All of the above are extremely important to living a good life. Most people would agree.
The crazy thing about health is this, we are unhealthiest as a nation as we have ever been, yet we have more access to just about anything when it comes to getting healthy.
It’s a weird dichotomy.
Look at these crazy numbers from the CDC:
- The prevalence of obesity was 42.4% in 2017~2018. [Read CDC National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) data brief]
From 1999–2000 through 2017–2018, the prevalence of obesity increased from 30.5% to 42.4%, and the prevalence of severe obesity increased from 4.7% to 9.2%. [Read CDC NCHS data brief]
- Obesity-related conditions include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer that are some of the leading causes of preventable, premature death. [Read guidelinesexternal icon]
- The estimated annual medical cost of obesity in the United States was $147 billion in 2008 US dollars; the medical cost for people who have obesity was $1,429 higher than those of normal weight. [Read paperexternal icon]
Now here’s the other side of the coin taken from “Outside Magazine:”
“A new report from the Global Wellness Institute, a nonprofit focused on research in preventative health and wellness, found that Americans spent $264.6 billion dollars on physical activity in 2018, far more than any other nation. The United States leads the world in spending for every segment, including fitness classes ($37 billion), sports and recreation ($58 billion), apparel and footwear ($117 billion), equipment and supplies ($37.5 billion), mindful movement, such as yoga ($10 billion), and related technology ($8.1 billion). And yet, according to the academic journal The Lancet, for all of this spending, we rank 143rd globally for actual participation in physical activity. More than 40 percent of Americans fail to meet the global standard of 150 minutes per week of moderate physical activity (e.g., fast-paced walking, gardening) or 75 minutes per week of intense physical activity (e.g., running, strength training).”
In other words, we are in horrible shape as a nation yet we spend billions of dollars on various health and fitness modalities. It’s crazy.
One of the reasons for this is most people spend the money but do not follow through on what they paid for. Americans spend 1.3 billion on unused gym memberships as one simple example.
Next up would be how we eat. This is awful and although I am a lover of freedom and free markets, this is one of the areas big corporations have screwed us and there is no end in sight. If anything, they are doubling down on their practices.
There are numerous ways people are screwing this up but the one thing that has stood out to me over the past few years is people’s weak mindedness. That sounds harsh but stick with me.
I have been coaching people on either training or nutrition for close to 30 years. The same client I had 15 -20 years ago is not the same client I am dealing with today. The client then was coming in with less issues all the way around. They had:
- Less stress related issues
- Got more sleep
- Moved more in their day to day lives
- Not on meds
- Weight came off easier because of the above
Today’s clients are:
- Stressed out
- On meds
- Hormones are out of whack because of stress and other things
- Barely get 5-6 hours of sleep
- Are sedentary for the majority of their days including weekends
- Eat way too much for their activity level
- Majority of foods come from fast food
- They don’t cook
- Drink too much alcohol, in most cases 4-5 days per week
- Are in front of a screen all day and even at night (Computer, TV, Phone)
If you look at the list above you can see why I was able to get results much quicker years ago. I had less things I had to work on with each client. In most cases you have to get healthy before you can lose weight and that takes time.
If you are overweight, 35 or older, and have many of the things listed above, losing weight Is going to take more time because you need to get healthy first and it will take time not to mention replacing all the bad habits you have.
Now more than ever you have to look at your health and fitness as a lifestyle and lifelong journey. There is no going back. Can you enjoy desserts and alcohol here and there? Absolutely, but you need to get healthy and to a place where you are not trying to undo years of metabolic damage.
The last thing I would add to this would be, you need to be consistent in whatever it is you decide to change. You can’t make significant changes if you only do it about 50-60% of the time. This is a real challenge for most people.