My (Hard-A**) Health Philosophy, #NoExcuses

50b4b703f9217650cd2246a674b1b8e5

The quote above blew me away. Too many times I hear people say they don’t have time to take care of their health because they are too busy taking care of others. When I tell people that their health is the most important thing, and that they need to make healthy choices for themselves above all else, it does sound and feel selfish. And no one wants to be selfish…we all want to be the martyr. But if you can’t take care of yourself, how will you be there for anyone else?

For example, after I pay all my bills, I end up spending the rest of what’s left over on food. Compared to some, my food bill is pretty pricey. I don’t waste money on supplements, pills or powders…but I spend a lot of whole, fresh fruits and veggies. Sure, I could save now for my future if I decided to live on oatmeal, instant ramen, and PB&J sandwiches on ninety-nine cent white bread. But what would my future be like if I did so? Diet and lifestyle affects more than just how you look…it effects everything. My mood would suffer and I would be depressed, I would be injured more frequently and recover slower from running, my eating disorder and body image problems would certainly come back…things would probably start to crumble. I’d probably have to start relying on multivitamins (pricey) and anything I saved in the short term would be spent long-term as my physical, mental, and emotional health began to take a hit. So I don’t sacrifice on the foundations of my health, because it is the most important thing you can have. It’s easy to take for granted, but don’t! Don’t wait until your health is gone, when you can only look longingly at others and wish you had a healthy body to walk, run, and play.

ph-sticker

My Health Philosophy Assignment (one of the last of my undergraduate education!): My philosophy regarding health as a future health educator. I already know my professor won’t like this. For some reason, no one likes to hear that it is their own responsibility. The current health theory is that it is genetics (epigenetics is huge right now) and a sick food culture that people are victims of. But public health/ community health is about prevention. In that respect, my health philosophy is the core of PH, advocating for you own health by making your own choices is prevention!

take-responsibility

My philosophy places a lot of responsibility on the individual to take control of their own health. Largely, I believe that a person creates good health or bad health as a result of the decisions an individual makes. I do acknowledge, and realize that there are factors outside of individual control such as environment (built and natural), family (history, habits), biology (genetics, gender, age), and government (policy or lack of regulation) that can inhibit or facilitate health of a person.

After reading the text and taking this course, my philosophy has not changed. In fact, I am more certain than ever that the individual needs to bear the burden of the responsibility for their health. A person’s health status is a direct result of their choices in life. How, as a health educator (receiving my Bachelors in a week!) do I justify my philosophy on health?

No one will live in a perfect environment that promotes health of individuals above all else, that utopian society does not exist. In America, money talks above all else, and it is profitable to sell people corn, soybean, or wheat-filled/fed products which the government subsidizes. The end result is cheap meat, dairy and egg products, and cheap junk food and fast food- like products. The meat and dairy industries profit, the junk food industry profits, fast food chains profit, and people get sick. Then the health care industry profits off the sick population. Health insurers, doctors, and the pharmaceutical industry make money by keeping people unhealthy and sick, but tout medical advancements to extend lifespan…and the billions of dollars they can make off of longer lived, life-long patients.

peope-are-fed-by-the-food-industry-which-pays-no-attention-to-health-and-are-treated-by-the-health-industry-which-pays-no-attention-to-food-quote-by-wendell-berry-facebook-meme

No one lives in an environment that makes it easy to be healthy. But remarkably, there are people who still maintain their health. They do this because they have realized that no one else cares about their health, they need to care about themselves. Yes, some people have family history and genetics to work against, but I believe that “genetics load the gun, and environment (lifestyle choices) pulls the trigger.” If you are not doing what you can to promote your best health by seeking your own education, eating plant foods, exercising, and sleeping enough, then you need to own up and take responsibility for your poor health state. Blaming genes or the environment is an excuse and a cop-out.

We all live in the same Take-charge-of-your-own-lifecurrently unhealthy environment, yet many people manage to create good health for themselves because they have taken action. They’ve stopped allowing others to dictate their food and lifestyle choices. Going with the flow in America will only make you sick. Being healthy is abnormal. What it all comes down to, is a choice to be abnormal in society. Buck the media advertisements, fast food chains, and grocery store sales. Our health situation in America is dire, because people only care about your money, but they trick you into thinking they care about your well-being.

