Healthy Living. Where Do We Even Start?

Healthy Living Journey
Road to somewhere?

Deciding to “live healthy” can be a life altering change. Choosing to make a change of this magnitude is one thing. Actually implementing the change is much more complex. And, as with any journey, one of the toughest things is figuring out where to start. Do you begin with a workout routine?  Go on a green smoothie diet? Or maybe just read a book on Zen?  While there really is no right or wrong answer, there may be an easier place to start.

It’s All About The Journey

For me, the starting point was all about freeing myself from everything I ever learned about food, health and nutrition.  It’s not that everything I ever learned was wrong, it’s just that I wanted to start this journey with a clean slate.  I didn’t want to bring any pre-conceived notions about right / wrong or good / bad.

My mother always told me I had a very curious mind. I’m always asking questions. I tend to not be satisfied with an initial response and find myself playing the role of my four year old, always asking “why.”  While this tends to get me a few funny looks from time to time, it’s really what got me started on my journey to healthy living.

More Than 2/3rds of U.S. Adults: Overweight or Obese

That was it. That one statement that I heard once and then again and then again.  I’m a numbers guy by day, so those large statistics always grab my attention.  There are over 180 million adults in the US, so we’re talking about a pretty big problem!

Now, when I looked at myself I didn’t see an overweight adult. I never eat fast foods, occasionally take Izzy, our dog, for a walk and really don’t ever graze on junk food.. Needless to say, I was shocked when I plugged my data into the National Health Institute’s BMI calculator and it spit out a nice, red, OBESE.  What?  You gotta be kidding me!  How am I obese?

My initial reaction went from, “OK. Clearly this calculator tool is wrong” (after two different websites computed the same results I gave up on that theory) to “OK. I’ll go on a master cleanse and just drink water and consume cayenne pepper for two months.”  When I was finally able to catch my breath, I knew I had to take a step back and re-examine some things.

Why am I Obese?

This is a pretty interesting question, right?  To me, this wasn’t about trying to find someone to blame but fundamentally trying to solve what I quickly learned was a pretty complex question.  So the start of my journey was about learning. Learning about food (and food companies). Learning about diet(s). Learning about exercise. And learning about how complex our body actually is.

Twigs and Berries Diet
My new twig and berry diet

The first health-focused book I read was Kathy Freston’s Quantum Wellness Cleanse, which my wife recommended. I knew going in that it was written by a vegan, and aside from being told that I would have to eat twigs and berries for the rest of my life, I wasn’t expecting much. Surprise! I read the book in about two days and was completely fascinated.  Freston walks readers thru a step-by-step 21-day Wellness cleanse. Along the 21 day journey, she highlights the benefits of being a vegan, the problems with gluten and the importance of meditation on your overall health. But for me the book was about so much more than a cleanse and a particular diet. It opened my eyes to the notion that being healthy isn’t simply trading my potato bread for some wheat bread and taking the stairs at work once a week.  To truly be healthy, you must transform the way you look at food, exercise and mental well-being.

So I was a week into my journey to live healthy, and surprisingly found out that I’m officially obese (at least according to the fine folks at the National Health Institute).  This wasn’t quite the start I was looking for, but I learned a lot about myself and believe I’d found a place to start with Freston’s cleanse.   I knew this wasn’t going to be easy!

Until next time…

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Image:  PublicDomainPictures / Pixabay

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