Do you take great care of your health or does life get in the way? For most of us, life gets in the way far too often. However, our bodies are resilient, bouncing back, year after year, tolerating our neglect, until finally, things start to fall apart. Eventually, our choices catch up to us.
Wake up! Your body is the armor that protects your soul. It’s a gift. It’s the only thing you own. It’s the first impression you share with the world. Life is a lot more fun in a fit body.
Great health requires two things: discipline and self-control. However, we’re constantly bombarded by advertising and other stimuli that promote consumption and immediate gratification. It’s hard to avoid eating too much when there’s a giant portion of food sitting in front of you. It’s difficult to exercise when your schedule is already filled with other priorities. Let’s face it; it’s tough to focus on health when our environment encourages us to be unhealthy.
The Health Challenge is designed to fight back. It’s about feeling fit and strong and confident. However, it’s not about perfection. If you decide to take the challenge, you commit to making great health choices most of the time. You do it because you’re worth it. You try, fail, and try again because it’s the right thing to do.
The goal of the challenge is to help you establish habits that will enhance the quality of your life and I promise you the resulting happiness is worth the fight.
How to play
Pick a month, grab some friends, find a fun journal and take on the five goals listed below. Commit to the plan for 30 days. Spend a few minutes at night journaling about your successes and frustrations. When you fail, figure out why and start again.
The five goals listed below are critical to long-term health. Hopefully someday they’ll become your normal.
- Sleep a minimum of seven hours per night or 49 hours per week, more if you’re an athlete. Less than 49 hours per week shortens your life span, reduces concentration, and contributes to over-eating.
- Drink at least six glasses of water a day, 8oz each. Juice is not a substitute.
- Eat eight servings of fruits and/or vegetables a day. A serving is ½ cup.
- Exercise one hour a day (or seven hours per week). Anything that gets your heart-rate up counts.
- Avoid feeling full. You know what I’m talking about, that uncomfortable feeling. It’s abusive to your digestive system.
A note on water – According to DiagnoseMe.com:
- 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated. Even mild dehydration will slow down one’s metabolism as much as 3%
- Lack of water is the #1 trigger of daytime fatigue
- Preliminary research indicates that 8-10 glasses of water a day (half of that coming from food and drinks other than plain water) could significantly ease back and joint pain for up to 80% of sufferers.
- A mere 2% drop in body water can trigger fuzzy short-term memory, trouble with basic math, and difficulty focusing on the computer screen or on a printed page.
- Drinking five glasses of water daily decreases the risk of colon cancer by 45%, the risk of breast cancer by 79%, and the risk of bladder cancer by 50%.
Once you master the first five goals, there are many other things you can do to enhance your health. Below are six ideas you should consider.
- Avoid artificial sweeteners. There are too many studies out these days that link them to cancer. Do your own research and then run the other way.
- Cut way back on sugar. It shouldn’t be listed in the first three ingredients of the foods you eat on a regular basis.
- Eat real food, things with less than five ingredients even if it means learning to cook.
- Do some strength work two to three times a week. Weights, pilates, yoga, TRX, etc… As you age, if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it.
- Read books about health, fitness, and diet. Knowledge is power. The more you know, the more you can help others.
- Stop eating at least three hours before bedtime. You’re digestive system needs a break, besides, in the long run, you’ll sleep better.
Your body is an amazing machine. Take great care of it and it will take great care of you.