Everyone knows that proper nutrition is key to your overall health. A good diet that makes you feel energized, happy, and healthy goes a long way when it comes to looking and feeling good. With increasing awareness to eating disorders and the problems that can arise from over and under eating, the health industry has started to bring awareness to viewing food as proper fuel to an engine. And although I strongly concur with this mindset, I challenge the idea that although food is fuel, fuel is not always food. Fuel is found in so much more than what you eat.
What do you mean by this?
Although a good diet, and ample exercise makes us feel healthy physically, we still can be ill mentally. Physical health and proper nutrition are key ingredients in the recipe for a happy, healthy lifestyle but like a cookie recipe, a little too much of either can become a bad end result. Obsessive exercising and obsessive scheduled eating may bring you your goal weight, but how does you overall life look? How do you treat others around you? Are you truly happy or are you just incredibly scheduled?
It’s an easy thing to get caught up in. Especially being in the fitness industry; physical goals can become so dialed in that you disregard so much around you. I have been there before. Where I am tracking and thinking about each unhealthy food I am eating. I have always been fascinated by sports nutrition, how food makes us tick and how I personally thrive off of what I eat. I’ve never been out of control, but I have had times in my life where I find myself often thinking of how I am going to structure each day in exercise and eating. It’s a sense of control. A desire to compete and reach a goal that becomes a little too attributed to my diet. To understand food is fuel is one thing, but to treat it like it’s magic can become toxic. With time, I realized that carbohydrate loads didn’t always bring about great races/games, and low fat diets didn’t always shred me up for a photo shoot. Over time I have come to the conclusion that food isn’t the only part of the equation and won’t always be the magic answer to fuel me.
So what is?
In 2019 I started to have food allergies. I took a blood test and the results showed I was sensitive to over twenty different foods. ALL the foods I had been eating! I was shocked. How could the very foods that once made me feel so good, so energized, so lean, and so happy now hurt me? I had several months of confusion after cutting the foods out and still not experiencing any improved health. I decided to go to a gastroenterologist. He told me nothing was wrong with me, I was just stressed. Stressed! Are you kidding me? Stress was causing me to bloat, and have stomach pain with everything I ATE? It was a hard lesson to learn, but it really allowed me to understand that health is a way bigger picture concept. It’s bigger than the workouts, it’s bigger than the diets, restrictions and binges. It is about your overall satisfaction with life.
How do you connect with your body?
How do you move in a way that makes you feel challenged yet complete?
How do you spend time feeding your spirit man and your soul?
How do you enjoy the little moments?
How do you set boundaries and how do you love others?
How do you connect with your Creator?
I have realized more in the last year how health is way broader than throwing down barbells and eating your greens. FUEL is work and fuel is also rest. Fuel is fellowship and fuel is a goodnight’s sleep. Fuel is more than food. Fuel is engagement with every little breathing thing around me. Fuel is gratitude, and fuel is love. So, the next time you’re disappointed in a crappy workout, or a bad number on the scale and want to blame food as your only source of fuel, think about your whole life. What are you guarding and what are you not giving up? What do you need more of and what do you need less of? How can you energize yourself with the things that set your soul on fire?