Have you ever wondered why jaw-dropping success stories about people reversing chronic disease – or even cancer growth – with diet get less airtime in the news than stories on the newest prescription pharmaceuticals?
Like most of us, you spend time each day thinking about the one body you have, and how to treat it well so that it stays healthy and vibrant even as you age.
You’ve probably thought about going to the gym, maybe even going in for that dentist check-up you’ve been putting off, or getting your blood pressure checked.
These can all be helpful in managing problematic health, but what if there were a better way?
What if you could prevent the conditions you need regular medication and treatment for in the first place?
Is it even possible, and if it is, would it be worth the effort and expense?
Most people I speak with give one of three reasons for neglecting their preventative health in favor of band-aid solutions when their body starts to break down: “it’s too expensive”, “it’s too time-consuming”, or “I don’t even know where to start.”
(For the record, I hear ya! We’re all short on time and want to make the most of our money.)
Let’s break down each of these barriers to prioritizing your health and discover how it’s more achievable than you think.
1 | Ain’t nobody got time for that: Healthy living must be manageable
Many people will tell you over a relaxing lunch date that they love moving their body and eating healthy, only to dive for the Snickers and Netflix binge when they encounter extra pressure at work or a full calendar.
While we all feel comfort-food cravings when under stress, research shows that lack of time is actually not a significant factor when it comes to healthy choices.
Perhaps, or maybe we’ve known that “I’m too busy to cook” was just an excuse when pulling through the fast-food line one more time.
When you perceive healthy eating and living as too much to be loaded onto your busy schedule, rather than an automatic part of your routine, studies indicate that you’ll make worse eating choices.
Long work hours and multiple time constraints can make eating healthy and prioritizing movement challenging, to be sure, but once a habit is formed, it becomes easier to stick to with each passing day in the new lifestyle.
2 | The numbers gotta make cents: Good health needs to be affordable
How many times have you gotten jazzed about a nutrition program a friend wants you to try out with them, only to realize their grocery bill has more zero’s at the end of it than your monthly rent?
If preventative health care choices like moving more and eating well are going last, they need to fit into whatever your financial reality is right this minute.
The good news is that when you perceive healthy eating to be affordable, you eat healthier.
One study even showed that “a 10% drop in price resulted in a 14% increase in fruit and vegetable consumption and a 16% increase in eating healthy foods.” That’s fantastic news!
After all, not all of us can afford to eat fish caught by hand and sung sweet lullabies by wood sprites, or kale grown in small batches on a palace balcony overlooking the Caspian sea.
So you may need to compromise and not eat all organic produce, so that you can afford to eat a ton of produce.
Or you might need to scrap the gym membership and utilize mother nature’s free alternatives like hiking, long walks, or going for a jog.
Whatever you choose to keep your body and mind healthy, make sure it’s a sustainable choice for your pocketbook, so that you’ll stick with it for the long haul.
3 | Not just for the smarty pants: Wellness must be accessible
Long-term health is deeply influenced by many factors outside of just your health care, and one of them is your education level, because the more educated you are, the better health choices you make.
Studies are proving what many of us inherently knew all along; that those with higher levels of education tend to make better choices for their health. This has far-reaching impacts, but the most important thing to understand is that just because the right food and movement choices may look obvious from an outsider’s perspective, for a person entrenched in generations of fast-food, sedentary living it may not be so clear.
Solutions to sedentary, nutritionally deprived living must come with various entry points and a whole lot of grace for those who have been taught by elders that food only comes out of a package, and going for a walk means getting off the couch to head to the fridge.