It’s simple, not easy

I’m going to briefly revisit a previous column because its basic theme applies to this month’s topic.

In addressing the discussion of a national health care policy, I stated that the problem was not insurance, lack of insurance, coverage of insurance, whether the insurance is privately obtained or publicly tax funded. The problem is not the quality of care nor the variety of expensive diagnostic testing increasingly available. The problem is the volume of unhealthy people who are unhealthy mainly due to lifestyle choice.

Politics aside, individual responsibility is the ONLY way to improve our health care. Bluntly, if more of us got enough daily exercise and practiced healthier nutrition, our need for health care and therefore the cost of insurance (whether private or tax funded) would be dramatically reduced. We wouldn’t be having this loud national discussion. But we are.

As someone who tries to maintain a healthy lifestyle (because I like having the energy to enjoy myself), I don’t enthusiastically endorse the idea of paying for those who aren’t even trying. I do enthusiastically endorse trying to inspire more people to take charge of their life and their habits.

Right now, in the midst of the holiday season, is a great time to start. Don’t wait for your New Year’s resolution (you’ll just have a bigger hill to climb). But you don’t really know where to start, it’s all so confusing, new contradictory nutritional news almost daily (sorry, research is like that), you aren’t sure how to safely and effectively start an exercise program. Well, I have your answers in the next paragraph. And the simpler I keep it, the better chance you’ll do it.

Walk. Walk every day at a pace that looks like you’re going somewhere. It doesn’t matter how far, just get out every single day and walk. And don’t eat or drink anything you already know is bad for you. That’s it? That’s it. This is not about moderation. This is about taking charge. 

Every day means every day and don’t means do not. Because if you can’t activate your self discipline to both deny and motivate, there’s no point learning more. Do it throughout December and by January, you’ll have demonstrated to yourself that you can take back control of your life and your habits. 

Then we’ll talk. My January column will have more details. I’ll also have the answer to the pop quiz. 

The pop quiz: Temporary relaxation followed by anxiety, irritability, and argumentative behavior. Decreased balance, judgment, muscle strength, endurance, and reaction time. Common byproducts are weight gain, injuries, job and relationship problems, memory loss. It’s a major contributor to high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease, certain cancers, birth defects and suicides and harms every organ in our bodies. What is it?