Welcome to Healthy and Golden! This is my first post in the three part series – Fundamentals to Eating Healthy. Be aware this is a longer post as I introduce the series, but all information included is well worth your while, so enjoy the read!
There is so much emphasis on ‘eating right’ and being thin. Try this diet – don’t eat this, eat that. BUY MY PRODUCT – IT WILL TRANSFORM YOU. If you eat this way, you will lose ____ weight each week, and be happy. Drink this tonic, it’s miraculous – you’ll shed 5kg within 24 hours. Sound familiar??
Let’s be realistic here – it’s all marketing, it’s all bs. There is really just three things that you need to know.
And before I go further, NO – I’m not trying to sell you something. I’m not giving you a fad diet, I’m not encouraging you to lose weight through my product.
I have one belief, and that is, the knowledge of good health, should be FREE. The basics of how to eat should be FREE.
Why is it so hard to learn how to eat properly? Now I’m not a genius but humans have been living for approx. 600,000 years, so we must have been doing something right, up until now.
It’s expected that by 2040, 1 in 10 adults will have a form of diabetes. (Ref) One in Ten, how shocking is that. And what’s more shocking is that life expectancy in Australia is meant to DECREASE due to obesity (Ref) –it’s getting out of hand considering it’s 20-30 year rise in expectancy in the 1880/90’s. (Ref). America’s life expectancy already decreased last December! (Ref)
How is it that with all the knowledge we know about the world and many things in it, we are living less? We are slowly killing ourselves? Let’s try chemicals; faster food processing; packaging; changing the chemistry of fruits and vegetables so they can grow in any climate at any time of year.
Hmm… something is definitely wrong with this picture!
So I’m here to give you the fundamentals of healthy eating – simple ways to improve your health and longevity – to ensure that you, and your family, are on the way to being the healthiest you can be. And here are the three things you need to know.
The right mindset for eating (Part 1 – in two segments)
The right foods to eat. (Part 2)
The right portions to eat. (Part 3)
Sounds super simple. It is somewhat, if we take it back to basics without marketing, and science talk – and today I’m starting with the #1 most important thing when it comes to health.
Now you’re probably thinking, ‘A healthy mindset, Emily? Are you kidding me? It’s about food and exercise’.
No, that’s not the most important thing. I’m going to challenge you for a moment. Let’s talk about Jenny.
Jenny is a 20 something fitness chick, slaying it out at the gym each day for 2 hours after work. She drinks her protein shakes in the morning, and has her vitamins. She also has pre-workout to get her through her gym sesh after a hard day at work, where she didn’t have time for lunch and grabbed a meal-replacement energy bar.
Now let’s look at Milly, also a 20 something woman, with 30 extra kilos on her. She’s a stay at home mum looking after her boy. She’s up early to him and manages to look after him during the day, although feeling absolutely wrecked and tired by nightfall. She spends most of her day either on the computer, playing with her son or watching reality tv shows. When her mate comes over a few times a week, they take turns to grab a coffee and breakfast each time.
Let’s go back to Jenny for a second – What’s your immediate thought on her body type?
Skinny? Lean and toned? She may be – but is she healthy? No.
She has no idea about the large amounts of sugar and artificial sugar contained in her protein shakes and pre-workout powder creating strife on her heart. She doesn’t have time for a full lunch so she eats commercial energy bars throughout the day, laced in sugar and unnecessary highly processed carbs. She’s not sleeping at night because her body is stressed, she’s overworking herself without recovery, and her digestion is backed up to her eyeballs because she’s eating quick foods, not nutritious foods, and her gut flora is wreaking havoc. She’s on a downward spiral to diabetes, serious digestive troubles and possibly depression and anxiety from all the hormonal wreckage.
Now, let’s talk about Milly – What’s your immediate thought on her body type? Overweight, obese? She may be – but is she healthy?
Relatively. Milly has extra kilos on her because she didn’t shake them after having her son, and she is way too busy with motherhood to pay attention to that right now. Just looking after her son, she does 10,000 + steps a day, and she eats nutritiously to be a good role model for her son, besides the newfound coffee and breakfast habit she’s started to rely on. Her blood work is perfect, she is completely healthy besides the extra weight,.. at the moment. It’s her mindset about her body that is detrimental to her health and slowly creating havoc – she has low self esteem and avoids the mirror, which in turn is sub-consciously clinging to her coffee and breakfasts and will later have bad affects on her levels, and her liver. She will become depressed, and continue to further her sedentary lifestyle.
Now, I have two points to share with you from this.
Body weight is not a reflection of internal health and fitness level, and –
without the right knowledge of health, you could be really creating problems for your body.
Neither Jenny or Milly are in the wrong, it’s about mindset.
Weight Loss VS Weight Management
As I said before at the start of this post, there is a really large emphasis on being skinny and in turn, ‘healthy’ these days. Everybody is looking for that miraculous solution to get them there quickly. But what we really need to learn is, that weight is not all there is, to being healthy. It is not a reflection of healthy. It doesn’t even come close. A fat man can run circles around a skinny man – it all depends on inner health.
