You already know everything I’m about to tell you. You will not learn anything new whatsoever from this article. But you may be surprised how well you had forgotten.
It’s the usual, everyday thing. Open your laptop or power on your tablet, connect to Facebook, Twitter or [your preferred social media here], and without fail, you will find at least two or three members of your social group who have just discovered mind blowing newly declassified evidence that the makers of a common by oddly named chemical in 30% of the nation’s food supply are secretly trying to kill you and don’t want you to know about!
Now, while I could at this point, fly off into a tangent on the nature of conspiracy theory mindsets, I won’t. You already know how it goes. Even the most seemingly intelligent of our social circles will, on occasion, decide that the government is actively trying to kill them by infusing the global walnut supply with deadly genetically modified invisible parasites. Symptoms may include pain in the abdomen, mild nausea, waking up tired in the morning… O yes, and untimely DEATH!!!
Lately it seems like the big kick is gluten. Oh, your “nuts-o-health nutty health nut bread” isn’t gluten free??? YOU COMMIE BASTARD! Somewhere down the line, people got caught up in this idea that gluten is bad for them. Truth is, if you have a particular condition known as Celiac Disease (and roughly 1% of the population is estimated to have it), then yes – gluten should be avoided, as it will trigger an abnormal immune response that causes damage to your small intestine.
Oh. What? You’ve never heard of Celiac Disease before? Oh OK… and you’ve never had any problem with grain based foods before? Then you have absolutely NO REASON to avoid gluten. In fact, omitting gluten from your diet requires the omission of a great many foods that are rich in important nutrients. Whole grains are chock full of vitamins and minerals that are essential for proper bodily function, growth and health. While there are a few whole grains available without gluten in them, it is probably a safe assumption that the average Joe trying to lose a few pounds and feel healthier by going gluten free, hasn’t put in the extra time and research to find and procure these in order to balance out his new diet.
So… What’s the point, you ask?
Well, it’s simple enough. First, fads are exactly that – fads. They’re typically based on very little of substance. And if you just dive into the latest greatest dietary fad all willy nilly without any genuine research, you’re liable to cause more harm than good.
Second, most people pursuing fad diets like gluten-free, carb-free, or only-eat-waffles-on-Tuesdays are really just trying to lose a few pounds and get in better shape. This exciting new diet promises to shave inches from your waistline, alleviate that troublesome indigestion you have at night, and make your dog stop peeing on the houseplants. Well dang, let’s do it, ya’ll!
If your goal is to be a healthier person, then your solution is to live a healthier life.
Did you catch that? The solution to your problems is right there. It doesn’t come in a pill. It doesn’t come in a fancy blended drink. It doesn’t come from watching a DVD, buying a fancy exercise machine to decorate your guest room with, or removing random things from your diet because you heard from your neighbor’s husband’s friends’ veterinarian that their cat ate some once and died.
No, the solution to being healthier is identifying and changing the habits that are keeping you unhealthy. Stop and take account of your diet. When was the last time you ate a Brussels sprout? And if recently, did you eat 5-6 of them? Or 30? Take account of your physical activity. Bumping your mouse around the desk doesn’t count as exercise. Neither does standing in the shadows of the back corner of your neighbor’s yard waiting for your dog to do his business. Take account of your snacks. Popcorn is still food. It still counts. Especially if it’s covered in caramel. And you’re eating a whole bucket of it. At 2am in the morning when you should be fast asleep, but are still up watching that scary movie that will haunt you for the next 3 days.
Everybody wants to look like Ryan Gosling, Kristen Bell, Brad Pitt or Eva Mendes – but how many of us are honestly willing to do what it takes to achieve it? Take a quick look at Hugh Jackman for a moment. A.K.A. Wolverine, for you non-paying-attention-to-the-movie-credits types. You know he’s built. You’ve seen his muscular physique, underneath all the special effects and the razor sharp claws. You think he got that from popping some fancy secret Hollywood-stars-only “big poppin super muscle pills”? No, the man works out incessantly. He eats a massive and carefully formulated diet. His exercise routine for a single day would probably kill you in the first 45 minutes. Looking that good takes WORK. It takes DEDICATION. It takes DISCIPLINE.
Not to lose heart of course – maybe you weren’t MEANT to play wolverine on the big screen. Maybe your calling doesn’t require arms that could crush the hood of a car in a single blow. No, most likely you just want to be healthy, feel good about yourself, and occasionally look in the mirror and feel proud of who you are and how you take care of yourself.
The point is – you’re not going to get those results by suddenly omitting anything bread-like from your diet, or drinking nothing but cranberry juice for three straight weeks, and most certainly not by taking some mysterious pills advertised on TV with a name that has “lypo” somewhere in it. No, you’ll get those results by simply changing your daily life and habits, using common sense, and being disciplined about it. Eat food you KNOW is good for you. Exercise in ways you KNOW will build strength and trim fat. Sleep as much as you KNOW you should. Stop BUYING the snack foods you crave at midnight, in the first place.
A little common sense can go a lot further than you think.