I started drinking light soda recently. I rarely eat organic food. I absolutely love bread and other wheat products. I don’t mind some types of red meat. I don’t eat many of the recently hyped ‘superfoods’ that much. If I take any supplements that would contribute to my health, it seems almost random because I tend to forget taking them all the time. I injure myself occasionally through sports (or falling on my face or something, which is equally likely). All this surprises many people, since they associate me being a personal trainer and having some knowledge about health with ‘living a healthy life’. Apparently, my lifestyle does not fit the stereotype.
Lifting weights suddenly doesn’t sound as healthy anymore.
So why do I seem unconcerned with my own health? Two reasons, mostly.
The first one being that the term ‘healthy’ is rather vague. Claims about health are often exaggerated, taken out of context or simply not supported by science. Goji berries and chia seeds? Sure, they’re good for you, but how about eggs or broccoli? They’re pretty fucking awesome if you look at their micronutrient profiles, but they’re a lot cheaper. Light soda is bad for you? Well, perhaps for your teeth, but other than that it’s really no big deal. Aspartame, for example, has been proven to be safe often enough in quantities that normal (?) people consume.
The second reason? I just don’t care enough to prioritize it that much. With everything I do in my life, I try to stick to the Pareto principle, the 80/20 rule. It boils down to focusing on the big wins, as Ramit Sethi calls it. He recommends to invest in things that are important for you while cutting mercilessly in things that mean little to you or offer you little. I try to put this attitude into my relationships with people, my training and yes, my health.
For example, I lift weights. When done properly -and assuming you don’t eat yourself to death- this goes a long way in lowering the risk on contracting several ailments (like type 2 diabetes). Moreso than ‘avoiding refined sugar’ or ‘eating some cinnamon every day’ or whatever. Contrary to what some ‘health experts’ claim, eating refined sugar does not give you diabetes all of a sudden.
Another example, I don’t smoke. This is a more important factor in some diseases (cancer comes to mind) than eating organic foods (which, scientifically speaking, is a bit of a questionable topic to begin with).
I could go on and on, but the gist is that you don’t have to go full retard in trying to be healthy if you want to significantly lower the risk of common diseases. “Get the 10% of the things right that improve your health by 90% and just enjoy the 90% ‘bad things’ that only mess up your health by 10%” or however you want to phrase it. The percentages don’t matter, the phrasing doesn’t matter. I just believe in the whole ‘living life to the fullest’ thing and not just the ‘extending your life as much as possible’ thing. I recommend anyone adhering to that train of thought to prioritize accordingly, and if that means you want to drink your overpriced wheatgrass juice everyday, be my guest.
“We didn’t give a flying fuck about gluten or paleo or shit like that. We knew how to eat to get big, and how to eat to get leaner. We didn’t need a study or some research telling us what worked and what didn’t work in a fucking lab. We found those things out because we tried them, and made our own assessments. I see guys today that wouldn’t let their girl blow them unless they had a study telling them they would like it.” – Paul Carter