It may seem that everyone knows the right way for you to get healthy these days—your doctor, your friends, and every website you pull up on your computer. You hear a lot of the typical “you should get more exercise,” “you should eat healthier,” and “you should take supplements.” Yet, you might not be sure what that means for your unique body. All the advice can even leave you feeling frustrated and overwhelmed—sometimes to the point that you just give up and don’t even try.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
There is another path, one that involves taking all the advice and information from external sources and then utilizing your own intuition and body knowledge to make the right decision for you. Because the truth is that there's no one “right” way of eating, exercising, or living that is perfect for everyone. So if you’re ready to reinvent your health and your body, here are four truths you must know to get healthy on your own terms:
1. You are a bio-individual.
Bio-individuality refers to the concept that individuality permeates each part of your body. No one way of eating is best for everyone. Here are a few of the key factors that shape your bio-individuality:
- Blood type
- Personal tastes and preferences
Each of these factors influences what will or will not nourish you at any given stage of your life, and it's up to you to experiment (wisely) to determine what works for you. So when experts say “red meat is unhealthy” or “milk is good for you,” take it with a grain of salt. We all have different dietary needs.
The same can be applied to exercise. You probably know someone who thrives on heavy weightlifting or CrossFit, yet you may try it and see no results. Maybe you thrive on low-impact movements like yoga or walking. You’ll know when you’ve found the type of exercise that your body loves.
2. You are MORE than what you eat.
You’ve probably heard the saying “You are what you eat.” Yet the truth is that you are MORE than what you eat: You are what you're able to digest and absorb. Digestion and gut health is a hot topic right now. Health-food stores carry hundreds of products to support digestion, and if you ask any health coach or wellness professional about the importance of eating fermented foods or drinking kombucha, they’ll have much to say.
We now know that Individual dietary needs are linked to gut health. And seeing as you're a bio-individual, your specific gut health will affect what you're able to digest and absorb properly. It’s also clear—from various research studies—that gut flora plays a big role in how our bodies respond to food. As a certified health coach and life-reinvention expert, I help clients determine what foods support their body and, if needed, what supplements, such as probiotics or digestive enzymes, will support their gut. Personally, I have benefited a great deal from taking both digestive enzymes and probiotics daily.
3. Fad diets don't work.
Let’s just be honest: Fad diets don’t work in the long run. You’ve probably noticed that you eat differently in the summer than in the winter, and you ate differently as a child than you do now as an adult. In addition, you may have a friend who thrives on consuming dairy and red meat, while you feel unwell after consuming even the smallest amount of cheese and feel heavy and bloated when you consume red meat. Have you ever wondered why?
Again, it's because you're a bio-individual. We are too individualistic to eat the same exact food. Specific prescribed diets have their place for persons with serious illnesses, food intolerance, or allergies, and can be a useful tool for a specific purpose for a limited amount of time, but often are not sustainable for the long run.
For most of us, I suggest throwing prescribed diets out the door. Be it vegan, vegetarian, raw, dairy-free, gluten-free, carnivore, Paleo, pescatarian—the list goes on and on. No one way of eating is best for everyone.
4. Getting healthy is a long-term commitment.
Though you don’t necessarily have to follow the latest trends to be healthy, there are a few things you may need to do. After all, getting your body in a healthy and balanced state is a lifestyle commitment for the long run. I’m not here to tell you this will be easy, but you can do it your way—on your own terms. Here are a few suggestions I recommend to anyone who is looking to live a healthier life:
- Learn cooking basics and start cooking at home more often.
- Drink more water. Ideally 50 percent of your ideal body weight in ounces.
- Focus the majority of your diet to include real, whole food (not processed or refined).
- Move your body as often as possible in a way that you enjoy.
- Supplement your diet with high-quality products.
Once you shift your mindset about what it means for you to be healthy and start focusing on your own individuality when making lifestyle choices, you’ll be on your way to a healthier and more peaceful life. The best part is that you’ll be able to drop all the stress about whether or not “you’re doing things the right way” or doing “what you should do.” None of us have all the answers; we're just doing the best we can with the information we have at the time. Get to know your unique body and its needs in an intimate way by experimenting and listening to its messages, and you’ll develop a deep intuition about what is right for you that will serve you all of your life.