for that.
3) Invest In A Few Supplements
Don’t read what I’m not writing. Diet is first on this list. Supplements are third. There is a huge reason for that. If you try to use supplements while eating a diet filled with processed foods and sugar, you will achieve nothing. However, if you are already working with a healthy diet, adding a few vitamins, some pre-workout energy supplements, and perhaps some fish oil supplements are not a bad idea and will actually go a long way.
The vitamins will help fill in the gaps in your diet that are difficult to fill, the pre-workout supplement will give you the energy you need to enjoy and benefit from the physical activity of your choice, and the fish oils will give you a perfect dosage of healthy fats, which are one of the harder diet pieces to obtain outside of supplementation, but are incredibly beneficial.
And there you have it: Eat right, engage in regular physical activity, and invest a little money in filling in the gaps that will help you accomplish the first two. A great start in getting yourself on the path to health. On your own personal health journey please keep in mind some other important things that aren’t listed here but are also worth researching and thinking about. Some of these are stress levels, spirituality, creative expression, a person’s physical environment, alcohol intake, and many others.
I hope that I’ve inspired you to take a little bit of a different view on health and wellness and to perhaps make some changes in your habits that are not serving your mind or body well.