It’s a new year and there is that nostalgia in the air of having only the best life has to offer with a clean slate and a new start. We send wishes to each other for more money, less sickness and an end to the COVID 19 pandemic. While dreaming is a good first step, the next one needs to happen if we are going to move towards our desires out there in dreamland. Often that’s where we get stuck – what is the next step to be healthy? How can I keep going till I actually get to my health utopia? Those were the questions that haunted me many years ago at the start of my health journey. I suffered from obesity, arthritis, fatigue, migraines and constipation. I started my journey all the way back in elementary school where I was one of the heaviest kids in the class. I enjoyed loads of junk food and ate one meal a day all day long. My size and health issues multiplied as I made my way through high school and college. As a sophomore in college my freshman year clothes stopped fitting. I went clothes shopping and was trying on my usual size 16 in the stores when it dawned on me that those clothes were to small. I was now a size 18. That was it! This had to stop. That was my turning point. I began a new health journey. One step at a time, making choices that were foreign and starting routines that were bizarre, I made the trip. I kicked those extra pounds to the curb and have never gone back to where I came from.
You can succeed at your health goals this year. Maybe you’re trying to lose weight or reverse your diabetes. Maybe you want more energy or just want to feel like yourself again. If you can conceive it, and your heart can believe it- then you can achieve it. I’ll share what I discovered along my journey and what keeps me going year after year.
1. Know Your Why – Is it Worth The Trip?
It’s one thing to want to feel and look great but it’s even more important to figure out why. Improving our health requires a decided commitment to making better choices everyday. Everyday for a long time. When your clear on your reasons for wanting to be healthier those same reasons give you the extra strength you need when your almost about to throw in the towel. That “why” will keep you looking from the present and up into the future, to the healthier version of you, which will be worth every sacrifice and effort.
My reason for continuing on this health journey year after year is the fact that it I get to live my fullest life as a healthy me. There’s always so much I want to accomplish and sick me doesn’t get a lot done. When I am healthy and vibrant I can enjoy the relationships that mean so much to me, I can focus and learn new things as I expand my horizons. The lifestyle choices I make everyday are worth it because health is my greatest wealth.
2. Study the map – Educate yourself
There is a lot of noise in the health space and its hard to decipher whose points are the most valid. I take my health information from the Bible, my understanding of human physiology and good science. With the convergence of these resources I always recommend a few basic principles to achieve optimal health – 1.eat an unprocessed plant-based diet, 2.daily exercise, 3.proper use of water inside and out, 4.reasonable exposure to sunshine, 5.clean air exposure, 6.adequate hours of sleep starting with early bed time, 7.proper stress management, 8. avoidance of unhealthy addictive substances.
Some helpful resources to learn more about lifestyle choices that are backed by the Bible, human physiology and good science include :
Books : 1. Ministry of Healing by Ellen G White, 2. Health Power by Aileen Ludington, MD, 3. Undo it by Dean Ornish, MD
Videos: 1. Forks over knives 2. Fat sick and nearly Dead
websites: 1. PCRM.org 2. nutrtionfacts.org
3. Keep Good Company – Find Support
It’s always easier to take a long journey when you have good company. That has been my experience on any adventure especially this life changing one. The changes you are deciding to make are not usually main stream and so your regular buddies will start to find you a little weird. It is going to help, big time, when you have folks around who understand what you’re doing and think your pretty cool for sticking to it. You may think you don’t know one such person but you never know. That co-worker of yours may just find it thrilling when invited to start a walking routine with you at lunch time. Your girlfriend miles away may find it cool to try out new plant based recipes with you. Maybe there is a healthy cooking program at the library where you’ll meet like minded individuals on a quest for the secret to great health.
I joined my local church health club. For many years we met up for healthy pot lucks and shared new insights that we gained from studying health books together. The strength and support I gained with those associations was essential to my lasting success. There’s a lot of strength in numbers.
You can also start out with supportive social media persons. Here are a few I find helpful:
4. Pace Yourself – Be Reasonable
Its always tempting to want it now and have the quick fix. The sad reality is that the quick fix doesn’t stick. You ‘re more likely to succeed if you take it one step at a time, one small goal first before you tackle the bigger ones. There’s a lot to learn about all the health principles I outlined earlier. It’s going to take some time to figure these out and exactly how to implement them into your life. Take them one at a time. Make changes in each area gradually but consistently. Start with your easiest area first and tackle something that you don’t find too hard to give up. For example if you decide you can swap out soda and sugary juice for water then stick to that goal and when you’ve consistently done that for at least 3 weeks tackle another goal. Don’t try to make changes in all these areas at once. You’re making life changes now that will become apart of the way you live.
5. Believe in Yourself – You Can Do It
It all begins in your mind. If you can conceive it and you believe it, you can achieve it. Don’t allow yourself to stand in the way. You were created and designed for a wonderful purpose. You want better for yourself and you deserve it. The Creator of all things wants you to live your best life. So why not now, why not you? When negative thoughts creep into your mind and you start to doubt yourself replace them with thoughts that are more positive and more powerful. “I can do this”, “I was created for this”, “I will succeed”. Your success will not come overnight. It will be a gradual daily process, like the metamorphosis of a caterpillar into a beautiful butterfly. You will have falls and set backs but don’t let those define your outcome. Use them as learning tools to see what situations you need to avoid so you can continue on your road to success.
I can see it and I hope you can too. The best is yet to come. Just keep stepping….