A popular phrase by the warm and fuzzy feel better crowd is “It’s whats on the inside that counts”.  While having a great personality, and being kind to others is genuinely good, the notion that being a good person is based solely on these things is ignorant in my opinion. Lets break down of few of these cliche phrases and then tear them apart.

Is Beauty is only skin deep?

While vanity is one of the top reasons people improve their health these days, anyone who says “It’s whats on the inside that counts” as an excuse for being overweight and not taking care of their health obviously doesn’t know their physiology.  The reality is that while beauty may be a reflection of what we see on the outside, our outside appearance is a direct reflection of how well we have taken care of the inside.  Fat on the outside is a sign of disease on the inside, whether it be inflammation, diabetes, cardiovascular or many others, being over fat is a sign that you have taken your body for granted.  Skin health is influenced greatly by our diet and health.  Eating too many toxic and processed foods can increase blemishes and acne.  Liver stress can do the same and both can lead to premature aging of the skin.  A life of sloth can leave you without muscle tone and poor posture.  Not everyone can have a magazine cover body, but everyone can respect their bodies enough to wear a skin coated badge of health over their bones.

“I’m not hurting anyone else”

This is probably going to be the biggest shock to most of you.  How can a person not living a healthy lifestyle possibly negatively effect the people around them, their kids, or even their great grandkids.

  1. Peer pressure –  Whether you do it consciously or subconsciously, you influence the people around you every day.  Research has proven time and time again that most people are the average of the people they are around most.  Financially, socially, emotionally, we are all contagious.    The hardest thing for most people to deal with when trying to start a healthier lifestyle is their friends and family.  They find it embarrassing to have to turn down food or drinks, go to bed at a decent hour, or take supplements with meals.  We live in a society today that doesn’t support people improving themselves, we only support people staying within the norms we are comfortable with.
  2. Industry – Anyone who has bought organic food, free range chicken, grass fed beef, non toxic cosmetics or any health product can attest to living healthy is expensive.  In todays world the only real vote that counts, is the vote you make with every dollar you spend.  Industry adapts to the wants and needs of the consumer.  Every consumer who supports bad farming practices, toxic cosmetics, and poor food quality is voting for more bad things for the planet and our bodies.  The consequence is the un-healthy stuff gets cheaper and more abundant, and the good healthy things stay expensive and hard to find.  Imagine how cheap gym memberships would be if everyone had one.  Imagine how much cheaper organic food would be if the government started supporting it instead of taxing it extra.  Living a unhealthy lifestyle makes living a healthy one harder for everyone else.
  3. Second Hand Exposure – What I mean here is that people using poisonous products are exposing those around them.  It can be directly, like the guy at the gym spraying on half a gallon of axe body spray that’s loaded with testosterone killing phthalates that fumigate the whole locker room, or the neighbor who sprays their yard with herbicides and pesticides cycle into your ventilation system.  Or the long distance like women taking birth control that contaminate the drinking supply through from their urine.  Just like second hand smoke, people are getting second hand toxins from thousands of other sources every day.  Every product we use has to end up somewhere, and we all share the same air, water, and earth.
  4. Epigenetics – This is the science of what goes on above the genetic level.  In short, what we eat, and how we live effects which of our genes are turned on and off.  The important part here is that it also effects what genes are turned on or off in our offspring.  Science has finally proved that our genes are not the only things we pass on.  Our genes have a history of our lives added to them, and how we live can drastically alter the lives of not just our offspring, but up to 4 generations to come.

The moral of this story is that we all have a responsibility to take care of ourselves, inside and out.  We are at a pinnacle of modern science yet the health of the planet and the living things that populate it are on a fast decline.  We humans are at the front of the endangered species list, and no matter how nice and polite we try to be about it, if we don’t start taking responsibility and acting, it will be too late.  Start taking better care of yourself today, if not for you, for the rest of us.