Seeing so many success stories on #10yearchallenge everywhere on social media, I am inspired to share my musing on how health is perceived in my immediate environment.
While I cannot claim to be on top of my fitness game, healthy eating has always been a priority ever since I was old enough to have some control on my daily food. My mum thinks I’m obsessive, my daughters have always been intrigued by my recipes (which includes the likes of broccoli kebabs, beetroot cookies and zucchini pancakes) and my husband can’t stop feeling proud of it. However, it’s never too late to learn what’s missing, and it was barely a year ago that I joined a fitness centre, in order to have a more balanced lifestyle through regular exercise.
With time, weekend conversations with my friends – most of whom are in their early forties – have started to lend more focus towards a healthy lifestyle. This topic creeps its way in every time, and it’s interesting to note different responses from different people when it does.
- Analysts: These people genuinely want to understand every single detail of how best to stay fit. Their questions revolve around the kinds of foods to eat, the kinds to avoid, the new superfoods, the grandma recipes and various exercises. They’re even keen to read a few books to research tips towards a healthy lifestyle. These people may not have done much for their health in the past but are keen to do so, once they have all the information they need to make an informed start.
- Observers: A slight extension of the first category covers the people who do want to know all details, but they choose not to carry the burden of this knowledge too far and usually get rid of it as soon as they reach home; just not quite convinced enough to push through their comfort level and make a change in their current lifestyle.
- Rebels: This set of people find this talk boring and rather pointless. They exercise regularly, but don’t like to talk about it. They eat the right food five days a week and let loose on weekends. They find it unnecessary to share details of their healthy regime, which allows them this luxury on weekends, thus creating an illusion that this is their lifestyle every single day and it keeps people wondering how they keep fit.
- Happy-go-lucky: People who are too content with their present lifestyle and love their food like anything. Their mantra is to enjoy life as it comes: eat, sleep and drink while they can. They believe that, sure, doctors may tell them to stop eating certain foods one day… but until then, enjoy!
- Reformers: Here’s also another set of individuals who are no nonsense, no junk-food eating people. They exercise profusely, eat by the book and have an opinion for each single bite of junk another individual eats. These people want to push it to the limits to spread health awareness. They are brutally honest about what they think and are, more often than not, perceived as rude due to their extremist views.
None of the people in the above categories are necessarily right or wrong. Each has their own way of doing things, which has probably, but not always, served them well in the past.
My question to any of these people would be, “Are you doing enoughto take control of your health?” If the answer is yes, “fantastic! You are already on the winning path.” If no, “do you have the courage to challenge your current lifestyle and make changes – big or small – towards a better health?”. Some may require a doctor’s consultation to start with, based on their medical history. Some may need to consult a dietician if wanting to commit to a strict diet. Some may want to join a local gym while others may want to commit to a badminton group or park runners in open air, to be surrounded by motivated people all the time. Do whatever appeals to you.
In last 2 years, I got an opportunity to witness several health transformations in my inner circle. My husband, who has been a born foodie, lost 16 kg based on his own discovery of mindset change (See Article). Another friend engaged a dietician and lost 12 kg as a fantastic start to a healthy life. Just by saying goodbye to junk food, my high-school nephew not only lost 14 kg but also gained the confidence to set and achieve huge goals in his life. Each of them lost 15-20% of body weight and ushering a new healthy season of their lives. Several other friends and family members have started their healthy journey and it is heartening to see them create tiny wonders in their own individual ways.
A healthy mind and body are assets that you create for a lifetime, and you are its ultimate beneficiary. It does not mean spending 4+ hours daily at a gym and eating only raw salad. It means conscious eating and some deliberate exercise as part of your daily routine: it may involve making some small changes like taking stairs instead of a lift, lunch time walks, yoga or even signing up to prepare for a city run. One thing that has worked for my family lately is making our weekends more active while having some fun together –hiking, outdoor games, bushwalking or coastal walks. The key is to look for opportunities to make a start and explore what you enjoy most. Do not over-think; do not procrastinate. Reducing weight may not be your motivation, but being fit and healthy should be something each of us aspire to be, not for others but ourselves.
As Bill Gates once said, most people overestimate what they can do in a year and grossly underestimate what they can do in a decade. What are you doing today to create your success story? Are you ready for the #10yearsfromnowchallenge?