He doesn’t have a story like some of the rest of us – an “aha” moment that made him turn his life around and get healthy. He’s just had a passion for overall health and wellness as a public health issue throughout his career.
To keep it simple, he says, there are three main things we need to do to stay healthy throughout our lives:
- Eat 35 servings of fruits and vegetables (or legumes) per week
- Get 150 minutes of physical activity per week
- Don’t smoke
These three simple things, in studies, did as much as a coronary stent to treat heart disease! Yet, I didn’t do 2/3 of them for SO many years. I had alot of company – as the graph below demonstrates; only 5% of the country, according to the CDC, adheres to all three of these basic recommendations. Just five percent makes me wince. What are we doing?
Sadly, what we seem to be doing instead is building into our hospitals bariatric accessible bathrooms, purchasing bariatric scales, carts and beds, teaching bariatric sensitivity classes, selling more hover-rounds, teaching surgeons how to perform bariatric surgery, paying for pharmaceutical companies to develop medications to not only treat obesity but the Type 2 Diabetes that is directly correlated to it. Medical spending associated with obesity-related diseases topped out at $147 BILLION dollars in 2012. The rapidly rising rate of obesity and the sequelae that follow are bankrupting our country. We’re doing it to ourselves.
I’ve had my “aha” moment, so these days, I easily get 210 minutes of physical activity per week. I still don’t smoke. I can sometimes struggle with 5 servings per day of fruits and vegetables. I consistently get 3-4 servings per day so bumping that up to five shouldn’t be hard, especially in the summer and fall.
All of this can increase the amount of money we spend on groceries. Overall, though, it will decrease the amount of money spent in healthcare costs for our families. We will be able to work until we choose not to, and our lives will be more enjoyable, active and rewarding; more the life we’ve always envisioned.
As I’ve learned through the last couple of years, changing your life is all about being a problem-solver – if you see a barrier, find a way to get around it. For instance, are you embarrassed to take a packed lunch onto a plane? It would be more embarrassing to be unable to fit in the seat. Harness the power of your mind like this and put it to work for you!
While you’re working on the harness, pack your brain with as much information as you can. There are people out there doing this right – ask them questions. Find out what they do – how do they find balance and good health? Read everything you can. Start with the great websites below but continue searching on your own – send me websites or books that have moved you. I need all the help I can get!
The bottom line is that it is our responsibility to care for this one body we were gifted. It’s not easy. But it’s all-the-way worth it!