The Basics — My Approach to Health
It’s a Comprehensive Sorta Thing
MY BASIC approach to health is to try to integrate various elements that research suggests, or I believe, positively influence my life experience. Taken as a whole, health to me is a comprehensive thing; meaning, it absorbs every aspect of oneself and our relationship to the world.
This post presents a brief overview, and for those wishing to go deeper, or to get my weekly Newsletter, go here.
I believe that a lot of what we do, think and express is unconscious or reactionary. The place we’re raised, the predominant culture there, our parents, teachers, friends, socio-economic status, education, salient life events — these elements all can mold us in ways that are well under the surface of our reckoning.
If you want to make something happen, particularly if it’s hard to make happen, you need to assess what’s really happening on every level you can touch. We are the stuff resulting from the interplay between Mind, Body and Spirit. Dig into each of these and make them your ally to effect change.
So, when I want to, say, loose some body fat, I do the following four things, and so could you:
1. Examine why you’ve gained the weight by addressing what’s going on with you mentally, emotionally and physically, and how each is contributing to actions that result in weight gain.
2. Determine the relative importance of loosing weight compared to whatever you’ve identified that caused it. Get very clear that what you want is more highly valued than what you’re giving up to get it. You do not want to get into the trap of feeling like you’re denying yourself something in order to get something. Rather, reverse this thinking/emotional dynamic so that what you’re saying “no” to is a gift to yourself that will result in attaining your objective.
3. Establish a plan of new routines that address each of the weight gain instigators, such as:
• More or different exercise;
• Consuming less calories by eating less or eating foods less calorie dense;
• Associating with people who support and help enable your objectives; and
• Rewiring trigger points that support wanted habits over those unwanted. For instance, take a different route to work so you don’t pass that coffee shop that serves the pastry you eat every morning.
4. After planning the work required to loose the weight, then consciously working the plan — meaning, do what it says to do. If you get off track, then there’s something in #1 thru #3 above that needs more attention.
I routinely incorporate the following in my life:
- Resistance training
- Cardiovascular training; and
Most of my resistance training is weight lifting, but if your strength and muscle goals are modest, any appropriately conceived and implemented exercise involving pushing or pulling against resistance over a short (two minutes or less) period of time per set of two or more sets will work.
Cardiovascular training for me is mostly biking, as well as the aerobic-oriented machines at the gym (stair, elliptical machines and stationary bike). When my body feels good, I try to jog once or twice a week, which includes some steep hill walking.
Stretching is done via yoga and various yoga-inspired stretches at the end of each exercise session. As I get older, it becomes painfully more clear that if I don’t spend at least ten minutes of quality stretching time after my exercise, I pay for it later, particularly in extended recovery times.
I do some form of exercise five days a week, and give myself plenty of time to recover after the weight workouts (which can be intense) — usually two full days.
I emphasize foods that have high water content, such as vegetables and fruits, as well as high fiber foods such as whole wheat/rye/seed breads and brown basmati rice. Protein is a challenge. I don’t go overboard on protein consumption like you read about some bodybuilders doing, but since I do break down and build up muscle tissue from weight lifting, I need more protein than rice and beans provide. I don’t like red meat for various reasons and eschew chicken as well, mostly. So that leaves salmon, mackerel, anchovies and sardines (I carefully weed out high mercury fish), some tofu (don’t believe in making it the main course) and protein supplementation, which comes in the form whey protein.
Yes, I admit that I’m a pill popper. But in fact, my supplementation is not limited to pills, for I have powders too that I add to various liquids and guzzle down. I use an all-in-one powder supplement that contains everything in the kitchen sink that I put into a morning drink along with aloe juice, cod liver oil, chlorophyll, flax seed powder, and whey protein powder. (Scroll down to Joe’s Morning Tonic here.) Then with lunch and dinner I ingest capsules and tablets of various anti-oxidants and other supplements aimed to help to extend the useful life of body parts, such as ligaments, eye sight, skin, hair and so on.
About four times a year timed with the Seasons, I cleanse. Sometimes it’s quite extensive and takes five weeks, with the last week consisting of a fast; other times the cleanse simply consists of veggies/fruits only, along with herbal cleansers. Like with everything else in life, there’s some debate about the value of cleansing, but for me it’s a good and valuable thing. You won’t believe what comes out of you!
So, now you know my spin on things.
Again, for a fuller understanding of what comprehensive health looks like, go here.
If you’re so inclined, please use the “Comments” section below to express your approach to health.