If you are currently thinking about making lifestyle changes that are better for your body, then you need to stop thinking. You just need to start doing it.
Just as a major clarification, whatever will be better for your health will be completely different from those of others. Some people will need to lose weight. Others might have to gain weight. There will be individuals who have no weight to put on or shed off, but they might just be feeling a bit off within. Whether your goals falls into one, two, or none of these categories, the journeys all converge into one collective objective: to improve the quality of your life.
With the saturation of fitness influencers and nutrition figures taking the whole industry by storm, it’s really easy to get caught up in this notion that every single “healthy” person has the perfect body and discipline to complement it. Fortunately, most of these influencers are slowly gravitating towards different approaches in fitness aside from the standard bodybuilding, cardio, and completely-unprocessed-high-protein-high-vegetable-low-fat-low-calorie diet plans. Instead, more people are approaching calisthenics, yoga, science-based explorations on the best foods to eat, the most efficient ways to train, and other ways to truly enjoy health and fitness without lifting a single weight nor purchasing a single superfood or protein supplement.
Still, I’ve observed that most, if not all, of these folks continue to overlook an absolutely vital intention. It’s pretty understandable, because this isn’t a subject that we don’t like to think about often. However, if we don’t like to think about it, it means that it’s that more important.
Two words: disease prevention.
Little do I disclose that I have a family history of many physical conditions: cancer, diabetes, schizophrenia, osteoporosis, kidney failure, liver failure, and heart disease. It’s absolutely devastating. Now, I know that a lot of these conditions have not been caused by environmental changes and choices that these family members of mine have experienced or executed. But if we carry out the exact same actions of our close relatives, we’re only just as close to catching this condition as they were.
It’s so easy to say that our ancestors were healthier than we were. They didn’t have as many chemicals hidden in their foods. There probably was less air pollution. They most likely had to walk more than commute. Their jobs might not have been as mentally taxing. Then again, you do have to keep in mind that they also didn’t really know about new discoveries regarding fitness and nutrition, especially with special dietary needs. Exhibit A:
- Grandparents/Aunts/Uncles/Cousins/Family friends: You’re vegan? That basically means vegetarian. So you don’t eat meat or eggs. What about seafood? Are you okay with cheating?
- Me: Yep. Nope. That’s right. No. Absolutely not.
Would they ask the same things if I were deathly allergic to these foods???
With that being said, I highly recommend you go far and beyond the superficial motives of fitness and nutrition. Unfortunately, the physical frame of any human being is a mechanism for fads. Remember when lanky and skinny bodies were in? How about the value of bigger being better? Though our era has been shifting from the former to the latter, I would say that eventually, some other trend will pop up and we’ll feel insecure all over again if we don’t fit in.
Don’t just exercise for that six-pack or those chiseled muscles. Workout because you want to build muscle to protect your bones, to release healthy chemicals into your brain, to strengthen your immunity, and to stimulate your cognitive functionality. Eat plentifully and healthily so you can regenerate any lost cells, stabilize your blood sugar, nourish your spirit, and lengthen your vitality. Rest and recover to regulate your hormones, reduce mental troubles, and replenish what you’ve been missing out on.
As cliché as it sounds, you won’t look back twenty, thirty, and so forth years ago, priding on your perfectly sculpted appearance. You will most likely pride on the memories you’ve collected because you’ve decided to treat yourself with more respect. Playing around with your friends, radiating with energy, living long enough to see a younger generation of children, and maybe even starting your own healthy and happy family.
Hopefully, disease prevention motivates you to jump off that couch and go for a walk, or swap the cookies for some antioxidant-filled fruits and vegetables (they might not taste the same, but you know). Or, if you’re undergoing an eating disorder and/or are severely underweight, please take care of yourself–go ahead and eat that ice cream pint, enjoy your family’s home-cooked food, and stay up all night watching movies rather than doing crunches. Again, healthy lifestyle changes look different for everyone. But regardless, inhibiting any sort of life-threatening or harmful physical conditions should be just as prominent of a universal end-all as a surface-level improvement.