A recent article in IDEA Fitness Journal reviewed American adults’ lifestyles and their reported healthfulness. This study, published by the Mayo Clinic, reports that less than 3% of American adults are living a healthy lifestyle.
During the Mayo Clinic study, the researchers considered four different topics when reviewing healthfulness:
- Sufficiently Active (150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity each week)
- Eating a healthy diet (based on a 24-hour recall)
- Being a nonsmoker (serum cotinine level)
- Having a recommended body-fat percentage (5-20% for men, and 8-30% for women)
Not surprisingly, very few people met those criteria. In fact, fewer than 3% met all four criteria. 16% met 3 healthy characteristics, and 37% met 2.
Why is this? What is stopping Americans from living healthier lives?
As the article states, “Despite the billions of dollars spent on gym memberships, diet programs and low-fat food options, Americans don’t seem to be getting any healthier” (2016, p. 5)
I’d like to suggest that these proposed “solutions” (gyms and low-fat foods) aren’t really helpful solutions at all. But that is not what these studies and reports would have you believe.
And here’s where I’m going to insert personal opinion – It bothers me that the trend is to place the blame on PEOPLE. Even the above statement seems to say that Americans are given all the tools to live healthy lives; they just aren’t doing it!
In other words, our culture would have you believe:
It’s your fault that you don’t feel energetic enough after an 8-hour day at work to get BACK in your car, drive to a sweat-box full of clanky machines, and pound away on a treadmill until your joints hurt.
It’s your fault that you’re still hungry after eating a bunch of low-fat food that is full of sugar.
It’s YOUR FAULT that you’re so stressed out, smoking may seem one of the only quick and easy outlets you have. It’s your fault that it’s so hard to quit. You just need more WILLPOWER.
It’s YOUR FAULT that you’re fat, tired, hungry, cranky, and stressed out.
I don’t normally curse in my articles, but this topic drives me crazy. You know what I say about all of this being your fault? BULL.SHIT.
None of these things are your fault.
Let me propose another theory as to why Americans are not healthy.
The fault is in the systems at play. The fault is in the fact that you work 8 hours, when you could probably get the same amount of work done in 2-3 hours (4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferris is a great resource for more on this).
The fault is the fact that you sit at a desk all day, when your muscles are really meant to move, flex, stretch, and be active. The fault is in the “do more” mindset that leads to stress, stress and more stress. The fault is in the fake Franken-foods that fill your grocery store, and the fact that people will smack “healthy” labels on crap food and charge you more for it.
All of this makes you think that is will cost you more and take up too much of your time to live and eat healthfully.
But, in the end, it’s actually robbing you of the very essence of your existence, the freedom and the power that reside within you to do great things. And it’s leading to depression, poor health, and money wasted on things that don’t matter.
But don’t worry. They make a prescription for that, so you can feel all better.
If it sounds like I’m angry, it’s because I am. It makes me angry to walk around and see people unhappy, unhealthy, and sucked dry of life energy.
That’s why I do what I do.
Because with every small step in the right direction, you can live a healthier life. Amazingly, with each step, you realize that it’s not as hard and expensive as you think. It’s actually fairly easy, when you step out of the system.
When you get exercise outdoors, instead of in a gym. When you PLAY with your family, instead of ruining your metabolism on a treadmill. When you buy from local farmers who work hard to produce real food. When you eat healthy-fatty foods that fill you up and give you lasting energy. When you relieve stress by reducing it before it starts, and learn how to be mindful. When you take a step of faith and tap back into your passions and challenge the 8-hour-a-day work mindset…
When you do these things, you can live healthier.
This is why I do what I do. To help people reframe their lives, get out of a broken system, and learn how to build a new system. A personalized system that takes them to a life better than they could have dreamed.
I want to encourage you to take at least one healthy step in the right direction today. I’ve given you a few ideas above. In case you didn’t catch them, here they are again:
- Play outside
- Eat real food
- Take unimportant items off your to-do list
- Practice mindfulness.
It’s not about just “not smoking, eating healthier, losing fat, and being active”. Because I know that if you knew how to do those things in a way that felt good and natural, you wouldn’t be struggling with doing them.
If you’re thinking, “I can’t imagine that those things would be easy at all!”, then you’re stuck in the system. If you need help getting out of it, give me a call. I can show you how getting out of this system can be easy and feel good.
P.S. Here’s that link to a free call again. Let’s get you out of this broken system and into one where you can experience healthfulness and freedom!
Research taken from:
July 2016. “Why Aren’t We Healthier”. IDEA Fitness Journal. p. 5