Confession: I eavesdrop on your conversations about health all the time. At the gym, at church, in the grocery store, at the doctor’s office, at preschool pick-up, standing in line at Panera, during water breaks at the FieldHouse. Just about everywhere basically. In my defense, it would be difficult not to, as it seems to be a theme repeated over and over in every imaginable environment and among all types of people, male and female, young and old, tall, short, fit and not-so-fit. The details might be expressed in slightly different terms and with varying degrees of urgency, but regardless, health and wellness is a real and present preoccupation for all of us.
The types of conversations I bear witness to generally fall into one of two categories:
- Commentary about how a friend or family member’s health is deteriorating, or
- A resolution that someone is determined, this time, once and for all, no more excuses, to make their health a priority.
I’ve been reflecting on both.
Clearly, our society has reached an all-time low from a health perspective. Sure, we are living longer than our ancestors did, but the quality of that longevity is not what we would hope for. I recently shared with my dad that our organs actually have a life expectancy of 120 years, not 70 or 80. He replied with a mix of sadness and sarcasm, “Okay, but I’m not sure I want to live to be 120.” Aging, as we’ve come to know it, is no fun. Parts that once moved nimbly and easily are now tired, stiff, and sore. Our minds don’t soak up and retain information like they used to, and once-vivid memories become cloudy, or forgotten altogether. Conditions like diabetes, heart disease, cancer, stroke, depression, anxiety, Alzheimers, arthritis, obesity…you name it. They are robbing us of our vitality and our joy, and not even waiting until we are advanced in age. Even our children are suffering. Illness has almost become our new normal. But is this really the way it’s supposed to be?
Not surprisingly, many people are now striving to reverse decades of poor choices in diet, fitness attempts (or lack thereof), and lifestyle behaviors. They count calories, track macros, swear off alcohol/chocolate/chips and queso/ice cream, spend entire mornings at the gym on a regular basis, log hundreds of miles, quit smoking, start moving, obsess over points and cheat days, and give ear to every new fad or trend or quick fix that comes down the pike. It’s exhausting just writing about it, never mind being caught up in it.
So – enough already. Can we stop this madness? Is there some way to regain natural balance and a clear perspective on health? It bears repeating that life is so short and the needs in this world are so dire. There are widows to be comforted, children to be nurtured, outsiders to be welcomed, broken lives to be mended, and a multitude of wrongs to be righted. None of us can accomplish any of this if we are chronically exhausted, stressed out, overweight, underweight, ravaged by illness, malnourished, depressed, anxious, addicted, overworked, or just too preoccupied with things so trivial as a number on the scale or the size printed on our jeans.
We were made for more than this. We were created with gifts, talents, interests, and abilities. A mission awaits each one of us, and we can’t fulfill that mission if we’re chronically broken – physically, mentally, spiritually, or emotionally. I believe it’s time we take that first step towards the optimal life intended for each of us by first and foremost reclaiming our health.
It is my mission at Good Life Architect to help people rediscover food and fitness as sources and sustainers of health and vitality and to realign their lifestyles according to a deeper understanding of the way their individual bodies prefer to be fueled and to function so that they can THRIVE.
Want some of that? If so, I hope you’ll follow along with me on this journey.