In a world seemingly obsessed with being thinner, lighter, leaner, tighter whatever, our food and general nutritional life is brought into our consciousness more than ever. In my opinion though, your diet isn’t what you think it is.
Question your diet and it’s likely you’ll be thinking… Am I eating enough protein? Enough vegetables? Drinking enough water? Drinking too much booze? Is my food instagrammable enough?
Whilst they’re all important (Instagram aside), they’re not your everything. You could argue it’s actually less important than the rest of your consumption…
Why Your Diet Isn’t What You Think It Is…
Your diet is so much more than the food you eat. Your diet includes everything else. It’s the books you read, the TV you watch, the people you hang around with, your repeated actions, thoughts, decisions and habits. Each and every thing that enters your body is part of your diet.
It’s the holidays you take, the radio station you listen to, the route you take to work.
I’m serious. It’s all your diet.
Everything you let into your body is making you. Just like the food you eat is broken down and goes on to repair, nourish and rebuild your body, your reading, watching, listening, thinking and feeling goes on to rebuild your mind and your actions.
Repeated behaviours and thoughts solidify patters in our brains and bodies. It’s why I consider your diet to be far more than just the foot you eat.
Even the Cambridge Dictionary agrees…
Perhaps we should be more protective of this, of the things that we allow to be around us and become part of our being. What would the effect on us be if there was less junk and stress going in?
Would our collective mental health be better? Our relationships? Our physical health? Our family lives?
In the same way that the food you eat is the building blocks of the body you have, the rest of what you consume becomes the other, non-physical bits. The thought processes, the motivations, the actions and behaviours. The choices you make and the knock on effects can all be attributed to the rest of your ‘diet’.
If you took a different route to work, one that took longer but wasn’t as filled with traffic and queueing, would that have a different knock on effect for the rest of our days?
Arriving at work calmer would surely put you in a better frame of mind to start work and deal with the stresses, strains and mental load that work can place on us all.
Think about the knock-on effect on the rest of your day if you started it in a calmer frame of mind.
The Accumulation Effect
Your diet doesn’t need to be improved by making sweeping, dramatic changes. You can change your diet by accumulation….
If you replaced one hour per week of reality TV with an extra hour of exercise, or learning a new skill – language, driving, art, cooking etc, imagine what the long term effects would be! An hour per week… 52 hours per year dedicated to fitness or a new skill. That’s a lot of time and there’d be a lot of progress.
Positive actions accumulate and over time, the effects would be huge.
Take this fitness blog for example. What started off as a hobby has turned into a positive contribution to my life in all kinds of ways – financially, professionally, emotionally, socially etc. None of this has been at great cost to me, but it has been a dramatic positive.
It has taken me time and effort of course, but both of those things have accumulated over time.
A Better ‘Diet’ Starts With Making Better Choices
I’m not saying this to criticise anyone’s behaviour or actions in particular – eat what you want, drink what you want, watch what you want, listen to what you want, it’s unlikely to affect me.
I’m just urging you to think about things a little more and employ a stricter control over what you allow to be a part of your world. Your choices – are they all overwhelmingly positive? Could there be a better choice – of TV viewing, of meal, of friendship group etc?
By the way, I’m not suggesting I’ve got this whole thing nailed either – I sometimes find myself lost scrolling through social media, having wasted 20 minutes watching people make a swimming pool out of mud bricks, or watching people fall over when drunk, or cooking things I already know how to cook.
I have to snap myself out of it, because 20 minutes could quite easily become an hour. A whole hour wasted. Ridiculous, really. I’m getting better though. I’m just not quite there yet. I’m just thinking aloud with this post, so take what I’m saying lightly.
Power of Community
Jim Rohn said you are the average of the five people you spend the most time around.
There’s a lot of debate around this online, with some people de-bunking and others agreeing, but I think it generally holds true. Unless you are a bit of an island, I know that generally seems to hold true. Not in all facets of life obviously, but in many it does.
So choose your community wisely.
It’s hard to be super fit if everyone you know is a boozer, smoker and has a terrible diet, so manage your time with them for the better.
Whether you love it or hate it, one of the reasons CrossFit is so successful is the community it creates. Members of a box are members of a community, not a gym. CrossFitters (yeah it’s a term now) are bound by an interest in something beyond the gym – it’s a type of lifestyle, not just training.
It’s why the average CrossFitter is in better shape than the average gym goer – they’re part of a community. They’re the average of their peer group. They’ll make choices to fit in and the rest of their behaviour and lifestyle follows suit.
Humans are social animals, we’ll do what our friends do and what society expects of us. Birds of a feather, flock together and all that.
So where can I go for dietary help?
Here’s a book I love. My copy is well-thumbed, but for good reason. If there’s a better book for lending perspective and giving some ancient (yet still utterly relevant) insight on anything, I’m yet to hear of it.
Buy it. You won’t regret it at all…
Your Diet and the Effects of Your Choices
If you’re struggling to get things together, struggling to lose weight, struggling to commit to a training regimen, looking for more from life personally or professionally, why not take a birds eye view of your ‘diet’.
Are your choices acting in your best interests? The food you eat, the exercise you choose, the time and quality of your sleep patterns. Are your friends supportive, are you doing all your can to help yourself?
A little review of your reality every now and then can work wonders.
There’s a post coming up soon on this…
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