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It Pays to Be Healthy
It Pays to Be Healthy
“The winners in life treat their body as if it were a magnificent spacecraft that gives them the finest transportation and endurance for their lives.”
~ Denis Waitley
According to Paul Zane Pilzer, leading economist, author, and expert on trends driven by baby boomers, the wellness revolution is “the next trillion dollar industry.” More than eighty million people born between 1946 and 1964 invest precious time, energy, and resources to look and feel younger. The science of anti-aging has come into its own with advances in medicine and complimentary products, services, and techniques designed and formulated to prevent disease and to promote longevity and prolonged youthfulness.
At the same time, we are witnessing an epidemic of degenerative diseases, many of which are environmental, lifestyle and stress-induced. Annual deaths from these illnesses are in the millions. Certain ailments, such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes are estimated to be up to 85% avoidable. Such authoritative institutions as the American Diabetes Association, the Harvard School of Public Health, and the Center for Disease Control promote diet, exercise, and nutrition to help prevent one of the most epidemic culprits of all times: Type II Diabetes. These sources suggest that with lifestyle changes, diabetes is up to 58% preventable.
We can add quality and years to our lives by paying attention to our bodies and taking care of ourselves. If your goal is to live a long and healthy life, you can follow the recommendations by such experts in the field of longevity as Dr. Deepak Chopra. In Ageless Body, Timeless Mind, Chopra discusses the benefits of maintaining a steady weight, remaining physically active, and eating in moderation. John Maxwell, an expert in leadership and a prolific author, worked himself into a life-threatening heart attack through stress and an unhealthy lifestyle. He now preaches that the smartest thing we can all do is to pro-actively maintain good health while we still have it. Maxwell believes that one of the causes of poor health is being over-worked, which itself is a stressor. From his own close call, he learned and now teaches that it is prudent to make our health a priority early in life so as to avoid having to take our hard-earned assets to try to buy back our health once we have lost it. There is less emotional strain on your family when you take good care of yourself. It is cheaper, more convenient, easier, less of a hassle, and a lot more fun to remain healthy than it is to try to recover from being ill.
HEALTH, TIME, AND LONGEVITY
I chose a network marketing company that manufactures and distributes health-based products. However, the benefit of making our health a priority extends to other network marketers who focus on non-health-related products and services. Many people in network marketing are dedicated to personal growth and the development of leadership skills. If you are committed to self-improvement, by extension you would address goals, issues, and concerns around your health and your body. Being the best you can be and living a life that is about influencing others to improve their lives suggests that you find time to eat well, exercise regularly, and de-stress. It is more difficult to live a life of making a difference if your energy is chronically low, or if you hate the way you look and feel. It makes sense that you would make taking care of yourself a priority.
In our business, we preach the benefits of “work/life balance.” This means that you have a favorable ratio of time for your business, time for your family, time for fun and recreation, and time to take care of yourself. Time is a “biggie” for many people. The belief that there is not enough time is insidious and will show up over and over during the day. Furthermore, it can take its toll on people who never get around to doing good things for their bodies. The perception that there is a shortage of time manifests for many individuals as their putting caring for themselves at the bottom of the list. It never gets done.
Be careful what you affirm. Deepak Chopra has shown medical evidence that when we believe that there is not enough time we run the potential risk of having our lives be shortened. There are even disease-promoting biochemical processes in our bodies that speed up when we think we are going to run out of time. Be mindful of any thoughts and emotions on the topic of time, especially fearful ones. If you find yourself chanting during the day “There is not enough time” you may be unwittingly creating undue stress and tension, which we all know is not good for you. There is actually a condition called “hurry sickness”. It is the bane of people who are unable to manage their time and always fear that they are running out of it. The result is a release of stress-related hormones, which themselves are related to a host of lifestyle induced diseases including hypertension and metabolic syndrome, which is a group of clinically measurable pre-diabetic indicators.
Learning to relax around how much time you have will give you more of it. For starters, without those stress-related hormones, you just might be healthier, which can translate to living a longer life. Your perception of sufficiency around time will alter your experience of it, thus creating a positive feedback loop. This is among many reasons why yoga is called the fountain of youth and why I continue to practice it and recommend it. Yoga promotes relaxation mentally and physically. By adjusting your perceptions and learning to relax, you can create “more than enough time” just as you created “not enough time”. Your life may depend on your making this shift. The new chant gradually becomes “There is plenty of time.” It will help you feel much better.
