1. You can do more without getting winded, risking injury, or wondering if you are physically able.
If you ever get the chance to go to Beijing, you want to be able to get up the Great Wall. You don’t want to have to wonder if you are too heavy for the ski lift, or not be able to take the apartment in the ideal location because there’s too many stairs. You don’t want to have to sit on the sidelines cause you can’t climb the mountains of life. Many people CAN’t do things, due to illness or injury beyond their control. My mother has MS, and I take as many pictures as I can because I really don’t know if she’ll be able to see things in person. My risk of getting MS is slightly elevated, and I am grateful for every step I take without pain or disease.
Everyone has seen someone in a wheelchair or in some way differently abled. Don’t you owe it to ourself to make the most of the body you were given?
2. You will live more easily and maybe even longer.
What is worth life itself? I understand we probably don’t want to all start eating only rabbit food and a slice of birthday cake is’t going to kill you. But we all reap the consequences of how we take care of ourselves. Besides being able to control our risk for diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and so many other illnesses, by being healthy we can better enjoy the life we have. Live like your dying doesn’t mean you have to smoke a pack of cigarettes a day, or down that bag of Cheeto’s. Rather, make decisions now your aging self will thank you for and that reflect your respect for the gift of life.
Most people in my family are morbidly obese. Even in their early fifties, they couldn’t move around like they used to and developed all kinds of problems like sleep apnea, diabetes, and more aches and pains that were necessary because the loads they cary are simply too large for their bodies. By contrast, I have a friend who is 67 who beat her daughter up the mountain to enjoy the view during their vacation in Costa Rica and who can walk up my sloped diary without a problem. Though she’s old and wise, she’s kept her youthful attitude along with her health. Similarly, I have a former professor who has become a long time friend. He is probably in his late seventies or early 80s, and he continues to ski, play tennis, keep up with his 12 year old daughter, travel the world, write books, and generally enjoy life. I don’t think I’ve ever met a younger or more playful soul than his. I can’t think of any greater inspiration to become fit or stay fit.
3. There is a sacred relationship between what is going on on the inside and outside. Your body is YOU and influences your soul and vice versa.
If you find yourself downing a bag of M&Ms after every convo with your boyfriend, maybe it’s a sign this is no a healthy relationship to be in. Likewise, if you eat junk food every day and feel too sluggish or distracted to do anything but what’s easiest and find yourself putting off fulfilling your dreams, you should realize that you are not fueling yourself the right way. Whatever stress is going on in your life, having a healthy body will make it better than in an unhealthy body. That’s not o say being healthy is going to cure every problem in your life, but there’s definitely no way that sacrificing your health will make you any more genuinely happy. There may be days when life happens and you don’t keep to your healthy eating goals or exercise, but letting those things go and NOT putting in that effort is not going to make you any happier or less stressed. This is the sad mistake I am now recovering from, and it seems so silly in retrospect o think letting go of my healthy habits would help me cope with stress. Being less healthy only makes you less capable of coping with whatever challenges come your way.
4. Stress is part of life. How we react o it determines whether we will grow or be hurt by it.
Being healthy is largely determined by the choices we make in managing stress.
Stress can be a good thing. It is a sign we are on a path tha challenges us. Trying to avoid it entirely is misguided and will simply cause us to get weak. Finding out a way o relax, whehter it’s taking a quick walk, setting aside a short window for yoga, meditation or a nap, or writing in a journal will help us make the most of the opportunity for growth. Alcohol, other drugs, and food will just make us foggy and give us more problems in the long run. Same goes for using tv or social media to space out- a litle moderation would go a long way. It’s ebtter to get in the habit of taking a deep breath and maybe spending a few minutes in silence rather than getting lost on Facebook, having a cookie, or gettig into the habit of having “a few” drinks when things are tough.
5. Life is too beautiful to waste on a bag of Cheeto’s.
Life is beautiful, living it fully means living it healthfully. We don’t have to be ultramarathon runners or mountain climbers or raw food vegans to be healthy. But we are wasting our lives if we let unhealthy addictions, however societally condoned or pseudo benign like a daily mochalattafrappachino with extra cararmel sauce, take over our lives and become a main attraction whetn they aren’t healthy sources of pleasure and joy. I’m trading my diet soda for green and herbal teas, little by little, because I don’t want to spend my money on dentist bills and keep literally putting things that are pretty likely poisonous into my body. Life’s just too short for that.
I hope this article inspires you to make healthy choices from a place of intrinsic motivation and respect for yourself. So many times, our desire to be “healthy” is really more about extrinsic motivation and wanting to be more pleasing to others. Focus on pleasing yourself and at least one person, the most important person, will always be happy. And healthy ❤