Healthy. Do we even understand what that word is?
The dictionary defines this word in several ways…
The word “healthy” can be applied to several scenarios but in the most basic sense, healthy can defined as a state of normal function that can be disrupted from time to time with a disease. This was the initial definition of the word. It was criticized as it was considered vague and too generalized.
In 1948, the WHO (World Health Organization) coined a much better definition:
“The extent to which an individual or group is able to realize aspirations and satisfy needs and to change or cope with the environment. Health is a resource for everyday life, not the objective of living; it is a positive concept, emphasizing social and personal resources, as well as physical capacities”
Health involves many factors, from the way you eat to the current state of your social environment. It can involve food, people, money, and even your culture.
That said, you can eat healthily but still be unhealthy if other aspects of your life are falling apart.
You can eat healthily but still be unhealthy if you are not happy with the things you are doing.
So what’s up with these healthy eating challenges?
You see these albums all over social media telling you not to eat this and that.
This and that are the fun stuff: candies, chocolates, white bread, fried food, fast food.
These are the things that make life exciting. Food that makes us look forward to eating. Food that defines the day of some people. Food that makes us happy. Food that relieves our stress.
And these challenges are asking you to avoid them because it’s time for you to start eating healthy.
There’s nothing bad about it; everybody’s eating habits needs improvement anyway.
But from a sustainability perspective, it’s going to be very daunting, to say the least, because you will be pressured with the time frame and the fact that you have to do a complete 360 with your nutrition. As they say, old habits die hard.
If you’re somebody who absolutely loves sweets, it would take a mountain of motivation to keep this going.
The challenges do not specify what you need to eat, instead, they tell you what not to eat. And humans don’t really do well with being told “no” especially with food. Because food is life, yes? YES!
So why do some people fail with the healthy eating challenge?
Here’s what I think…
1. They’re not really ready
If you’re not committed, you’re not going to accomplish anything. You have to be 100% dedicated to whatever it is you have to do to get your goal. It doesn’t matter. Don’t dive into things you’re not ready for.
2. They go full blast immediately
Imagine you’re going to swim in a pool or the ocean. What’s the first thing you do?
You dip your toes in the water or make wisik-wisik. Right? Because you are testing the waters first.
That’s the same thing with healthy eating challenges. You don’t just cut everything out in one go and do a full 360 towards veggies, veggies, and more veggies. That’s the fastest way to burn yourself out and make you miserable.
3. Peer pressure
When people tag you on social media, it could mean two things:
- It’s true
- They know you’ll fail to do it
And how many memes have we seen about the “Pag ako pumayat, hu u ka sakin.”? M2M, bessy.
So when people are dared to do it, they either fold because it’s already assumed that they would fail OR they would try to attempt it. Once they do, what does their network do?
They comment endlessly saying “Sus, diet diet ka pa. Mas masarap kaya kumain.”
See the picture?
So for those who keep on sabotaging their friends, hear this: if you really want to change your friend’s life, why not get a life first? Because the mere fact that they’re attempting it means they’re already miles ahead of you.
4. Lack of support
Piggybacking on the previous point, people who actually attempt to make their lives better and healthier cannot do it alone. Every time we set a goal, we sort of expect that we will have at least a small network who believes that we can reach that goal.
Unfortunately, we get more ridicule.
5. They have no idea what they are doing
There is a lot of information out there that for the complete beginner, it’s crazy. It’s daunting. You gobble up everything but don’t really start because at the end of it all, you’re even more confused than when you started.
Now that we’ve cleared those issues, what can you do about it? Is it really a hopeless battle? Are you left with no option but to pretend that your arms are not saggy or that your tummy will always be extra? Or maybe you’re just left to mope about your body that’s only slightly stockier than a shirt hanger?
Here Are 6 Things To Do First Instead Of Just Eating “Healthy”
1. Take 5-10 minutes daily to mentally assert yourself
When it comes to fitness, you have to prepare mentally. You have to psyche yourself up. You have to anticipate that there will be bad days. You have to accept as early as now that those digits on the scale will not always be digits that you like. You have to repeat to yourself that this process will take and eat up some time.
There was a point during this cut that I was micromanaging everything because the scale freaked me out. Every jump, I’d feel the urge to change my calories. I still micromanage but I have since learned to take a chill pill and trust the process.
Because if you don’t, you’re just going to burn out and drop out along the way.
2. Take it one day at a time
Don’t try to be Superman in a day. You just can’t. Even Superman had some growing up to do.
Sure, you have a long-term goal. Let is stay there and start making short-term ones. Here are a few examples:
- Take the stairs instead of the escalator at the train station
- Cut 1 cup of rice in a meal to half a cup
- Eat 1 piece of fruit today
- Stand up from your desk every hour and walk around
- Do 10 jumping jack and 10 squats as soon as you wake up
These small things add up in the long run. Pretty soon, it will all be second nature and you wouldn’t even realize.
3. Fck what the people say
People will always have something to say. Period. People will never be pleased and they will never stop ridiculing you for the things that you will try to do.
Because those are the things that they cannot do for themselves.
This is your goal, not their goal. So don’t let them get into your head.
4. Don’t go announcing on social media
Ahh, social media. The one place where you can get everything you want and everything you don’t want. So this advice is tricky and would depend on you.
Here’s a story: Way back, whenever I’d post a progress photo on social media, I’d lose the urge to continue. I swear. Regardless if people comment words of encouragement or say that it was inspirational, I’d stop with whatever.
I guess maybe because I felt like it was already enough. Maybe because I got some sort of validation that the progress is not just in my head, so maybe it’s time to step down.
These days I use social media as gasoline to fuel my urge to succeed in this fitness journey that’s why I post and made this website too.
You don’t have to do this. You can also choose to keep it low key and just do your thing. And when you’re done, you have all the liberty in the world to post your transformation photo.
5. Stick to one or two reliable sources
There will be a lot of information out there.
Eat carbs – don’t eat carbs.
Do the after-6 diet – meal timing does not matter
Intermittent fasting is proven – Eat all day to keep your blood sugars steady
Keto diet is effective – Keto diet will kill you eventually
So what’s the deal? Stick to one source of information and try it on for size first. There is no one-size-fits-all strategy in the fitness realm. Everything needs to undergo a period of trial and error.
My go-to resource (although frowned upon by some because of their heavy marketing) is TNation. This website is one of my go-to’s because I have tried the things that they teach and it works well for me.
Of course, practice good judgment on the resources you have. If it’s your next door neighbor who just took a 2-hour course on nutrition from some shady company, then better think about first.
6. Eat at least 1 type of vegetable each day
And of course, a practical tip. We are not eating enough vegetables. That’s why the sales for multivitamins are on the rise. We’re all after convenience. Because who wants to eat 1 whole broccoli head, right?
Vegetables are just beyond healthy. They fill you up meaning they keep you full longer thereby enabling you to eat less in the long run. I could list all the benefits of vegetables here but it will take forever. So again, eat your vegetables. I can almost guarantee that you will eat less if you eat more vegetables.