TAKE YOUR BODY WITH YOU
It takes energy and stamina to stay focused and productive. A fortified immune system is required to protect you during stressful times. The more well days you have and the fewer sick days you have means more time you have to get the job done and to enjoy the fruits of your labor. You want to be as healthy and energetic as possible. It takes a lot of time and considerable mental and physical energy to manage being sick.
Conversely, when you are feeling great, you are more apt to be productive and enthusiastic about life in general and your work in particular. Having radiant energy increases your attractor factor and will draw people to you. Some of the most important people you will ever meet and work with will find you because of your glowing good health.
I have told two little stories so many times that I have come to believe both of them.
o I am younger and healthier now than I was ten years ago.
o My health is so good that it will rub off on you.
Being healthy does not necessarily mean having a heart of a twenty-year old. Nor does looking good require that you win a beauty pageant. And last, being fit doesn’t mean you are going to place first in the Ironman. Putting these qualities in perspective can help you steer yourself to making choices that improve how you look and how you feel on a daily basis. The benefits will reward you now and for the rest of your life. Feeling better physically can catapult you into higher performance, higher earning, and being able to help more people. If your goal is to build a thriving and profitable business, you will definitely want to maximize your energy to support you in achieving that.
YOU ARE WHO YOU CREATE
In all areas of health and wellness, focusing on the body you want to create can energize you more than any deprivation diet or New Year’s resolution. When you are clear why you want to live-and when you have attached this purpose to the people you love and the lives you want to change-you are propelled forward. Asking yourself what you want to create holds more positive energy than telling yourself what you cannot eat, or forcing yourself to do exercises that you hate. Stay positive. Have fun. Enjoy the creative process as you choose wellness every day.
Here is an example of someone who got clear on the value to him and his family in choosing to be healthy. Mario is someone I met through my networking organization. His own father died in his fifty’s and never met his grandchildren, Mario’s children. Wisely, Mario linked his own food and exercise choices with his most compelling reason to live a long life, which is to see his grandchildren grown. He lost the weight around his middle because he learned that central obesity was one of the strongest predictors of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. He began to exercise daily and adopted pro-health eating habits. He discovered the body that he wanted to create and attached a higher purpose to having it. For the first time Mario did not have to deprive himself of foods that he knows are not good for him and that he used to eat. By getting in touch with the feelings and desires to enjoy his grandchildren throughout their lives, Mario’s appetite for pro-health food kicked in naturally.
Mario said this was effortless compared to times in the past when he tried to lose weight while focusing on what he could not eat and feeling bad about himself and his body while attempting to make changes. He shifted his entire focus and enjoyed the creative process for the first time in his life. A surprising side benefit to Mario was that he got hooked on feeling relaxed and energetic in his body and wanted to perpetuate that experience.
If you wish to change your point of focus, a good starting point is your selection of meals and snacks and what you eat to sustain yourself. Think of this as the octane level of the fuel on which your body runs. Eating nutritious-dense food that is high in fiber, complex carbohydrates, and artery-friendly fats will improve your health. Dr. Ray Strand, M.D., is a practicing physician, author, and expert in wellness and nutrition. According to Dr. Strand, avoiding processed foods, refined sugar, and saturated fat helps prevent a variety of illnesses such as cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
Good nutrition means adding an additional layer of supplementation on top of your meal choices. This provides your body with extra protection to promote wellness and longevity. An immune system that operates optimally is one that has received the proper ratio and quantities of vitamins, minerals, and other micronutrients. A diet rich in antioxidants (through diet and supplementation) gives your cells what they need to function optimally. Since our cells are the smallest living building blocks in our bodies, they determine the way our bodies function on all levels.
When you have consumed whole foods and supplements that provide a broad spectrum of health-promoting nutrients, there is far less damage when you enjoy a treat occasionally. When you are fortified you are not at risk so you can afford to be imperfect. It is freeing to know you can enjoy little pleasures without compromising your overall wellness. We love dark chocolate in my family. When taken in moderation and when we sustain ourselves on pro-health meals and snacks, a little sweet treat can be easily tolerated without undesirable consequences.
