Why it’s important to be a balanced, big picture thinker
I know I often write long posts, and you might not have time to read them. So I will put bullet points at the start, telling you in brief what the post is about, and in brief, the main conclusions or points that I come to.
This way, if you are short of time, you can read the bullet points, which only takes 30 seconds, and it should tell you the essence of the post - if it sounds interesting, you will find the 5 minutes you need to read the whole thing, but otherwise, the bullet points tell you enough to get the main idea.
I will try to remember to summarize all future posts this way. I hope this is helpful!
What is this post about?
- Some people are obsessed with clean eating, while the rest of their life is in a mess!
- Some people are obsessed with weight training or a certain sport, but pay little attention to good diet
- Some people eat well and exercise, but the allow other areas of life to stress them out, having a negative impact on their lives
- Some people do so much endurance sport they never allow time for recovery - and an excess of almost anything can become unhealthy eventually
- I meet a lot of folks who put in killer workouts and intense training sessions, but then they are ill with colds and flu every few weeks
- You have to be a big picture thinker
- Take a holistic approach to optimal good health
- Balance is essential - train with weights, train aerobically, have heavy days, and easy days, eat well, de-stress and look to ensure there is happiness in your life…all these areas are equally important
Read on to learn more.
You have to look at the bigger picture
I see lots of people fixated on just food or just exercise, but I fear they are failing to look at the bigger picture. Supreme good health and abundant energy does not come from putting ALL your attention on just one thing, you have to think holistically.
I often meet people who obsess over ‘pure clean eating’, they are fanatical about eating raw, organic, vegan, local, seasonal and only grown in countries that ban GMO crops. They know a million reasons why you mustn’t cook with a certain oil, because heating it produces some ghastly carcinogenic chemicals, they will tell you that it’s like cooking your dinner in toxic waste! They will tell you everything there is to know about sprouting beans, fermenting vegetables, home made sour dough bread and the nutrient profile of certain seeds.
These people amaze me, I think I know a lot about nutrition but these people are in a league of their own.
But they don’t exercise, ever. What? No, sorry, but half a dozen sun salutations on a yoga mat while your herbal tea is brewing does not count as exercise. You need to cover a few miles on your own feet, or pick up lots of heavy things, or do something that makes your breathing laboured and makes you break a sweat - that’s exercise.
Diet like a monk
Or these people eat a diet that would make a monk look like a junk food addict, but they are on their 3rd divorce, buried in consumer debt and they don’t sleep at night through worrying about making the car payment at the end of the month. Can you see the problem? I think these are the people who often get accused of being orthorexic - having an unhealthy obsession with healthy eating. It can be a distraction therapy, obsession over nutrition, a way to hide from all the other problems in their lives. They probably tell them selves that their healthy diet is an antidote to al the stress…
Today I am Superman! Tomorrow I’m in bed with man flu…
Then I meet all these super-fit types. They are a veritable God or Goddess in their chosen sport. They are king of the local CrossFit scene, or they are National Champ in sprint distance triathlon, or they run or cycle longer endurance races than anyone on Earth, or they are built like a brick outhouse and they can bench press a family car, full of people and luggage - but the rest of their life is falling apart! I meet so many of these people who are boasting one day of their incredible sporting prowess, of the weight they moved or the time they ran…then the next day they are moaning they are down with ‘man flu’ or the latest bug ‘got them’ and they are laid up in bed for 4 days.
Or finally there are the alternative-spiritual types, who tell us that the answer to all our problems and challenges lie in wearing a certain metallic bangle, carrying magnets in our pockets, meditating for endless hours or supplementing with some superfood made from a rare seaweed that only grows at the very bottom of the Marianas Trench.
Don’t be a one-trick pony
Look, I don’t want to sound like I am criticising anyone - I am not. I applaud anyone who takes healthy eating seriously. I applaud anyone who is passionate about his or her chosen sport. I applaud anyone who pushes his or her self to do well in the discipline they love. I support anyone who commits to a healthy lifestyle. But what I am saying is that it’s NO GOOD being a one-trick pony.
Supreme good health for life, and a long and energetic life at that, does not come from putting in a few killer workouts this week, and then being laid up sick next! Munching lettuce all day might be good and green and free from poisons, but if your life is full of stress, fear and worry then those toxic emotions will be doing you more harm that chugging down a McDonald’s with a Big Gulp cola on the side.
Studies of longevity have looked at peoples and societies around the world and identified key factors that are observed in all those populations where unusually long, HEALTHY lives are the norm. In these groups, there is no obsession with nutrition or killer hard exercise. There is no superfood or supplement that everyone is taking. They don’t have bulging biceps and rippling 6-packs.
The factors that promote a long life, free from disease and premature death, a life where old age means activity, not being sustained by pills and surgeries, are things like ‘belonging to the community’ and ‘avoiding doctors and hospitals’ and ‘growing our own food.’
If you are a regular reader, you’ll know that I have written about these things before. The point is this -
- Broaden your scope people
- Look at the bigger picture
- Are you JUST a ‘clean eating freak’?
- Are you JUST an obsessive endurance athlete?
- Are you JUST a strength athlete?
- Are you JUST a meditating yoga nut?
- Are you JUST any one thing?
Try to be an all-rounder. It’s a game of balance.
I’m not writing this to be judgemental of anyone - and I am not judging you or tearing you down in any way. I turn the same focus on myself, I look at my own life all the time and try to work to achieve better balance. I write this to try to help you. The 12 Core Principles of www.MotherNaturesDiet.me are set out to help us all to achieve a better balance.
Building a balanced lifestyle
Learning about nutrition and eating a good clean diet are very important. Lifting weights and pushing your muscles is very important (has been shown to slow the signs of ageing). Cardiovascular fitness is very important (runners outlive the general population - and endurance athletes tend to outlive strength athletes too). Meditation, flexibility and inner calmness are very important. But to be only ONE of these things is to be OUT of balance.
The ultimate aim of the MND lifestyle is to build this BALANCED core, as the foundation of your supreme good health. From that solid ground, then you can build whatever specialisation you want – endurance, strength, the body beautiful, inner peace - whatever it is that you desire.
This is normally a topic I cover extensively in my live talks, and I am trying to encapsulate it here in just a few paragraphs, so please excuse the lack of depth on any one area. But take a long and thoughtful look at yourself, and think about balance.
- Are you a one-trick pony?
- Are you obsessed with food, while your finances are a major source of stress?
- Are you killing it down the gym, but you don’t have the fitness to run to catch a bus?
- Are you a lean mean running machine, but your relationships are a disaster area?
- Are you the compulsive gym-rat type, but down every month with the latest bug, cold or flu?
No judgement, we are all treading a unique path through this life. Don’t be hard on others, or on yourself, just take a good HONEST look at the bigger picture and think about how you could make some changes in the weaker areas of your life, that might eventually help you to make progress in ALL areas of your life.
A friend read this and said “I’m doing my best, eating clean over 80% of the time, down the gym 4 times per week, out for a walk or down the swimming pool whenever I can, with some meditation too. Progress not perfection”
I love that - Progress not perfection.
With love and respect.
MotherNaturesDiet - more than just food.