What does success look like to you? You might answer that question with tales of business acclaim, exotic vacations, independent wealth, time freedom or being able to enjoy a stress-free life with your family. But regardless of what success looks like to you, there is one thing that is ALWAYS at the top of the list, even though no one ever mentions it. Having your health. Without your health, nothing else matters. All your other plans, ideals and dreams pale and disappear if you lose your health.
Why do so few people consider and take care of their health so they can live out their version of success? We asked exactly that question of Whole Food Muscle Club fans and the most common answers where, “I don’t have time” and “I don’t know how.”
If you don’t take time for your health now it will steal your time later. But humans are not very good at delayed gratification and no one believes their health is going to fail until it does. So that answer isn’t helpful. But how about this:
When did your health become an inconvenience?
Most people never think about their health unless they are under the weather, and even then, it’s annoying. “I don’t have time to be sick” is a common social media post. That is the reality for almost everyone until they have a health crisis. “My heart attack really opened my eyes.” Did you know that for 50% of people who have a heart attack, death is their first symptom? You don’t have to wait for life to slap you in the face and hope you live through it so you can change. You can decide to become conscious about your health now rather than just paying it lip service.
Solving, “I don’t know how”
Once you get your mind wrapped around the fact that your success is inexplicably tied to your health and ignoring it is a really bad idea, it’s time to address the second problem, “I don’t know how.” Unfortunately, there is a lot of bad health advice out there. Most of it is linked to losing weight. There are a lot of ways to lose weight that are horrible for your health, doing heroin, chemo, diet pills from the ‘80’s and fad diets. The question shouldn’t be, “How do I lose weight.” The question should be, “how do I avoid, limit or reverse my risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, cancer, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and obesity.” Answering that question will bring your body to your ideal weight naturally.
Fortunately, there is a singular answer, although it might surprise you. How you eat, the nutrition you give or deny your body, is the single, most important factor in creating health; even more important than your genes. And it is 100% controlled by you. That is amazing power.
It is possible to be overweight and under-nourished
When you eat fast, easy, cheap food you are getting lots of calories. But most of the nutrition has been removed. Nutrition spoils. Mold grows on it. Bugs eat it. It can go rancid. When food companies want something to be shelf stable, they remove most of the nutritional value, add synthetic flavor and preservatives, fortify it with a few vitamins and minerals, slap some fancy marketing on it and sell it to you as if it’s food. “Fortify” is just a fancy word to let you know they put the government required nutrition back in it, so people don’t get obscure diseases from eating nutrition-less food. If they didn’t take the nutrition out of it to start with, it wouldn’t need fortifying.
Plus, the food industry spends billions of dollars a year making sure their products hit the Bliss Point, the exact balance of salt, sugar and fat to turn off your ability to say “no more” and to make you crave (i.e. be addicted) it. Great for their bottom line. Horrible for your waistline.
Knowledge is power. The food industry has created an industry worth billions of dollars a year lulling us into believing that food should be quick, convenient, easy to eat and require little thought. That is a fast track to illness, disease and even death.
The more you know about nutrition and the lies the food and diet industries tell us, the easier it will be for you to make conscious choices.
Pay attention when you eat
Do you really want to eat what you’re eating? As in, do you want the results that it will give you or are you just craving it? Did you choose it from an emotional place? Are you burying feelings with food? Are you eating out of habit or are you actually hungry? Do you really know what it feels like to be hungry?
Don’t overindulge with alcohol, sugar or processed foods
Easier said than done because most people have an emotional relationship with salt, sugar, fat and alcohol. The food and alcohol industries love that you do. But your successful life plans demand that you take back that control.
Eat the rainbow
Take a look at your plate. Is it mostly white, grey and brown foods? Or are the colors created by added food coloring? That is a problem. Your diet needs colors (which equal antioxidants) from real food. The more the better.
Don’t be sedentary
Going to the gym for an hour a day won’t make up for sitting or lying down the other twenty-three hours. Get up. Move. Pace when you’re on the phone. Drink enough water that you’re forced to get out of your chair to go to the bathroom. Whatever it takes to get your body in motion at least once an hour.
Get some support
You don’t have to make this change alone. In fact, you likely shouldn’t try because the people around you are going to come after you, much like people who drink respond to someone who doesn’t. Don’t put yourself on an island with only people who eat the Standard American Diet (SAD).
The Whole Food Muscle Club is designed to address all of these points so you can focus on creating success while having the best health possible. It’s not just how long you live. It’s how long you live healthy.
Dr. Robyn is a former competitive beach volleyball player and has spent her career using goal-achievement psychology to motivate, inspire and focus her clients on achieving success. She is a TEDx speaker and holds a certificate from the Center for Nutrition Studies at Cornell University. Russ Bruzzano is a former competitive bodybuilder and trainer on the Mr. Olympic tour. He has spent forty-five years studying nutrition. His exercise and diet advice has been invaluable to clients throughout the world.