If your health is not yet a priority in your life, hopefully it will be by the end of this article.
Did you know that 6 out of 10 of the top causes of global death are noncommunicable diseases? Noncommunicable diseases cannot be passed from person-to-person.
In high-income countries, 9 of the 10 leading causes of death are noncommunicable diseases.
These include heart disease (number 1 cause of death), stroke, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and cancers.
Did you know that the majority of these diseases are preventable?
These illnesses are often termed, ‘lifestyle diseases’ because they are correlated with the way individuals live their lives. This includes alcohol, tobacco and drug use, poor diet choices, and lack of physical activity.
Even if you are genetically predisposed to one of these illnesses, a healthy lifestyle can prevent or reduce the risk of developing them.
Unfortunately, many people turn a blind eye to these facts.
According to the CDC:
- 42.4% of the US adult population was obese in 2017-2018
- 13.7% of adults in the US smoke cigarettes in 2018
- 3 in 4 adults do not get enough daily physical activity
- Adults and children are consuming too many processed, sugary foods and not enough micronutrients or water
And when issues or symptoms arise, people visit doctors who prescribe a plethora of medications.
It’s up to YOU to disrupt the system.
Why you should prioritize your health
1. Health is a keystone foundation
Just like a keystone species or keystone habit, it carries over into other areas of your life.
Your health can affect other aspects in your life in a negative or positive way.
Without your health in check you won’t be able to sustain everything else well or for much longer.
Prioritizing your health is how you can prevent many problems.
Your health has an affect on:
Your finances/career: Ables you to work (to pay bills/live) and to avoid expensive doctor/hospital visits
Your relationships: Boosts confidence, better sex life, allows you to be there when needed
Your personal development and mindset: Makes you more clear-headed, promotes optimism, and provides energy
When you ignore your health or don’t take it seriously, your life will be more difficult.
As I mentioned above, even if you are genetically predisposed to any of those noncommunicable diseases you can greatly reduce your risk by prioritizing your diet, physical activity, and stress levels.
Take a look at the chart below:
Notice a trend here??
ALL of it is interconnected. You manage your blood pressure, sugar levels, and cholesterol through a healthy diet, exercise, and stress management.
Don’t you want to look and feel your best no matter your age?
Don’t you want to enjoy life without aches, pains and disease?
Don’t you want to grow old to watch your children reach milestones?
3. Increase your self-worth, discipline, and happiness
This is the only body you’ll ever have and it blows my mind that people treat it like a trashcan.
Suffering from a stroke or getting diagnosed with cancer is going to make you WISH you prioritized your health sooner.
If you truly want to respect yourself, you would take care of your mind and body.
And why would you want to do that? BECAUSE YOU ARE WORTH IT.
Once you recognize how amazing the human body is, you won’t want to continue to take your very own for granted. You can walk, breathe, lift, run, bend down, jump, etc.
And you’re probably familiar with the phrase, “Use it or lose it.”
You have the ability to take control of your health.
And once you start making decisions that are better for you, you’ll develop discipline.
You’ll develop discipline in an area where most people don’t have self control at all.
And going back to point 1, that discipline will bleed into other areas of your life. You’ll notice improvements in your mindset, your finances, your career, your relationships, etc.
All of which leads to more happiness.
It’s truly amazing.
Mind and Body
When you think of health, do you also consider your mental health?
Physical and mental health are of great importance and both should be prioritized.
Through nutrition and fitness you will also improve the health of your BRAIN, but your MIND requires more.
To take care of your mind, reduce stimulation, observe your thoughts, and constantly work on your mindset.
The thoughts you feed your mind are important and directly correlate with your results.
You can either create stress and unhappiness, or the opposite.
How to prioritize your health
You can blame your parents for not raising you to be healthy or your doctor for not helping you more, but what good will that do?
You’re in control of your life now and it’s time to take responsibility.
Recognize that you’ve been sabotaging your own health by eating unhealthy foods and being sedentary. You created your current reality.
The best news ever is that you can create your future too.
A journey to health is simple but will require patience and strength to push through.
Simple Lifestyle Changes to Improve Your Health
Stop making excuses
Health doesn’t take a long time. Health isn’t expensive. Health can still be prioritized when you’re tired.
Whatever is stopping you is an excuse.
You can carve 20-30 minutes out of a day a few times a week. My meal preps on Sunday take 1.5-2 hours (including dishes/cleaning) and I have lunch and dinner prepared for the whole week.
You don’t need a gym membership or a trainer. There are millions of YouTube videos to follow and walking/running outside is free. Whole foods (produce, grains, legumes) are some of the most affordable foods you can buy. Reduce your consumption of processed foods and meats and you’ll save money.
Working out GIVES you energy, just get over that initial resistance. I know you’re tired, I almost always want to nap instead of go to the gym but I go do it anyway. Whatever your situation (kids, job, etc.) there are people out there still prioritizing their health in the same one.
You can drink more water, eat less sugar, and move more.
Health requires some sacrifices but it doesn’t have to be so dramatic.
You are just making excuses and have yet to develop discipline.
How to Start a Healthy Diet
One mistake many people make in regards to health is that they rely on motivation and willpower. Both of those are great when they’re available, but they won’t be forever.
At first you may get excited to start eating healthy and work out. But once you see those donuts at work and your muscles are sore it’ll fade.
Instead, focus on creating healthy habits that will stick.
I suggest reading the book Atomic Habits by James Clear.
However, I also want to offer to you that you need to adjust your mindset and thoughts as well.
Taking action is important but if you don’t shift your mindset to identify as someone who prioritizes their health, it will be more difficult.
How to Make Exercise a Habit
Chances are you’ve tried to live a healthy lifestyle before.
Many people try to go after too many things at once.
If you’re someone who eats junk food daily, doesn’t know how to cook much, and is never active, I don’t advise you jump into ALL the health things.
Aiming to eat super healthy, drink half a gallon of water, and work out 6 times a week will overwhelm you.
Start small. Commit to getting healthy, set a goal, and implement a habit that you KNOW you will stick with.
When you start small you will be more likely to follow through.
Small health commitments:
- Take a 20 minute walk every Monday, Thursday, and Sunday
- Drink a glass of water every morning before anything else
- Add one serving of vegetables to your meals each week
- Swap a candy bar for fruit
- Spend 5-10 minutes meditating and/or journaling
Tips to Simplify Healthy Living
Do your research
I hate that I have to put this on here, but don’t always believe what you are told or what you read, even if someone is an expert.
Doctor’s are not in the business of prevention, they are in the business of treatment.
They may not always have your best interest at heart.
I have had doctors tell me wrong information and my doctor STILL provides me my BMI (body mass index) despite it not being an accurate depiction of my health.
Doctor’s do not receive adequate nutrition education despite the fact that it plays a key role in your wellbeing.
You will often be prescribed medication after medication that only cause dependency and/or further complications.
Of course there are many situations where you absolutely should be taking the medication, but work on your health as well!
Increasing your physical activity and eating a healthy diet cannot only prevent these common diseases but also reverse them or decrease their effects.
Prioritize your health and you’ll see how much easier everything else becomes.