We Americans have a complicated relationship with our health. In one recent year, we spent $24 billion on gym memberships, $30 billion on athletic apparel and $60 billion on weight loss. There are new types of workout facilities popping up everywhere, new diet plans, and studies about what it means to eat healthy or not. Despite an overall drop in book sales, cookbooks are selling at an all time high. The Food Network has more than 40 million viewers a week.
Despite an obvious obsession with health, Simplicity Magazine reminds us 70 percent of Americans over the age of 20 are overweight, including 35 percent who are considered obese. Only one in five adults meet federal guidelines for both aerobic activity and muscle-strengthening exercise. We average 34 hours per week watching television and spend over $100 billion dollars per year on fast food.
While some of the statistics above tell us how much we want to have healthy bodies and live healthy lives; the rest of the numbers tell we have such a hard time living it out. The question becomes, “If we want something so much that we are willing spend heavily, why is it so hard to achieve?” The answer is complicated.
Perhaps the challenge is more about how we view the importance of our bodies. It may be that we don’t always consider our bodies as the “instruments through which we accomplish our unique purpose in this world.” Whether we believe our purpose is to be good parents, world travelers, mentors, successful businesspeople, or any combination of personal missions, our physical bodies are either an asset or liability.
Health may not be the greatest goal of our lives, but we know without good health we are less likely to achieve our life's purpose. Looking at our choices in this way may help make working toward a healthy lifestyle a challenge we are ready to embrace rather than another chore we try to work into our daily lives.
Sue Sheff may not be able to change how you view your health, but we are available to help make your transition to healthier eating a little less “complicated.”