I've been thinking about how hard we work for our careers, family, school and hobbies. It got me wondering what would happen if we took the same drive, energy and focus we use for those achievements and applied it to our health.
Could we prevent disease? Would we be even more successful at our careers, family, school and hobbies? The answer is yes! So why is it we never think about our health until we have a health scare or it is gone for good? I have a few ideas:
1) We aren't taught to value our health. In school, we have gym class, a health class, and maybe even take an introduction to nutrition in college to satisfy a requirement. But we aren't consistently taught how to take care of our bodies throughout our lives. Each stage of our lives, our bodies need different aspects of health.
The childhood and teen years are all about development. The 20's about establishing healthy routines and getting essential nutrients so we have a strong foundation for later in life. The 30's are focused on reproductive health and maybe preventative depending on family concerns. The 40's & 50's are more focused on preventative health. The 60's & 70's may mean managing a health condition.
If we were taught consistently about how to take care of our bodies, I believe we would have less chronic disease at all stages of life. We would also pass this knowledge down to our families by getting them involved in their health with routine exercise and good eating habits. Just like we pass down family traditions.
2) Media glamorizes bad habits. Think about TV, movies, social media and magazines we are exposed to. Never do you see a food advertisement about eating USDA certified organic food. But the Pork industry has us believing that pork is the other white meat. Never do you see a family show where the children are exercising with their family. Instead, family TV shows center around kids playing computer games and eating unhealthy food.
If only we had healthy role models in the media who are engaging in healthy habits, then taking care of our health would be cool! Something we strive to achieve. I do think there are some small breakthroughs and I am happy to see it. Healthy doesn't mean being a small size. There are plenty of healthy plus size models who show they eat a healthy diet but are still curvy. Check out Marquita Pring on Instagram. She is gorgeous and shows how she works out and eats on her feed.
3) Access to healthy food is hard. We've been transitioning to organic foods in my house for the past couple of weeks. It isn't easy in the area I live in. The organic produce selection in the local grocery store is small and limited. I can't buy an organic onion! I tried a local small mom & pop store but while they have a big organic sign in the window, I am suspect.
I would have to travel 30 minutes to a Whole Foods which is inconvenient on a weekly basis. I am going to try a delivery service to see if that would be an option. But see what I mean? Just to get organic produce and meat, I have to go to the internet for a delivery option. Now think about people who can't afford a delivery service or can't afford to shop outside of their local area. Without access, we are forced to shop the selection that is available.
The above three reasons may apply to you and your family. So what can you do to make focusing on your health a priority and something you work on as hard as other aspects of your life?