Monday, August 15, 2011

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Have you ever planted a garden? Did you add composted manure or fertilizer to give your veggies or flowers a boost. If you watered and nurtured and tended your plants, you probably had a successful harvest. You were probably pleased with your efforts. And, yes, a successful garden takes work. And, here’s the parallel.

If we want to successfully address the overwhelming epidemics of obesity, type 2 diabetes, other chronic diseases, and childhood obesity, we should be looking at what we put into our bodies and what we do with our bodies rather than continually questioning how we pay for the mess into which we’ve gotten ourselves. It’s a matter of being mindful, watchful and proactive—from the beginning. We see study after study and plan after plan telling us how our healthcare dollars will be spent dealing with chronic disease, but we’re not looking closely enough at where the problem originates—with each of us. We’re not tending our gardens.

We already know the majority of us (67 percent) eat too much—and too much of what we consume is mainly composed of chemicals rather than real food. The result is high calorie content lacking in nutritional value—and too much of it. We’ve achieved the really neat trick of being overfed and undernourished, all at the same time.

Studies show that the foods we choose to eat on a daily basis contribute 80 percent to whether we will develop type 2 diabetes, heart disease or cancer. Studies also show that 87.5 percent of our health care claims are due to individual lifestyle choices. We are still and ill.

We already know too, that the majority of us lead what is considered a sedentary lifestyle. In fact, nearly half of American adults report they are not active at all. We spend our time sitting in cars, at desks and in front of screens. This means all those empty, nutritionally void calories we take in aren’t going anywhere. But they sure add up. So much so that Americans are now 4.5 billion pounds overweight.

We know the result. It’s staring us in the face. We know the cause. We also know our collective current condition and associated costs are unsustainable. And we already know each one of us can do something about it. The answer is right there in the choices we each make every day—in how we plant, nurture and tend our gardens. 

How many more expensive studies do we need to tell us what we already know? What will it take for us to start making those lifestyle choices that put the focus where it belongs, where it begins?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Knock - Knock

What do you do with the opportunities that come knocking on your door? More importantly, do you recognize them as opportunities? The thing about opportunity is it’s always there, but it isn’t always obvious.

In many ways, wellness is an opportunity.  This is exactly why we are LoneStartNow—You alone must make a start, and there’s no better time than now. An unhealthy lifestyle is the primary factor in the six leading causes of death in the United States – heart disease, cancer, stroke, respiratory diseases, accidents, and diabetes – which collectively account for over 70 percent of all deaths.

Your wellness opportunity is waiting for you to take charge of it and make the most of it. And, you have everything you need to do just that. The only variable that counts is you—what you’re willing to believe you can accomplish. Keep in mind, your goal is not to define the healthy lifestyle you’re after by your “wants,” but rather by what you believe. This is “the why” of what wellness means to each of us individually. Inside each of us is a person capable of achieving great things—at least great to us. And, that’s where it all starts. We are a result of the choices we make every day. 

We can change our lives for the better by taking responsibility for our choices. This is what we call the Power of Self. If you look at truly productive individuals, a common trait emerges. They don’t point out why things can’t be done—they create opportunities to achieve their goals. 

Tapping in to the power of self means exerting control over your life and your lifestyle behaviors. Easier said than done? Not really. All things positive, or negative, start from within. It’s how we choose to treat them that takes them where they go, and make us who we are.

So the next time a wellness opportunity comes knocking, keep in mind that positive change can bring immense self-satisfaction—you just have to know how to go about it. Most of us are faced with doing the best we can with what we know. When we know better, we do better. 

We’re talking about what we can do to improve and sustain our long-term health and wellness. And yes, we can all benefit from healthier behaviors, and we can all be part of the healthcare solution rather than part of the problem. Given the choice—the opportunity—which would you choose?