According to Dr. Strand these are the benefits to you for the following:
o Weight loss
o Improved sensitivity to insulin
o Decreased risk of heart disease
o Decreased risk of most cancers
o Decreased risk of diabetes
o Decreased risk of Alzheimer’s dementia
o Decreased risk of macular degeneration
o Decreased risk of degenerative arthritis
o Enhanced immune system
o Weight loss
o Lower blood pressure
o Stronger bones
o Decreased risk of osteoporosis
o Improved insulin sensitivity
o Decreased risk of heart disease
o Decreased risk of diabetes
o Enhanced immune system
o Increased strength and coordination
o Overall increased sense of well-being
o Optimized antioxidant defense system
o Optimized repair system
o Improved insulin sensitivity
o Builds the body’s natural defense systems
o Allows your best chance of protecting your health
FALLING IN LOVE WITH FOODS THAT ARE GOOD FOR YOU
There are countless reasons why people do not choose pro-health food. Do any of these look familiar to you?
o Not enough time
o Don’t know how to prepare
o Can’t buy stuff like that where you live
o Costs too much
o Your spouse and kids won’t eat it if you feed it to them
o Does not taste good
When your intention to be well is high, whatever argument you have made to defend your habits to eat unhealthy food begins to drop away. You have done many things in life that are far more difficult than adding fruits, vegetables, and whole grains to your meals and snacks. If you come back to “What do you want to create?” then your choices (and your body) change shape over time. Bring consciousness to what you put into your mouth. Pay attention to your emotions when you reach for food. Relax and breathe while you eat. It is important for you to be conscious of what you eat and how you feel when you are eating. Feeling centered, grounded, and relaxed around food will help you make choices that promote longevity, increased energy, and better health. Especially in our culture in which so many people are addicted to carbohydrates, the benefits to you to feel calm and in control around food and eating are under-rated. Your life is worth living fully. Making healthy choices is an extension of high self esteem and your desire to be in control of yourself and make a difference for others. Choose freedom over enslavement to unhealthy substances. This actually promotes greater health because of the peace of mind this entails.
The most delicious food in the world is the food that is the best for you. For example, many brands of multi-grain pasta and bread are loaded with health-promoting nutrients. They have a heartier texture than those made with refined and processed flour that contain empty calories. Whole foods like these give you something to chew and because they contain no processed sugar and flour they won’t spike your blood sugar. This is called the low-glycemic approach to improved nutrition and better health. You may discover that foods like this provide immediate and lasting satisfaction. If you are more habituated to eating processed foods, I think you will be pleasantly surprised by the benefits to you for substituting nutritious foods for the ones you normally select. They naturally give you more sustained energy and help you feel better. As someone in network marketing, perhaps you have set big goals for your life and your business. Without the crash and burn affect and the tiredness caused by eating junk food and highly processed food, the food I am recommending will support you better to achieve whatever goals you have set for yourself.
Just as you do not have to become Mr. Universe to be in better shape, you do not need to overhaul your entire diet to improve your health. One of the biggest reasons why people do not make modifications in their diet is because they believe that it won’t make a difference. This is erroneous thinking. You have to start somewhere. Focus on the incremental benefits as you allow for even greater ones. If you find one new pro-health substitute in your meal planning per month, at the end of one year, you will have radically improved your diet. Something deceptively simple like switching from white to brown rice or corn tortillas to sprouted grain tortillas helps.
What about those of you who are not currently engaged in a healthy diet and exercise program? There is hope for you as well. Let’s say that Point A is where you are now. Point B is where you are headed if you continue on the same pathway. Are your habits and lifestyle leading you to a long and healthy life?
If point B is not where you want to end up, you can make some modifications that are modest and achievable in their scope, but potentially significant in their benefit. Let’s say for dessert after dinner you replace ice cream with fruit. Add a thirty minute walk a few times per week. If your body cannot handle thirty, start with ten and build up gradually. Let’s throw in a daily regimen of high quality supplements. You have now lowered your sugar intake, upped your consumption of fiber and antioxidant, gotten the glucose from your blood to your muscles (where it will be stored as energy rather than fat), and added a layer of protection to your cells-all with a modicum of behavior modification.
These simple disciplines, repeated over time can now produce dramatic results. A few degrees in a different direction and a few modest adjustments extended over time will draw you to a completely new destination. When it comes to your health, never underestimate the benefit of simple changes along the way. Every improvement you make counts.
MOVEMENT AND EXERCISE
Do you find time each day to live actively in your body, or do you find yourself making more excuses than you do exercise dates with yourself? Do any of these common justifications for not getting exercise look familiar to you?
o I don’t have a buddy.
o I don’t have the time.
o I don’t belong to a gym.
o My body hurts.
o I look terrible and I don’t want people to see me.
o I don’t have the right clothes.
o The weather is wrong.
o I don’t like to sweat.
o I don’t have the right equipment.
