By: Javier Tuel, Certified Personal Trainer
This past September, new national obesity statistics were released. According to the State of Obesity report released by the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (2018), obesity rates are on the rise. In 2000, 30.5% of adults and 13.9% of children were considered obese. Today, 39.8% of adults and 18.5% of children are considered obese. These numbers make me question if we truly understand the consequences we face and the harm we are doing if we continue this current trend.
With these staggering numbers, I have been thinking about my drive and my reason for staying healthy. I have been thinking about what creates a sense of urgency and gratefulness for me to maintain my health. What steps am I taking to ensure that I can live a long, active, and healthy life? We all have a different idea of what healthy means. For me, being healthy means doing everything I can do to stay around for my loved ones for as long as possible. I understand there are circumstances that I cannot control, but I will do everything in my power to take advantage of every opportunity to keep my body as healthy as possible.
In my reflections, I have been thinking about what I can do to combat what has become the new norm. While I alone cannot change these numbers by myself; I can influence, motivate, and educate those around me. Together, we can make progress and fight back. Here are my suggestions and steps to becoming and staying healthy and active:
Identify your reason. What is your “why” for being active, eating healthy, making changes towards a healthier you? My reason is thirteen years old. I cannot imagine not being here for him, seeing him grow up, graduate, start his own family, etc. I do not want him to have to grow up without me. I want him to know that I fight daily to stay here with him for as long as possible. I am also his role model. I want him to have the confidence, support, energy, and knowledge to live a healthy life. My reason is my drive to live as healthy of a life as I possibly can. Identifying your reason for being healthy will be your drive and motivation to go after your goals.
Be honest. Do you really want to change? How bad do you want it? Are you ready to make the necessary sacrifices to actually change? There are times in life when you may not be ready. That is okay. If you are not ready to change, the chance of failure increases and maintaining a change is harder. Understanding this is essential to be successful. Be patient and understanding with yourself.
Identify your obstacles. What has been holding you back? Is there something that has made you believe that you cannot be healthy or achieve your goals? What is stopping you? Maybe you have tried before and failed. Maybe you feel unsupported and alone. Maybe you feel lost and do not know where to start. I want you to grab a piece of paper and write down all of these challenges. Be honest with yourself. Identifying these obstacles will allow you to come up with a plan to attack these challenges.
Understand the importance of you. You were given one body, one opportunity, one life. You have been given a valuable treasure. When you look in the mirror, I want you to see yourself as an inspiration. I want you to see yourself as beautiful, you are important, you are needed. It may be difficult to understand how important you are when things get tough, but you are needed. Make choices based on your needs and do what you need to be healthy, mentally and physically. Remember, you are never too unhealthy to get back to a healthier you. You are never too far gone. You deserve to be healthy, active, and happy.
Do your homework and make a plan. If you are ready to change, it’s time to do some homework. Research what options are available to help you reach your goals. What do you like to do? What can you afford and what is accessible for you? What motivates you? What foods do you like? How can you fit this healthy lifestyle into your daily life? Who will support you? Don’t be afraid to try new workouts or foods. Make a list of all these things, set your goals, then make a plan. Attack that plan like your life depends upon it, because it does.
I hope these five tips will help you find your sense of urgency or gratefulness to be active and healthy. Together, we can stop the rising obesity trend in the United States. It starts with you and me. Find your reason, be honest with yourself, identify your obstacles, and understand your importance, then go after your goals. I Believe in you. Now go Believe in yourself.