Encarta defines “starve” as ‘to weaken or die because of hunger’ or simply ‘to be hungry; to feel deprived of a need’.
As Americans, the later is embarrassingly truer than in the rest of the world, but still we persist in our over indulgence, and in the conditioning of our culturally misguided and generally toxic diet.
As a woman, I’ve been on a diet since I was pre-pubescent and pre-obsessively conscious of the numbers on the scale and how they somehow signified an absolute value of beauty as female specimen.
Why We Eat For the Wrong Reasons
On the surface, this is how we exist, in our heads and in our stomachs. We eat, generally, not because we are physically starving for survival, but because we are trying to satisfy a psychological emptiness and also because food just taste so darn good!
As Americans, we’re addicted to food and the instant gratification we feel when eaten on our terms. This satisfaction is fleeting and all that we’re left with is an excess of calories that, for many of us, will turn into fat with a side of chronic bloated-ness, fatigue, constipation, guilt and self loathing.
The bottom line is our relationship to nutrition parallels our susceptibility to illnesses such as obesity and depression, as well as cancer, hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease and our ever-looming fate as a consequence of our nutritional ignorance and food addictions.
While lots of people take extreme dietary measures to increase their odds in living long happy healthy lives, you can be better than that. Do your research, dig deep and become self aware of what your body truly needs with respect to your current health, lifestyle and activity level.
To do so, you’ll need to focus on three key areas.
3 Areas to Focus for Optimal Health
1. The Body
Contrary to popular belief, the gastrointestinal system should be considered the engine of the human body, rather than the heart. Digestion is where the real magic takes place, a symphony of chemical and mechanical actions that distribute nutrients and vitality from food and liquid to cells by way of the bloodstream. As fantastic as this function is, the process can be easily disturbed.
If you feel sluggish and depressed, you can be sure that your digestive system is feeling it too. Even if you eat well now, your system may still be recovering from decades of abuse and toxicity that were unknown to you at the time.
Experts in nutrition suggest incorporating a significant amount of fiber from raw foods into your diet to cleanse and kick start your digestive system into getting the most out of what you eat. The book Clean: The Revolutionary Program to Restore the Body’s Natural Ability to Heal Itself, by Dr. Alejandro Junger, is a personal favorite on this subject.
2. The Breath
Breathing is the purest and most accessible form of meditation, yet we spend most of our day breathing shallowly and without consciousness.
Breathe, deeply and regularly. Meditate on your breath, become conscious of each inhalation and exhalation and the span between the two.
The cells in the human body need oxygen to not only survive but thrive. Humans by definition are aerobic and don’t have to move an inch to be so. We breathe intensely when we exercise because we need to, but try breathing deeply throughout the day, simply to enhance wellbeing.
3. The Mind
When you’re constipated and not breathing effectively it’s hard to be positive, but try until you become accustomed to a healthy routine.
You should know from your own experience that negative thoughts are unhealthy. For some of us, giving credit to others comes easily but to lift ourselves up with a self-compliment is another story.
Affirm yourself first and foremost, everyday, for who you are in this moment.
For the overly analytic and anxious individual something as simple as, ‘I am a thoughtful person and will redirect my thoughts toward good things’, can be very therapeutic and motivational.
For someone who is struggling with obesity, an effective affirmation could be ‘my mind is strong, I have a birthright to be healthy, and my body is listening.
As adults with busy schedules we usually put ourselves last on the list of priorities. Something as simple as being conscious of yourself, how you breathe and what you eat is a humble yet powerful gesture in improving your life.
Take a moment to re-establish who you are and your accomplishments. And remember, you’re not alone. Millions of people struggle everyday making healthy choices. Take advantage of the community and wellspring of resources you have at your fingertips. Read. Learn. Enjoy who you are. And for goodness sake, no starving!
A meta-psychosocial scholar of human development and nutrition, CC Larrabee originates from the eclectic mecca of Boulder, Colorado. Rooted in Americana, having traveled, explored and lived all across U.S., CC is a psychology graduate and zealous believer in the power of nature, holistic health and passionate occupation. Currently, CC dwells in a rural region surrounded by the great state of Texas… just a stone’s throw outside of Austin.
Photo by jhoc