Like making better food and nutrition choices, finding a way to incorporate movement into your day will pay you dividends for a very long time. In my experience working with people who needed a boost over their resistance to exercise, once they get hooked on the good feelings that come with moving their bodies, it became more difficult to not go for that walk than it was to do it. People who get inspired by the joys of physical activity often grow to crave it. Whereas before there appeared to be no time, once a decision and a commitment were made, suddenly there is time every day to at least go for a twenty minute walk. In fact, for those of us who enjoy the benefits of exercise and movement, a day without it feels incomplete. Someone once asked me how I feel when I don’t exercise. I said, “I don’t know. I never wanted to find out.”
Exercise is another component of living your best life. This entails moving, breathing, and getting your heart rate up. If you are like me and you have a lot of energy to burn, you may find that breaking a sweat will bring relief and will enhance the feel-good benefits of being active. If you suffer from low energy, you may discover that you acquire more of it when you move and breathe. Being physically dynamic creates natural mood-elevating hormones and reduces stress. Because some of the hormones that are stress-related have potentially serious side-effects, here you have a winning combination-exercise to improve your health and release toxins that were caused by stress. The enjoyment factor and the health benefits can transform your day and brighten your outlook. A moving, stretching, breathing, and strengthening break will help you become more cheerful, more relaxed, and more optimistic. By creating a slower resting heart rate-which is the result of exercising and getting in better shape-you become calmer and more centered as you face challenges and take on bigger projects. Make time to rest, recharge, and re-energize. You are worth it. You deserve to feel terrific. Once you get hooked on how you feel from something as simple as walking around your block a few times, you will discover that you look forward to moving your body and the relaxation that follows.
YOUR BODY AND UNFINISHED BUSINESS
Over lunch one day, a friend named Katy told me that her biggest fear is becoming like her mother, whose health was always poor. She, the mother, was dependent, needy, and a burden to her two daughters. Katy said that she wants nothing more than to not become like her mother. In a confidential manner, she told me how much sleep she loses worrying about her own health and fearing that she will die early. Katy is very overweight which she knows puts her at risk for cardiovascular disease and diabetes, two conditions her mother has.
Katy is as an example of someone whose life is impacted by a misalignment with her body. She is accomplished professionally and holds a prominent position as a professor at a local university. Her work in education is recognized nationwide. By many standards, she is a high achiever. Amazingly, Katy has done all of this while simultaneously living in dread of her impending mortality and physical dependency. She is doing good work on the outside, but unfortunately feels miserable on the inside. In her own words, she is always stressed.
What is it about this highly accomplished individual that on one level is out in the world making a difference, and on another is terribly unhappy about her health and her body? Katy has done an impressive amount of work in her field, but she is sorely lacking from having done work on herself, particularly around her body. She is in her early 50’s, suffers from osteoarthritis, recently had her hip replaced surgically and in her own words, struggles every day. Although she is smart and educated, and although she knows the consequences of her choices, she refuses to make any changes that benefit her body or her health.
I have tremendous compassion for anyone who is out of sync with her health and her body. Many years ago I myself was locked in a belief that supported my being ill. It looked from the outside that I was doing good work. But the struggle inside was very real and quite painful. Because I had not chosen to be well yet, life was much more difficult then than it is now. I recognize unfinished business in others because this was my experience. My life changed dramatically when I realized that health was a choice. Is failing health inevitable, or might you challenge that belief for your own benefit? Imagine that your health can improve year by year. Be the best you can be in this body. As I did on my own journey, you will need to stare down any limiting beliefs you have about your health and your body as well as address certain changes you need to make. I do not mean to make this sound easy because for me this was sustained personal work that took place over time. But it was among the most amazing and significant transformational experiences of my life.
Many of us have learned the value of creating strong and healthy bodies. We take our bodies with us on life’s journey. When I remind myself what my purpose is-to improve the health of others, to create financial freedom, to leave a legacy for my children, and to help others achieve freedom-my choices are crystal clear. You too can put time and effort into your daily practice, through food choices, exercise, and supplementation. Once you discover the most compelling reason for you to do this, you may encounter less resistance and experience less of a struggle. This might be easier than you think.
Whether you are moving mountains or just climbing them, anything you can do to increase your vitality will support you throughout your day. If time management is the challenge, putting things on your calendar will increase the chance that you actually get to them. If you are super busy and work from a calendar or to-do list, schedule time for a walk or the yoga or dance class so you see it on your list. With practice, the thought that you are too busy to exercise is a cue to go move, breathe, and work your muscles. You can buy yourself more time after a great work-out. You will come back to work refreshed and energized.
Getting hooked on feeling good is an excellent way to perpetuate new habits. Give yourself a gift and give yourself a break. Be well. The world will be a better place for you and those you love when you take good care of yourself.
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