by Matt Weik
I’m not sure why, but Americans refuse to focus on their health for some reason. They seem to have this “Superman” ego that nothing bad can happen to them, and if it does, they’ll be just fine. Unfortunately, this type of thinking generally ends badly for the individual, and there are severe consequences to their lack of prioritization with their health.
How often have you heard someone you know or are related to who got severely ill or was fighting some sort of disease due to poor lifestyle choices and behaviors? Your mentality might have gone from “Oh man, I’m so sorry to hear that,” to something like, “It’ll never happen to me.” You go on with your day, not thinking anything of it and dismissing the pain and suffering the individual was going through. You consider what they’re going through as “bad luck.” But news flash… It can absolutely happen to you.
What Side of the Stats Are You On?
I want to share a few stats to put this article into perspective. These stats, alone, should shock you into wanting to put more focus on health. If you read the above, and it was like I was talking directly to you and describing your mentality, pay close attention. Before you know it, the statistics below may become your new reality (if they aren’t already).
• Obesity is linked to over 60 chronic diseases
• The bigger your waist, the greater your chance of diabetes
• Obesity causes more than 2.8 million deaths each year and is one of the top five causes of death
• If you are obese, you tend to miss 56% more days of work than those who are healthy (employers, go read that statistic again)
• Over 73% of US adults are overweight
• A new study predicts that by 2025, 50% of Americans will be obese, and by 2030 the number will increase to 60%
• Obesity is linked to cardiovascular disease, and one person dies every 36 seconds from it
Why Don’t Most People Focus on Health?
There is no shortage of excuses for why people don’t focus on health. Common reasons include it’s too hard, they don’t have enough time, they’re healthy (rather, they think they are), it’s too expensive — the list goes on and on.
The question everyone should be asking, especially after seeing some of the quick stats I listed would be, “Why would you not want to focus on health?” With all the risk factors out there tied to being overweight and obese, at what point do people look in the mirror and tell themselves that they need to make a change. I’ll actually tell you the answer. Most of the time, it’s when they are faced with severe health complications.
I’ll be the first to admit that it isn’t cheap when you focus on health. Healthy food is more expensive than junk food. Gym memberships can add up over the years. And the time dedication can cut into your television time at night. However, look at the alternative and the consequences.
If you don’t focus on health now, you’ll spend more time focusing on it when you get sick. It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. You can easily work out at home using your own body weight or with a small investment into some home gym equipment. Or you can join a gym for under $20 per month. And let’s face it, you spend more than $20 per month on stupid stuff you don’t need (like your $5 morning Starbucks you get on the way to work). When it comes to food, buy things in bulk and it can drastically reduce the overall cost compared to purchasing smaller quantities of the same item.
Overall, if you want to focus on health, you need to make some sacrifices. In the end, you’ll be happy that you did.
3 Essential Tips to Help You Focus on Health
Below, you will find some helpful tips that can allow you to better focus on health and fitness to provide you with some fantastic benefits. You can implement some or all of them. The key is to start implementing change today so that things get easier tomorrow.
1. Schedule Your Workouts
Anything that is important to you goes in your calendar, right? So, why wouldn’t you put your workouts in your calendar to ensure nothing takes up that time slot in your day and you end up missing your workout?
2. Track Your Nutrition
I love the saying, “You don’t know what you don’t know,” and it’s very true with nutrition. Do you know how many calories you’re consuming each day? I mean the exact amount. If not, how do you know you’re in a caloric deficit? You don’t. Therefore, you should use something like MyFitnessPal to track your nutrition.
3. Prioritize Sleep
The last thing you need to do so that you focus on health is prioritize your sleep. Lack of sleep can raise cortisol levels, increase hunger hormones, lead to overeating, and have you packing on the pounds. Strive for a minimum of seven hours of quality sleep each night. If you need to, set an alarm in your phone to remind yourself when you need to start getting ready for bed so that you aren’t looking at the clock at 3am only to realize you need to get up in three hours.