These days, trying to be healthy seems to be a constant battle. We drink our green smoothies, cut down on processed foods, and use fitness apps to keep ourselves accountable for getting enough exercise. There’s not many people in the western world who wouldn’t have heard of superfoods such as kale, chia seeds or spirulina, or who wouldn’t have seen memes with the likes of ‘fit is the new skinny’ filling up Facebook feeds everywhere. But with such a strong health movement sweeping the world, why is it that premature deaths due to preventable lifestyle-related diseases have skyrocketed?
In Australia alone, it’s said that in just ten years time close to 80% of adults and a third of all children will be classified as overweight or obese. Research has also come up saying that one in every five Australians will experience a mental illness, including depression, anxiety, substance abuse and eating disorders. This is as darkly ridiculous as it is simply unacceptable. So many preventable diseases are becoming commonplace in our communities, and it’s a depressing reality that for the first time, our children might have shorter lifespans than us almost purely based on the spread of misinformation and the downplaying of unhealthy lifestyle choices.
It was seeing this trend first hand in multiple countries that really convinced me that change was needed, and fast. Something just isn’t getting through. Even people who put a lot of thought into their health and fitness can easily miss the point.
Have you ever spent a lot of time and effort getting into a great diet and exercise routine, only to fall off the bandwagon and then almost overnight go back to your old habits of relying on sugar and caffeine to get you through your mostly sedentary days? I have, and I’m sure I’m in good company.
It’s time to take back control of our health, and allow ourselves to develop strong, positive lifestyles which keep us at our peak – mentally, spiritually, emotionally and physically. What you consume, how you move your body and the thoughts you feed is your choice and your choice alone. It might be controversial, but perhaps if you have habits or routines which put you in situations where you know you’re probably not going to make healthy choices (back-to-back coffee meetings that cause you to skip lunch, anyone?) it’s absolutely acceptable and encouraged to take yourself out of those situations. It’s your choice how and where you spend your time, and perhaps it’s time for us to start really deciding what we want our health to look and feel like… and time for us to put ourselves first when it comes to the single most important thing in our lives – our health.
By Rhiannon Shepherd