I often get asked what are the most important things we need to do in order to be healthy and my response is always the same…‘It’s the little things we do each day that will determine our health tomorrow’
A few weeks ago I was out to lunch with one of my ‘not so healthy’ friends. He drinks too much coffee, smokes, works too hard and does little to no exercise, except for the kind of weightlifting that involves putting a few too many schooners to his lips. You could say my friend has adopted the habit of "putting off today 'til tomorrow", when it comes to his health. Perhaps this is because he's convinced himself that everything else in his life is far more 'urgent' than the importance of making the little changes he needs to ensure he'll have good health. Like most people, he knows what he needs to do in order to make a difference to his health both in the short and long term, but like most people, he finds the thought of change far too scary to contemplate, opting for the 'head in the sand' approach.
As my friend tucked into his bacon and egg roll and 3rd latte for the day, we got talking about health, which inevitably tends to happen whenever I share a meal with a friend. He asked me for some suggestions on what he could do to 'get healthy', before proudly announcing he was thinking about going on a ‘health kick until March' - which was 4 weeks away. My friends comment got me thinking about something I see in so many people– the notion that being healthy is something you only do some of the time, as opposed to adopting healthy habits every day. So I posed a question in response to my friend’s decision to aim for ‘short term health’ and asked what he hoped to achieve by embarking on a healthier diet and lifestyle until March. “to feel good I guess and maybe to lose my tummy so I don’t have a heart attack someday”. My response - “So if your goal is to feel good and prevent a heart attack years down the track, wouldn’t you need to change your current diet and lifestyle habits for good, rather than just for a month?”.....silence fell across the conversation as my friend contemplated my question.
I believe one of the greatest gifts we can experience in life is to feel food every day. Feeling our best as often as possible, is our body’s way of telling us things are in sync and in my view, that translates to doing the things we want to do, when we want, as opposed to being limited by our state of health because of the bad choices we made day in, day out because we thought changing them was "all too hard".
Feeling physically and mentally well within yourself, will significantly influence our inner happiness and contentment. If the sensation of feeling good is something humans strive to experience and our physical and emotional health is largely responsible for this, then why do so many of us struggle to do the things each day, we know will keep us healthy? Why are so many of us prone to applying healthy habits only some of the time or the instance we might fall ill? For many, doing the little things each day we know will keep our body fit and well is a source of inner turmoil and angst.
The mere thought of making necessary change in any area of our life, is often fraught with procrastination and fear - commonly because we dont know where to start or feel overwhelmed. Instead of taking one step at a time to make changes, we put off doing what we know we need to for yet another day - when we think we'll have the time and motivation. The truth is, that 'perfect day' usually never comes, so it would be far simpler to start with putting one foot in front of the other, making one small change to our health each and every day. Eventually, these little changes will equate to form life long habits which will reshape our day to day function, and future health and reduce the risk of disease.
In my view ‘HEALTH = WEALTH’. Without it, we lose our freedom to experience life to the fullest. Losing our health to a debilitating illness or disease (and the resulting impact on every aspect of our life), is far harder than practicing healthy habits each day. We hear the common saying that it's not until we lose something we've taken for granted, that we grasp its true value, and our health is no exception.
I once came across a quote that read "Why when we are challenged to survive, do we give ourselves permission to truly live” .....In other words, fundamental shifts in our attitude an actions, are usually born out of a life changing event, often triggered by some form of loss or hardship. Waiting until we develop a preventable illness or disease to decide to change our diet and lifestyle habits, is all too often the catalyst for change, rather than living our life to prevent ill health.
The human body is actually designed to be naturally healthy, but our state of health is a product of our environment. The choices we make each day in relation to our diet and lifetsyle will shape our health and body, into what it is today as well as down the track. Should we feed our body with unhealthy food and live an unhealthy lifestyle with too much stress, we are likely to esculate the risk towards developing a preventable disease. But the good news is and perhaps the most remarkable function of the human body, is it's innate ability to repair and recover. But this is dependant on us creating the necessary environment for healing to occur. So no matter what point you are at with your health, or what stage you are in life, it is never too early or too late to make little changes each day to ensure better health tomorrow.
It is the little things we do each day that will determine how we feel and function tomorrow.
Just remember….time waits for no man, so strike while the iron is hot, because there is no time like the present and putting off today 'til tomorrow will only make life harder... I think you get my drift! So get on that horse and get going, you have the rest of your life ahead of you so make it your best one!