Happy 2018 everyone! I hope this is finding you well, healthy, happy and already enjoying the new year. No matter where you are in the health journey, there’s one thing January will guarantee: a barrage of health advice. The news, talk shows, social media and friends you never knew you had will be full of helpful new things and tricks you can do to be healthier than ever before.
My advice: ignore it.
There’s been nothing new in health. There’s no big breakthroughs. What was true a week, month or year ago is still true. You might see it packaged in a different way but the main concepts and nearly every detail are still the same.
1. There’s no magic pill.
2. Extreme things work for a few but not most.
3. General stuff works for most and should be the starting place for everyone that doesn’t have their basic stuff dialed in. Once all those are taken care of then you can get cute.
So whether you’re being told to count calories, carbs, cholesterol or carrots it all pales to the basic health concepts…
- Eat less junk.
- Eat less often.
- Move more.
- Sleep more.
- Stress less.
- Smile more.
- Get outside more.
If you’re not doing those then that’s where you start. Got those low hanging fruit picked? Then move up the tree…
- Eat more real whole foods, less packaged processed foods.
- Eat less sugar.
- Eat more veggies.
- Drink water, not calories.
- Get more strength training in.
- Stretch more.
- Walk more.
- Get to bed earlier.
- Worry about things you can control.
- Don’t sweat the small stuff.
- Find things you like and do them as much as you can.
- Spend less time around negativity, including media/movies, social media.
- Spend more time with positive people.
- Spend less on screen time and get more green time.
The more of those you do well, the better you’ll feel. If you do them all well, you’ll be about as good as you can get. That’s where most people need to put their time and energy.
But for those of you that want to climb a little higher and chase the fruit at the top? You know, the stuff that really gives you an edge…
Once again, with even the more detailed health recommendations, it’s all the same stuff that we’ve been talking about for a long time:
- Don’t snack after dinner.
- Skip a meal every once in a while.
- If your carbs are from whole food plants, eat about as much as you want.
- If your carbs are from processed sources, keep them limited to your activity level.
- If your fat is from whole food sources, eat about as much as you want.
- If your fat is from processed foods, keep it limited to your activity level.
- Get your protein from whole foods and keep it reflective of your muscle demand.
- Get your heart rate up for at least a few minutes every day.
- Push your muscles to the point of fatigue a couple times a week.
- Get a sweat going a couple days a week.
- Go to sleep and wake up at consistent times.
- Sleep in a cold, dark room.
- Spend some time working on breathing. Good deep breathing.
- Manage the stress you have to have, eliminate the stress you don’t.
- Identify and limit your exposure to things that bring you down.
- Find things and people that make you laugh, smile and feel good.
- Get outside often, particularly in the morning, around noon and at night.
- Spend more time barefoot.
- Make sure all your senses get good stimulation every day from natural sources.
This is where health lies. In these general healthy practices. If you dial these in, you’ll never have to worry about the latest diet, workout fad, supplement or medical procedure. There’s a ton of these and some of them work, some don’t. So stick to what works: the same stuff that always has if you actually do it.
You don’t have to go low carb. You don’t have to be a vegetarian or vegan. You don’t have to do high intensity workouts. Those are edge of the tree fruit, don’t go chasing there unless you’ve picked everything in the middle and you’re still not where you want to be. Most people start chasing the extreme interventions when they haven’t given an honest effort at the foundational things. If you have really done the basic stuff, then I get it, go after the tougher to pick fruit. Just keep in mind the higher you climb the more treacherous the terrain, as the branches get smaller and you get higher off the ground.
You don’t need to do anything fancy to be a better you in 2018. There’s no new tricks that weren’t here last January. You need to do the basics, do them right and do them consistently.
So make this new year about getting back to good old behaviors and this new year might see you become the good old you.
Thanks for reading, have a great year!
P.S. I have dozens more of mid hanging fruit I’d be happy to share if it prevents you from going out too far on those health branches. 😊