10 Habits of Healthy People
Let’s get this straight first. Health IS NOT the absence of disease.
I dont care if you haven’t had to go to a doctor, Urgent Care, or ER for the last 10 years. This does not mean you are healthy. It might just mean you are in denial.
So here are ten things that, as a doctor and health coach I feel healthy people pay attention to.
1. They Know Their Health History And Their Risk Factors. If you can’t remember the name of the place where you were hospitalized for a major health event, its a problem. If are in your 20’s or thirties ask you family members for family history. If you are older, its important you already have that information.
I’ve met people who cant recall the name of the surgeon who cracked their chest open and repaired their coronary arteries. Your medical history and information is just that, YOURS! Your doctor records it . They are not the keeper of it. You don’t let the bank record what you do with your money on a day to day basis and tell you you spent $200 on Tuesday when you know you didnt . You pay special attention to your $$$ so if there is an error, you call attention to it Your health is even more valuable.
2. They Keep Their Health Follow up appointments. Life happens and things come up, I understand. STOP PUTTING YOUR HEALTH LAST! When you get prescribed a medication, get told to follow up and then dont show up for four months, this creates a health emergency. Then, you notice become a recurrent permanent fixture at the doctors office for treatment instead of regular visitor for health purposes.
Also , make the visit an important time where you are focused on getting information about your health. I can’t tell you the number of times people are not present at their appointments. Answer the phone in the middle of a health discussion. I always ask myself if they actually got anything out of seeing me.
3. Healthy People Dont Diet. – Unfortunately in this day an age , many of us need to lose weight . Obsessing over every calorie doesnt make long term change. Learning to eat in a healthy, mindful way for your health condition and not being afraid of food is what makes a difference. If you are overweight, losing 5-10 % of the weight you are at now , has been proven to have significant medical benefits. You dont have to have a cheat day, you just need to learn how to adjust your healthy eating for when you might have that piece of cake.
4. Healthy People Are Not Afraid of Food- For a lot of people it’s not food that gets them into trouble, its their relationship with food. For example George may not be a bad guy , but you and George, together, constantly fighting and bickering might mean your realtionship with George is not a good thing. Similarly if you have high blood pressure and high cholesterol eating salty fried food might not be the best choice for you.
Food is family, fun, celebration, and a part of culture. Learn how to live , enjoy eating and be healthy at the same time.
5. Healthy People Eat Breakfast: Yes! Its still the most important meal of the day. Eat breakfast! You’ll have more energy , be less moody , have a better focus and do better on memory tasks, and make healthier choices during the day. Dont like typical breakfast food? No one is stopping you from any healthy food choice just because its not noon.
6. They Find A Way To Enjoy Physcial Activity . Notice I didnt say exercise. People seem to roll their eyes and imagine torture when told they need to exercise more. Technically, exercise is planned structured, repetititve and intentional movement intended to improve physcial fitness. Physcial activity is movement carried out by your skeletal muscles that require energy. Thats pretty much a lot of what you do. Find something you enjoy. Dance , Garden , Zumba, Walk, Run, whatever is enjoyable and makes you feel good . Being healthy is about feeling good
Bottom line, get moving. Clear your head after a busy work day by taking a walk instead of letting the TV clear your mind. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Park at the end of the parking lot. Mow your own lawn. See, none of that involved a torture chamber.
7. They Get Enough Sleep. – Dont believe that you can sleep when you are dead. Keep thinking that and lack of sleep will get you there faster. Poor sleep habits will cause you to gain weight, keep you from losing weight, impair your immune sytem and land you at the doctors office over and over for minor viral illnessed. Imporoved sleep will also improve your focus and work performance.
8. They Make Physical Fitness a Priority – Simply put being physcially fit means you can carry out daily tasks without undue fatigue . Yep, that means getting out of your car or off your couch without the ultimate struggle. It also mean being able to run after your 2 year old, wash your car or even walk to the bus stop with ease. Day to day stuff , you know? We are all busy. Thats a given. A common medical complaint I hear is ” I just dont have any energy.” Barring a real medical problem that needs to be addressed, have you ever considered that your faitgue is the very definition of the lack of physcial fitness???
9. They Find And Appreciate Support – Honestly, I would rather hold a person’s hand and support them through a lifestyle change that includes changing their eating habits and getting active to improve their blood pressure, cholesterol or diabetes, than send four prescriptions to the pharmacy. A health coach can make a difference. I love health coaching. For my patients , thats me . For other people support comes from a husband, child, sibling, friend , next door neighbor, coworker. Find your support person. Find a coach.
10. Stop Comparing Yourself And Your Body To Other People And Their Body: This includes comparing yourself to your high school, pre-marriage, pre children body too. In this social media obsesed world , there is access to all kinds of examples of transformations. #GOALS for everything, including marriage, relationship , body goals.
THEY are not your goal. SET YOUR OWN GOALS. Be the best YOU you can be. Get there your way. Remember that Facebook/Instagram life that appears great, but we all have issues. SPEND SO MUCH TIME WORKING ON BEING THE BEST YOU, THAT YOU DONT HAVE TIME TO WORRY ABOUT ANYONE ELSE.
KICK THE DOOR TO GOOD HEALTH DOWN! GO GET IT!