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Sunday, January 5, 2014

Have you just 'let yourself go'?

Have you just 'let yourself go'?  Interesting to think about, and I bet if you took a poll of the general population many would agree that they, or their friends, family members or loved ones have indeed 'let themselves go'.

It was a conversation just like this that started my thinking...hmmmm, maybe just maybe we need a different perspective on this.

I was running with a good friend the other day as she was recounting a conversation that centered around her brother.  Apparently in high school he played sports and was in relatively good shape. Now, some years later he is a good bit heavier and in pretty sad shape.

Sure she was talking about her brother, but this same conversation could have been about anyone.  In fact, I am sure that you could name at least 5 people right now who fit this same description.

Common thinking on our part as well as theirs, is that they just 'let themselves go'.

You hear this saying thrown about all the time, but what on earth does it mean?

I'm guessing that most people use it in a sense that refers to the 'giving up' or 'giving in'.  That whatever it was we used to do we don't do any more.

 "In high school I played football and baseball.  I'm 30 now and I haven't played sports in years.  I've really let myself go."

I don't think I would be far off with that assessment either.

Ok, here is the challenge to that paradigm.  What if 'letting yourself go' didn't carry with it the meaning of giving up on something, what if it meant more of a continuation of things???

Follow me for a minute.

In high school, sure you played sports (or maybe you didn't), you also stayed up late, ate too much junk food, and thought you knew everything.

Look at your life now--I'm betting that you 'let yourself go' on doing at least 3 of the 4 things I just mentioned.  How's that working out for you?

The continuation of things that we could get away with when we were younger may be exactly what derails us later in life.

Lack of sleep

Lack of sleep is linked to increased stress levels, weight gain, food cravings, impaired glucose and insulin functioning, and disruption to circadian rhythms.

In a nutshell, losing sleep causes us to feel hungry (even though we aren’t), increase our caloric intake, store more of these calories as fat and burn fewer calories throughout our day regardless of the exercise we do. We gain weight, become diabetic, and develop cardiovascular disease.  Sound familiar????

Eating junk food 

No surprise here, junk food isn't all that great for you when it comes to staying healthy or 'in shape'.  The problem is that most people don't realize just how much of what they are eating actually falls into this junk food category.

Candy bars, cookies, and ice cream are all easy to spot, but the other junk that goes around masquerading as real food is what we need to be aware of.  Those "healthy" boxed, prepared cereals, crackers, breads, and other convenience foods.. yep, pretty much in the junk food category.  And, NO, I don't care what the commercials say...

You may have been able to get away with eating them when you were younger, but not so much now. Guess what, that is because your body responds differently to them now.  Hormonally speaking your body is better able to store those things as fat as opposed to use them for immediate energy.

Let me say that another way, continuing to eat those things as a large part of your diet will make you fatter and fatter.  Period.  You're welcome.

Thinking you know everything 

Interesting how we think that just because we are older we know more than we did before.  Sure this may be true about some things, say for instance the job you have- you probably know more about it today than you did on your first day. But when it comes to your body and your health, I find that most people don't have a clue.

Not knowing which end is up with regard to your health and well-being can be a problem for sure, but the BIGGER problem is thinking you know everything about it when in fact, you do not.

No one is born knowing everything.  And certainly it is very challenging to know a lot about a lot of things.  That is why people specialize- to learn more about one or two things.  So stop thinking you know everything about your health and seek out someone who knows more and who may be able to help you.

So back to my point about 'letting yourself go'.  I propose that it isn't the giving up on what you did when you were younger that got you to where you are, rather the 'letting yourself go' on doing what you did when you were younger that has done it.  The continuation of things that no longer serve you.

All too often people are looking for what it is they need to do to make a change when all too often it is something they need to stop doing that will help the most.

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