The health industry is built on lies. It promises people that if they only eat a certain way, exercise for the right amount of time and intensity or get 8 hours of sleep they will attain the goal they set out to achieve.
How can you promise something that is more than likely not going to happen 99% of the time?
It doesn’t take in to account all the disorder in someone’s life. To achieve perfect health someone’s life has to be in perfect order.
In the world of sales they understand the power of emotions. Emotions make people act. Know which emotion makes people buy what you are selling, then you market that for all you are worth.
The health industry knows that people are emotionally attached to their health. No-one deliberately works towards having poor health and all the pain and discomfort that comes from that.
People generally want to feel good about themselves, have more energy, less aches and pains and feel younger. They believe that by achieving all of this will make them happier, more content people. The health industry understands this and promotes what it believes to be the best course of action to achieving this utopia of good health.
They promote this perfect life of vitality and good looking bodies, but reality is, that we live in a imperfect world where failure is more common than success. Just because you are told to eat certain foods at certain times in the day, or you learn how to do the downward dog in yoga you are more likely to fail in your search for the perfect healthy body than achieve it.
I am here to tell you, that’s ok. It is the way life is meant to work. Stop fighting it and embrace the fact that perfection (which a goal is) is more likely out of your reach. That doesn’t mean we should not work hard in trying to attain it.
So why do so many strive to reach health perfection and ultimately fail? It is down to something called Entropy (lack of order or predictability; gradual decline into disorder).
How does this affect the chances of someone achieving optimal health?
Imagine that you take a box of puzzle pieces and dump them out on a table. In theory, it is possible for the pieces to fall perfectly into place and create a completed puzzle when you dump them out of the box, but in reality that never happens.
Quite simply because the odds are overwhelmingly against it. Every piece would have to fall in just the right spot to create a completed puzzle. There is only one possible state where every piece is in order, but there are a nearly infinite number of states where the pieces are in disorder. Mathematically speaking, an orderly outcome is incredibly unlikely to happen at random.
In health terms, to achieve perfect health all your actions and that of the world around you need to fit together in unison.
Your body will need to digest perfectly the healthy food you give it, the healthy food would have to be perfect as nature attended it, your hormones would need to be all in balance so the nutrients from the healthy food are used by the body properly and not just got rid of as waste.
So as you can see, eating so called healthy food isn’t as simple as it might seem. Just because you eat it, doesn’t mean it will provide you with what you hoped for.
This is because life is full of disorder. Things not doing what you wished they would do. But a semblance of order can be achieved.
By expending energy (working hard), creating structure (planning) and keeping things simple you can slow down the rate of Entropy and improve on what you already have.
As time goes on, more energy, structure and simplicity is needed. It’s just the way of life.
You can either accept it and follow the rules, or resist it and speed up the rate of decline.
There is no way of avoiding this simple equation; your health is either getting better or getting worse. There is no standing still. Only you can decide how healthy you can become or how quickly your health deteriorates.
So lets take a closer look at each of the areas; energy, structure and simplicity.
For every action there is a reaction. The more force (energy) you put into something the more you will get back in return, ok, it is not exactly Newton’s Third Law, but the more you work at something the bigger return you will get for your effort.
When it comes to having better health, you constantly have to keep working at it. There is no rest period or time out. Nature doesn’t have a rest period or time out. It is constantly wearing us out so space is freed up for the next generation.
As Andy Dufresne said in the film Shawshank Redemption “Get busy living or get busy dying”. Harsh but true.
Every successful client I have coached has one common trait. They were willing to work hard. Not just for a period of time, but for as long as it took (which, if you were wondering, was for the rest of their lives).
When a client tells me what their goal is, I always reply with ‘how long do you want to achieve the goal for?”. The reply commonly is “for ever”.
Now forever is a mighty long time. So if you are not willing to work hard for the rest of your life, then the goal will be shorted lived. Whatever got you to that goal needs to be carried on. Otherwise you will start to move away from that goal and back to where you started.
So if you are not willing to put energy into achieving better health, then Entropy will start to accelerate and disorder will reign.
In order to get to a destination you first must know what direction you have to travel in. This takes planning.
Where is it you want to go?
How will you get there?
What will you need on your journey?
Who is going to help or hinder you along the way?
In the context of your health, the following needs to be answered;
What do you want from your health?
How will you improve your health?
What knowledge of skills do you require?
Who is going to support you or make things harder through the changes needed?
The answers to the above questions form the plan that needs to be followed consistently. This is achieved in the form of habits and behaviours. 99% of what we do each day is sub-conscious. Doing things that don’t require us to think.
Habits and behaviours either help us to become healthier or contribute to a life of poor health. To stop a negative habit and to start a positive one, you need to change what you are currently doing and start doing something new.
Having the knowledge of what to change and how to change is paramount if you want to make sure you end up going in the right direction and not waste time and effort doing things that won’t result in achieving what you don’t want.
With any change comes discomfort (stepping out of your comfort zone), and discomfort, for most people, is avoided as much as possible. To move forward though discomfort has to be experienced and embraced.
This is made easier if you have the right type and amount of support. Support should be encouraging and helpful, but at the same time holding you to account of what you need to do. Avoid people who unwittingly pull you or distract you away from the path you want to follow.
For most people, healthy living needs to be something that is achieved predominantly in the background. It can’t become an all consuming full-time job.
We in the health industry, are passionate and make it our life’s mission to make the world a healthier place. This is a good thing, but we think the rest of the world should also be as proactive in this pursuit.
We have decided to dedicate most of our day to learning the most in-depth, specific and scientific knowledge out there about what it means and takes to be healthy. We then think that everyone else needs to know what we know.
Knowledge is wasted if it can’t be applied. So whatever knowledge is given to someone has to be delivered in a way that makes it applicable to how the person can best implement it.
For the majority of people this means in the simplest way possible.
Most people just need to know how best to eat more natural food, not what superfood is better than another superfood, or how best to fit in some form of exercise each and every day, not if a Kettlebell workout burns more fat than a Zumba class.
For any positive habit or behaviour to become effective, it needs to be repeated over and over and over again, and over a long period of time. The more complicated it is to implement, the greater the chance it won’t be followed long enough for it to be effective.
If you are serious about living a healthier life then accept that it is a project that needs to worked on over a long period of time. This will take energy, discomfort and change. So make and follow a plan that is simple and easy to implement.
Don’t get swayed by all the quick fix promises that have been proven to keep people going around in circles.
Remember, Entropy is constantly working in the background, waiting to create disorder and cause your decline.
Chris, Your Health Coach