I grew up eating macaroni and cheese for dinner and thinking that canned corn was a vegetable. I thought that was “healthy” because I didn’t know any different from that! Now that I know a little (ok, a lot) more about nutrition and wellness, I have no excuse to eat how I used to. I can’t play the ignorant card any more. If we know what we should do to maintain our health, why is it that we don’t sometimes?
Here is my somewhat random top 6 ways to have bad health (excluding ignorance):
1. Put off until tomorrow what you could do today.
This is the why I have never understood New Year’s resolutions. Why start on the arbitrary day of January 1st what you should be doing now?
2. Put your health at the bottom of your priority list.
This includes those people who say “I don’t have time to eat healthy,” or “I don’t have time to work out.”
We all have the same 24-hours in a day, and some of us are just more productive with that time. If you’re really that busy, get a jump rope and use it for 5 minutes a day. Five. Minutes. And trust me, you will feel it in the morning.
3. Don’t consider the source.
One of my favorite stories from a mentor of mine was when he did a radio interview with an medical doctor. The physician was arguing that the sugar in apples and in candy bars affect your body in the same way. My friend then said (this being a radio show), “People, if you could see me and see this doctor, then you would see the difference between eating an apple and eating a candy bar.”
With medical research, consider who is paying for it. I’ve had people ask me, “If there are cures in Chinese medicine for cancer, why don’t we hear about it in the newspapers?” Well, it’s because medical research studies are expensive. Since we can’t trademark herbs (thankfully), there is not a lot of money in natural medicine as a profession. Without official research studies, most health reports will ignore empirical evidence, even thousands of years of empirical evidence.
4. Don’t listen to your body.
When you’re working out, do you sometimes hear that little voice in the back of your head saying, “Keep going, lazy-bones!” even though you know that you should stop because it hurts? If your body is telling you to take a break, or maybe to work harder or that you’re thirsty you need to listen and follow through. Not following that instinct will only lead to problems like illness or injury.
Here’s another example: your gut instinct is saying “find another job,” but your “logic” says “but I need this job…” Is the stress worth it?
It’s a human tendency to be lazy. We have to fight against that tendency if we want to stay healthy.
Instead of going home from work and plopping down on the sofa or the internet because it’s easy or eating fast food because it’s there, it’s cheap, and you won’t have to cook, take some initiative and break the routine. It reminds me of that scene in Wayne’s World. (see picture) Some times we think we are tired or depressed or stressed out, but it may turn out that we’re really just bored!
6. Fear of the Unknown
Sometimes we get comfortable in our illness. It becomes like a cocoon. I see sometimes in my practice when people almost define who they are as a person by their illness. For example, “I have fibromyalgia.” Or “I have bi-polar disorder.” Change – even good change – can be scary because it is unfamiliar and we may fight against it subconsciously.