When Diet and Exercise Aren’t Enough

But let me be clear: at the end of the day, it’s what you eat, not how much you sweat.

That’s been my twelve-month mantra since I first started a Paleo-style diet, and I still stand by it here. When it comes to your health, diet is at least 80% of the equation, edging out exercise and just about everything else as the greatest single factor influencing your health.

But where does this leave us? Where do we find ourselves, now, when we’re in perfect harmony with what’s on our plate? Where can we go when we’ve dialed in our food and fitness the simplest — and best — way we can?

We look within. And we realize, once we dig deep, that we still have so much left to cover.

This is the simplicity post. This is also the minimalist post, in a sense. I hope you enjoy it.

The Final Frontier

You have to be happy.

We know this, all of us, and we’ve already made great strides in that direction. There’s a keen pleasure in seeing the pounds slip away whenever we preen in front of the mirror, and likewise there’s a kind of sublime happiness in knowing that the way you’re eating will support strong, vibrant health for the rest of your life.

Sometimes, though, it’s not enough. Sometimes that slow-unfurling contentment we felt in the beginning of this journey can’t always come to the surface. The reasons are many, but the reality is always the same: when we’re doing everything right, health and fitness-wise, sometimes we can’t help but feel that we need something else.

Sometimes we feel that we need more. We want more.

Lucky thing, then, that the trick here — the big solution, the magical combination that’ll carry us forward — goes a little like this: the key to happiness is in wanting less.

What Do You Want?

That’s a hard sell, I bet, in modern times. We want stuff. We’re told we need that shiny new car, that massive new television set, and all sorts of gleaming new gadgets, the combination of which leaves us like this: surrounded by clutter, even deeper in debt, and clinging to the fast-fading kind of contentment only toys can bring.
We need to need less.

We need to realize, now, that this endless cycle of buy, buy, buy is exactly that: endless. A never-ending loop of money spent, toy acquired, and a quick-burning sense of satisfaction that too often demands another fix. We need to realize, now, that the stuff we’ve been told we need is exactly not that — not what we need, now, and not what we have ever needed during every damn year we’ve shared on this earth.

We need to realize, now, why deep down we’re still unhappy even when we’re in the best shape of our lives.

And we need to realize just why we’re so keenly interested in chasing perfect health. We need to understand just why we want to lose weight, just why we want to live forever, and just why we read health and fitness blogs every chance we get.

Here’s a hint: it’s not so we can buy crap by the handful. It’s not so we can spend our days chasing some pie in the sky mansion by the sea, and it’s definitely not so we can buy an even bigger mirror to see our sexy, lean selves in all our glory.

Why do you want to be healthy?

I’ll offer my answer. I suspect it might resonate with yours.

I want to live. I want to enjoy every precious thing that life can offer for as long as I possibly can. I want to have a century on this planet to spend with friends, family, and pretty damn delicious plates of food, and I want to have so much free time to make the memories — the experiences — that make this life worth living.

Mostly, though, I want to be happy.

And I’ve realized, now, that this isn’t just wishful thinking. This isn’t an unobtainable goal, and nor does it come with the kind of price tag that we’ve come to expect from the expensive pieces of crap we’re told we need.

This is doable. And this is the next big goal, I think, once we’re healthy and fit, once we’ve done everything we can to prepare ourselves physically for a long, happy life.

Where to Go From Here

We need to need less.

Here are some ideas how:

1. Buy less. Remember, now, that stuff can’t make you happy. Remember, now, that your hard-earned coin is better spent on the people and places all around you — the memory-makers we can’t live without.

2. Stress less. Don’t forget to breathe. If something is adding undue stress to your life, consider whether you seriously need it — and if you can’t nix it entirely, as is often the case with work, do whatever you can to offer your attitude the exact same care and attention we so often offer our bodies instead.

3. Need less. Sit down for a moment and decide what it is you need — really need — to live a long, happy life. Pursue those with all the attention and dedication you can muster. Appreciate your friends, your family, and every moment you share with them, and try and push yourself, now, to create as many solid memories as possible.

This is the next step.

This is the goal, now, for the rest of our lives. Transforming our bodies was just the beginning — but lucky thing, I think, that being lean and strong puts us on such fantastic footing to start this journey.

This is the road we’ll walk for the rest of our lives. We owe ourselves better health, sure, but also true happiness — and I encourage you, now, to have a long think on what it’ll take you to achieve it.

You’ll be surprised, I think, at how little it turns out to be.

If you enjoyed this post, friend, I ask you to share it as far as possible.

2 Comments

  1. Primal Toad says:

    You are a genius my friend. I agree with this post 100%.