Last year 17.5 million people died of lifestyle related diseases that could have been prevented with a change of diet or exercise. More than 75% of people who start a fitness program give up within three months. Exercise is prescribed by doctors. It is a must for staying healthy, yet only 10% of the population exercises regularly. The rest are leaving it up to their doctors to keep them alive, relying on prescription drugs to solve problems they would not have if they only got off the couch. Yet, while the average American spends seven hours a day entertaining themselves in front of a screen, most people will say they do not have the time to exercise.
I look at statistics such as these and realize that no matter how much information I offer people regarding fitness, none of it matters if they don’t apply it.
I ask myself why people act so powerless when we have so many choices. One could take a walk, or sit for another hour watching TV; Grab a smoothie instead of a beer; Eat some fruits instead of potato chips for a snack; Order a salad, soup, or lean sandwich instead of a hamburger and fries; Have some water or tea instead of soda. Why do people often take the choice that will destroy their health over the one that will give them vitality?
After much musing over the subject, I have found the answer. People do not take power over their health because it just isn’t important enough to them. They are being led by the commercial media to believe that junk food and material possessions are more important. This will make them weaker and easier to control. We can’t empower ourselves with strong choices if we have no purpose. There is a great quote from the movie, “Sucker Punch” that goes: If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.
So my advice to anyone who is on the fence about taking responsibility for their health is to ask yourself what you really want out of life. What do you truly care about? Some people think about their children or family. If you are diseased or dead, how can you be there for the people you love? Having a healthy lifestyle will bring you energy and a clear mindset. This will help you inspire your loved ones and your community. Are you passionate about your career? How successful can you be once your body gives out on you and you can no longer work with the energy you need to be successful? The money you save by eating nothing but potato chips for lunch won’t make up for the doctors bills and sick days you take, not to mention the loss of productivity that comes from being sluggish due to lack of nutrition and proper movement.
Before I became a trainer, I had injured my back several times. I felt so helpless. I couldn’t carry my son. I could barely walk. When this happened, I made it a point to never be that helpless again. I realized that when I was strong, I didn’t get injured as easily. I realized that if I didn’t keep my muscles strong, my joints would have less support and I would be even more helpless. I realized that if I didn’t lose weight, I would be putting more stress on my injuries. I realized that if I didn’t move, I would not understand my body at all and would be prone to more injuries. I made fitness a top priority, not as an off and on thing, but for life.
Being healthy is at the root of making all our dreams come true and we really have to ask ourselves what we want out of life. If we do not ask ourselves these questions, we are just drifting along.
Write down your vision of what life should be. Be clear about your dreams and aspirations. Whenever you are pressured to do something that does not vibe with this vision, read it again. Let your dreams be the motivator that encourages you to stay healthy. Ask yourself what is important to you, so when someone tries to pressure you to do something that goes against your values, you will have the strength to stand your ground.
Find people who will support your healthy choices. If you don’t know anyone in your immediate circle, there are many support groups online. Also, read materials such as this blog and other healthy periodicals. This way, you will have influences that will pressure you to make choices that vibe with your vision. The best day to start is today. Stop dying and start living.
Check out this inspiring video of a man who went from being obese and disabled for fifteen years before he finally found the strength to lose the weight and learn to walk again.
By Rhea Morales