As a coach, I often ask my clients, “why do you want to start this journey” and the majority of the time, it’s because they want to lose weight and feel better about themselves. They know that eating better and exercising will get them there, but they don’t realize all the added benefits of using food for fuel.
Food is indeed fuel for our bodies. It gives us the energy we need to survive. Without that energy, our bodies will not work right.
If we eat too little, our bodies shut down certain functions that we do not absolutely need to survive. For example, reproduction, some aspects of metabolism, and even brain function.
If we overeat, it can cause inflammation, hormone resistance, plaque to form on blood vessels, and blood pressure to increase.
But food is SO MUCH MORE than fuel.
Food also contains vitamins, minerals, water, fiber, and phyto- and zoo chemicals (nutrients found in plants and animal food sources). These things do not provide energy – or fuel – for our bodies, but our bodies would break down without them.
- Vitamin C can help control inflammation and cellular damage.
- Calcium is involved in transmitting nerve impulses and forming teeth and bones.
- Magnesium is essential for carbohydrate and fat metabolism.
- Phytochemicals offer DNA protection against free radicals.
- Zoochemicals can protect against heart disease.
And the list goes on and on. Thinking of food only as fuel for your body reduces food to gasoline and your body to a dumb machine.
Our bodies are SO MUCH MORE than machines. Our bodies are smart and complex!
Let’s use the gasoline and car analogy again.
If food is fuel for the car, aka your body, that means that you have a clear understanding of your input and output. You fill your tank, and you get XX miles until you run out of gas. It is pretty straightforward.
Research shows that all food is NOT created equal. And many factors affect how we digest, process, and use the food we eat.
So the value of food outside the body is not necessarily the same as the value inside.
Moreover, the human body will extract nutrients to keep us alive by any means possible. Your car will not drive itself to the gas station or eat its own headlights for fuel.
Our bodies are more than machines, and food is more than just fuel. Food is more than just carbs, proteins, and fats. It helps us to look, feel, function, and live our best.
As we take care of our insides by using food as fuel, our physical fitness improves as well. Physical fitness is SO MUCH MORE than how we look.
Physical fitness is the body’s ability to function with ease, perform sports and daily activities, and resist disease.
And your physical health also affects your mental and emotional health (you FEEL better after a workout) as well as your spiritual health (honoring the body you were given and being a good steward of it).
I challenge you to think about fitness and physical activity beyond the scope of losing a few pounds, looking good in a bathing suit, or having ripped abs.
Once we can get past this recent misconception about physical fitness, we can enjoy it for what it is; a way to function with ease and enjoy a better quality of life!
Sure, regular exercise will likely result in…
- stronger muscles (if you are putting enough stress on your muscles)
- less fat (if your diet is decent)
- a sustainable weight
- and healthier bones, joints, heart, and body in general
But working out builds more than muscle and a healthy body! In fact, a consistent exercise routine can help to build positive habits, improve your behavior and build character.
Habits are at the root of all lasting change, and healthy habits are the foundation of self-growth.
When you repeatedly do something day in and day out, you build confidence in being consistent and achieving big goals. Building healthy physical habits has multiple benefits on your development as an individual as well.
I know it can be SO TEMPTING to fall into the “go big or go home” trap when making lifestyle changes. But, when you first start on the road to building new healthy habits (like working out, changing up your diet, etc.), you’ve got a ton of motivation and excitement built up.
And you want to be ALL IN!
Which is fantastic, but eventually, the novelty goes away – and some of that motivation goes with it. Which means you’re stuck relying on willpower.
There are two problems with that. First, willpower is like a muscle – it gets tiring if you rely on it too much, and that can lead to quickly falling off track with your new habits. PLUS, your underlying lifestyle hasn’t been set up to support the long-term changes you are trying to create.
That’s where the power of HABIT comes in. When you slowly introduce changes to your lifestyle, you not only need to use less willpower, you also are building a STABLE FOUNDATION for an even more significant change!
The trick is to create small habits you can quickly build into your life, so you almost don’t notice they are there. If you’re ready to make a change, I’m here to help you learn and implement how to use food for more than just fuel! Can’t wait for more health and wellness tips? Why not join my VIP Membership. If you’re interested in working with me one-on-one, you can always book a call with me or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on being healthy at every age, grab my FREE “Healthy at Every Age” ebook.
My greatest passion is helping everyone achieve a healthier lifestyle, so why wait?