Nutrition |The Great Balancing Act


You’ve probably heard the saying “you are what you eat”, indeed, this may have been drilled into you from an early age - but how much attention do we honestly pay to this principle when we desire a delicious and convenient meal?

For some, eating is considered a necessary biological requirement — however, for most of us, food is a much more emotionally rewarding experience and the rationale of “you are what you eat” can quickly go out the window when you feel emotionally low and in need of a sugar rush!

That said, particularly when it comes to sugar, it creates a rollercoaster ride of peaks and troughs in terms of your energy levels.  Think of how caffeine-based energy drinks such as Red Bull provide a temporary burst of energy which boosts your energy levels through the roof, but then, the universal law of what goes up must come down kicks in and it leaves you feeling drained and depleted for the rest of the day as your energy levels crash.

It’s the same principle as if someone were to take a drug like ecstasy; the serotonin in their brain is stimulated to the point their neuroreceptors are overwhelmed with feel-good hormones - but then, the ‘comedown’ takes place, just as the tide flows in and out our bodies live in a perpetual state of balance - as even stuff that’s good for you such as exercise, vitamin tablets, or even water can be detrimental if you have too much of it.  

In the same vein, there are many benefits to consider a low calorie diet, but if the calories are too low, our bodies become out of balance, and so the body reacts in terms of going into starvation mode which ironically causes the body to hold on to fat for the survival of vital organs.  It’s all about finding balance.

The best way to approach this is to picture a bank account.  There are deposits and withdrawals.  The deposit nourishes and invests in your bank balance whilst the withdrawals detract and deplete from its health.  If there are too many withdrawals, the account becomes overdrawn, and you end up in financial trouble.

Using this metaphor for nutrition, it’s clear there are deposits and withdrawals to be made, as an example drinking aloe vera could be considered a deposit because you are investing nutrients that are going to replenish and revitalise your body, whereas eating a chocolate bar would be considered to be a withdrawal.  

Making the occasional withdrawal is fine, in this way, there is still an equilibrium.  However, if you are to withdraw more from this bank account, nutritionally, than you are putting in - that’s when you run into problems.  That’s when serious diseases start to occur.  

Think about that word for a moment; dis-ease.  It represents that your body is in a state of dis-ease; because it is out of balance.  No matter what your current condition of health, the way to ensure a healthy life, is to keep this bank account in check and balance the books!

Nutrition is important.  Equally important to what we put in our mouths, however, is how often and how intensely we move our bodies.  

Cardiovascular exercise is equally as important, as nutrition, in terms of having a healthy heart.  It sounds like a drag, but getting fit doesn’t have to be as arduous as it sounds.  Indeed there are plenty of fun ways to get into the “aerobic zone”.

Even a 20-minute walk at a moderate pace with some good music will do the trick to get you into the “aerobic zone”.  Aerobic exercise is extremely good for the body… as it pumps blood through our arteries, stimulates lymph flow, and brings fresh air into the lungs; there are also several mental and emotional benefits of exercise as a result of the endorphins released.

It’s never too late to start looking after your heart health, by getting regular exercise, and even if you are physically less-able there are a variety of modifications that can be made to exercises in addition to specialist equipment ensuring there’s always something you can do to improve the state of your health bank balance.  Indeed, one of the most universal and all-round forms of exercise that require very little equipment, and is accessible for all, is swimming.

In summary, the bank account of your health depends primarily on two things; the food you eat and the amount of exercise you undertake.  Hopefully, this simple metaphor of the bank account will inspire you to make better day-to-day choices and keep on top of this great balancing act.


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