Nutrition versus instant gratification

Tara Applegate

Each week I am given the opportunity to sit down with new clients (and old) and talk to them about nutrition. Nutrition: It’s an umbrella that finds itself with 1,000 definitions depending on the person. Nutrition: It is a word that is often inaccurately synonymous with diet and can inspire as many heated reactions and debates as discussing religion or politics.

So what is it about nutrition that is so radical, so intriguing? What is it about nutrition and about wellness that always leaves us asking the questions, “What did so and so do to lose weight, or what is this new ‘x’ diet I’m hearing about?”

There are two kinds of people: Those who know exactly what they should do but don’t do it, and those who know very little about nutrition or the physiological effects of food on the human body. We have entered an age of instant gratification to such extremes that we no longer need to go any further than our computer to meet a spouse, learn a new chili recipe, invest or lose all of our finances, or travel abroad. If we have to wait longer than 10 seconds for a web page to load, we click out of it. So when it comes to diet, exercise, wellness, changes and transformations, we want them and we want them right now.

What we fail to remember is that we didn’t get the way we are in an instant nor will it be fixed in an instant. I recently read an interesting article on will power. There are two different views on how it works. Some people view it as a limited resource that exhausts itself every time we call upon it. Others view it as something that accumulates and becomes stronger, building on itself every time we use it. Can you guess which outlook makes you more successful in the conquest to change your health?

We often talk about the importance of finding your “why.” Your “why” must surpass superficial boundaries and be strong enough to withstand any ongoing changes when things get hard, or boring, or slow. Rarely is “looking good in a swimsuit” a strong enough reason “why” to make lasting life changes over the long term. Reasons like being at your child’s wedding, or not traveling down the same disease riddled path of your family history seem to be stronger impetuses for change. Quite frankly, you need to find a reason why that fuels a fire inside you. That makes you angry enough to not want to live like “x” for another minute.

I can tell you within 10 minutes of someone’s first nutrition consultation if someone is truly ready or not. I can tell you whether or not they’re willing to put in the work and change their lives. If so, they will succeed because they’ve already decided they will. These people are ready to execute a plan. They have an outcome goal. They have small, calculated goals to meet in the meantime. Most importantly, they have an inextinguishable spark inside them to do what it takes.

Physical fitness is an undeniably important aspect of overall health. Your diet (read: not a diet) is the other 80 percent. Genetics make up the rest. Nutrition is 80 percent. Percentages like that are virtual guarantees that you are what you eat. You can either choose to treat yourself medicinally with food or crush yourself with toxins, pollutants and artificial products that leave yourself overindulged but starved for nutrients.

It’s time to take matters into your own hands. Become educated in the ways that food can transform not only your body’s appearance but functionality. Learn how your food choices can transform your energy, your outlook and your wellness. It is not a coincidence that by merely changing a diet we can help treat autism, ADHD, depression, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, Crohn’s disease and an ongoing list of autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. Hippocrates said it best, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine thy food.”

Tara Applegate is a coach at Defiance Strength and Conditioning.

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