The Dynamic Duo
Our ability to acquire food with almost no movement at all is very new. Drive through windows and refrigerators full of food mere steps from the couch are not something to which our hunter/gatherer bodies have become adapted. For all but the last blink in human history, the acquisition of food demanded movement. If you sat on your rear, you died. The very young and the very old were the only exceptions who would probably be cared for by others, but the former would conform eventually and the latter had paid their dues. Interestingly, today it is the norm to address fitness goals by doing a diet OR going to the gym, but not often are both components addressed together.
Diet and exercise must be viewed as two distinctly important pieces of the big health and fitness picture. Please do not assume that more of one will make up for neglect of the other. For example, a bowl of ice cream will not be negated by an extra ten minutes of your next session on the Ellipti-tread-stair-bike-climber-glide-waste-of-time machine. In truth, either exercise or nutrition can sometimes be used alone to attain the appearance of health, but this is just an illusion that will eventually slip away. For example, starving yourself with a caloric restrictive diet will make you lose weight, but you really want to lose fat, but it doesn’t matter because with this approach, you will always gain the lost weight back. True success requires proper exercise AND nutrition, the result being improved health which is sustainable. Unfortunately, thanks to what we’ve been told by “professionals” our society is filled with people who have yo-yo dieted their way to 10 – 20 lbs of weight loss more times than they can count. This observation is a clear indication that we are missing the point.
This next statement might earn me an enemy or two, but I’m going to say it anyway. In my opinion, it is ridiculous that there are trainers who do not understand nutrition as well as nutritionists/dietitians who do not understand exercise and fitness. Leading anyone to believe that all their goals can be reached through one while completely disregarding the other is misguided. Even a short career in either one will make clear to anyone that the other is imperative. Remember, “diet and exercise” is the common phrase, even among those who have the details wrong. Not understanding the importance of this correlation is not always the fault of these trainers/dietitians/nutritionists, in many cases it’s simply what they’ve been taught. It’s through experience that these important lessons are learned.
Healthy bodies perform well, feel great, and look great for a lifetime. Any attempt to achieve one of these qualities without consideration for all three is frivolous and the results of such an endeavor will be fleeting, not to mention frustrating. If this is a perspective that you have never considered before, take the time to think it through now. Health is absolutely essential to getting the body you want. Please don’t fool yourself into believing that you can reach your goals with either exercise OR diet.
The point of paleo is to try to give our bodies what they expect. Your body expects real food and it expects to move to get it. Since you don’t have to move to get your food, you will need to learn to fake it. There are some great resources out there including eplifefit.com, where you can learn to properly move your body AND to properly feed your body. I know that for many people, it’s confusing and frustrating to know where to begin, but that’s why blogs and websites like this exist. We want to help you be healthy and we understand what it takes to get you there. You can do this; the support you need is out there, you just have to take the leap and go for it.
Now go forth and be awesome!