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A health revolution versus revolutionary health


One big question that anyone faces when starting a new exercise or health regime — like intermittent fasting, exercising at lunchtime, or just eating more veggies — is how to fit it into ‘everyday life’. Answering the question successfully is key to making a lasting change, versus one that falls by the wayside, but integrating a change into work and family commitments is a challenge, and not one that can be resolved simply by ‘trying harder’. (Let’s face it: ‘just try harder’ rarely enables anyone to achieve anything.)

Intermittent fasting, running before work (or at lunchtime), eating more veggies, and moving more during the course of my day are all things that I’ve been trying to integrate into my life over the past year. When I started running to work, I got into the office absurdly early so that I wouldn’t be seen in my running gear, or eating porridge at my desk. When I started intermittent fasting (12 hours overnight, so at the pretty tame end of what others might achieve), I made excuses for not having dinner with colleagues during late nights, or skipped breakfast (normally my favourite meal of the day!) in order not to be obviously not eating with the group.
But why? Why such a sense of secrecy or shame about self-care that made me healthier, happier, and more productive?

As I’ve started to get the value out of these activities and life choices, I’ve started to be bolder about them. I’m happy to go out running at lunchtime now, and people can live with seeing me in my Lycra and with wet hair afterwards. I’ll just say, “I fast for 12 hours a day” when people look at me askance for eating dinner at 6pm at my desk before heading home. I’m going to take a kneeling chair into the office soon, to help get away from being stuck in one position throughout my desk-bound hours. Because why the hell not?

I ran across an interview with Pilar Gerasimo a few days ago, and her message really hit home for me. (It’s an August 2014 interview at The Health Bridge, but hardly goes out-of-date. You can also get it on the podcast, if YouTube doesn’t suit.) Pilar articulates precisely the sort of attitude I’ve been slowly feeling my way towards manifesting: health as a revolutionary act. In fact, on Experience Life  there is a list of 101 small revolutionary acts that can act as stepping stones along the way.
This is far more radical than the notion of joining a “health revolution” that is supposedly happening all around us. ‘Superfoods’ may be becoming ubiquitous, exercise trends like HIIT more commonly known, and wearables and self-tracking more widespread, but what are the real outcomes of those changes on the health of the wider population? Probably not as significant as we might think.

Joining a health revolution suggests leaping on a bandwagon; being a health revolutionary suggests modelling the change you want to see in the world. Number 93 on Pilar’s list is “Be responsible for yourself”. That means owning the decisions that promote (or demote) health in our lives, and being accountable for them. And that in turn means not shying away from manifesting those decisions in public and making them be ‘everyday life’. 


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