“But you don’t have to take my word for it.” ~Lavar Burton, Reading Rainbow
As a health and wellness coach and author, I put a lot of information out there with the intent of helping people. Believe it or not, the last thing I want you to do is blindly take my word for it. What I really want you to do is, take the information and the personal real life examples I give you and make a decision based on how you feel about it. If I say omitting wheat from your diet can improve your health, you don’t have to believe me but maybe it might inspire you to try it for a month or so. Then you can make your own decision. I’m not going to get mad a you if you write me one day saying, “Yeah I tried your crazy diet and I actually got fatter!” (Chances of this actually happening are pretty slim.) Hey, you gave it a shot and it didn’t work. Sorry I could’t help. This is what I mean by not taking someone’s word for it. You actually found out for YOURSELF!
I recently was chatting with someone via text who was complaining that she had been sick and had to go to the doctor. I inquired about what the doctor had to say. Her response was, “I don’t know. He gave me a prescription.” Of course I followed up with asking what the prescription was. “I don’t know.” I was blown away. I questioned her decision to follow the suggestion to take an unknown drug for an unknown reason and she responded with, “Well, he is a doctor.”
Blindly following advice could get you in trouble. You could end up taking a drug that has worst side effects than the sickness you are taking it for. You could invest all your money into a retirement account only to lose it all. You could buy into a ineffective program and waste your time and money. You could end up seeing a terrible Nick Cage movie.
Over the years I have developed a process that helps me decide whether to believe in something or not. I find that applying all three of the questions below works best but individually, they are strong enough to stand on their own.
1) What does your gut tell you?
If I have an idea or thought about something, regardless if it is popular or not, I hold on to it and consider it very probable. I remember all the way back to elementary school when I was the class dummy. There were these super smart kids that got A’s in everything. Some would even take a bus to another school on occasion to take special smart kid classes. My teacher would refer to them as “gifted.” Then there was me, barely passing. Not only could I not do a book report right, I didn’t even know what one was. I never understood that it was just a personal summary of the book. Oh, and that you actually had to read the book you were doing the report on.
Even with my terrible grades and inability to comprehend anything as evidence, I refused to believe that I was a dummy. I knew it deep down in my soul that I was just as smart and those damn “gifted” kids. As an 11year old kid, I had the theory that everyone was gifted and that those gifts didn’t have to have anything to do with school.
Not even one year out of high school I found myself being the one standing out in class. I was in the Air Force Heating and Air Conditioning Tech School. I’ll never forget the instructor telling me, “You are really good at this.” I knew it!
2) Do two people you consider credible sources agree with you?
I always had this thought that walking was one of the best exercises you can do. I didn’t have an explanation for it. I even considered it to be magical. Then one day I read a book by someone who might be considered a quack. (He is currently incarcerated. Yikes!) Kevin Trudeau’s book ‘Natural Cures “They” Don’t Want You to Know About’ was an awful book that had a bunch of crap in it. I did feel that he made some good points in it though. One was that you can’t publicly say that anything other than an FDA approved drug can cure a disease. (I later found this to actually be true.) Another was that walking was the best exercise of your body because it was what your body was designed to do. I liked this and kept it in the back of my mind for many years.
Next up was Dr. Andrew Weil. He was credible source number two. A couple years after Trudeau’s book I read one of Dr. Weil’s. In it I read how he considered walking one of the best exercises we can do. That was all I needed. I was sold.
If you don’t like any of my credible sources, that’s ok. You don’t have to. This is what I believe, not you. Find your credible sources for whatever you want to believe. For the record, this was way before I was “Primitive Dave.” In recent years more people, people I consider VERY credible, have come out with books and information about the tremendous benefits of walking. People like Mark Sisson, Erwan Le Corre, and most recently Katy Bowman. You see, even if my credible source weren’t so credible, in the long run my belief in walking turned out to be accurate.
3) What does your personal experience tell you?
So, one of the reasons why I believed so strongly in walking was because while on a military assignment in Italy one year, out of boredom, I started waking an hour a night. I was baby sitting equipment on an airport tarmac and had nothing better to do. I lost like 20 pounds on that assignment. You understand I was in Italy, right? I was a young man, a lifetime away from being the primitive man I am now. Pizza and beers were abundant while I was there. The only thing I had going for me were those nightly walks. This experience is what planted the seed.
Many years later, about the time I read Andre Weil’s book, I started walking again and, again, a bunch of weight came off. Couple years after that, I went to live Guanajuato, Mexico where I ate Mexican food every day, drank beer every day, and made it a point to try every bakery I could find in the city. Technically, I should have ballooned up but I didn’t. Why? I didn’t have a car. I had to walk everywhere I went.
You see, even without the gut feeling or credible resources, I have enough evidence that proves to me that walking is a magical exercise and because if this I don’t have to take anyone’s word for it.