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The Healthy Edge: Are “Health Nuts” really that weird?

The Healthy Edge: Are “Health Nuts” really that weird?

The Healthy Edge: Are “Health Nuts” really that weird?

Because of what I advocate in my practice, some people view me as somewhat of a “health nut.” So much so that one of my patients graciously brought doughnuts to the staff while toting a bag of raw vegetables for me. Although this thing we call health is an essential commodity to me, I am certainly not a fanatic. To me, fanaticism is a dirty word, and I try to avoid it about anything.

However, it is odd that some people view those of us who have chosen to be proactive with our health as peculiar or, excuse my language, fanatics. Why is that? Sustaining good health requires three basic things: eating correctly, keeping the body in motion, and good mental well-being. I have difficulty understanding why some people find that so hard to grasp.

I had another patient tell me a story of his grandparents, who apparently were one of the outcasts I am speaking about. He said, “My grandparents do all this weird stuff like you.” My reply was straightforward. I asked, “How are they doing?” Of course, he replied, “Great. They are in their seventies and look and act like they are in their fifties.” Huh? Why is that so weird? I was taught long ago that if you want to be successful in any area of life, look at what successful people are doing.

But another category of people understand the importance of wellness and have tried to embark on a healthy lifestyle but quickly find themselves muddling into the same old unhealthy habits within a few weeks or months. Some of you many times. Now that most of our New Year’s resolutions have been forgotten, we must add millions more to that list of unsuccessful or failed attempts.

Although the ones who ridicule those living this lifestyle while continuing their destructive habits will eventually have to “pay the piper,” I want to address one of the most universal reasons why people fail to shift to a healthier lifestyle. There are numerous reasons, but this one is a common theme. Many people attempting to make this shift eventually stop trying because they say it is “too tough.” It was too harsh for them because they fell into the trap of temporary fanaticism and became overwhelmed.

Look, change is difficult enough, but to go from John Candy to Jack LaLanne overnight is a very arduous task. The reality is that our current lifestyles, in many cases, help us to cope with those inherent stresses of life, whether it is eating bad food or a drug or alcohol addiction. Many people feel overwhelmed because they begin facing the reality of life, and sometimes, that means dealing with issues they have been trying to escape, either internally or externally. Internal would be things such as self-esteem, depression, anxiety, etc. External issues include unemployment, bad relationships, or financial problems.

But, there is another reason that can trigger this feeling of being overwhelmed. These feelings often come from trying to play “catch-up” with that area of our lives we have ignored or “put off” because of these behaviors. It makes total sense. If we look at our reasons for desiring these changes, it is usually because we realized that parts of our lives could have been more fulfilling should we not have spent so much time with our mouths hovering over a package of Twinkies or cigarettes.

There are not enough hours in the day to play catch-up after years of unhealthy habits. So why beat yourself up trying to do so? One of the primary keys to success is consistency. Small steps each day lead you toward the path you are taking.

I want to share an excerpt from Robin Sharma’s book The Greatness Guide entitled “On Mountains of Mastering Change,” where he uses the metaphor of mountain climbing to illustrate that “people truly can make changes that last.”

Define What the Mountaintop Looks Like

I suggest you articulate, in writing, what success looks like. Note what needs to change in your life to feel spectacularly successful and what will happen if you don’t improve. Then, record your goals in all the key areas of your life. Write out what you want your reality to appear five years from now. List the values you want to stand for. Clarity precedes success – and awareness precedes transformation.

Start Climbing

There’s great power in starting (I call it the Power of Start). A single act done now sets the forces into play. It generates momentum. And with the action, you begin to experience positive results. That forms a positive feedback loop: more action, more results. And that, in turn, promotes confidence.

Take Small Steps

You can’t get to the top of Everest by jumping up the mountain. You get to the mountaintop by taking incremental steps. Step by step, you get to the goal. Every step brings you closer to the dream. Life is like that, too. Small steps each day get you to greatness over time. Why? Because the days really do become weeks, weeks become months, and months become years. You’ll get to the end of your life anyway – why not reach that place as an extraordinary human being?

As Robin mentioned, the small, consistent steps will get you up the mountain, but focusing on the mountain-top, or your target, is sometimes much more manageable than watching every little step you take. Therefore, focusing on the ultimate goal will help you get your eyes off your feet and help ensure the change you need to become a fanatic like the rest of those healthy lunatics.

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