Another one of those days…
You can barely lift your arm to hit the snooze button on your phone. After several attempts to smack your phone into submission, you drag yourself to the coffee machine to get somewhat ready for the day.
You’re up but you’re not really awake, not really there.
After lunch you fall into a deep coma, despite sipping half a gallon of coffee throughout the day and washing the bitter aftertaste down with a couple Red Bulls. At night when you should be winding down, you feel wired. It’s time for bed but you’re not ready to hit the sheets. You’re restless, falling asleep only to awaken multiple times during the night. Your alarm goes off.
It’s already morning again and the whole process starts over.
It’s been so long since you’ve felt energetic or enthusiastic about anything other than your local drive-through, you start to think this is how life is supposed to be as an adult. Hey, your neighbors don’t look any fitter or happier, right?
Do you really think this is the way life should be? You think this is normal or a natural reaction to your oh-so stressful desk-job?
Maybe it is, but more likely than that, you took the wrong exit somewhere along the way and never found your way back. Back to normal. You have a list of issues that are sapping your energy and dragging you down.
Circadian rhythm disruption
How’s your sleep schedule? Do you go to bed late at night, preferably looking at your laptop or phone screen for hours before you enter dreamland?
The blue light exposure at night disrupts your circadian rhythm. It signals your brain that the sun’s coming up. In response to that, your body decreases the production of melatonin, a vital sleep hormone (read). You doze off but never reach a deep and restful state of sleep. The next morning you wake up tired and groggy.
The solution? Go to bed earlier and reduce screen time. If you’re working on your laptop late at night (like I do) dim the screen and try to get done with work earlier in the day, will ya?
You are sedentary, eat foods that harm your body and live in a chemically laden environment. A processed food diet, low levels of activity, high stress levels and chronic exposure to chemicals (BPA, plasticizers, etc.) crush your hormone balance and predispose you to disease. This modern environment we have created for ourselves is not conductive to our health and well-being (to put it mildly).
Are we doomed to lead a life of misery?
The truth is, your hormones can be easily manipulated by the foods you eat (quality and quantity!) and a few very simple lifestyle adjustments. What? No pills, creams or injections? None needed. If you eat right for your body and live in tune with your biology, you’ll reach the balance you seek. It’s as simple as that.
So what should you do?
Getting healthy and living a prosperous life is not rocket science. Do you really think we’ve been put on this planet to suffer and be miserable?
When you sit in front of the TV stuffing yourself with snack foods, you know you’re going off course. That’s why you always have a guilty conscience munching on that junk. You know intuitively that you’re harming yourself.
Nature is smart like that. It gives you the well-intended hint, it does not, however, show you how to get it right. This is what you have to figure out for yourself.
Industrialized foods, devoid of nutritional value are sabotaging your health. Our western diet is laced with chemical ingredients, preservatives and other goodies unfit for human consumption. The high carb, high sugar foods dominating the western diet promote systemic inflammation and nutrient deficiencies.
You’re health conscious so you shun fats, especially saturated fats (butter, cheese, beef, eggs etc.) fearing their impact on your cholesterol levels. But before you go on to cook your tofu steak in some “heart healthy” vegetable oil, hear me out.
The industrial seed oils are destroying your body’s lipid balance. Think about it: man has been eating eggs, butter and dairy for thousands of years, not chicken nuggets fried in soybean oil. But as I said before (here), it’s not a particular food or diet that is to blame, it’s the overabundance.
A piece of cake, a serving of french fries or a can of soda won’t do much harm. It’s the “too-much-of-everything” diet most people religiously follow that has detrimental effects on our biochemistry.
Poor diet 1×1:
- Excess calories (first and foremost!)
- Artificial ingredients and “fake” foods
- High carbohydrate, high sugar diet
- Industrial seed oils and hydrogenated fats
- Lack of routine (constant eating and snacking)
What is inflammation?
Inflammation is your body’s response to an assault on homeostasis. A sunburn, a bruise, a bacterial infection, among others, can cause an inflammatory reaction. Acute inflammation is crucial to survival. It’s when this state of emergency becomes the norm that you start running into serious health problems like cardiovascular disease, obesity, arthritis, hormonal issues and cancer.
What causes chronic inflammation? In short, modern life. Poor diets, lack of physical activity, bad sleep routines and chronic low grade stress create a finely balanced disease cocktail. (Want a sip?)
Being overweight is the number 1 cause of systemic inflammation and cardiovascular disease. Your fat stores are your body’s major source of inflammation. If it weren’t for the medical field and the pharmaceutical companies, nature would have sorted you out already.
Popping pills will not save you long-term, however. Natural selection will catch up to you eventually. If you suffer from nagging health issues, losing the spare tire should be an absolute priority.
You see how being in shape and being healthy go hand in hand? They don’t always do, especially when you look at professional athletes, but they absolutely should. In shape doesn’t mean single digit body-fat levels, shredded abs or Usain Bolt dash speed.
It means you are fit for survival. Being able to walk a flight of stairs without having to be reanimated half-way through. Having the strength to carry your grocery bags to the car and an immune system that doesn’t crumble every time it’s confronted with an invader. Fit for life, if you will.
Get ready for a wake-up-call
When was the last time you woke up in the morning feeling like a goddamn Superman (or Wonderwoman)? Assertive, focused, and ready take on the world. This is how life should be. This is how everyday should be. Being able to go 100% physically and mentally all day every day. If this sounds like a far distant reality to you, you have your work cut out for you.
Reengineer your body:
- Lose the excess weight
- Eat better: less processed garbage and more whole foods
- Eat a low glycemic impact diet: lower refined carbohydrate and sugar intake
- Don’t overeat, but eat enough
- Address vitamin and mineral deficiencies
- Go outside: fresh air+ sunlight= health cocktail
- Move: walk, sprint, strength train
- Reduce screen time/ blue light exposure (especially at night)
- Go to bed earlier and rise earlier
- Be mindful of your resources (moderation, anyone?)
What most people today call “life” is nothing but a sad excuse for what life really should be. But it’s not too late. You were equipped with all the mechanisms to live a prospering existence. And once you get the ball rolling, you will never want to go back to old habits.
Take charge of your health. Take charge of your life. This is your wake up call.
Thank you for reading
Hibbeln, J.R./ Nieminen, L.R.G./ Blasbalg, T.K./ Riggs, J.A./ Lands, W.E.M. (2006). Healthy intakes of n−3 and n−6 fatty acids: estimations considering worldwide diversity. Am J Clin Nutr vol. 83 no. 6 S1483-1493S
Liu, S./ Manson, J.E. (2001). Dietary carbohydrates, physical inactivity, obesity, and the ‘metabolic syndrome’ as predictors of coronary heart disease. Curr Opin Lipidol. 12(4):395-404.2006