The Sunday 3: You can pay to stay well or you can pay to get well

Being healthy is the hardest easiest thing you will ever do.

When I was 30, I was increasing my life insurance because my first son was born. Reasonable idea, right? Sure, most people would probably think about doing that.

For some reason, though, increasing my insurance was more of a process than it had been when I purchased the original policy just a few years earlier. When I asked my agent about the added steps and the para-physical he had ordered, he told me: “Our statistics show that your body begins to fall apart at age 30.”

What? Excuse me? Seriously? Thirty?

Ever since, whether in my head or actually in my body, things have been different. But it wasn’t until I turned 50 that I began to encounter challenges with weight, various activities and found that I wasn’t able to function as well on the 3-4 hours of sleep I often got.

I’m blessed in that I’ve been relatively healthy my whole life, except for that bum knee. I’d love to say that it’s an old football injury, but I never played football, so there’s that!

But, all too often, people don’t worry about their health until they face a crisis or serious issues like heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, osteoporosis or other chronic problems. By then, it’s time to play catch up and, honestly, it’s just nigh impossible to ever catch up.

My wife coined a phrase recently: “You can pay to stay healthy or you can pay to get well!” And the “pay” applies as much to will power, effort and time as much as it applies to money. Her new phrase reminded me of the old Fram oil filter commercial that says: “You can pay me now, or you can pay me later.”

Getting healthy is one thing. Staying healthy is an entirely different thing. But you have to start somewhere. And, just like anything else, you must have the want to — the desire! Beginning the process is the hardest easiest thing for you, but here are The Sunday 3 things you can do this week that will help you begin the journey to a more healthy you!

  1. Drink! Drink! Drink!

Drinking water is one of the most effective benefits for your health. Yes, it can help you lose weight, but there are so many other advantages. For example, water flushes out toxins from your body, boosts your immune system, improves your complexion, prevents headaches and cramps and generally improves heart health.

How much water should you drink per day? Estimates vary, but generally, you should drink half your weight in ounces. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, you should be drinking 75 ounces per day. That’s roughly four 20-ounce bottles of water.

Find a way to measure your water intake. If you drink bottled water, set aside your particular “prescription” per day. If you need to drink 80 ounces, set aside four 20-ounce bottles on the kitchen table. Or, buy you a water bottle and fill it once, twice or three times a day.

2. Stay away from the bad carbs!

This one might hit you hard, but these definitely aren’t helping you. Here’s a list of carbs that you should walk away from if you want to lose weight and start the health journey.

  • Bread. Especially white bread. If you must have bread, eat a whole grain bread.
  • White potatoes and rice. Baked potatoes, french fries, mashed potatoes.
  • Pasta. These are inexpensive and generally easy to make, but they’ll load you up quickly.
  • Most cereals, especially those sugary breakfast cereals. We’ve been taught for years that breakfast cereal is good, but check the sugar on your favorite cereal and you may learn quickly why it’s not-so-good after all.
  • Fruit juices. Once again, the selling point is that they are healthy, but most often, they’re made with loads of sugar and lots of carbs.
  • Chips and crackers. Oh boy, here we go. These are favorites of mine and even some of the healthier ones are high carbs and can be bad for you.

Frankly, there are quite a few more, but, once again, this will get you started on the journey. And there are no short cuts. If you can stop these foods cold turkey, all the better. If not, cut them in half or modify. For example, sweet potatoes are certainly better than french fries. Traditional baked potatoes are much better without the butter and the fixins. Brown rice is certainly better than white rice. And there are some cereals that are better than others.

3. Exercise! Get moving!

Yes, you knew this was coming. Move! You don’t have to do the latest Insanity program, but you do have to move your body. And I don’t mean sit on the edge of the pier and swing your legs.

Starting to exercise doesn’t necessarily mean you need to join a gym or spend a lot of money. Start small if you must, but start today!

If you aren’t doing anything, do something! Walk. Ride a bike. Stretch. Work in the yard. Do something that requires you to bend over and pick up or carry things. Park farther away at the grocery store or mall, and walk. Takes the stairs instead of the elevator.

If you’re doing something, do more of it. Take it to another level. Walk further, or faster. Ride faster, further or increase the resistance. If you’re doing it only 2-3 days a week, turn that into 4-5 days a week.

As Elizabeth says: “You can pay to stay healthy or you can pay to get well!”

This isn’t an in-depth prescription, but it is a start on the journey to better health, feeling better and some weight loss. If you would like to know more, email us at chipalatta@gmail.com.

It’s the hardest easiest thing you will do, but it’s also the best investment you can make for your health today.

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