The Millennial Health Dilemma and What to Do About It
As Millennials, it seems like we literally have everything going against us.
We started our careers around the time of the Great Recession. Not only that, but this was perfect timing for massive student loans and high unemployment. We are the most over-educated, under-employed generation in history. We have more anxiety, stress, and depression than any generation at this time in their lives. We are expected to work harder, make less money, and do it with a smile on our faces. Not only that, but we grew up on a fast food diet. I don’t know about you, but I remember 29 cent hamburger Wednesdays and 39 cent cheeseburger Sundays from good ole McDonalds. In fact, I was the certified Number 1 “Hamburgler” of all time. Nine cheeseburgers in one sitting you say? No problem, I’d answer. And yes, that is a legit title I bestowed upon myself. But seriously, fast food has basically ruled our lives. High fructose corn syrup came out in the 1970’s and hit its stride just in time to fundamentally wreck our lives. So, the fact that diabetes is on the rise, Millennials are having more strokes than people at this age ever have before, and many of us are obese, sedentary, depressed, pre-diabetic, etc. I’m just going to stop here and say basically WTF.
But guess what? That’s not an excuse. We need to take a long, hard look in the mirror. Who is truly to blame for where you are in life? Who is the reason you skipped that last workout? Who is at fault for why you ate that extra piece of cake? How did that final beer make you feel? No one made you do that. While the odds are stacked against us, we can’t let that hold us back. Perhaps you’ve heard of people, who despite incredible odds, have persevered and not only reached, but obliterated their goals.
Did you know that Jim Carrey was once homeless?
Or that a man named Jean-Dominique Bauby suffered a massive stroke at 43, leaving him paralyzed. He then went on to write a number one bestseller, “Diving Bell and the Butterfly?”
Or perhaps Marc Zupan, who lost all four limbs from an accident caused by a drunk driver, and then went on to win a gold medal at the paralympic wheelchair rugby competition?
So, how can we actually make some positive changes in our lives? Well, let me tell you a part of my story. In college, I was in good shape, eating relatively healthy, and working out daily with the triathlon team. However, as soon as I graduated and got a desk job, the downward spiral began. The pounds piled on. I started to get some real chub on my belly, my energy bottomed out, I got very depressed, and I felt completely lost in life. I worked out on and off, ate healthy on and off, but I was really struggling, even if no one could tell. Have you ever felt that way? On the outside, everything looked fine, but on the inside I was dying. I took antidepressants for a time, but they were not working very well for me. I really hit rock bottom. I was unemployed, exhausted, miserable, and did not have any direction for my life. I was pretty much hopeless. I began to overspend and wracked up a massive amount of debt. I was in a really bad place, not valuing my life at all. Existing everyday became an extreme challenge.
I started to listen to Podcasts for self-help and read self-help articles. They helped pull me off of my funk and I very slowly managed to start to get myself to the gym, which always helped. I decided to just get up early 3 days a week no matter what and go to the gym. What if I was tired? No excuse. Feeling sick? Forget about it. Lazy? Not a chance, mister. After a couple months of working out 3 mornings a week, no matter what, I had built myself a healthy habit that stuck. The real game changer happened a couple months after I developed my workout routine. Still listening to podcasts, I eventually stumbled upon the most counterintuitive way of eating I had ever heard of. I had always been a believer in the traditional talking line of what is healthy and what isn’t. This was something totally different.
Things truly turned around for me when I began this lifestyle shift. I started eating a low carb, high fat diet, meditating, and exercising consistently. Slowly, I felt better and better. Things started going my way a little bit more often. Then when my wife and I decided to launch fully into this crazy diet that says to do literally the exact opposite of everything doctors and the media tell you, my life took a total 180 turn for the better. We started eating a ton of avocados, coconut oil, butter, ribeyes, 80/20 ground beef, leafy greens, asparagus, bacon, eggs, and oh so many eggs. Did I mention eggs? Which I love, by the way. And cheese! Cheese for days! Once we were in ketosis, the benefits came hard and fast. The most noticeable thing for me was extreme mental clarity. Then the energy came next. After that, I started to get more lean. I could suddenly see my six pack again, just like in college! I started to feel amazing and happy with my life. My wife’s IBS symptoms disappeared within the first few weeks. My mental fog was lifted, my depression was drastically reduced, and I started becoming more productive, in all areas of my life. I am now stronger than I have ever been, deadlifting 330 pounds, happier, healthier, and getting things done! If you like getting things done, then man, have I got advice for you! I have discovered that in order to form a healthy habit, you need to do two things:
Whenever you feel like quitting, repeat a personal mantra to yourself, and visualize what life will be like if you follow through on your habit
Make your thoughts about your habit unemotional
What I mean by this is, don’t think, “Oh man, I don’t want to go to the gym today. I don’t feel like it.” Just acknowledge that, then move on. Realize today is a gym day and nothing can stop you.
This ketogenic lifestyle has fundamentally transformed my life and my wife’s life, and we have never looked back since. If you want to make this change to your life as well, just know that it is never too late! Use what the world is throwing at you to turn you fat and miserable, and let it fuel your fire to get healthy. I am going to persevere and succeed despite the fact that there is all this crap out there trying to hold me down. Can’t stop me now!