Challenges to Making Healthy Lasting Change
When it comes to healthy food and lifestyle choices families have the cards stacked against them. Making good healthy choices doesn’t come as natural today as it used to. Now we nearly have to have a Phd in biochemistry to understand what’s even in our food! We have to worry about the safety of our children if they go out to ride their bikes in the neighborhood in search of exercise. We are less active then we’ve ever been and our food is less nutritious then it has ever been. Despite medical advances our population is becoming more and more sick. What can be done?
We have to start somewhere. I believe it begins with education and community. With education it is important for us all to have an understanding about the differences between what is healthy and what is not. Then we need to surround ourselves with like minded individuals for support. Perhaps making friends with someone who has achieved health goals you would to see in yourself. How many of you can attest to the difficulty of making health changes in the house if one spouse is for the positive changes and the other is not? For example, if one spouse decides to give up dairy, sugar, or gluten, even if only for a little to see if any health benefit can be noticed, but the other spouse still gets pizza and eats it in front of the family, or ice cream. This can be very challenging and is extremely common in households today.
Making lasting change is hard too because often times the foods that are not healthy for us TASTE SO GOOD! Pizza tastes good! Ice cream tastes good! Companies know what they are doing with their ingredient selection (mainly with the addition of lots of sugar), because making food taste good SELLS MORE PRODUCT! And if a business isn’t in business to make money it usually doesn’t stay in business very long, unless it’s a non for profit or something of course. Shows on television can be extremely entertaining, and it is easy to get sucked into a series instead of using that time to prepare healthy food, or take a walk. My point is the changes needed to ensure lasting health are not passive, they take real effort to move in the right direction.
We first must be curious. I have worked in a holistic setting and conventional setting in healthcare and I will tell you a very small percentage of individuals in the conventional setting are interested in alternative treatment options for their conditions, such as high blood pressure, diabetes or sinus infections for example. What do you think they want when they come to see me? They want the drugs of course! A quick fix. Give me a pill! Even if that wasn’t exactly the case in a conventional office I have about 10-15 minutes to make a diagnosis then make a quick decision as to what drug to use. 10-15 minutes is not enough time to get to the root causes of most conditions. In the holistic setting the patients I saw had already hit the wall in a conventional office setting and thought to themselves, “Isn’t there a better way?”. They have a curiosity, and I find they are for the most part committed to seeking out lasting change, wherever that road may lead.
We must also take some ownership for our health. There are certainly individuals born with congenital health conditions which were not their fault. But for the majority of us it was a series of bad choices that lead us to our current state of health. Years of fast food frequency, and lack of exercise. At the time we may not even have been aware these were poor choices! I recall a day I thought a calorie was a calorie, and if I ate a whole large pizza or consumed two Big macs I just needed to work a little harder at the gym! This is where the education piece comes in. It was my wife and her mother who actually enlightedned me as to the poor health quality of McDonalds. At the time my wife’s mother had a happy meal she had kept for approximately 5 years! It was hard as a rock, but there was no mold, no deterioration! The chemical content of that food was such that even bacteria or fungi could not or would not consume that “food”. Honestly folks we didn’t get here overnight and we won’t get out of it overnight. But take heart!
This isn’t a comprehensive list of the barriers we face, or solutions to our current troubles, but it is a place to start. I leave you with these thoughts: try to have an open mind, begin doing research into food, into exercise, into healthy habits and commit to making one simple change a week or even one per month! And see if you don’t start notice a difference in how you feel. For those needing a little help getting on the right start check out this website some friends of mine designed for some helpful food and exercise tips! God Bless!