When it comes to better health, sometimes our own worst enemy lives inside our head whispering things such as: “I don’t have the time to exercise as much as I should……I don’t have the time to cook healthy meals…… I don’t have the money to join a gym or for exercise clothes and shoes…… I’d like to eat healthier, but I can’t afford healthy food…….high blood pressure runs in my family, so I was bound to get it, and there’s nothing I can do about it.” If you think any or all of these things on a regular basis, I want you to ask yourself, “Is it really true?”
This post is to get you thinking about how you could unknowingly be holding yourself back and hopefully, encourage you to look at things in a different way. You may have been thinking as you read the above sentences that no one knows how busy and stressful your life is and that some of the statements are true for you, and there’s no way to change it. Is that really true?
What is true is that we all have stress. We all have work. We all have families. We also all have 24 hours every day, and we all get to choose how we use them. Think of the people whom you admire who are accomplishing great things. You have the same 24 hours every day that they have. What are you doing with your 24 hours?
Can you examine some of the thoughts you’re having that say you must do certain things at certain times in certain ways and maybe realize that you don’t? Perhaps you can rethink your schedule and make your health more of a priority than you currently do. I was inspired by one of my clients to write this. She made the statement as she was warming up for her workout last week that she had started pulling her hair up for work every day instead of spending all the extra time in the morning fussing with it. She said she had decided that her time would be better spent in the gym taking care of her health than in the bathroom fixing her hair. As a trainer, I love it when people begin thinking in such ways. Will you begin this week looking for ways you can change your thinking?
I’m going to share a few rebuttal thoughts to the limiting ones mentioned above.
To those who say they don’t have time for exercise or cooking healthy food, I want to ask, do you have time to be sick? Do you have time to spend traveling to and from doctor appointments, lab tests, and the pharmacy? No? If you don’t spend time maintaining your health now, you’ll be spending time trying to regain it later, and by then, it may be too late. You and I both know people who are or have been in this situation. Work, family, recreation, everything goes to the bottom of the priority list when one is facing a health crisis. At that point, regaining health becomes the top priority. Don’t wait for a crisis. It’s not about managing your time, it’s about managing your priorities. You must put your health at the top of your list of priorities today.
The same applies to money as time. For those who say they can’t afford the gym or healthy food, do you have money for copay after copay after copay if you get sick from a serious disease that could have been prevented had you taken better care of yourself? You may be taking drugs for high blood pressure, diabetes, high blood sugar, as well as other conditions that can be reversed with proper diet and exercise. With your doctor’s help, and some hard work on your part, you can ditch the drugs and use that money for something else. Look around your home. You have the things you have because you decided they were important to you, and you figured out how to pay for them. How important is your health and quality of life? Will you make an investment in yourself? Once you decide, I promise you’ll find a way.
You may think you’re a victim of your genes, but you’re not. Just because your dad developed diabetes in his forties, doesn’t mean you’re going to do the same. The same is true for many conditions. There are certain genes that are what some doctors call “dictator” genes, meaning no matter what, those genes will be expressed, such as the gene for brown eyes. However, many of the genes we inherit are controlled by environment and can be either up-regulated (turned on) or down-regulated (turned off) depending on our environment – what we eat, what we drink, what we think, and what we do. The genes for cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, and many other chronic conditions fall into this category. This should make you excited because you and I have so much control. Remember in addition to inheriting our parents’ genes, we also inherit many of their habits, such as diet, alcohol consumption, and how we deal with stress. The influence of these environmental factors far outweighs genetics when it comes to the development of chronic disease. It should also be noted that in addition to genes that code for a certain disease, there are also certain genes that are protector genes, and those genes can be switched on when you eat right and exercise. Thus, you are “flipping the switch” for good health. You are at the helm of your ship; which way will you steer?
I hope this post has caused you to examine some of the thoughts you think that may be keeping you from being as healthy as you could be. I hope you, like my client mentioned above, are thinking of small things you can start doing every day that will make a big difference over time. You are worth the sacrifice, and when I say sacrifice, I mean that in the best way. Bob Proctor said, “Sacrifice is giving up something of a lower nature to receive something of a higher nature.” I love to think of healthy living in that way. All it takes is a decision, one decision at a time, day after day and year after year. You can do it! If you want to be a healthy person in 10 years, 20 years and beyond, you must do the things that create health today. Take the time, spend the money, and be the person in your family who doesn’t get whatever disease runs in your family. It truly is up to you. As Henry Ford said….