The number one contributor to our society's health is not stress, it is selfishness.
This is a rant, be forewarned.
Why do you eat this or that?
"I like it. It tastes good. It is what I have always eaten."
To this I say, “so what?” Grow up, step out of your lazy box and branch out. A lot of things taste good, that has no indication to how good it is for you, and in today's world with all the sugar, chemical sweeteners, and processed oils it probably means it is bad for you. Anything can taste good, healthy eating does not have to taste bad, but you have to learn how to prepare it and re-grow your taste buds that you killed with all the junk and processed foods and high sugar intake you have indulged in for decades.
Why don't you eat healthy?
"It is too expensive. I don't have the time. I don't know how to cook."
It does not have to be more expensive to eat healthily. You can't just buy health food and add it into the list of junk you already eat, you have to make a lateral shift and replace the junk with the real food.
Plus, you eat too often. You might eat too much, but I don't know that, but if you are eating more than 2-3 meals a day, with maybe one snack, then you eat too often. Eating is when ever you put food or any liquid in your mouth that is not water. You must count EVERY time, and if you do, you will see, that like most Americans according to research, you probably eat 12-20 times a day. TOO OFTEN! Eat just 3 meals a day and eat well when you do, no calorie cutting, and you will save money.
Budget and plan and you will save money. Cook at home and buy intelligently and you will save money. Learn what should be organic and what can be conventional and you will save money. Make the time if your health and the health of your kids are truly important to you. You spend time eating junk, buying it, waiting in lines, driving to junk pushers, take all that time and prepare, buy and prep accordingly and you might even save time as well as money. Learn to cook, yes, even you men, learn to cook, it is part of being a self supporting adult. NO excuse not to.
Do you exercise regularly?
I move all day. I don't have the time. I don't like to."
Physical activity is not the same as exercise. I am glad you get physical activity in your day, keep it up, but that is not exercise, nor should it be counted as such. Make time. Even 10 minutes 2-4 times a day is better than nothing and can be as beneficial as one 30-40 minute continuous workout. Get up early and move your body. Get up 30 minutes earlier and do it. Go to sleep earlier if you need to, but do it. Time issue solved. And I don't care if you don't like it, find something you do like, anything, there are more options than ever from dance aerobics, to drumming aerobics, lifting classes, intensity classes, yoga, spin classes, home videos, and so much more....just find something and do it, you can not have optimal health without it.
Do you work on yourself?
"I don't know what that means. I can't meditate. I am not into all that."
We know to much now and have too many studies and overwhelming research on the impact of self improvement from building awareness, to mindfulness, visualization, breathing techniques, meditation, goal setting, and much more to not be doing something. If you don't reframe your thinking about stress from the current conventional thinking, then you are destined to choose to have it consume you.
Celebrating silence and taking time for yourself is a must, not a luxury, and only something you can do for you. But you have to learn, seek it out and do it. Do it not, and you get more of what you got.
Look, life is busy, I get it, I have a few things on my plate as well, but that is why you must do these things and your excuses have to be checked at the door. The people who allow these excuses I listed above to guide their reactive lifestyle are the same people that when they get sick with a chronic issue like diabetes, heart disease, depression, anxiety, pain, digestive disorders, and much more they ask "why?" Why did this happen to me.....they say it isn't fair.....it doesn't make sense.....I didn't do anything bad.....etc.....and the other people around them say, “wow, I didn't see that coming, they were fine yesterday.”...NO, they were not! And if a health scare is not enough to wake these people up they then will say, “it was in my family.” They then use the lie of their health issue being a genetic problem that they could not avoid and continue to pull the same cop-out card and waste away miserably.
We can do better.
I don't claim to be perfect or that anyone else is or should try to be. But you have to try, you have to have these things on your radar and be working to learn about them and incorporate new ideas and behaviors into your life at any level and pace that you can. We have to be sharing and teaching each other and watching out for slip ups and the gradual decline in our efforts to we can check our behavior and course-correct.
This blog will bring a lot of things up for a lot of people. Before you tell me how you are different, how your excuse is justified, how your health issue is "really" genetic and how your doctor enables that belief, how your life is unique or any other excuse to not be doing all you can in these areas, read the post again, and if you still want to defend your lack of doing all you can, write it all out in an email, every detail, your history, what you have been through, what you have been told, what you have tried, how your life and situation is different, and send it to yourself. Or better yet, send it to your spouse and family, send it to your kids or grand kids. But don't send it to me.
Look, I love you and I want the best for you and will be happy to support and help you GET BETTER. Going through all your excuses will not help you get better and only push people who want to help you away. I am very interested in planning new action steps, developing support systems, building proactive nutritional, supplemental, and exercise protocols, getting the supportive health services needed, and creating a long term strategy to change your path and create a new future for you and your family.
Strategy is key. Strategy is the process of aligning your personal goals and values in life and for your health improvement with how you want to get there and when. When you have your strategy you then can build your team and resources and list out your options as they reflect your values and goals. Then you choose. No one can tell you what to do, but they can share info, interpret information and tests, offer options, insights and experience, even propose a course of action, but at the end of the day you have to choose to follow it and do it. Even a prescription is a fancy official way of making a suggestion and you are in no way obligated to take that suggestion any more than you are obligated to take any other suggestion along the way.
At the end of the day you pay the ultimate price or reap the ultimate reward for the choices you make based on those suggestions. So, gather them well and from the best sources you can and make sure they all align with what you truly value and are wanting. Do it not, and the potential to go right back to excuses and being the victim are high.
Don't be negative. This is not meant to put you down or make you feel bad but to give you a little health tough love and help you see you can go where you want to health wise and you have more control and options than you might think. You can do this. And honestly, only you can do this for yourself and your kids. Do not take it lightly, it is an opportunity, whether you take it or not is up to you.
Live well my friends,
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