I’ve been in the health game for about half my life and have taken it pretty seriously the last 7 or 8 years. On the eve of my 40th birthday I sat down and reflected. What has all this researching, reading, studying, pondering, questioning, challenging, thinking, rethinking and experimenting taught me about health?
The short answer: everything depends.
The medium answer: When it comes to your health be flexible and adapt, make it a priority, work on it and be open to everything. Your truth and your journey is unique to you.
The long answer…
40 Health Lessons:
- Figuring out health is hard. Think of a Where’s Waldo scene: Try to wrap your head around the whole thing. Now, pick a window the size of a pencil eraser and try to come to any reasonable conclusion based off glimpses of a few snapshots within the scene. See how many times you are wrong and how a slight shift in where you glimpse can drastically change your beliefs. Pretty tough. FYI… we haven’t found Waldo yet, even if we think we have.
- There is no truth. Truth is water. Truth is in the eye of the beholder. Truth depends greatly on one’s own point of view. (Shoutout to Obi-Wan down below)
- Passion = Uncertainty. The more argument there is about something the less likely it is to be certain.
- Health = politics = religion. Keep that in mind always, particularly in context to passion and uncertainty.
- Take research and science with a grain of salt. Particularly if you hear about it on the news or social media or…
- Don’t believe any documentary you watch. They are often powerful and filled with very convincing arguments but please refer back to points 1-5 before believing anything too much.
- Nothing is terrible for you no matter what. Context and dose matter. Often a little is fine or actually good for you but too much is bad. We need to stop vilifying things based off just the “too much being bad for you” part.
- Challenge your dogma and don’t be afraid to change. Just because it’s what we believe or what we’ve always done doesn’t mean it’s right or what we should always do.
- Your health will reflect its priority in your life. Not what you say it is but what you actually practice it as.
- Nature and nurture determines health. We never know quite how much of each determines all the different aspects of life but our best bet is to learn from our genes and live the best way we can from there.
- The more you learn the less you know. If someone thinks they know it all they likely know very little. Experts are very few and far between.
- You are a snowflake. Although we are all humans and have similar bodies, everything about you is unique. Sometimes in minor ways but often in very significant ways from other people. Your path is unique to you.
- What you eat is up to you. We need to eat and do what we think is best. It doesn’t matter what other people do.
- Slow and steady wins the race. Quick results lead to quick rebounds. No matter how much you want to hurry, the slower you go the better it sticks long term.
- Progress not perfection. Think of health in as making better choices over the day/week/month than before, not whether it was a perfect day/week/month. You have to be better to change but you don’t have to be perfect.
- Don’t eat stale cookies. If you’re going to enjoy yourself, do it right. Don’t blow a good day for bad ice cream or cheap pizza.
- Use trends as tools, not the answer. We get caught up in the new things we hear about but very rarely are they the right tool for us. If so, they are likely a screwdriver, which is very valuable but not the right tool for everyone for every job.
- Short term solution does not always equal long term answer. Paleo/Vegan/Low carb/etc. are great life rafts but usually won’t make a good forever home. Many health fixes are designed to get you to shore but that’s it.
- Changing lanes is ok, if not necessary. Think about when you drive somewhere. It’s very rarely a one street, one lane drive, particularly if it’s a long journey. Same with health. Change what you’re doing when it’s the right thing to do, even if that means getting off the freeway and taking side streets.
- Every day is a new day. No matter what happened yesterday or last week, every day you start from scratch.
- Everything works in cycles. Nature and the body are very seasonal and cyclical. Whether it’s cholesterol, testosterone, or sunshine, remembering this concept helps give a better and deeper understanding of how and why things happen.
- Your body is smarter than you are. We are getting better at understanding why many things happen but we need to stop trying to correct and overcorrect so many things instead of asking “WHY” the body is doing what it does.
- There’s a reason for just about everything. When we think something just doesn’t make any sense it basically means we don’t really know the whole picture.
- Your body: Move it or lose it. Every way in which you don’t stimulate your body and brain is a way in which you’ll start losing the ability to do.
- Your senses: Use ’em or lose ’em. Sight, smell, taste, touch, sound, sixth and (the often forgotten seventh sense) common. The more often and the more ways we use them the better. Get outside, go barefoot and get sensing.
- Health comes from the inside. We can throw whatever we want on and at the body but really fixing health comes from restoring health from the inside.
- Use analogies to understand the body. Particularly when it comes to how things work, creating analogies and metaphors are really helpful (Body, Inc., Cholesterol: Venetian Handyman, Sand Castles, The Griswald Effect).
- We have only scratched the surface on the gut and microbiome. We have just discovered the Where’s Waldo picture but only have uncovered a few eraser size glimpses on this incredible scene.
- Cholesterol is not trying to kill you. Neither is the ☀️ . Or Fat. Or carbs.
- Moderation almost always ends up being the best. Every once in a while you gotta go extreme but finding moderation is usually the most productive practice.
- Health is determined by several things. You need to address them all.
- Health takes many forms and definitions. Your form might be different than other people. Some people see health as body fat percentage and abs, others see it as being happy and free from stress. You decide what health means to you.
- Health is a choice. If you make the choice to improve your health, be prepared for whatever comes with it.
- Kids know best. As a parent I know how much they don’t really know but if you pay attention to how they live you see how smart and naturally healthy they are.
- Work activity into your everyday life. Whether it’s parking a little farther away, taking more stairs or dance parties, make movement and fitness a part of life, don’t avoid it.
- Stress complicates just about everything. It’s not a problem in and of itself but it can be a bear if not handled properly.
- If you have to sit a lot, get up as often as you can. Sitting is the new cigarettes they say but it’s only bad if you don’t get up. Just standing up and walking around a few times a day can make a huge difference. Same goes for standing. Don’t stand all day, take sitting breaks often too.
- Don’t take health too seriously. Go with the flow. Only swim when you need to.
- Sometimes we make mistakes. Learn from them and move on.
- Optimism helps just about everything. There is a silver lining in just about every dark cloud and a positive spin on almost every situation. If we choose to look for it we can find it.
Well, just like the micro biome I’ve only scratched the surface and I’m sure I left out some big ones so this will probably be evolving over the next couple weeks as I rethink and edit a bit, as well as link a few more of the old posts that detail these lessons in more wondrous verbiage. 🙂
Thanks for reading, have a great day!