“I was in the best shape of my life. Why did I feel miserable?”
In was 2004 I was at the peak of my form as a competitive bodybuilder. My body was sculpted because I'd followed conventional nutrition and training wisdom to a T. I'd cut down to the lowest body fat percentage I’d ever been and I had a physique that most people would die for but yet I was miserable. I felt tired, depleted and depressed.
This wasn’t how it was supposed to be. I’d lost weight, yes, but I’d also lost my energy and vitality. Something was clearly off. How could my body look so good, and yet I felt so bad?
The answer, it turns out, is that the fundamental thesis of the fitness and nutrition industry is flawed.
WE'VE COMPLETELY LOST SIGHT OF WHAT REALLY MATTERS IN HEALTH
Weight loss is the dominant focus of our nutrition and diet conversations. Doctors are reminding you to lose weight, reality TV makes weight loss look desirable and quick, experts promise you that you can lose the weight fast if you buy their system and the supplement industry convinces you that their product is more nutrient dense than food.
The problem with these so called "solutions" to weight loss is that weight loss is only a small part of the puzzle and quite frankly sustainable weight loss (without lean muscle mass loss) only comes when you have a sound nutrition foundation and a healthy metabolism.
There's so much more to health than losing weight, yet we place all the importance on weight loss. There's no better realization to this as to when you've tried everything and nothing works anymore. You can even be in the "best shape" of your life and still feel miserable.
You're missing the mark on the real reason you're not losing weight. That foundation doesn't come by cutting macronutrients, fasting, supplementing, working out hard, detoxing or drinking green smoothies. These short term "solutions" come with risky long term side effects and will slow down your metabolism over time.
Unfortunately the nutrition industry leads most people to believe that the end result (weight loss) is the journey when it's only a byproduct of a high functioning metabolism when done right.
Since sustainable weight loss is a result of a healthy metabolism, you simply can't lose weight first to get healthy.
The truth is, weight loss is something that comes as a result of a pro-metabolic nutrition and fitness practice. One that focuses on long term health building as opposed to a quick fix plan that won't last, leaving you more depleted than when you started.
It's not about starvation, it's about building energy reserves with the right nourishment with food that's accessible and digestible.
IT’S TIME TO DROP THE FAD DIETS AND EMBRACE OPTIMAL HEALTH:
What if we thought about it differently. What if instead of depleting the body of it's resources to lose weight or making the therapy more complicated, we approached nutrition as a means of supporting the body's recovery process so that your body could do the job it was meant to do naturally.
We call this approach Optimal Health. Optimal health is characterized by these three markers:
Abundant Energy: You have enough energy to do what you want in life (taking care of self and living your dream) and to give to others (service to others, contributing to your community, parenting, etc.). This also includes your libido. Your sexual drive is a good indicator of your energy level.
Regenerative Capacity: Your ability to recover and regenerate is swift. Your injuries may not heal as fast as Wolverine's does but they do heal at a natural rate. You’re recovering from your workouts without too much soreness (or none at all). You don’t get sick too often but when you do you’re not sick for more than a day or two. You're not seeing signs of premature aging (muscle deterioration, hair loss, wrinkles, low libido, etc.) and you're sleeping soundly and throughout the night.
A Healthy Disposition: You have a consistent grounded mood and your outlook on life is balanced. You wake up excited about your day. You're able to handle most stressful situations without feeling overwhelmed and irritable, but instead with patience. You respond instead of react.
This is a radical shift from the dominant weight loss mentality, but it doesn’t mean weight loss isn’t part of the equation. It just means that weight loss will happen in a sustainable way when the body is healthy enough to let go of body fat (not muscle mass) for good.
HOW DO WE GET TO OPTIMAL HEALTH?
In order to understand how we support our body in this process we have to understand how our bodies work at the cellular level. Simply put, energy maintains structure and function at the cellular level. Since your body depends on a constant energy source for structure and function, not fueling your body with enough frequency and accessible nutrients will lead to degeneration.
If we look at how our body regulates our temperature, circulation, our mood and our ability to recover from stress we can figure out what our body is missing. Once we discover this it can only lead to faster recover, more energy and a positive outlook on life, aka, more fun.
If you continue to use more energy than you take in you run into issues like fatigue, autoimmune response, inflammation, nagging injuries, a slow metabolism, slow digestive motility, depression, weight gain and the list goes on. It doesn't matter if the energy is used in a workout or sitting at the computer it's all the same to your body because you're using energy for all of it.
And certainly your body will not prioritize when it comes to aging (like hair loss, grey hair or wrinkles), your body has bigger priorities. It'll conserve your energy and use it for more important jobs like pumping the heart and feeding the brain.
The truth is our bodies have a high capacity to regenerate at any age, as long as we are living and creating new tissue, we can recover. A body that's low in energy and is not receiving the nourishment to recover will stay in a constant state of inflammation or injury. But if you have the energy reserves to make new tissue your aging slows and your injuries and inflammation get better because your body now has something to work with.
So how do we practically support this and integrate it into our lives? We do it through:
The right kind of food practices
The right amount and kind of movement
Giving our bodies enough rest.
So why trust me... because I've been there and I've lived it. I was in the best shape of my life and felt miserable. I was depleted energetically and nutritionally with nothing left to give. Like many people I talk to, I felt tired, depressed and out of ideas about what to do next because I'd tried every type of elimination diet that I thought might work.
Then I started to study and really understand how the body works at the cellular level. I found life can be so much easier if you can support our body in it's natural processes, support it so it can do it's job better. So I did intensive research and tested ideas on myself and when they worked, I shared my practices with my clients.
As a result I've seen phenomenal results from myself and countless others.
Getting to know your own body's physiology and nutrient needs will give you a clear direction and create focused specific steps you can take to create a body you feel great in.
If you're interested to learn more about Optimal Health,
Download 6 Steps To Better Digestion,