Are you currently struggling with your health? Are you overweight? Do you have a chronic disease that is associated with your current lifestyle choices? You’re not alone.
80 percent of Americans don’t get the recommended amount of daily physical activity, and 30 percent of the adult population is overweight or obese. In fact according to a study done by the Mayo Clinic, less than 3 percent of our adult population live a healthy lifestyle. From carrying excess body fat to having type 2 diabetes and heart disease, we’re a nation of unhealthy people.
Do you struggle with making choices that are good for you- such as exercising and eating well? Are you overwhelmed with ALL of the information out there, especially since it seems to change almost daily? Are you a caregiver for someone who needs to make better choices when it comes to their health, but getting that person to make those choices is very frustrating?
Do you often ask how do you implement changes, and how could it be easier?
I could spout off every recommendation you’ve ever heard- like take the stairs instead of the elevator, or park farther away from the entrance to the store. Eat your vegetables, your whole grains, and drink your milk.
Yet at the same time all the organizations are espousing recommendations for good health, you’ve got Coca Cola, Hersheys, and Domino’s telling you to eat their food because of how delicious it is. Combine that with how stressful our lives are, and how could anyone be expected to make the right choices all the time?
I’ve said it before and I will say it again- it’s VERY hard to change. And the older we get, the harder it becomes to create new behaviors and/or change old ones. So how does one make changes to create better health?
I will share with you the easiest, simplest way.
You pick ONE thing you want to do differently, and you start doing it. ONE thing. If you want to start exercising, you find 10 minutes in your day twice a week and make yourself move. Don’t say I’m going to run five miles five days a week, because if you’re not running now, you set yourself up to fail.
These are your steps:
- You find a doable, realistic goal that you can actually accomplish (i.e. walk 10 minutes twice a week)
- Give yourself a timeline- like “I will do this consistently for six weeks”
- Establish a reward at the end (I will buy myself a new pair of pants)
- Write it down
- Tell someone (or ten people) this is your goal
- Then get to it.
Make it easy at first- if it’s super uncomfortable you will fail because we link everything we do to pain or pleasure. If your new goal causes pain you won’t follow through.
Once you have this behavior pattern established, you can build on it. If there are five things in your life you need to change, then attack the next thing on the list. But repeat the process- start small, start slow, and link the new behavior to pleasure so you stick with it.
I know that we come from a world where we often could just go the doctor and they would give us a pill or suggest some type of medical procedure and everything would be better. I know that health prevention is work, and a pain in the butt, and it adds one more thing to our list of to do’s.
Unfortunately, the health conditions most of us face now can’t be fixed the old fashioned way. It has to be fixed the REALLY REALLY old fashioned way- by putting in the work, investing the time, and creating good habits that prevent things from happening.
Remember what Benjamin Franklin said “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.
I’m just an email away if I can help you on your journey to good health, or feel free to comment below. You’ve got this- just take it one step at a time!
Loprinzi, P. D., Branscum, A., Hanks, J., & Smit, E. (2016, April). Healthy lifestyle characteristics and their joint association with cardiovascular disease biomarkers in US adults. In Mayo Clinic Proceedings (Vol. 91, No. 4, pp. 432-442). Elsevier.