Hi. I’m Cameron. I don’t eat healthy all the time. I don’t get enough sleep or drink enough water. And I definitely don’t exercise as much as I should. I don’t smoke or drink though, so that’s something. I became a father three years ago and since then I’ve gotten a little soft around the edges, and I don’t just mean emotionally. But hey, at least I’m trying, right?
So why am I here writing a health related article? Doesn’t my physique clearly indicate I’m not invested in the exercise world? It’s quite the opposite really. I’m actually the guy behind many of the smoothies you enjoy at the SWERVE Smoothie Bar and I don’t believe fitness is exclusive to the fittest. You don’t exactly go to the hospital because you’re already pretty healthy.
And that’s why I’m here writing, because like you I’m just trying to figure this all out. I don’t have all the answers, but maybe by talking through some of the information that’s out there we can come up with a few ideas that will help us all improve. That’s really the purpose of both SWERVE and this blog: to come together as a team and figure out how to be better.
We are constantly bombarded with images of how someone else says our bodies should look. Our minds are infiltrated on a near daily basis with new food trends and what somebody says is “healthy” or “beautiful” today. How many fad dieting hoops have we seen our friends jump through willy-nilly? And forget even trying to have a conversation about diets with your grandmother who’s just going to tell you should be drinking a gallon of whole milk a day. The “truths” of yesteryear may seem outdated to us now, but people believed them. Why do things change then? Scientific advancement?
In part. Sadly I think there’s a little more to it than that. At risk of sounding like a conspiracy theorist I’d claim there are some who make a lot of money by parading around in lab coats pretending they’re scientists. They’ll show you just how to get that smokin’ hot hollywood bod...for a price. Think for a moment, where do you get your steadiest flow of health science related information? If you answered, “a scholarly scientific journal” then you’re a real American hero, and also a nerd. But if you’re anything like me your answer was instead, “the media”.
To wax poetically, we are as little boats on a sea of endless corporate opportunity being tossed about by the fierce winds of media indoctrination. Fitness science as a whole is both fascinating and important to comprehend. However, what’s even more imperative to understand in our discussion today is that if you read something at a newsstand, it’s probably not science, it’s an advertisement. How much money are they making off of your insecurities? Because they’ve made a lot off of mine.
“You’re too fat.”
“You’re too skinny.”
“Your butt is too big.”
“Your butt isn’t big enough.”
“You should only eat meat.”
“You should never eat carbs.”
“You should only eat kale and arugula, and light Greek yogurt before noon, and fuji apples every other Thursday; and you can really indulge every third waning gibbous moon and have ultra-pasteurized, 0% fat, organic, farm-raised, you-yanked-the-teats-yourself, happiness-killing, watery skim-milk.”
How many times have we drastically altered our health habits simply because we read somewhere that we should? Why do we listen to these voices? It’s simple. Because they do such an amazing job of sounding so very authoritative, like they’re the gospel truth, the be-all end-all of fitness wisdom. But keep in mind these are often the same sources that encourage us to keep up with the Kardashians. And I mean, come on, we both know better than that.
We’re here to ask why we do what we do. It’s ok that the “correct” sciencey things change over time. They will. That’s just science and progress. The important thing is that we begin to recognize the source of our health information for what it really is and decide whether or not we’re going to listen to it. That is not to say we should grow deaf to every outside voice. Sometimes you need that friend to remind you to hit the gym or to not eat that third slice of pizza.
There are many well meaning, non-scientific sources that hope to help. (Like this blog for instance). Our task is to learn how to discern the intent of all the information and apply what works and throw out what doesn’t.
At the end of the day there are simple truths that will not change over time: the human body needs food, water, and rest to be healthy. In general I believe we should be eating more vegetables, less fatty meat, and avoiding refined sugars and processed foods. Is that true for everyone? Maybe not. Do I live by that religiously? Heavens no, but I experience more energy and less sluggishness when I do adhere to it. So that tells me something. And that’s the point: what I’m imperfectly trying to do is based on what I’ve found feels the best through my own experience and an honest effort to be one with myself.
Tune out the media noise and begin listening to your own body. You know you better than anyone and your body will tell you a surprising amount. And yeah, sometimes it might tell you to do some pretty stupid stuff because it’s been trained to eat whole pans of brownies. Or maybe that’s just mine.
Regardless, it’s ok that it might take us a hot minute to figure it all out. Be patient and forgiving of yourself while forming the good habits to replace the bad ones. So here’s the challenge: question everything. Examine your current exercise regimen. Learn about what you’re eating and ask why you’re eating it. Become a health scientist in your own right.
As soon as you begin asking these questions it opens the door to you discovering for yourself what your body truly needs. Because chances are right now your ice cream intake is way off and you’re definitely not getting enough water or sleep. But it’s ok because I’m right there with ya. And that’s kind of what this is all for: so you know there’s somebody else out there who’s struggling to navigate this minefield called “healthy living”.
We’re a team. That’s what SWERVE is all about.