You Are What You Eat

We all know how important it is to eat healthy and exercise. There is no diet here, so I’ll spare you. I will say this, we would feel a lot better in all realms if we ate cleaner, less processed foods and got enough exercise. People have gotten so overweight in America that they supersize portions, make plates bigger and even changed the size of clothing. I don’t want to sound like a conspiracy theorist, but I know they made size small an extra small. Dieting is a multi- billion dollar industry. It’s insane. We don’t walk to school and live on farms. We drive cars and stare at computers all day. Or hard laborers get physical exercise but are so stressed and tired that they drink too much alcohol and eat fast food. Again there’s that balance thing. So right now, ask yourself what your fitness goals are? Are you eating as clean as you can, exercising enough, sleeping enough? My bet is there is always room for improvement, but not perfection. Forget about that word, it doesn’t exist for humans.

Health: Diet and exercise: Eat clean or earthy, and follow these two rules: it if comes from the earth or had a mother go for it. If not read the label, and ask yourself are you ok putting those ingredients in your body. The FDA says artificial sweeteners are safe as well as MSG. Yet there are many researchers saying it’s not good for us. It doesn’t take a researcher or scientist to know that chemicals are probably not good for the body. Did you know there are over 30 different names for MSG. It is unclear often if that name is MSG or not, making it more confusing. If you can’t read and understand each ingredient, then it probably doesn’t fall under those two rules. If you decide to eat something you know is bad for you, then make it up to yourself later. Don’t punish yourself, just do something more that’s good for yourself. Basically overcompensate. The reality is that unless you’re growing your own food, you’ll never know for sure what you’re consuming. So don’t get obsessed about this, just make more educated decisions. Not only is knowledge power, it is also healing. Look at all the fad diets out there and some of the better ones, one thing they all have in common is low caloric intake. So you can cut out an essential food group like carbohydrates to rapidly lose weight you’ll just regain, or eat more healthy foods within a certain calorie range to either lose or maintain your current weight. People also tend to regain weight, forgetting that one’s calorie requirements are lower when weight is lost. Keep counting your calories knowing after you stop dieting that you will only be adding 300-500 calories, if you are dieting in a healthy manner.

Exercise: Get off your ass and do something. Take a 10 minute walk, do qigong or tai chi for 15 minutes during a lunch break. Change your schedule to make time for fitness. If you hate what you’re doing you won’t do it. It doesn’t have to be painful. The idea is calories in calories out. That’s it. Simple concept, hell to accomplish due to the expectations we place on ourselves and the way we torture ourselves. They say you should take 10,000 steps per day. That’s hard to do if you have a desk job or aren’t walking on a treadmill. You can get equivalent steps per activity from different websites. For instance, an hour of pilates equals 6,000 steps. Pretty cool huh? An hour of P90X is probably double that, haven’t looked those up. It helps to wear a pedometer to see what you are already doing. It will also motivate you to take more steps. Don’t forget about the tried and true methods that do work, such as parking your car further from the store, taking the stairs etc. I’m a psychologist, so I have to make an effort to move around more. I work out every day for an hour or more, but I still need to move more. So I intentionally walk patients out to the door, go back to my office, write my note, then bring the chart back to be filed when I’m finished. I have seen all of my colleagues keep their charts until the end of the day. Let’s just say my routine is working better. So the point is to get creative in ways to add in more movement. Don’t try the “I don’t have time” crap. You have to make time. Cut into your lunch break. If you’re not taking a lunch break then start with taking one and sticking to it, then add in some exercise. Remember baby steps, one change at a time. We’re creatures of habit and resist change despite how strongly we desire it.

Spiritual Exercise: Tai Chi, qigong and yoga are forms of exercise, that also has a focus on your breathing which helps you tune in and connect with yourself and the universe or divine being and helps you think more clearly. Anybody who is depressed or anxious would be wise to practice one or all of these, as the benefits with regular practice are incredible. And it is a safer way to help you tune in and stop avoiding your emotions. It is also good for people with health issues.

The key is that what we put into our bodies is not only reflected in our outer appeareance, but our internal system as well which has a direct impact on our health and mood.

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Umfer is a licensed clinical psychologist with specialization in forensic and military psychology as well as more holistic areas of nutrition, meditation and hypnotherapy.