Maybe it’s the host of wellness bloggers that are coming out of the woodwork that’s driving it. Maybe it’s A Current Affair’s coverage of the latest fad diet night after night that gives it oxygen. But why is it that nutrition and lifestyle have become the domain of which everyone, qualified or not is an expert?
Whilst I think it’s awesome that health and fitness are on everyone’s lips, I’m frustrated that it’s becoming harder and harder to decide what is true and what is poo. We’re all so caught up with the itty bitty micro-stuff that we’re missing the bigger picture.
I am here today to postulate something… When it comes to health, often the devil is NOT in the detail. I am here to propose that it’s in your best interests generally to focus on the BIG picture and don’t sweat as much over the small stuff.
What’s His Problem?
Nothing annoys me more than comments like the following:
- “Don’t drink Diet Coke, it’ll kill you…”
- “I eat organic-only, pesticides are poisoning you…”
- “Don’t eat carbs after 6pm, they’ll make you fat…”
- “Don’t microwave your food, it causes radiation poisoning…”
- “I’m on a juice-only detox diet to clean my liver…”
Why Do They Annoy Me So?
Often such claims are either downright whack or at least lacking any conclusive supportive evidence. It’s as if regurgitation of something heard on a wellness podcast has become cool, a means of showing you are part of the ‘nutrition elite’ club. Like a contagious disease, once the media grabs hold of such claims and serves them up to the general public, they become the ultimate truth.
Above this however, my major problem is that we’re focussing on THE MICRO! The small parts of our daily nutrition habits that mean little in the overall picture. Sure, Diet Coke’s not the greatest beverage choice but when you’re 120kg and facing a life with uncontrolled diabetes, I hardly think that sweetener in your soda is your biggest issue. If your heart beat has not risen about 4 in the last decade, I dare say this is a bigger problem than eating a couple of pieces of white bread at 8pm. Focus on THE MACRO people!
The 80/20 Rule
This rule states that in life, 80% of the outcomes you experience are due to the most important 20% of actions you ever take. When it comes to health and fitness, this is most definitely the case. Applying the 80/20 Rule keeps you focused on the MACRO – those big, important things that really make the difference!
So What Are They?
Rather than getting bogged down in detail, use your intuition and take solace in what’s common sense. Keep it simple:
- If you are full, stop eating; if you are hungry, eat.
- If you spend more time eating prepackaged foods and take-out than fresh foods, make a change.
- If you fry everything, try grilling, roasting, steaming or stir-frying instead.
- If you smoke, try to quit.
- If you drink too much, try to wind it in.
- In you are sedentary, you need to start moving.
- If you are stressed, try taking a short vacation or an extra day off.
I certainly do run this risk of coming across here almost like I am trivialising the health challenges we face but that is not the intention. I am simply trying to pop the bubble and keep things simple. The populist media needs a story to keep you interested because the reality is a lot less glamorous.
Acknowledgement of this fact is where the hard work starts in the pursuit of better health. It’s the realisation that being overweight or suffering any other lifestyle condition is a far worse predictor of your future health than whether or not you added enough wheatgrass to your green smoothie this morning.
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Bloke Can Cook is the ultimate guide to men's health and nutrition. If you have had enough of dieting and telling yourself "I'll change tomorrow", this could be your answer.
Spelt out in simple to understand language and easy to implement strategy, you'll arm yourself with the tools to bring about change now.
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