Sunday, March 21, 2010

Take Responsibility for Your Health - Now!

Today is an historic day. With all of the debate and voting taking place in Washington tonight, I step back and wonder how we ever got to this point - the point at which we must rely on the government to provide mandated health coverage for everyone. At what point do we, as individuals, accept responsibility for our individual choices?

My mother was a smoker - 2 packs of cigarettes a day, since the age of 16. She ate reasonably well, but was not obsessive about it. Kept her weight within reasonable range - however, she ended up having a massive stroke at the age of 41 and died from it.

We all must do a better job of eating well, exercising regularly (3x/week or more), avoid excessive alcohol consumption, don't smoke and make healthy decisions that will help you and your family live a better quality of life. It is that simple. But, it is a lifelong commitment. There are times when it will be hard. Know that now. Anyone who tells you otherwise is not being realistic and truthful. You will have chocolate cravings, ice cream cravings, sugar cravings, potato chip cravings - it is ok. Have a small portion to satisfy the craving then walk away. In fact, go for a walk to take your mind off of the food.

We have lived in a society where we allowed people to eat excessive amounts of fried or fast food, smoke cigarettes and sit around the house omitting exercise from any part of daily living. Now that we, as a country, are paying for each of our lifestyle habits and behaviors through a government run health care program, don't expect your neighbors around you to be silent observers. Get ready for the comments, suggestions and (yes) offers of help and encouragement. We all are now in this together. Especially financially. We will be paying for this coverage for generations to come.

My hope is that there will be programs in place to help with behavior change - encouraging those with chronic conditions (or close to getting a chronic condition) to learn how to eat well, select healthy food options in the grocery story, learn how to prepare foods that are low fat. This is CHANGE we all can count on. It must be learned. There must be support and encouragement from those who have the knowledge, time and resources to teach others. This behavior change is what will positively impact our generation and those that follow. Having a program to pay for our health is simply too simple. There must be more of an incentive - we must change our lifestyle to that of a healthier one. Our future,and our grand children's future, depends on it!

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