20 December 2017
For a person who habitually consumes five bags of potato chips a day, being healthy may mean less Lay’s—to another, three more hours of rigorous aerobics or 30 minutes of meditating. As the perceptions of a healthy lifestyle range so widely on either end of the spectrum, at least one thing is clear: most of us want to become healthier. But why is it so hard?
The benefits of successfully sustaining one’s health are quite obvious: increased self confidence, mental stability, physical satisfaction, and a seemingly endless list of more.
“You look good and you feel better,” freshman Robert Sangvic said. “Physically and mentally. You feel happier with yourself and proud.”
According to a recent study by CS News, the three factors that Sangvic mentioned — “feeling better,” “being happier,” and “looking better”— were the main sources of motivation for Americans to form healthy habits. The survey found that 70 percent, 58 percent, and 55 percent of the surveyed population voted for each of the aspects respectively.
Conversely, failing to maintain a healthy lifestyle tends to bring about multiple damaging consequences.
In the words of Ms. Grady, the junior varsity softball coach and sponsor of the Bully Free Forever club,“If you’re not healthy, you get sick a lot more often. You’re very impatient. It leads to diseases, and your mind’s not clear. How am I supposed to help others if I don’t take care of myself?”
A vast majority, if not all, of Americans are well aware of these numerous consequences. In fact, an article by The Atlantic revealed that 88% of people deemed themselves to be healthy. Evidence, however, serves as a splash into reality: only around 2.7% of the populace in the United States truly are.
The Atlantic further writes that 80% of Americans agree that being healthy requires certain sacrifices, whether it be of their time, money, or sweat. That being said, many lack the ability to unconditionally devote their efforts to forming these new habits. In support of this notion, Ms. Grady claims that excuses provide the perfect vindications for these people.
Kathryn Moran, a parent of two Atholton students and an account manager for a healthcare company, also acknowledges the tiring process of being healthy. “There is an enormous array of unhealthy solutions that are so much easier, faster, and cheaper to prepare,” she said. “Think processed foods, fast food, snack foods, etc. It is an uphill effort to avoid these solutions.”
So it’s clear. Despite the fact that over a supermajority of Americans recognize the advantages in being healthy, we all have trouble putting this into practice. Then how, specifically, should we start?
The Huffington Post lists suggestions for making healthy habits stick, including setting cognitive goals, having patience, focusing on long-term effects, being accountable to oneself, and nding the joy of being in a better shape than yesterday.
Ms. Grady further recommends that individuals “create a plan and follow it through, no matter the circumstances,” reinforcing that consistency is most important aspect in the process.
“Not getting with your phone as much, releasing anger and sadness when necessary, drinking enough water, and surrounding yourself with positive people are great ways to start,” Ms. Grady said. “I think who you hang out with affects your habits and to be healthy or not. Also, get enough sleep! So many young people want to push and feel that sleeping wastes their time, and that leads to so many other problems.”
Moran also shared a unique method in which she and her associates invented: a “Veggie Swap.” “Once a week, we gather to swap healthy meals. The format is like a holiday cookie swap. Instead of bringing cookies, however, each person shows up with ve single serving containers of a healthy vegetarian recipe. Then we swap. So each person goes home with five containers, each containing a different dish prepared with fresh ingredients and friendship. While we are swapping, we usually discuss the next workout or race we want to sign up for. Double whammy,” she wrote over email.
While giving up your dairy dose of ice cream might seem unthinkable at first, the benefits of doing so prove to be well worth it. So next time you think of being healthier, let us agree to eat more lettuce, and shout: “Oh, kale yeah!”