I had a class in college that I will never forget, because it completely changed the way I looked at the information that is constantly being fed to me by social media, television networks, heck even peer reviewed documents. The class was called consumer health and it was a critical thinking class about how to determine if information was reliable vs. information (and the people behind that information) that had a personal agenda.
In the world we live in today, and from the comments I see on social media, everyone seems to have an agenda. People claim it is selfless, but in reality it is usually personal. I’m not suggesting that this isn’t human nature and that it is always wrong, but I am suggesting that you are always critical about the information you are receiving and not so quick to believe something, just because it sides with something that you want to be true. I am not saying that it is bad to find a cause you believe in, or that it is wrong to have opinions. We all have them, and we live in a country where we are so very blessed to be able to yell our opinions from the rooftops without being murdered or imprisoned. Which is privilege that seems to be over looked sometimes.
This whole blog was going to be strictly health oriented, but in our present cultural climate I think it is appropriate to relate to all platforms. I first want to give my personal “come to Jesus” moment, if you will. It was around four years ago now, I was training for my fitness competition. I decided I needed a break from running and I wanted to check this off of my bucket list. I was lifting weights and doing a cookie cutter diet or low carbs (around 30 grams a day by the end). I was exhausted, I was skinny and I didn’t look particularly muscular. Then, something crazy happened. I quit getting leaner. My progress just stopped. I was eating 1,000-1,100 calories a day and I couldn’t lose anymore fat. I was dumb founded. Then I decided to look for information and I found that this was common with people who were calorie restrictive (and even though I was doing it for a competition, it wasn’t healthy). I started listening to and watching every single thing I could on counting my macronutrients and metabolic damage. I was seeking out as much information as possible. Dr. Layne Norton opened my eyes to a whole new world of nutrition and science. The kicker is that I would have never figured any of this out if I wouldn’t have been hungry for knowledge, and not just the knowledge that was being given to me by others. It was knowledge I needed to find out and research for myself. Because of taking that class in college I knew that I wanted to find information that was scientific, had statistics, and was from a professional (preferably with experience in the field and a degree). Being aggressive in information finding completely changed my life and philosophy on nutrition.
My point in telling you that story is that if I hadn’t made that change in my life, I would have been stuck. If I wouldn’t have been willing to change my thought process, I wouldn’t have grown. If I wouldn’t have grown, I wouldn’t be able to help people be healthy, because I wouldn’t have known what I know now. The life experience I had, will now save other people from having to go through the same thing.
I have my own set of personal beliefs, and I’m not afraid to talk about them in a personal setting and in a way that is loving and respectful. But, this is not a blog for my personal beliefs; it is a blog to help you make sure that yours are rock solid. It is to ensure that you aren’t being stubborn for the sake of being stubborn. Opinions about things change and grow as we grow and go through new experiences. Don’t be afraid to change your mind. Don’t be small-minded and don’t be afraid to oppose a popular opinion. Just do it in an educated way, and in a way that people will respect.
So, I want you to ask yourself some of these questions whenever you read something or want something to be true or find yourself in a desperate place.
*Questions specifically about health/diet/health products
Is this FDA approved?
What is my motive behind doing this diet/taking this pill?
Is this proven to be safe for my body?
Am I trying to cover up bigger problems? What should I be facing about myself?
Is the person giving me advice someone who is a professional?
Does this information source/person have an alterative motive? I.e. selling magazines, making money
Am I understanding how to human body works?
*Life in general
Do I understand this statistic?
Do I understand how this statistic was come to?
Does this information benefit a certain organization because of shaming someone else?
Who is benefiting from this information? Who is being harmed?
Why do I believe this?
What is the history of the person behind this message?
Do I know facts about people who oppose this?
Is this information coming from a biased source?
Am I educating myself in an unbiased way even when information is personal?
I’m sure there are many more questions to ask yourself, but these were the ones that resonate with me right now. I hope this post is read with positivity and not in defense. I am only trying to create critical thinkers. We get so wrapped up in our world that we easily forget that we are all people and that people make mistakes, people are emotional, people do things out of rage, people are people. We are all sinners.
With love and many miles,