I’ve been overwhelmed recently. As I’ve researched the ways to become and stay healthy I’ve discovered tons of conflicting information. Social media has become like the wild west when it comes to sound advice. It’s a constant battle to try and figure out who the good guys are and who is just blowing smoke about the topic of the day. It’s too much and it makes me want to toss it all out the window so I can get back to my Cheeze-its. Seriously, how can normal people whose life doesn’t center around Men’s Fitness magazine figure it all out? Let’s get back to the absolute basics; the fundamental and basic ingredients of health.
I was reading the story of Noah in Genesis and something popped out at me that I’d never noticed before. Genesis 6:3 says “Then the LORD said, “My Spirit will not put up with humans for such a long time, for they are only mortal flesh. In the future, their normal lifespan will be no more than 120 years”. This is right after Noah had lived for 950 years! I’m not going to get into the concepts wrapped up in WHY God chose to do that, just the fact that we are supposed to live up to 120 years. So what the heck went wrong? Why is the average lifespan we squeak out hovering around 80?
We messed up health.
Thinking back to the way people lived in Bible times, we see a pretty simple existence – eat natural foods, walk everywhere, and drink water. I think that there’s so much pollution and environmental damage that 120 is impossible to ask for again, but if we all focused on getting back to the fundamental necessities of our bodies, we could do better than 80 years.
We can fix our health.
It starts with the small decisions that we make every day. My whole point here is that if we start to pay attention to our choices and intentionally make better decisions, then we regain the control that we should have. The learning curve is steep for many people because they haven’t taken the time to learn about foods or health habits. I’m not saying everyone should be a walking encyclopedia on health, but I do think that people should know what they are putting into their mouths and be mindful of the amount of time spent in front of the television. Basic education on how to read a food label and know what you’re looking at is not too much to ask.
Here’s the problem: we all know when we do things that are unhealthy, yet we continue to do them anyway. Our culture tries to tell us that it’s okay to favor convenience over health, quantity over quality, temporary pleasure over wisdom. So generation after generation we’ve eroded a norm that used to be common and replaced it with heart failure and cancer.
So I’ll make an emotional case for you instead of a logical one. I want you to have the energy to pass on your faith and wisdom to your great grandchildren. I want you to be able to keep a sharp mind as long as possible. I want you to feel health and vigor your whole life. I want you to have the energy you need every day without the afternoon caffeine bump. The best part of all of this is that it’s achievable! It might take some extra work to get back to the body size that your frame is genetically built for, but it will be worth it! Maintaining health is nothing like most people think, it does not require 20 hours a week in the gym. All it requires is consistency. Consistently making the right choices when they come up.
So we’re back to the basics now – eat right, drink water, and walk. If you do those in the right amounts you will start to hear your body tell you how much sleep you need, how much sun you need, and what foods you are lacking or overeating- it really is that simple. As you go, just ask questions and learn more about what to consume and what not to. You might also find a new passion for exercise! That is the time to learn about the more complicated parts of fitness that people find daunting. If you start with the basics and you stick to them you will be far less intimidated and overwhelmed when thinking about starting. There are no excuses that work here, no matter where you are now in your health journey there is always a next step. Take that step and make the right decision. Turn it into a habit so that you never have to think about it again.
We can help the next generations be better off.
Lastly, by starting with yourself and passing that wisdom on to the next generation (which you will be around for!) you can help change our culture. We’ve got a lot of focus on the faddish diets and hardcore ab-shredding workouts, but so little focus is on the basics – these are the same basics that people are missing! Do you really think the protein value of chia seeds vs. flax makes any difference if you still eat fast food?
We can change the way our kids and their kids view health, let’s start by fixing ourselves. Let’s end average health habits for ourselves and our successors.
Let’s end average together.