Alright … some of you might think of me as a health nut. Some of you may think that I am obsessed with health, and perhaps you could never live like me.
I don’t believe that I am too much different than most people. I dislike being sick. I hope to be active and alert as I grow older. I like to feel good about choices I make.
In many ways we live in a complicated, challenging world … in many cases when we were young, our parents believed that food is love, and encouraged us to eat more at meals. We have embraced food into many celebrations as a culture: the birthday cake, the Christmas turkey and tailgating parties. Advertisers spend millions of dollars brainwashing us into consuming unhealthy garbage because they want to make money. We are bombarded with information, overloaded by data and we often just shut down on making better choices because it’s just easier.
I am certainly far from perfect. Even with the changes I have made in my lifestyle over the past few years, I know there is much room for improvement. I would like to see less sugar and carbs in my diet, and am taking baby steps in that direction. I am not quite ready to give up my Hazelnut CoffeeMate in my morning coffee … but I have cut down to one cup of java daily. I am not ready yet to give up pizza … but I hope to begin making a healthier whole wheat crust version here at home in the near future.
In a few weeks I’ll be on a cruise in the Bahamas, and I know that I will have even less control over what I can eat. That’s OK … I believe that a healthy lifestyle has room for the occasional compromise. I will continue to try to choose the healthiest options where possible, and still enjoy a little pizza here and there. I will do a few extra laps around the ship’s deck to burn a few calories, and do my best to make choices that I can feel good about. I will limit my food choices to reasonable portions, but maybe still enjoy some Creme Brulee for dessert … after all, I am on a vacation.
Living a healthier lifestyle isn’t about giving up all the things we enjoy … it’s about being aware of our options, and having the self discipline to care for ourselves like we really deserve to. It’s about a desire to improve and to take pride in making smarter choices.
It’s not black and white, on or off. It’s incremental improvements here and there, in a healthier direction. It’s about leaving poor eating habits behind which were formed because we didn’t know better. It’s about loving yourself enough to deliver your body what it really deserves … less processed, salt laden, genetically modified, glucose – fructose, artificially chemically enhanced foods … more exercise to improve our vitality and improve our immunity to toxins, to help us feel alive and happier.
On this journey it is important to cut ourselves some slack. It doesn’t all happen at once. Give yourself credit when you successfully make healthier choices, but allow yourself a little wiggle room during the long, ongoing transition to a healthier you. It’s OK that along the way not everything you do supports your better health. Just the fact that you are aware of your pitfalls is a positive step in the right direction.
We eat many times throughout the week, and if we eat healthy for 90% of those meals that’s not bad at all. It’s OK to indulge in some of our less healthy but quite enjoyable choices some of the time … a healthy lifestyle has room for a little Creme Brulee once in a while.
It takes time and patience to leave behind years of inactivity or unhealthy nutritional habits. Pace yourself and find your own path to better health. Encourage yourself and strive to improve along the way, but take the time you need to do what you have to do. You deserve to be healthy and happy, and you have what it takes : )
~ Pete Szekely