Why You Can't Get Healthy Alone
“For he who has health has hope; and he who has hope, has everything.”– Owen Arthur
The hardest part about getting healthy is, for a lot of people, knowing where to start.
And the hardest part of knowing where to start is the fact that every time you look into some health tip, you find a countering opinion. You have so much information at your finger tips— Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Youtube, Pintrest— but what is true? What will work? So, you start researching, hoping that you'll find the right information to get you started.
But instead of finding a solution, all you find is information.
And there is A LOT of it. Much of which contradicts itself.
For example: Bananas are good. Also, they are bad.
Or: An apple a day keeps the doctor away... or does it?
Or: Grains are good. But they are also the opposite of good.
Or: Fats make you fat. And... they make you thin.
It's enough to make your head explode.
And that's just the beginning of the pain a solo journey down the path toward wellness is going to bring you.
Not to add to your confusion unnecessarily, but here are a number of other obstacles you are probably going to encounter in just trying to figure out where to even begin.
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Labels are hard to read. (And that's not by mistake.) So, even if you're attempting to begin eating better by choosing low-fat or reduced-sodium processed foods (don't do this, btw), you're still fighting an uphill battle with information.
For example, look at this label for cornmeal:
All of that seems pretty okay, right? You have corn, the word “whole grain” (which is supposed to be good, right?), a little plant oil, some salt, and then... what is this TBHQ business?
Well, the answer to that question is this: TBHQ (or Tertiary Butylhydroquinone) is a petroleum-based preservative. It's there to lengthen the shelf life of the cornmeal. It also increases your risk of cancer. It's also a neurotoxin. And, oh yeah, consuming more than five grams of it at one time may possibly kill you outright.
And that's just one example. Figuring out what you're actually eating when you choose processed foods—even the ones that claim they're good for you!—is almost impossible without at least a doctorate in biochemical engineering.
When was the last time you saw a commercial for a vegetable?
And there's a very simple reason for that: Vegetables aren't good business in the same way that soft drinks or breakfast cereal are. The reason why is because vegetables can't sit on a shelf for months at a time in the market, don't offer very good margins for the corporations themselves, and aren't filled with addictive substances designed specifically to get you to buy more and more (and more) of them.
Advertisers know this. And so, they aren't going to waste their time trying to get you to consume them.
Which is why it's so hard to try to eat healthy. You are constantly bombarded with messaging telling you to eat things that will eventually kill you. And even if you know this, it's still so hard to fight against that level of psychological warfare.
When you're a single target, it's hard to keep from getting shot up with arrows at every turn.
Everyone Else is Eating Junk
This is probably one of the most powerful adversaries you have when attempting to fly solo on your health journey. By nature, humans are communal when it comes to food. Sunday dinners with grandma. First dates out at an Italian bistro. Thanksgiving dinner.
We eat together.
So, when you drive past a McDonalds at noon on a Tuesday and the parking lot is filled beyond capacity, it's easy to sort of make up your mind that yeah, McDonalds is terrible for you, but still... everyone else is doing it.
In working with our members at the Wellness Training Institute, this issue of community is far and away the biggest hurdle we have to tackle. So many of our members come into the program attempting to get healthy, but have little to no support back home with their friends and family. Misery loves company, and that applies to food as much as it does to anything else.
For all the reasons I gave above why getting healthy alone is such a hard—if not impossible—task, this one is probably the most revealing why.
I've had countless members come to me, right before they graduate, and say how they never would've accomplished their wellness goals if it hadn't been for the community they found in our Healthful Evolutions program. They found the necessary support with the other members of the program—people with similar goals, encouraging and celebrating with each other—that they didn't have back in their regular lives.
That's really the moral of the story. You can't go it alone. If you want to get healthy, you have to surround yourself with others who want the same thing—both for themselves and, just as importantly, for you.
So... where are you on your health journey? What are your goals? What are your struggles? Share them below in the comments!