Here is an experiment to try:

Log in to your banking account. Check how much money you have. Now log out, then back in, and check your balance again. Repeat this a few more times. I’m willing to bet my money that your money did not change as a result of multiple checks. And the point of this experiment? It’s this: Obsessing about things isn’t actually action. It rarely, if ever changes the circumstance you are obsessing about. There are dozens of examples of this in life, but none that hit as close to home for me as health and fitness.

We’ve become obsessed with obsessing about health and fitness. We argue, research, tweet, blog, think, try and then give up on countless health fitness theories on a daily basis, all in the name of chasing the promise of ‘health’.


Do you obsess about your health, weight or fitness1- NZIBS


Maybe we can blame the unrealistic goals people have of attaining 0% body fat with giant muscles, and the thought that our failure to achieve these goals must be a testament to our poor dedication and work ethic. Or perhaps it’s the wrong diet, or wrong workout, or the wrong grip when doing curls – who knows? Workouts are now more focused on who can punish themselves the hardest, to the point where vomit on the floor is even celebrated. Food is also transforming. It’s no longer about enjoying your meals as much as it is fueling the body. People are slowly forgetting how to eat, and as a result, eating is becoming a means-to-an-end – a way to control your body weight. And that’s it. Food is either fuel or a guilty bad habit.

Now, it is completely true that in my book Eat Stop Eat I talk about hormones, free fatty acids and how fasting sets up the ideal ‘fat loss metabolism’.However, it was more than just interesting science and a new style of eating (or not eating) that drove me to write that book – it was a desire to share a mindset, which is that health can (and should) be about being ‘dedicated but balanced’, rather than ‘obsessed and inflexible’. I call this the art of ‘detach and relax’ – and it’s one of the most important things I learned through fasting – the ability to focus your effort and attention, combined with the ability to scale them up and down as needed.

Health and fitness should be a part of your life, but it shouldn’t BE your life … at least, it doesn’t have to be. You can be incredibly focused during your workout and put forth an amazing amount of effort. But then you can detach and relax. Don’t take it home with you, don’t obsess about it.And don’t obsess about your food choices either; don’t let your food control you. After all, food is yours to be enjoyed. Learn to be patient and to take breaks from eating. You do NOT have to eat all the time, and you certainly don’t need to fast all the time either. Your food won’t disappear or become any less enjoyable because you waited. And really, a small amount of patience – a slight pause – is all most of us need to realize: “I don’t need this”, or “I can wait until dinner” or even “I can wait until tomorrow – I’ve had enough today”. Detach and Relax.

Eat less, move more, don’t be afraid to break a sweat every once in a while, and remember to be balanced. Give full focus and effort when it is appropriate. Be present during your workout session, but after that turn it off.

Some people may hate to hear this (and I know I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating):

“There is more to life than chasing 0% body fat, blood and puke in the gym and the macro-nutrients on your plate.”

-Brad Pilon. Reproduced for educational purposes.