Have you ever felt the urge to make a change? The kind of urge that will not leave you alone, that occupies your every moment and drives you to explore all of the questions this desire for something new brings up.
This is not the type of change that leads you to pick up a new brand of toilet paper in your weekly shop because it’s on special, it’s not buying a flash new car or redecorating the loungeroom.
It’s the type of change that’s accompanied by a deep desire for a better life. The type of change that you yearn for and yet simultaneously fear and perhaps avoid because you know that when you step into it life will never be the same again. A big change.
If you are a curious type this is when the questions start.
And it may also be where doubt and fear can shut down the answers to those questions as it all seems too difficult.
The questions I’ve been asking myself have been about how I can live a healthier life.
Whether it’s been through good luck or pure tenacity I’ve had a pretty good run with my health thus far. While I certainly feel lucky for this perhaps it’s not been the best thing because unless I’m so unwell I feel like I’m dying (that happened once in the 90s – I was unwell that was, I didn’t die), or having a baby it’s not likely I’ll seek out any type of medical or even alternate support.
It’s not because I don’t like going to the doctor (the dentist on the other hand..), or even more alternate practitioners. It’s not that I’m frightened of what I may discover, it’s just that I’m too damn busy to scratch myself let alone take time to worry about what could be.
Oh yes, I know the stories of people whose health took a significant turn for the worse and I now how quickly that can happen. I’ve witnessed people I love suffer in ill health. I get it – life is precious.
Still, whether it’s through pure ignorance, arrogance or mere stupidity bringing my attention to sustain my own good health is something that I very, rarely do.
Sure. I don’t use meth, I’m not a daily snacker, I don’t smoke, I have no signs nor symptoms of the ailments my genetics tell me I may pick up, hell I don’t even take sugar in my coffee and I am always on the move – there’s no doubt that all helps my overall health.
However, I do have a soft spot for wine, in fact if I could just live on wine and hot chips I’d be happy as a pig in mud. I do have a lot of stress in life – most of which I find thoroughly stimulating except on the days when it’s not and anxiety steps in. Those are the days I really start to revisit my questions about good health.
As I get older I’m also starting to notice the little things – I notice a layer of fat that used to settle around my girth after festive seasons seems to have moved in on a more permanent basis and like a bolshy squatter is claiming the right of possession. I notice (when I’m still for long enough) that my joints feel stiffer than they once did, and I note with pure disgust how comfortable flat shoes really are (at least they are Vans).
While I am well aware one option would be to just keep going with it, to wear larger, less fitted clothing, seek out some Hush Puppies and keep up the internal body image pep talks I know, without a doubt that at the age of 44, if I do not start to hold my health in higher regard ‘muffin tops’ are going to be the least of my worries.
The Why Not’s are clear
I’ve analysed my weekly diary to an inch of its existence and between my full-time job, which often requires travel, driving kids to work and after-school activities and housework (even though that is partially delegated there’s still so much to do) there are only slim windows of time in which cooking a wholesome meal, exercise or anything else that may support my good health (writing for example does that) can actually happen. Because my diary fills with ad-hoc events and activities it is very difficult to commit to a class, program or anything that’s scheduled on a regular basis.
I know that routine is not likely to be an attainable goal right now.
I’ve tried the programs, the home-delivered diets, the apps, the gadgets and even though all worked momentarily, there has been little change to my day to day habits. (Although I do feel somewhat motivated when my Fitbit tells me I’ve reached my goal of 5,000 steps – albeit a hopeless goal my child laughs as she mocks me).
I wonder if it really is about time – or if it’s actually the way I’ve been going about it. And I cannot deny that whenever the opportunity arises to exercise with someone else it suddenly becomes a no brainer.
There comes a time when why not no longer cuts it
My understanding of good health is that it’s about a healthy mindset – exercise and healthy eating. Could it be that a little bit can mean a lot more than I give credit to?
Understanding what does work
I realise that it’s the little things that matter – it’s having grapes, not Shapes next to my evening glass of wine. (Yeah it could also mean not having the wine but there is no fun in that).
I know I’m a sucker for fun.
Like so many people I know I’m programmed to eat everything on my plate – having the gravy, the chips, the extra bits on the side helps just a little.
I also know that scarcity makes me rebel – restrictive diets, too many rules make me run for the hills. Abundance works…
I know that walking with a buddy always works and perhaps this could be applied to other activities.
I know that the closer the activity is to my home the more likely I am to do it.
I also know, without a doubt that the power to live a healthy life lies in my own hands. I know that I don’t want to be spread out on an operating table with chronic illness just because I made lazy, ignorant or bad decisions in my younger years.
With these things in mind I’m going to approach next week with a different view of my health. Keep you posted.
SO tell me… when it comes to your health what works for you? I want to know what motivates you, what has stuck, what has worked… Over to you.
Image by: Photo by Piron Guillaume on unsplash