80/20

I am writing this post while on vacation. I have spent most of the last two weeks exploring the state that both my husband and I grew up in. It is almost a twenty hour drive from where we currently live, but in some ways it seems like a whole different country.

The state that we currently live in really is a year-round playground while the one we grew up in kind of is, but not as easily. In the past week, we have been seeing how those realities affect people’s health differently.

The state we live in is one of the fittest states in the country while the one we grew up is among the fattest states in our country. As for my own family, it has never really made much difference where we live. The exception being my husband who is not much of a fan of exercise. Even with that reality, he has never been more than twenty pounds heavier than he is normally. He just prefers doing outdoor activities to normal exercise. He also probably suffers from S.A.D. Consequently, he is much happier and healthier in the year-round playground state.

We are very confused by the difference between the two states because most of the people in our lives eat the same basic things wherever they are. But for some reason, most of the people we know in the state we grew up in are constantly trying to lose weight. Adversely, most of the people we know in the state we live in are in at least good shape if not great shape.

In each of the two states, I know two men who have been overweight in the past, but are now in terrific shape. They both do it by a combination of maintaining a consistent diet, nothing too crazy, just basically not eating more than is necessary, and regular exercise.

Having known both of them for a while now, I find myself wondering if part of the issue with weight in our country is that people tend to look for the quick fix instead of the lifelong fix. As anyone who has gotten treatment for an Eating Disorder multiple times can tell you, our bodies don’t react well to swings in diet. There is a reason that so many Anorexics end up with either Bulimia or Binge Eating Disorder. If you swing back and forth between those extremes enough, the body not only decides that it needs the high calorie extremes, but also that it has to hold on to the excess. I feel like that may be part of why places where everything is too far to walk or bike to people seem to end up heavier. I think the whole 80/20 diet exercise split is just creating more issues for a lot of people. I do think that if you are doing the right kinds of exercise it doesn’t need to take more than five percent of your day. But I don’t think that enough people out the effort in to making exercise a priority.

I think that is a significant difference between the state I live in and many others. Even those people who are not outdoor enthusiasts find ways to get out and exercise when we get warm days in fall and winter. The desire to be able to do those things whenever the opportunity is there seems to help keep people active year-round instead of saying it’s winter, it’s too cold, I don’t want to go outside.

I know that food does play in to it sometimes, but I think we give it too much power. Most of the issues I know of with food can also be fixed by increasing exercise. Exercise has the ability to keep our weight under control, moderate our hormones, lift our spirits, keep us limber, and get rid of toxins. The diet we eat, on the other hand, only dies that when there is a certain amount of consistency to it. That consistency is hard to maintain if every diet you try tells you to eat a different kind of food, a different number of calories, or at certain times during the day. All of those things are more likely to mess up your body’s own internal clock and then when you had in things like the lights we use at night, our bodies become thoroughly confused.

I guess what I am trying to say is however you choose to eat or exercise, the most important thing is to be consistent with it. I am not a doctor, but my doctor did recently tell me that all my blood work looked  amazing, better than they could even get it with medication. In the past six months, I have been fairly consistent in both my diet and exercise, and I am the healthiest I’ve ever been.

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