In today’s world we have an ENOURMOUS amount of information, answers, and resources at our finger tips. Pretty amazing when you think about it. But, it makes me ask the question – with the unlimited number of resources easily accessible, especially when it comes to health, shouldn’t we be getting healthier!? While that seems logical, most of the recent data collected regarding the health of Americans points in the opposite direction… we are getting heavier and our rates of diabetes and heart disease continue to rise. What’s going on?
I think there are multiple answers for this question but one explanation that I am constantly confronted with in working with my clients and patients is CONFUSION. There’s so much out there that many feel overwhelmed and are not even sure where to begin. So, rather than “failing” at trying, they just don’t try. Sound familiar?
So, let’s sort through the confusion. What do you think a healthy lifestyle looks like? Think of (or even write down )words or phrases that “paint” the picture of a healthy lifestyle. As you go through your words, ask yourself: “do I need more education to implement this type of lifestyle OR am I just struggling to implement it”? In my experience, education isn’t necessarily the answer – many people already know what they should be doing! think back to your middle school health class where you learned about food groups and exercise… that really is where it all starts! If you are struggling with implementation then it may help to start with small simple changes. Answer these questions with a “yes” or “no”:
Do fruits and vegetables cover at least half your plate at EVERY meal?
Do you use fruits and vegetables as snacks?
Do you consume alcohol in moderation (1 standard drink / day for women and 2 standard drinks / day for men)?
Do you leave the table feeling satisfied rather than uncomfortably full?
Do you prepare most of your own foods (i.e. not eating out, not from a box or package)?
Do you use (and understand) nutrition fact labels when buying foods?
Do you choose water over ANY sweetened beverage?
Do you exercise for at least 150 minutes per week?
If you answered any of these questions with a “no” then you have a perfect starting point for areas to focus on. Pick one of your “no’s” and figure out what it will take to make it a “yes”! What are your barriers? What do you need to be successful in this area? Make one change at a time- nothing confusing about it! When you can answer all of these questions with a “YES” then it’s time to evaluate your health status and goals and move forward accordingly! Where are you going to start?