 

Take care of yourself so you can cultivate your own health and have a good quality of life that allows you to pursue your passions, enjoy your work, and be there for your friends and family. This is my philosophy regarding health as a health educator.

you-must-take-personal-responsibility-jim-rohn

Advertisements

Get Out the Door: 5 Tips to Run No Matter What

forrest gump running gif

Some days it’s just hard to get out the door. There are times when you know you should go for a run, you actually planned to go for a run, but somehow when it came time to actually follow through… you choked. You psyched yourself out, put it off till tomorrow, came up with an excuse. It doesn’t matter what happened, but the end result is the same: you didn’t go for a run, and now you feel guilty about it.

So how can you become a consistent road-warrior & running-addict? Here are my 5 useful tips to get your butt moving!

  1.  Be mindful: Don’t think too far ahead! Keep your thoughts on what you need to do in this moment to get yourself running. I always try to run in the morning and there are many days when my alarm goes off and I don’t want to go run. If I start thinking about why I don’t need to run my mind will find an excuse. So I try to shut off my brain. On auto-pilot, I roll out of bed, pull on my clothes and just go. Only once I’m safely out on the road do I let my thoughts wander. Don’t give your thoughts free-reign to trap you into inaction. Trust me, your mind can conjure up a million reasons to not run if you let it. So don’t let it! Remain in the moment, put on your running clothes, lace up your shoes, and take the first step. Concentrate on what you need to do right now, which is run!
  2. Get inspired: Who is your favorite contemporary runner? Find someone who inspires you and do some reading about how they train. For me, it’s Meb Keflezighi, Deena Kastor, and Shalane Flanaghan. I read articles about their training regimens, dietary and sleeping habits. They never fail to inspire me with their incredible work ethics, discipline, and attention to detail. If I find myself wanting to skip a run, I remind myself that somewhere out there Meb, Deena, or Shalane are training and are each 100% focused on their goals. They don’t slack off or make excuses, and if I ever want to be great like them, I can’t slack off either! So find your woody allen quotepersonal hero and in times of weakness, remind yourself of what it takes to be like him or her.
  3. Practice acceptance: Is it raining? Dark? Cold? Accept it for what it is! Don’t waste valuable mental energy stressing over the elements you can’t control. Instead, see the conditions for what they are and continue to focus on going for a run. If it’s raining, pull on a jacket and go run. Dark? Wear flashing lights and reflective gear. Cold? That’s what thermal gear and gloves are for! Focus on what you can control and accept the rest of it. When you are mindful and have one though in your head, ‘go run’, nothing will get in your way!
  4. Schedule it: The first step toward establishing a healthy habit is to turn an action into a routine. The best way to do that is to schedule in a specific time to run. It’s an appt. with yourself! Allow at least an hour to warm-up, run, and stretch afterwards. Be realistic with how much time you need so that you don’t end up getting stressed out over time or skipping your run due to other conflicts. Find out what time works best for you to run, and then be consistent about running at that time. Do it long enough, and it will become a daily habit! I run every morning and I’ve been doing it for so long that I need to run or I am definitely not the same person the rest of the day!
  5. Find accountability: It’s easy to let a workout slide if there’s no record of it. For the same reason that writing down goals is effective, having accountability makes the intangible tangible. It turns the intangible thought, ‘I should go for a run’ into ‘I need to run, otherwise _____ will happen’ with accountability comes tangible consequences. Accountability can mean diligently keeping a running log and building up a streak of days running. Seeing the miles accumulate will increase your motivation to run. You can have a regular running buddy, or find a supportive running group that will miss you if you don’t show up. You can hire a coach (I workout harder when there are more people counting on me!), join a team, or sign up for a race! You can even run for a cause (for example, Team In Training for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society which raises money for a cure). Or run to represent, I want to be an exemplar of running while vegan so I always do my best!  If there’s more riding on the line, you’ll be less tempted to skip a run!

lets go