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Riddle Me This, Riddle Me That: When the Path to Better Health Seems like a Labyrinth

I use to believe that the road to better health existed throughout a treacherous labyrinth and that in order to get anywhere, I’d have to answer riddles, face demons, and be committed to sticking it through even when I was tired, worn down and ready to give up.

I was right.

The truth is: when I made up my mind 9 years ago that I was going to turn the state of my incredibly poor health around, I did have to answer riddles, i.e. what foods are best for my body? What does “health” mean to me? What is my body capable of? What the hell is in my food?

I had to face demons: using food as a coping mechanism has certainly been one of my most pressing demons. Holding my body accountable to unrealistic standards and forgetting optimal health is my goal rather than a specific weight, has been another.

Getting tired and wanting to give up? Check! It happened (happens!) all the time.

You know what else happened?

I began to acquire an arsenal of tools to help guide me. These tools actually made the labyrinth not seem so scary. I began to understand that I would never know everything (& that’s fine! Life is soooo boring if you know everything!) and I would never be guaranteed not to face another demon (so I learned how to kick box those bastards) or to get tired (who knew that exercise actually makes me less tired?!). What I could count on was that I would persevere.

How? What can you do to prepare yourself when you decide to take the journey to better health? These are my top three tips:

  • Become active, engaged & curious about health. Start reading about health, nutrition and food politics. I always recommend Marion Nestle’s book “Food Politics” as a starting point. I love the blog Fooducate, too. Want to watch some interesting documentaries? Try Food Inc., Forks Over Knives and Supersize Me for starters.
  • Start asking your body questions & listening. I know that sounds weird, but all of our bodies are different and we can only begin to understand how to reach optimal health if we know what is optimal for our unique body. So, ask yourself how you feel after eating different foods. Jot it down. Do you crash after eating refined carbs? Do you have a reaction to dairy? Listen.
  • Be your own advocate. Do you think your doctor doesn’t listen to you? Switch doctors! Does your grocery store not carry organic produce? Talk to the produce manager. Does your school or office only have junk food vending? Holla’ at us!

And, it works. Sure, I lost a person in pounds. What’s more? I gained my health. Now tell us, what are your tips for better health?

skelly

Biomedical Engineer who earned his degree from The Johns Hopkins University & Columbia University. Named one of Forbes’ Top 30 Under 30 in 2013. Co-Founded America’s first Pure Play healthy vending company in 2003.
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