This blog, 3 Wonderful Tools to Create a Successful Life is the fourth in a series of four that explains how the three tools; healthy eating, safe and effective exercising and maintaining a state of relaxed awareness can help us to get the most out of our lives.
Follow this link to read the first article about Safe and Effective Exercising and this link for the second article on healthy nutrition and this link for the third article on stress and the benefits of maintaining a state of relaxed awareness (all three open in a new window).
This blog is bringing it all together and describes how balancing the three tools can form the foundation for a healthy physical body and mind, ready to play its part in creating the life we want.
The image below makes visible how the three tools interact and why it is important to give them all three your full attention to get the most out of the three tools individually and as a whole, forming the Triangle of Health.The first blog is about Healthy Nutrition. Health or disease begins in the gut. Eating food that is biologically correct, meaning that it in harmony and recognized by the body and the billions of bacteria and other organisms that together form our microbiome is the first and most wonderful step you can make for your body. All physical, emotional and mental processes that occur in our body depend on our microbiome in the first place.
Eating food that is loaded with excessive sugar, salt, unhealthy fats, chemicals to give it the desired look, smell and taste and delays natural decay is like shooting yourself in the foot, to say the least. Sadly, this is what the majority of the people do, especially in the industrialized part of our world.
Thinking of how quickly people are in our modern society with suing one another for even the most futile affairs, if our bodies could act and come up for their own, most of us would spend the bigger part of our lives in court and jail.
It is just a thought.
Eating healthy is great, but if our internal systems are weak and underperforming, it will be difficult for our bodies to digest and assimilate the food we eat optimally. Here is where exercise enters the stage. Preserving our muscle tissue and keeping it in good shape helps all other internal systems to thrive. This is what I wrote about in my second blog.
Being physically active is an indispensable element for keeping the body as a whole in good condition. On average, 25 percent of a healthy female body and 40 percent of a healthy male body is muscle. It really pays to give that the attention and care it needs.
The thing is, it needs more than just being physically active to keep your muscles in good condition. Especially after the age of 35, our body begins to break down muscle tissue. It is a natural process, totally in line with the rhythm and cycle of life. For thousands and thousands of generations we were bound to die around that age, if not earlier. The fact that, thanks to technology, we can live much longer doesn’t change the rhythms of nature.
Keeping our muscle tissue in good condition means that we have to take over the steering wheel from Mother Nature and do what is necessary to keep us healthy, strong and energetic. Doing what is necessary begins with getting a basic understanding of our muscle body system and the role of endurance and strength muscle fibers. It clarifies, for instance, that it takes different types of physical activity to keep them both in good shape.
Not understanding this aspect is what I often see in people after forty when they decide to finally get in better shape, buy running gear and see it as a goal to complete a half-marathon or more within a certain number of months.
They couldn’t be a bigger disservice to their body.
The natural process is that we lose on average 6.6 pounds of muscle tissue every decade after the age of 35. When the body has lost that amount of muscle tissue, it means that there is a lot less support for spine, joints and bones in general, with all ensuing consequences. Moreover, the constant bouncing doesn’t benefit any of the internal organs including the entire digestive tract either.
Nasty other side effect is that with long distance running, people only activate their endurance muscle fibers and not their strength muscle fibers, that way signalling the body that they apparently don’t need the strength muscle fibers. The result is that the body begins to break down the so important strength muscle fibers. The reason this happens is that the body is wired to preserve energy and not to waste it. In other words, it is not going to carry around body tissue that is not needed and already consumes costly calories to only maintain it.
If you like to run, by all means, do so but don’t overdo it and be sure to push and pull iron or otherwise work your muscles against a meaningful resistance on a regular basis. Doing this signals your body that you need that precious body tissue to support your spine, joints, bones and your body as a whole.
And yeah, it hurts so now and then because nothing grows in your comfort zone.
Healthy nutrition and Safe and Effective Exercising; one hand washes the other. There is no working around that, regardless of the mind games people use to play to convince themselves otherwise.
What a great bridge to the third tool; a supportive mindset. What can come of healthy eating and regular exercising when the mind is not supportive? This is what New Year’s resolutions look like. Men and Women with the best intentions work hard to change their lives for the better, not realizing that the most powerful part of their brains rejects everything relentlessly that has not already been ingrained and therefore recognized as known and familiar.
Our brains are wired to learn and to consolidate what we have learned into automatic brain patterns or habits. Once a certain behavior has become firmly established through repetition or through the intensity of the experience, it is there. It is a very helpful feature to survive and thrive. Once you learn how to use a bow and arrow through repeated practice, you won’t quickly forget it, and learning that fire is hot is something you learn in a split second.
It looks like that change is the last thing our brains are interested in, but this is not really true. Things constantly change in our environment and our body can effortlessly adapt. It is a matter of being able to tune in into those changes and adjust accordingly consistently. For this, we can use another part of our brains that can observe, reflect and direct like a conductor in front of an orchestra.
Timing is of the essence. Not being aware of the changes that are happing in and around us all the time means growing out of alignment with ourselves and our environment. The result is pain that one way or another manifest in our physical, emotional or mental body.
The part of our brain that plays an important role in storing the automatic brain patterns I just mentioned also harbors a mechanism that is wired to move us away from danger or pain to safety or pleasure as quickly as possible. Back in the days, it meant feed, fight, run or hide to stay alive. Nowadays we don’t just eat but can choose our favorite food, painkiller, movie, gadget or any other form of instant gratification that gives us the pleasure and comfort we seek.
We have become so accustomed to this behavior that we don’t realize how short-lived those pleasures are and the effects they have on our long-term health and wellness.
We can tune-in into the real needs of our body and meet those needs if we develop and train the part of the brains that enables us to do so. This part goes through life with various names. To give some examples: intellectual brain, conscious mind, reflective brain, logical brain and thinking brain.
Developing and training that part of our brains means that we are aware of the true needs of our body as a whole and take the right decisions to live a rewarding and fulfilling life for ourselves and our loved ones.
It means, for instance, that we make the right food choices and exercise regularly to keep our physical body in good condition.
But that is only the beginning because taking care of our physical body means that we create the optimal conditions for our brains to stay healthy and improve their functions.
Success in life, regardless of how we define it, depends on the condition of our brains, and it is largely up to us how healthy our brains are and consequently how successful we will be in life.
We stumble and fall, and we never get it right, and we never get it done, and it hurts so now and then because nothing grows in our comfort zone.
No matter where we are in life and regardless of our age, gender, genetic background and whether or not our big toe hurts, we all can make the baby steps that gradually and eventually get us closer to the life we choose to live and the greater cause we need to pursue.
I hope that this blog, together with the previous three, give you some insights to put yourself on track toward the successful life you want or make it even better than it perhaps already is.
Even though the blogs were a bit lengthy, know that I only scratched the surface and that I have much more to share with you.
Let’s begin a conversation to find out how you can align or better align the three tools I talked about in this and the previous three blogs and experience life at a higher level.
And if your thoughts go to other people who would like to change their lives for the better but feel for some reason they can’t, please let me know too.
Whether the people you think of are your employees, members, patients, clients or friends; we can talk and take it from there.
Visit my website patrickstreppel.com and scroll down a bit or click on “Contact” at the top of the page to find the space where you can type and send your message.
This could be the beginning of something magical.
Talk to you soon!