Tonight I got a text from a frazzled friend as she was watching the latest food documentary, ‘What the Health?’. Direct quote: “I’m watching what the health on Neflix and it’s giving me so much anxiety”. She was freaking because apparently (I have not and will not watch it) 1 egg=5 cigarettes. O. M. G. Stop it right now. Also, on a semi-related note, I apparently smoked 10 cigs today. Hopefully, she turned it off and sought refuge in the humor of Michael Scott from the Office.

I consider myself an individualist when it comes to both exercise and nutrition. There is no “right” way to do something. We all have different interests, likes, backgrounds, etc. and these things shape the way we view nutrition and exercise. That’s why I get so fired up when fear shoots through normal people that take 90 minutes of their precious time to think they are bettering themselves when they end up afraid and feeling like they are killing their family by serving grilled chicken for dinner. The truth is that you have to have a healthy dose of PERSPECTIVE when watching these types of films. The filmmakers have an agenda. They state that and you should know what it is going in. You have to remember that this agenda is embedded in EVERYTHING you are watching. Every interview, study, pie chart, testimony, etc. is there to back up what they believe (and convince you to believe too). You can probably find data, research, studies to support almost every ‘diet’ or way of eating. There are studies, testimonies, etc. to support consumption of animal protein. Is one better than the other? It takes perspective. Do you eat 18 hot dogs per day or 3 Big Macs? Then maybe this documentary is just what you need to help you cut down on animal protein. Are you trying to build muscle and lose fat and enjoy grilled chicken or a steak? Turn on the grill! It all depends on your unique wants, needs, beliefs, and goals. We can go round and round nitpicking everything to death and claim meat has tons of antibiotics that are killing us and others say that we are made to eat meat but the ultimate question is, 'is this getting me closer to or further away from my goals?'. Another good question to ask is, "am I doing this because I really belive it or out of fear from something someone claimed to be true?".

Look at it this way….does the fact that I choose to attend a Methodist church give me a better chance of getting into Heaven than someone that chooses to attend a Baptist one? I certainly don’t think so, although some might (or vice versa!). It’s the same with eating. I choose to eat meat. I believe that I am doing right for my body based on my goals just like I choose the denomination of church I attend. I have clients that choose not to eat meat based on their goals and beliefs and that is JUST. FINE. I am not better than that client and they are no better than me. We have different perspectives and philosophies. You can find scientific support for both just like you can find scientific support for different forms of exercise. Some claim that if you do HIIT, you’ll greatly increase your risk of injury Others claim that if you practice Yoga, you’re not getting enough cardiovascular work and you might be at a higher risk for a cardiac event.. Is one better than the other? Sheesh, I don’t know, it requires perspective.

So my long-winded advice is this: don’t panic. Stop it. You’re doing fine. You do you…and that may require some research (from both points of view!) and self-experimentation before you find your sweet spot in both exercise and nutrition. YOU know what’s best for you. Don’t let Neflix (or me or anyone else) tell you otherwise 😊