Why You Should Look Beyond Physical Health | Deep Health
We often define "Being Healthy" as a short-term goal we may have.
I'm healthy if:
"I'm able to run 2.4km in under 10 minutes."
"I have six-pack abs."
"I get to my desired weight."
These are all great physical goals but do not fully encompass what being healthy actually means.
At Kairos Nutrition, we like to go BEYOND physical health and look at all aspects of the human experience.
We refer to this as "Deep Health" (coined by the nutrition certification organization Precision Nutrition).
So what exactly is Deep Health and how do you put it into practice? Let's find out!
Finding balance in all 6 aspects of health is the key to achieving Deep Health.
Have a long-term goal to guide your daily decision making.
In the grand scheme of things, don't sweat the small stuff.
What is Deep Health?
Deep Health is more than your weight, BMI, body fat percentage, max bench press, or how fast you can run 100m.
It's multi-faceted to include all aspects of life, not just the physical.
In our Kairos Nutrition program, we split health into 6 different aspects:
Problems arise when we get too caught up in only the physical and following "rules", we usually end up sacrificing the other parts of deep health (ie. sacrificing going out with friends in order to stick to your diet plan).
We may reach our intended physical goals and have physical health, but at the cost of emotional and relational health.
When it comes to deep health, balance should be the goal.
And more often than not, people who have found this balance tend to stick to their diet and exercise programs better and have greater physical health as a result.
You might have noticed people with supportive families, strong connections at their gym, or welcoming fitness communities. They are more likely to stick with their program. These are the people who have found the balance in THEIR deep health.
3 tips on practicing Deep Health
1. Have a long-term, overarching goal.
To have the correct mindset for Deep Health, we need to first think beyond our short-term goals. While there's nothing wrong with short-term physical goals, they cannot be the ONLY goal.
When we only have short-term goals, the results usually end in failure in the long-term.
This is because short-term goals are rarely sustainable in the long-term.
(How realistic or sustainable would it be to maintain your six-pack until you're 80 years old?)
Having a long-term goal:
helps us to stay focused on the big picture,
gives perspective to our short-term goals,
and helps us not get too caught up in the small stuff.
For example, if your overarching goal is to maintain fitness and mobility so that you can enjoy your old age, then not getting visible abs after a 5-week routine doesn't seem quite so detrimental but simply part of a larger plan.
2. Don't sweat the small stuff
Once you have a long-term goal in mind, this tip would be much easier to put into practice.
Often times, our short-term goals require us to make drastic and immediate changes to our routines and habits.
(ie, cutting down on carbs, reduce sugared beverages, going to the gym thrice a week, etc)
We often have to make sacrifices in order to keep to those goals, which causes a temporary imbalance in our Deep Health.
(ie, skipping the after-work drinks with colleagues so that you can wake up early for that gym session tomorrow.)
These sacrifices may be beneficial and necessary in the short-term. But in order to find balance in Deep Health, make the conscious decision to choose the "bad choice" once in a while.
We call this "don't sweat the small stuff" because, in the whole scheme of your long-term goals, this minor setback is comparatively small.
3. Prioritize your priorities
Having given you permission to "not sweat the small stuff", there obviously still needs to be a balance in how often you make those decisions.
What happens when there are a dozen "small stuff" vying for our attention? We can't possibly give in to ALL of them and expect to still be on track in our health and fitness goals.
That's where prioritizing comes in and also where our long-term overarching goal will guide us in our decision making.
Prioritize based on which activities will be most beneficial towards our long-term goal, and foregoing the activities that only bring short-term results.
For example, if close family relationships are important to you, and the reason you want to be fit and healthy is to be able to maximize your enjoyment with them, then temporarily foregoing your diet or exercise plan to have a fun weekend might be beneficial.
Conversely, staying up late to finish binge-watching the latest Netflix TV show might not be as beneficial as we first thought when using our long-term goal as a gauge. In this case, letting it de-rail our progress might not be as worthwhile as our previous example.