We need to step away from the skinny outlook, and into the ‘healthy lifestyle’ outlook.
What happens when we lose something – say our keys? If it’s lost, we have to find it again. So, take this in retrospect with weight loss – if it’s lost, it needs to be found again.
This is a psychological trick – wording plays on our subconscious.
The emphasis needs to be long term weight management – not to get skinny, or to get muscular, to get sexy, (you get my point) but to be healthy.
The Truth about Body Shape
What if I told you that we are not all created equal? – You know that already, I’m sure. Hair, length, culture, small features.
What if I told you that this had to do with weight as well? We are not all created to be skinny, to be athletic – if we were, that’s how we would be. Why is there such a thing as the middle age spread? Because that’s the change in our hormones – we are no longer at reproductive age, and no longer needing to look as ‘sexy’ to attract a mate, so our hormones change accordingly.
It goes the same through all the stages of our life. When we eat healthy, without restriction, our body shape changes to that which it is suited – through genetics and age, and through nutritional requirements met. It’s called the set point theory – this is why so many people have trouble with weight loss plateau’s – they are fighting their own body’s ideal weight management system. Not all bodies are the same, no matter what. So to try and strive for that ‘perfect skinny body’ is unrealistic and sets you up for failure.
Here is a statistic from a group study focusing on women’s body image and self-confidence, that will blow your mind.
Over ½ of females ages 18-25 would prefer to be run over by a truck than to be fat, and 2/3 would choose to be mean or stupid rather than fat (Strelan & Hargreaves, 2005)
Be highly aware of your belief system when it comes to body image, as this is the foundation of how you will strive for your goals, and can have detrimental affects on either your body, or your mind.
We all look for improvement, that is built into our framework – as a way to evolve in the world. We compare ourselves to others, our traits and skills to others, but we are all unique and should value our own self worth.
It is hard though when we grow up with confronting media jammed in our faces from an early age. We may be well aware of photo shop and configuration of celebrities in magazines, but we aren’t as full aware of the subconscious media through ads on tv, ads in magazines, most of which aren’t even about health or the body.
I’m not just talking about imagery either, but the play on words, certain colours around products can all have a subconscious affect on how we feel and think about a product. Companies will even pay big bucks to flash their brand quickly (and invisibly), in big hit movies, making you want to go and buy that product.
Did you know that the average woman views 400-600 ads each day (Ref), and 50% of ads aimed at women use beauty as an appeal (Ref). This is whether what they are advertising is beauty specific, or not. Disgusting. There is no such thing as honest advertising.
Positivity and Motivation
With all that in mind, the best strategy for long term health and wellbeing, is to come back to reality and think about what healthy is really about. Healthy isn’t labelled by the body shape of a person, but by their internal health and their mentality.
To be positive is everything. Thinking positively has profound affects on not just your health but your life. If you think positively, as though good things will happen in your life, you create that positive energy to fling those doors open for those good opportunities.
If you know within your heart and mind that you are going to get a promotion, you work hard and have the right body language and talk to earn that promotion.
If you look at yourself in a rocking dress, and tell yourself that you look amazing, you’re going to feel confident and others will notice.
Same goes for your health, if you believe that you are healthy from the start, and are comfortable with your body, you are going to be healthy through your actions and through that mindset, begin to transform your body too.
Positive thinking and focused meditation, has the following benefits on the body (Ref) –
- Reduce pain in the body;
- Improve sleep patterns;
- Improve immunity;
- Help fight depression and anxiety;
- Lower stress levels within the body;
- Help recovery of chronic illness like cancer and heart disease.
Now it’s not a bad thing to be comfortable with your body, but it is a bad thing to have a bad mindset and bad body image. Thinking down on yourself creates a cycle of feeling down – you may go out less, and eat unhealthy food choices more, resulting in poor weight management and further feelings of negativity.
So honour yourself, respect yourself and love yourself for ALL that you are – you are not just a body, or a vessel. There are so many things that make you YOU.
Don’t be determined by the exterior world and it’s influences – love everything that makes you who you are. Your body is a story of your life, of what you have been through and how STRONG you are.
Love it, cherish it.
So if there is one thing I hope for you to take from this (seriously long post that I couldn’t even fit half of it in here), I hope that is to be aware of the negative influences from the world around you, and to check back in with reality about what health is, and what you want your body and your health to reflect.
To help you along with positivity and motivation, I’ve created a printable sheet of health and body confidence affirmations for you to use, which you can find below. In the coming weeks, I will also be posting up about motivational strategies, and goal setting for health, so look out for this amazing goodie set! It will definitely be a necessity for you on your health journey.
Next blog post coming up is a sub part of the Healthy Mindset fundamental we’ve talked about today, where we go into eating mindfully and mindlessly – what is that?! You can go straight to the post by clicking here!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and it’s opened your eyes up to a few conflictions with media and body image in regards to health. Let me know what you think in the comments below as I always love to hear your views and stories in your own health journeys!