Nobody Wants to be Healthy

Healthy BreakfastI’m guilty of it all the time – probably every day. I’ve discovered one of my underlying assumptions about life, and I have been wrong.

I have assumed everyone wants to be healthy. But that’s not true!

Research abounds on the lifestyle dimensions important for good health. You know the drill: exercise regularly, eat a variety of healthy foods including fruits and vegetables, maintain a healthy weight, don’t smoke, drink alcohol sparingly if at all, sleep 7-8 hours a night, manage stress well. How many of us do those behaviors regularly? Research shows that only 3% of us follow 4 of these most important health habits.

I’ve come to the conclusion that most people really don’t care about being healthy. Some do, but most of us want something else more. Convenience, laziness, “hyper-palatable” food, busy-ness, habit – all very good “reasons” for an unhealthy lifestyle.

If being healthy isn’t something important enough to impact our lifestyle, then what is? Perhaps it’s just a matter of how we think about things. How about some of these reasons? You may want to:

  • Have energy to keep up with your children
  • Avoid an illness you watched a parent or someone else suffer with
  • Preserve your body as a gift from God
  • Be physically able to do something important to you
  • Enjoy your grandchildren

The most powerful lifestyle changes come from the inside out. For most of us a desire to “be healthy” is too nebulous, too temporary, too easy to compromise. It takes something deeper.

My husband Al made some dramatic lifestyle changes a few years ago. He quit smoking (after 45 years), dramatically changed his diet, and lost about 50 pounds. He says it was because he wants to be able to stay around long enough to enjoy life with me! And just last night he told me how much his spiritual life has changed during this process as well.

If you’re a member of the “helping professions” like I am, understanding what makes people tick makes your “helping” so much more successful. And if you’re the one needing to make a change, finding a “big enough reason” to change will make you successful as well.

Your turn: Have you made a significant lifestyle change? Do you need to make such a change? What’s  your “big enough” reason? I’d love to hear from you.

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