Did you ever wake up in the morning and think, “Thank god I survived the night!” Most people probably don’t think that way, but should! According to a study from the Mayo Clinic less than 3% of the U.S. live a “healthy lifestyle”. What exactly makes up a “healthy lifestyle?”
- At least 150 minutes a week of Moderate to Vigorous exercise
- Healthy Eating Index: Score of 40%
- Body fat less than 20%(Men) and 30%(Women)
- No Smoking
SO how do you rate? In order to fall into the “healthy lifestyle” category you MUST meet all 4 of these criteria.
SO if this information isn’t bad enough, this will make the pit of your stomach drop even more! I am sorry to have you inform you of this, BUT here goes:
The average health insurance cost in the United States is $440 per month for an individual and $1,100 per month for families
These rising costs make it difficult for many in the U.S. to afford coverage, often leaving many without or sacrificing other major priorities. As the healthcare crisis spirals out of control, the average U.S. is as risk. Hospitals face overcrowding conditions, a dwindling workforce of doctors and nurses, limited funded, and their own financial dilemmas.
So for a country that spends $2.7 Trillion dollars annually on healthcare, why are so many without care? One startling statistic will leave you speechless:
86% of U.S. Healthcare is spent on Chronic Illness
Chronic illness not only accounts for crazy healthcare expenses, but for those it impacts, life can be hard, stressful, challenging, and well pretty miserable. Chronic disease like diabetes, heart failure, and COPD make everyday living a struggle.
Determine What Diseases You Are At Risk For
Now you are aware of what you are at risk for. I scored below average for many, however above average for Diabetes and Heart Disease! How did you do?
Now My Questions To You Is…….
I Want You to:
Fall In Love With Taking Care of Yourself
- Start Small: simple diet changes can slowly reduce your risk for disease. Start by adding 3 more glasses of water to your diet every day. Add 5 grams of fiber to your daily diet and 2 more servings of veggies a day. People tend to go all out and try to fix all their dietary “problems” at once, causing frustration and eventually failure, leading to worse eating than prior. Make a list of the healthy stores in your town and learn to “re-budget” your money. Instead of paying for processed foods and easy meals, find supplements that can help you achieve all your nutritional values.
- Understand your “moods” and learn different ways to cope. We all know that our moods can trigger our eating. I am always guilty of “comfort eating” when at work or dealing with stress. It is almost like we justify that for our “reasons” these foods won’t or can’t hurt us for that time. Sounds so silly but in fact we all do it! A simple solution? Easy…Keep that fridge, your office, car, or wherever else you “comfort” eat stocked with healthy snacks. I know what you’re saying “Who ever heard of healthy snacking?” Keep plenty of water, sugar-free gum, pieces of fruit available to help you thru your days “trigger” moments.
- Who do you hang out with and view as a role model? This should not be taken out of context, however if your best friend enables you to smoke and drink, well maybe this isn’t what is best for your health. Role models influence us more than we think. Take a few minutes and pause. Now consider if your role model impacts you positively or negatively when it comes to living healthy. Find a role model who makes you feel good about who you are and can motivate you to live healthy.
- Don’t starve yourself! People avoid snacks all day then rush home or worse yet stop at the nearest fast food joint and order the worse #3 from the value meal, large-sized! Back to healthy snacking. Plan your day and keep a steady stream of healthy calories moving in your body. As a prior fitness trainer I would tell people to put snacks in little baggies and eat one every 1-2 hours throughout the day. Alternate snacks and then reward yourself on a special day of the week. For instance on Saturday you get to have the bowl of ice cream for being so good all week.
- This leads to my next tip! Make healthy eating fun and enjoyable. Set goals and slowly become competitive. Keep your goals small and work them up slowly. Today I will drink an extra glass of water every day this week! I will reduce trans-fats from 2 of my meals this week and so on and so forth. Some even find it usefula dn helpful to mark on their calendar.
- Move more and sit less! My favorite to give: Park further from the store, forcing you to walk more and avoid the drive-thru window as much as possible. Plain and simply put, the more you move the better you are.
- Avoid treating every little ache and pain with NSAIDS or Tylenol. These take a toll on your valuable organs over time. Learn to understand your pains and find alternative solutions. Apply ice and heat as needed, stretch more, learn yoga moves, get an inversion table (I love mine!!). Go for a message once a month to release the tension from your stiff and tired muscles, well you ge tthe point!
- Wellness and health physicials: Be seen at a minimum of once a year. I recommend a Nurse Practiioner for an overall health assessment to help you better understand your risk factors and current health status. Make sure your blood pressure is controlled, lungs are clear, and digestive tract if normal. A NP often perfroms a thorough health assessment and can give great health tips and advice based on your individual struggles.
- Never Smoke: We all know this, but does everyone understand this next statement? Research now shows that women who clean their homes once a week with national and store brand house cleaners are at risk the SAME as women who smoke a pack a day for 20 years! SO congratulations for not not smoking, but cleaning your home and doing the laundry places you right back up there for lung disease and cancers. What the heck!! My tip: Find a store that offers plant based products AND do not need a child proof cap. there is your mission!
- Most important tip I can give you: Give yourself credit and understand as long as you try something every day, well it’s better than doing nothing. We are human and life is challenging. We can’t always predict what will happen next in terms of preparing and maintaining our routine. I am all about systems. When you adopt a good system in your life, things can stay on course even when life throws curve balls at you. If you have a bad day and smoke and drink and eat garbage, well get over it the next day and try again. Don’t dwell on it and always keep your mind in forward motion!
John Green is a Masters Prepared Registered Nurse. He has worked in the healthcare setting for over 20 years, including acute care hospital settings, long term and rhabilitation settings, and public health. John believes the key for healthcare survival in the Unites States is based on prevention and wellness strategies. As the struggle to find primary care providers increases, insurance premiums increase, and the healthcare workforce decreases, the odvious solution is as less dependence on the system as possible.
Contact John Green, RN,MSN
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