Ask yourself 4 questions

By Ryan Andrews

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Feeling overwhelmed by all the nutrition and fitness advice out there? Here’s an easy 4-question guide to help you hack through the jungle of “information noise”.

Question #1: What qualities do I enjoy in food?

Think about taste qualities, colours, textures, amounts, where you get it, how much you spend on it, how it’s prepared, etc.

Question #2: How do I want to look and feel?

Be specific with this one. For example:

  • Do you value a lean and muscular body?
  • Do you want to prevent lifestyle related diseases?
  • Do you want to get out of bed every morning with lots of energy and no pain?
  • Do you want the immediate stimulation from processed foods?
  • Do you want to feel confident in your own skin?

Question #3: What do I value in life?

For example:

  • Do you value fair trade products?
  • Do you value a healthy body weight and blood pressure?
  • Do you value animal welfare?
  • Do you value a long life with family members?
  • Do you value your career and volunteer commitments?
  • Do you value competing in endurance or strength sports?

Question #4: Do my answers to the first three questions agree with each other?

These 4 questions and answers will:

  • Help you figure out exactly why you are living the way you live
  • Help you figure out why you choose the foods you choose each day
  • Tell you why you exercise or skip it on a regular basis
  • Tell you why your sleep schedule shapes up the way it does
  • Help you figure out why you eat the volume of food you eat each day

Lying tshirt smile

Here’s an example of how these questions might play out:

Question #1: What qualities do I enjoy in food?

I enjoy food that:

  • Doesn’t come from animals
  • Is produced in a sustainable manner
  • Contains lots of nutrients
  • Tastes good and is satisfying

Question #2: How do I want to look and feel?

I want to:

  • Feel energetic each day
  • Feel light and not weighed down with food
  • Look lean and fit
  • Feel strong and flexible

Question #3: What do I value in life?

I value:

  • Animal welfare and non-violence
  • Our planet
  • My health
  • Feeling good
  • Sleeping well each night
  • Preventing lifestyle related diseases

Question #4: Are my answers to the first three questions in agreement?

Yes.

A value-driven life

It’s possible to live according to our values. This is when we are living an honest life — a life with integrity. We are being true to ourselves and what we care about. We are authentic.

When we match up our values and actions, it’s hard to gripe about how life is unfair. When we know what we want, we need to achieve it, plain and simple.

If someone enjoys eating cheap food in high quantities, but they also say that they value sustainable agriculture and a healthy body, well, things aren’t matching up. They’d best do some reconciliation. Don’t you think?

Here’s an example of how these questions play out for someone who isn’t aligning their values and actions.

Question #1: What qualities do I enjoy in food?

I enjoy:

  • Food from fast food restaurants
  • Eating until I am extremely full
  • Food that is very sweet and salty
  • Food that is cheap
  • Alcohol

Question #2: How do I want to look and feel?

I want to:

  • Be “contest ready” with my physique
  • Feel light and in shape
  • Have ripped abs

Question #3: What do I value in life?

I value:

  • My body
  • My health
  • A long life with my spouse and kids
  • Sustainable agriculture

Question #4: Are my answers to the first three questions in agreement?

Ummm, not at all.

Biggest loser
Is it more important to watch healthy people on TV or live a healthy life?

In the previous example, you can see how this person’s values don’t match up with how they want to look and feel, nor what they enjoy in food.

Someone who really enjoys eating high amounts of food from fast food restaurants and drinking alcohol probably won’t have a lean and healthy body. They won’t be promoting sustainable agriculture or living a long life with their spouse and kids. This person should probably step back and reconcile. They are either confused or dishonest with one of their answers.

Remember, we choose our values. We choose what’s important to us. We can live in accordance with this each day. Moreover, allow your values to evolve – they’ll always be in flux.

So – in the end, it comes down to:

1. What do you like to eat?
2. What do you want your body to do?
3. What do you want the world to do?
4. Reconcile as needed

Is it time for adjustments?

“Integrity is what we do, what we say, and what we say we do.” – Don Galer

Learn more

To learn more about making important improvements to your nutrition and exercise program, check out the following 5-day video courses.

They’re probably better than 90% of the seminars we’ve ever attended on the subjects of exercise and nutrition (and probably better than a few we’ve given ourselves, too).

The best part? They’re totally free.

To check out the free courses, just click one of the links below.