(Thanks to Heather for taking the time to put together this post for World Health Day)
Healthy Living is more than diet and exercise
Everyday we find ourselves bombarded with advertising for the latest exercise machine or diet programs. I know I do. The media at large wants us to believe that living a healthy life simply means to eat better and exercise.
I have found myself wondering why advertising makes it seems so easy, and yet it is so hard. Even when people succeed, the cruel fact is that the success is short lived.
A few months ago, I took a health and wellness class, assuming that it would be all about diet and exercise. I began the class thinking I would hear the same thing I have heard many times from nutritionists, diet counselors, doctors, and personal trainers.
I was wrong, and I found out how unbalanced my life was in respect to health. I was surprised to learn that health means every facet of my life.
There are personal aspects of health that we all face but probably do not consider, and within those health aspects, we also have levels of change.
The personal aspects of health that I learned about were:
Environmental – how healthy am I in respect to my environment, do I recycle? Am I involved in conserving energy, water? Do I buy local and organic foods whenever possible?
Stress – Do I know and practice stress relieving techniques? Am I aware of my stressors and how to counter them?
Sexual health– Do I practice safe sex, am I in a monogomous relationship?
Emotional health– Do I think in a healthy fashion? Do I pursue happiness or have I fallen into a place of negative thinking?
Social– Am I involved in my community? Do I have a set of close knit friends? Do I have a support group? Do I allow others to be there for me? Am I there for others?
Intellectual– Do I make an effort to increase my knowledge? Am I aware of my surroundings? Am I aware of what’s going on in the world, and how it affects me?
Spiritual – Do I have a spiritual basis or belief system? Am I comfortable with it?
Physical– Do I eat right, at least five fruits and vegetables a day? Do I limit my sugars, salts, and saturated fats? Do I drink water ? Do I weight train for muscle and bone mass building? Do I do at least 45 minutes of cardio most days of the week? Do I stretch?
Oddly, there are levels which we all must go through in our pursuit of change in order for the change to stick.
Precontemplation– when we are either in denial or have no desire to change
Contemplation– We’re thinking about what might need to be changed, but we’re really not ready to do anything about it
Preparation– we are taking the steps toward making a change
Action– we have begun to make a change
Maintenance– when we have been consistent for 6 months
I realize that for some reason I am in a rut. It’s easy to do, a change in routine can easily push me back from action to contemplation in every aspect of my health. My life consists of upheaval and changing routines, so I have allowed my rut to become my routine that I cling to.
I hope to change that. Tuesday is World Health Day. While the World Health Organization has their own theme for this year, my choice is to go back and look through my Behavior Change Contracts I wrote for myself with every aspect of my health that I felt needed attention. I have been ignoring not only my physical health, but also all the others in some way. My main problem is support, so today I am hoping I can begin achieving a better social health by inviting you to join me.
What about you? Do you have aspects in your life that may need change aside from the physical changes the media encourages us all to make?
Would you like more information on how to write a Behavior Change Contract, or where to begin?
What is lacking in your health arena? What is working for you?