Is Being Healthy a Choice?
By Sheryl Kraft
It's scary what a little knowledge can do. After spending a week away and attending eye-opening lectures like The Biology of Weight Control, Belly Fat and Metabolic Syndrome and Aging: How to Enhance your Quality of Life, I'm so enthusiastic I want to share what I’ve learned with the world. Fresh from some pretty astounding new-found knowledge, I'm brimming with greater understanding of this thing called health. While writing, researching and reading are good teachers, I think there's nothing like experiencing it firsthand for all the pieces to finally click into place and make sense.
I'd been somewhat protected in the environment of ultimate health and wellness for a full week. Exercise equipment and trainers to field any questions at my disposal. Each meal prepared and beautifully served. While some might have found the conversation with my various meal companions each night excruciatingly boring and a big yawn, each time we sat down together to break bread (that is the closest we ever got bread, trust me), the conversation included, but was not limited to, health. Sure, we talked about all kinds of things (after all, the crowd was filled with people of all ages, from all walks of life). But inevitably we enthusiastically shared a tip of what we learned that day, an aha moment, what we would change when we got home, what we've changed just by being there, how we were going to incorporate the changes into our lives once home What we all had in common was wanting to improve our health and tap into new ways to get healthier.
Come Saturday I left (sadly, I might add) - with a boxed lunch lovingly packed up for me by the chef. Inside the bag held the secret to continued success: a veggie burger in whole wheat pita and a big plastic bag of cut-up carrots and cherry tomatoes. "Where's my cookie?" I teasingly asked the waiter who handed it to me.
And then when I arrived at the airport, there it was….the moment I walked through the doors, I could smell it.
AKA Cinnabon (just how can you ignore that drool-inducing odor?). To boot, there was pizza, sushi, chocolate confections, ice cream and frozen yogurt, candy, burgers, hot dogs…everything. I'd lie if I told you it didn't tempt me – a little. But I kept on walking, knowing that I'd just worked really hard at detoxing my body, and if there was anything to test my will, this was it. (If you know me, you'll assume I stopped for a cup of coffee – the first after a week of coffee-deprivation. But I didn't. Honest.)
Once the plane was airborne and I got comfortable in my aisle seat, I laid out my lunch. The Asian woman sitting next to me glanced over. "Oh, you're so healthy," she exclaimed, as I munched on my carrot sticks. "I have high blood pressure," she continued, frowning. It was fate! She was here so that I could tell her all about what to do for her blood pressure. But I demurred, not wanting to sound like a know-it-all. Although, I must admit, I snuck in the "do you eat a lot of salt?" to which she replied "oh, yes…Chinese food is full of salt." She knew, yet accepted the blood pressure as her fate, adding, "but I'm 60 years old…it happens."
Next to her sat a woman eating an oozing, acrid sandwich of something-or-other, washed down by three cans of Coke in the course of one hour. I kid you not– three. (Not diet Coke, either, but the high-test, original kind. The kind that removes rust and rots teeth.) I felt sorry for the poor flight attendant who kept running over each time the passenger repeatedly rang that overhead buzzer, demanding more.
Ah, real life. Temptations abound.
This Matters> But the way I see it is this: we all have choices. The way we run our lives is in our hands. Even if you choose to turn a deaf ear to the healthy messages out there.
What healthy – or unhealthy – choices have you made lately?