Just like driving a car.

cartoon carI think most people would say that they want to be healthy if you asked them. Not too many people would voluntarily choose illness or disease, right? What would you say? Do you want to be healthy?

When I think about a healthy lifestyle I know it is composed of lots of small changes over a long period of time. Nothing is going to “just click” and you won’t find a switch to flip. Trust me, I looked! It takes time to break habits and create new ones. It takes time to learn new ways of doing things and let go of old ways. It takes lots of time to change thinking patterns and flush out destructive behaviors.

I was thinking about when I learned how to drive. I was scared. It felt overwhelming to me, all the rules, all the other cars out there, cops, flat tires, engine trouble, fluids leaking…I was a bit freaked out. But, I never considered not learning to drive. I wanted my freedom! So, I studied my book, put in my practice hours, took my driving class, and got my license. I wasn’t a great driver right out of the gate, but have certainly gained confidence as the years have ticked by. What I wanted trumped my fear and lack of confidence and I accomplished my goal.

I think often times people fail at living a healthy lifestyle, losing weight, or maintaining an exercise routine because they don’t know what they really want. Our minds are so complex and we are influenced by so many variables, if we don’t take time to do some self-analysis, we may not ever figure out why we say we want to lose weight, but continue to eat too much and buy our favorite cookies.

Back to learning to drive – I knew the facts. I couldn’t go where I wanted to go and become independent until I had a driver’s license. I couldn’t get a license until I crossed off all the items on the required checklist. I couldn’t cross off the items until I began studying and taking steps towards completing my driving classes. So, I pushed my fear to the back of the line and dealt with the facts.

It is often hard to just deal in facts when it comes to our health. What we eat, when, why, how active we are, if we are depressed or have physical restrictions, if we are workaholics or lazy, are all influenced by our backgrounds, genetics, and events that have occurred in our lives. Sometimes these events are because of our own choices, sometimes they are because of someone else’s choices. What we eat is often dictated by what our family ate when we were growing up or by our culture, as is our mindset about food. And so many emotions are linked to food! For instance, what you feel when I say “pizza”, or “funnel cake”, or “corn dog”, or how about “pot roast and mashed potatoes” is probably different than if I say “asparagus”, or “squash”, or “kale”. All of these factors make it difficult to deal in reality when it comes to our eating and health. We think we want to feel our way through our meal instead of calculate calories or servings of vegetables; and we think we want comfort and low-effort instead of sweat and sore muscles.

I want to challenge you to look at the facts and look at what you really want. What are you choosing? If you are overweight and/or not physically fit you are at much higher risk for heart disease, stroke, diabetes, joint pain, and the list goes on and on. You are also more prone to depression and sleep problems. Plus, the emotional toll of not liking what you see in the mirror is huge and often minimized in our minds. It affects our relationships and even our job performance.

Creating a healthy lifestyle is not easy, but has enormous benefits! Right away as you begin to change your habits you get to experience the joy of accomplishment and begin to trust yourself to try new things. There are many obstacles, but as you conquer them you acquire new skills as well as develop an identity that you create that is not dictated by your past. Who do you want to be? What is on the requirement checklist to get there? Get started!

Follow this blog for tips on all aspects of healthy living. I certainly don’t have it all figured out and I continue to fail and struggle my way along, but I am so excited about all the changes in my life over the past 10 years and a passion has emerged. It is easier to do this with friends…so friends…come along!


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Surviving life with grace and hope


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