As I write this month’s column, I am sitting in Costa Rica. I have to say the weather down here is a bit nicer this time of year compared to Nebraska. Last month’s column was about protecting your health when you travel and I’m practicing what I preach while down here—in fact, as I write this I am waiting for the gym here at the resort to open so I can go work off the extra sushi I ate last night.
Whether you are sitting by the ocean and enjoying a morning breeze or you are sitting in your office with the heat turned up to fight off the cold, I think we can all agree that weather sometimes influences our choices. Not sure what I mean? Let’s take a closer look at a few examples in Nebraska:
Want a piping hot bowl of chili in August?
How about ice cream while sitting on your back deck in January?
Want to go run or ride bikes outside in February? (Ok, a few crazy marathon people do)
How about getting bundled up to go sledding with the kids at Holmes Lake dam in June?
These examples should seem a bit odd or ridiculous. But as odd as they seem, we also often make choices of convenience that would seem just as strange if we took a step back to look at it. Here are just a few examples of this:
• Eating at a drive through each day and hoping to lose weight
• Snacking at work or during the day by grabbing a bag of chips or a candy bar
• Eating high carb meals late at night
• Skipping breakfast
• Drinking fruit juice early in the morning because advertising has told us this is healthy
• Drinking sodas throughout the day to stay awake or satisfy cravings
These are just a small sample of all the things we do that self-sabotage our healthy intentions. The one uniting factor in many of these actions is “time”. Sometimes this could even have to do with preparing for or responding to the weather. We feel rushed, like we just don’t have time, or that we are just too busy to worry about it. Whenever you feel this way, I recommend that you pump the brakes and think about that for a minute. You don’t have time to take care of yourself so you can stick around a few more years and actually enjoy your life? What’s that about? And if you don’t make the time to take care of yourself, when you break who is going to take care of all the things (and people) you do? Bottom line is that we have to take smart deliberate actions each day to ensure our health. Everyone is up in arms about health insurance (rightfully so), but this is just dealing with a symptom of the real problem that many Americans face—our lifestyle choices. If you and I can both pay just a little more attention to our healthy habits (or fixing the unhealthy ones) then the odds that we even need to use insurance will go down quite a bit over time. No matter what the weather is, no matter how rushed we feel, make intelligent choices that are right for us….not just what is convenient.
One final note: Focus more on your identity or your “why” behind things. For me, this changed quite a bit in 2010. I’ve had a focus on being healthy for many years, but in 2010 I married an amazing woman who has truly changed my life forever. So now my “why” is more about staying healthy and sticking around as long as possible to be with her and enjoy our lives together. What is your why? Your spouse? Kids? Family? Something else? Whatever it is, go to that first when making decisions on how you spend your time and how you take care of yourself (including what you eat).
Well, the gym is open now so I’m off to work out and then get ahold of some of the great mango and pineapple they have down here.
by Jeff Dousharm, President