Minneapolis just cannot make up her mind in May—last weekend it was ninety-one degrees. This week it’s rainy and gray and in the fifties, and it’s staying that way for at least the rest of this week. I’m cuddling up in my chunky sweaters and seeking out some thought-provoking material to sit with me on the couch until it’s warm enough to be outside again. The upside is that I sought out a great new-to-me podcast, and found an episode that’s really worth listening to.
The podcast is called Harder to Kill Radio – Forging Unbreakable Humans. It’s put on by Steph Gadreau of Stupid Easy Paleo, the awesome lady who was also behind the Women’s Strength Summit I wrote about earlier this year. The episode you should seek out specifically is number 52, entitled How to be Healthy in an Unhealthy World with Pilar Gerasimo. Pilar Gerasimo is the founder of Experience Life Magazine, a health and fitness magazine associated with LifeTime Fitness. If you’re a LifeTime member you receive the magazine, and if you’ve never read it you really should. Pilar brings a great focus on whole-life health, meaning that she and her magazine focus on mental stability, healthy eating, environmental sustainability, and general happiness and well-being on top of general physical fitness. Pilar and Steph’s conversation throughout the hour of this podcast is easy and enjoyable to listen to, and meanders through so many topics that will give you good food for thought. Plus, these two women just get along so well that you can hear the genuine delight in their voices several times throughout the hour when one says something that really resonates with the other.
One of Pilar's key messages is that being healthy is a revolutionary act. She bases this on the fact that our society creates far more unhappy, unhealthy people than happy, healthy ones. And, on the simple truth that if you go out into the world and make healthy choices you're going to find yourself swimming upstream a lot of the time. Our culture isn't set up to make healthy choices easy, and if you dedicate yourself to making those choices anyway, Pilar argues you're engaging in revolutionary activity. She's built a website and an app around this idea, and you can learn more about these here.
Another idea that really resonated with me is the concept that finding your motivation in being healthy itself, rather than looking a particular way, or weighing a certain amount, or achieving a specific athletic feat, is a far more sustainable and fulfilling approach than seeking a specific result. I'm very goal-oriented, so naturally my fitness goals are often tied to aesthetic and achievement goals (I want to see more muscle definition, I want to finish X race in X time, etc.). Those goals can be positive and highly motivating in the short term, but the idea that lifelong health is a pursuit spanning many decades, and that it will look different some years than others, but the key is to stay healthy and happy in the long run, is...liberating. The title of the podcast itself is actually all about this concept--Steph's goal, at base, is to become harder to kill. To be an unbreakable human. That involves being strong and fit and healthy and happy--it doesn't necessarily involve a beach body or a specific dress size. Pilar shared that when she gave herself the space to just focus on becoming healthier through her choices (both mentally and physically) she relaxed into a sustainable lifestyle that in turn led to physical changes she was happy with. Essentially, when she stopped stressing and obsessing about her body and just tried to be healthier overall, her mental and physical wellbeing improved and she had a chance to see what her body looked like when it was healthy and fit (and rested, and loved). And she liked it.
I highly encourage you to take the time to listen to this episode. And if you enjoy it, also download the previous episode of the same podcast, with guest Dallas Hartwig (co-creator of The Whole 30) because it is also excellent. Enjoy!