You've probably heard it before: "80% of getting the body you want is eating." In fact, I have relayed this phrase to clients, friends, and family for years myself. But in the past couple of years or so, in watching people more closely and who's getting the results, it's actually 100%. To be more precise, Eating, along with Exercise and the right Mental Environment must all combine symbiotically to get the results you want. Fitness is as much about eating and having the right mindset as it is working out. You can exercise until you're blue in the face, but if you continue to eat sugars and grains, too much food, and not enough of the right foods, you will never achieve an optimal frame. You can eat Paleo, but if you don't exercise correctly results will be slow to happen. A prime example is too much 'Cardio' or lifting too heavy, too often. Crossfit anyone? And the third component, having the right mental approach: patience, optimism, and dedication, go a long way to integrate effortless eating and exercise successfully.
Defining the Optimal Body
An optimal body does not mean skinny. It doesn't mean ripped or buff and it has nothing to do with weight. An optimal body is more than appearance and has to include efficient function. In terms of appearance or frame, Lean is a good word: possessing minimal bodyfat and the right amount of muscle which can be carried around for a lifetime. Other optimal functions to define whole body fitness would include:
- A strong immune system
- Efficient digestion
- Quality sleep
- Good eyesight and hearing
- Perfect balance
- Deep & effortless breathing
- Clear skin
- Free of conditions like allergies, heartburn, headaches, and runny nose.
- Pain free joints
- A strong body that can accomplish lifting tasks effortlessly: gardening, moving, the occasional wresting with your buddy!
- A fast body that can sprint, jump, or climb on demand.
On a Scale of 1 to 10
Being realistic about your goals, and how you're going to achieve them, up front is imperative. If you are raising 4 kids, have a part time job, and little time to yourself, maybe it's going to take a little longer to get where you want to be. And, that's okay. It's going to happen, but maybe not as quickly as you want. If you can commit to adjusting your eating habits by giving up bread and sugar, exercise 3 times a week, and are eager and optimistic about it, then perhaps you are a 6 or 7 out of 10. Full blown Paleo: no grains, sugars, dairy, or refined vegetable oils, dedicated to walking 2-3 miles a day, 1 day of high intensity intervals a week, and 2-3 lifting sessions per week, you are probably a 10. Rate yourself accordingly so as not to set up for disappointment.
If you have followed my newsletters, blog, or read any Paleo books, then you know the Big 6: Meats, Vegetables, a little Fruit, Eggs, Nuts/Seeds, and Healthy Oils. These are the staples of each and every meal. The combinations are endless and not as limiting as '6 foods only' may seem. You can read about what to ditch in your diet and all through my 'Read' page, but beyond the study and reading, putting it all into practice at home, and more importantly, in the restaurant or airport is key. Getting a hold of, and lowering Carbohydrate consumption is pinnacle. Realizing that sugar means more than just the white stuff is the biggest point to grasp. Such as:
Starch: potatoes and rice
Grains: bread, crackers, pasta, oatmeal, corn chips
Fruit: although great in terms of beneficial enzymes, minerals, vitamins, and fiber, contains Fructose (fruit sugar), which in excessive amounts can bog down the liver and turn sugar into fat...believe it or not.
Dairy: has its own sugar called galactose
Sweeteners: honey, agave nectar, syrup have to be eliminated.
Sugar in the bloodstream causes the release of Insulin. Too much Insulin too often swimming around your bloodstream is a course for disaster.
Armed with The Right Information
You'd think exercise and eating would be pretty simple and yet more people are confused about the two than ever before. It seems every week there is another diet, another miracle pill, an exercise program that is sure to kick your ass into losing 20 pounds in a month, or a Pilates program that promises long and lean muscles. People want the easy fix without having to learn anything, but those who do achieve results take it upon themselves to learn why the information works. Marketing weight loss is a huge business but the needs of the human body are simple and justified over millions of years. Eat in biological accordance: or what our physiology demands, and vary your exercise often. It's that simple.
Listed also on the READ page are 13 Priorities for Optimal Health. They all stem from the three areas discussed: Eating ~ Exercise ~ Mindset. Broken down and analyzed, they are your key to understanding what works and what doesn't.
Turn 80% into 100% by thinking: Eat Right, Exercise Effectively, and get the right mindset.
Whole Body ~ Whole Mind.