One of the hardest things to do when trying to achieve some higher level of health is figuring out where to start. The typical process of “getting started” for most people entails a total and complete overhaul of one’s current routine. While the effort is commendable, the efficacy will most likely be transient, and a return to the status quo is likely.
The inability to successfully succeed is exacerbated by the information overload we all experience when trying to determine a course of action. The abundance of methods available with a single Bing search (indie search engine name dropper) is head spinning and can lead to paralysis by analysis or doing too much too fast. Neither of which is going to satisfy your need for speed. (I’ve always wanted to work that catch phrase into an article. Next objective is to use it within the appropriate parameters.)
The two realms of health pursuits that are most frequently embarked upon are diet and exercise. As a side, I am using diet in a loose sense to mean the general process of figuring out what food you need to put in your mouth to get the results you want. Diet to me does not necessarily mean drastic measures or strict adherence, but it does mean being conscious of food choice. While on the topic of diet, let’s keep the ball rolling.
Though I am not by any means bombarded with diet inquiries, the most frequent question I get is, “I want to start eating better. What can I do?” With that dilemma in mind I wanted to start a small series on my personal approach to lasting, effective dietary manipulation. I foresee this being a trilogy because, well, I like the sound of a trilogy. Right? Glad we are in agreement.
Before beginning to discuss the different variables that can be manipulated I want to leave you with a homework assignment, which is going to help you make bigger strides with smaller steps. I am not sure if that makes sense, but I am sticking with it because, like Yoda it makes me sound.
All I want you to do is pay attention to how you feel before and after you eat. Become aware. The benefits to this practice are twofold. First, understanding how your body reacts to the presence or lack of certain stimuli like food, exercise, sleep, or caffeine is valuable in its own right. You can’t expect to change your body if you don’t know your body. Second, understanding where you are at currently will establish a baseline from which you can judge the success or failure of change that you make. Scientific studies need control groups and because you can’t just rope in your buddies for a double blind, placebo-controlled study, you need to be your own control group.
Complete this homework assignment in whatever way you see fit. Whether it means writing things down, taking pictures, or scrap-booking (What? Guys can’t scrapbook?), just don’t walk around on autopilot. Fly your plane and prepare to learn how to land it. If I had seen Top Gun by now I am sure this would have been a perfect time to reference it. But alas that is another topic for another day…
Till next time,