"Healthy or Unhealthy": The Battle of the Binary

May 19, 2019


(Photo by Katie Smith on Unsplash)


For me, mindfulness means knowing your goal in something and showing respect for the spectrum of possible methods for attaining that goal.


It means that if you’re prioritizing a particular desire of yours, that you’re putting in the diligence of learning more about what it takes to get what you want.


For example, health consciousness is gaining a lot of momentum, especially in certain locations such as the west coast of the US.


How many times have you or someone you know talked like this?


“Do you want to eat at the new taco place on Wilshire?”


“Is it healthy?”


“Yeah, the website says so!”


“Oh cool, let’s go then!”


I realize that analyzing everything too much would melt our brains and render us useless, not being able to take action in a reasonable time.


Yet people are making things out to be binary (yes or no; black or white) when we all know that such a thing is make-believe.


If you’re going to prioritize your health and are debating whether something is “healthy or not”, then take a moment to think about what healthy looks like for you based on what you know right now.


I don’t mean “what you know” as in what scientific knowledge or health certifications you have; I mean the reason you prioritized your health in the first place.


Did you have a health issue such as obesity, chronic fatigue, depression, injury, or other trauma? Or are you simply hoping to gain muscle or feel more energetic every day?


Are you “being healthy” because you think appearing unhealthy will be bad for your reputation? That is more than okay, we are all doing this somewhere in our lives constantly. We’re social creatures.


My point is that optimizing your health means looking at YOUR health specifically. Based on your reason for paying more attention to it, or your end goal - who or what can teach you more about how to get your desired state?


Ask a knowledgeable friend. Research online blogs, courses, and health journals for potential avenues. Hire a trainer or coach if you’re super serious.


Basically, you want to learn about what categories you should be paying attention to, at the least. Then within those categories, learn what we know as a society about the levers you can pull to get the results you want.


Maybe the “healthy” tacos you want to go get are helpful if you want to lose weight, but will be detrimental if your goal is to gain lean mass.


Perhaps “going to the gym” isn’t the best for you, because the only gym in your area is terrible doesn’t make you excited to be there. Go for a run or buy a couple of dumbbells instead.


I realize that “being healthy” sounds like a lot of work.


That’s because it is SO vague!


It sounds like “being Superman”. How do you begin to accomplish such a task?


Don’t do that.


  1. Figure out how you want to feel every day.
  2. Then, deconstruct what is needed to be able to feel that.
  3. Finally, do what makes you feel better and better, even if initially you don’t like doing it.


Progress is so much more important than success. And progress means adding a little bit more every day, whatever that means to you.


It’s like Miley said - “There’s always gonna be another mountain… Ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side. It’s the climb.”


Once you climb to your first peak, you’ll be addicted.


And your first peak doesn’t have to be the ultimate goal. It can be a subgoal.


My suggestion, when it comes to winning the battle of the binary and achieving your version of “health”, is to focus on your inputs - not the outputs.


So if it is to lose weight, don’t focus on how many pounds you’ve lost. Focus on how many minutes you jogged today. Focus on what food you put in your body today.


Then, you may casually do weigh-in’s at a regular interval to see if you’re on the right track. If not, put your focus BACK on the inputs!


Speaking of being on the right track, it’s time to get back to the main purpose of this blog post.

This will probably be one of the more impassioned posts that you’ll read here, but I had to get it off my chest.

I humbly ask that you acknowledge that things are not “healthy or unhealthy” unless you’ve done the work to understand what your current goals are and what it will take to move towards them today.

That will change over time. You will change. And your sleep, food, and exercise will change based on your environment and the world.

Something that was “healthy” today may be “unhealthy” for ONLY YOU tomorrow in that it doesn’t aid you in your current goals.

Go forth and win the battle of the binary.

P.S. This has absolutely zero to do with gender selection, and you know it.

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