When you think of someone who is “healthy,” what is it you think of?
They are probably fit. If you’re thinking of a woman, she’s probably slim. If you’re thinking of a man, maybe he’s got chiseled abs and broad shoulders. Maybe you imagine them eating salads for lunch every day. They are agile, energetic, upbeat. Maybe they go jogging quite a bit? Or do crossfit. They wear tight-fitting workout gear.
All of these things are fine and good, but they are not truly health, which is what we’re talking about today.
The whole idea of this post came when I heard about Bob Harper. Do you know who he is? This is the celebrity personal trainer. He told the people on the weight-loss show, “The Biggest Loser” how to eat and exercise. And he’s written a few books about health and weight loss. He’s 51 years-old.
Last week, he had a heart attack, nearly died and last time I checked earlier this week, he was still in the hospital. Harper is basically everything I just described: Fit, youthful, energetic, muscles and abs, works out, eats healthy, the whole nine yards.
Then I remembered Jim Fixx. He might be a bit far back in history for some of our listeners. He basically pioneered the sport of jogging. In 1967, Fixx smoked two packs of cigarettes a day and weighed 214 lbs. So he started jogging. A decade later, he had quit smoking and was down to 160 lbs. And his book about jogging, called “The Complete Book of Running” was a bestselling title. 7 years after that, and two fitness-related books later, Fixx collapsed during a job from a heart attack and died.
So what happened with these guys?
We can only speculate, really. But from a theoretical standpoint, I think it’s because they were only focusing on one or two pieces of the whole health puzzle.
Let’s try to paint a picture, or make an analogy using school as an example. I have a daughter in school, she’ll be starting first grade in a few months. Let’s say I send her to school and I just leave it at that. I don’t ever check in. I don’t talk to her teachers. I don’t look at her report cards. I just assume everything is going well. Twelve years go by and I ask her where she’ll be going to college. And she tells me she can’t get into any college because she bombed the SATs because for twelve years in school, all they taught her was PE and geometry.
Granted, after twelve years of PE and geometry, she’s EXTREMELY good at these subjects, but she can’t read or do algebra and has no understanding of science or history or much of anything else.
Obviously, that’s an absurd scenario, but it’s a good parallel to how a lot of us think of, and approach, our health.
Putting aside fitness and nutrition for a bit, what else do we need to think about and pay attention to if we want to be healthy?
A great guide is the Maximized Living “5 Essentials.” Two of them are nutrition and exercise, but what about the other three?
First, you’ve got right mind. And this is where it all starts. You’ve got to have a positive attitude, discipline, mindfulness, focus.
Ever heard the saying “Thoughts become things”? If you are afraid, anxious, depressed, paranoid, pessimistic, then you will live a fearful, anxious, depressed, paranoid, pessimistic life.
The most obvious physical ailment that comes from your mental state are the massive health effects that come from stress. When you are mentally stressed out, your body releases cortisol and adrenaline. You gain weight. Your adrenal glands burn out and your hormones and neurotransmitters get off balance. You also tend to make worse choices when stressed. You’re more likely to eat a sugary snack or drink too much alcohol, or drive too fast—at which point you get a ticket and become even more stressed—and reinforce the cycle of stress and physical reaction.
So how do you address your mental state?
This is really one of the most difficult things a person can do—but so worth it. You’ve got to turn your self-talk around. Listen to what you think and what you say and exercise more control over it. If you’re replaying a bad experience over and over in your head, or you keep telling yourself that something you want isn’t possible, or you find yourself thinking you’re not good enough for something or someone, start being conscious and aware of these thoughts and reject them. Replace them with positive thoughts. Sometimes these are called affirmations or mantras, but repeat over and over in your mind AND out loud the things you want or who you want to be. Examples might be: I AM HEALTHY. I AM PROSPEROUS. I AM CALM. I AM HAPPY. Say these things over and over, even if you don’t believe them.
You’ll notice what happens is that you start to believe it. And when you believe it, you’ll start living accordingly. You’ll reach for a chocolate chip cookie and think to yourself, “I am healthy” and you’ll think, “Nah, a healthy person wouldn’t eat that cookie.”
Also, meditation is extremely helpful. You can find guided meditations on youtube to address nearly any problem you might be having. There are guided meditations for stress, for motivation, for sleeping better, for letting go of old resentments, for being more positive, etc. Meditation is proven to reduce stress, increase alertness and raise productivity. And it really feels good.
Perhaps most importantly, you’ve got to know yourself and what your values are and what makes you happy and fulfilled. This takes a lot of alone time, meditation, quietness, stillness and self-work. Ask yourself things like, “If I didn’t have bills, what would I spend my money on?” Or, if I didn’t have obligations on my time, what would I do?” The answer to these types of questions are going to get you closer to your purpose. But that might be a radio show all of its own.
This one is huge, and I think might be the answer to at least why Bob Harper had a heart attack. He’s covered in tattoos.
We live in a toxic world. There’s pollution, there are chemical stressors all around us. Our homes are built with things like asbestos and covered in lead paint and when they get wet and older, they develop mold. Maybe there’s a radon leak in your house. You drive to work in a cloud of carbon monoxide. You go to dinner and eat pesticide-covered vegetables and antibiotic-saturated meat.
We get tattoos, the ink of which is full of toxins like aluminum. The water we drink is treated with chlorine and fluorine.
These things act like stress on one hand, causing our body to become inflamed throughout all systems. These toxins tear holes in our intestines and leech into the bloodstream. They bind with fat, mostly, and affect our thinking, emotions, and physical functions.
While it is impossible to completely avoid all toxins, there is a lot we can do: air filters in your home, testing for things like mold and lead paint and asbestos and radon. And if there are problems, take whatever steps are necessary to fix them.
Avoid GMO and non-organic fruits and vegetables. Eat only free range, antibiotic and hormone-free chicken and poultry, only grass-fed, antibiotic, hormone free beef and wild caught fish. It’s more expensive, but worth it.
Also, detox on a regular basis. This might include taking chelation supplements like activated charcoal and/or monthly coffee enemas, things like gallbladder and Vitamin C flushes. Fasting is amazing for getting rid of toxins on a cellular level. After a certain time period of fasting, your cells start consuming and expelling toxic buildup in their cytoplasm—in fact, a Japanese scientist by the name of Yoshinori Ohsumi won the Nobel Prize in 2016 for discovering that.
Maximized Nervous System
Spinal subluxation is the main concern here. As we age, or due to trauma, the spine becomes out of alignment. It just happens as a part of life and normal wear and tear.
The problem is, when nerves become blocked or compromised, critical signals are not reaching their destination. Feedback between the brain and all organ systems doesn’t actually work and we start to see it affect the body’s overall function. When there’s a subluxation between the C6 and C7 vertebrae in the neck, you start to see thyroid function drop, which has all sorts of downstream effects. But I’ve seen hypothyroid patients have greatly improved thyroid function after even one or two chiropractic adjustments.
This goes for anything from your heart to your liver to your kidneys and everything in between. So to keep your nerve system working properly, see a good chiropractor regularly.
Taking care of all five of these aspects of yourself is real “health.”