For most people itís difficult to maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle. Recent reports estimate that only about one-quarter of the population eats the minimal amount of fruits and vegetables per day. Iím not sure what other people do to stay consistent with healthy food choices but for me I have to think beyond myself. A good friend of mine and personal trainer extraordinaire, John Nathan Adams, died in a horrible automobile accident toward the end of 2010 (along with three other people and a few others seriously injured). This tragedy rocked our community and now that some of the dust has settled, I use his legacy to keep me motivated to stay healthy and inspired to educate people how to do the same.
I think of the athletes who died in that accident and the athletes who lived but survived with serious, life-altering injuries, and I imagine that when they get the chance they will never squander or take for granted the health they still have. I imagine hearing Johnís voice saying come on get out and go for a jog or you can do another rep or donít eat that junk. There are people out there with fewer opportunities than me, more restricted physical abilities, and less understanding of how to make healthy choices, so how can I disrespect them by not making my health and fitness a priority in my life? Of course, it is perfectly acceptable to be motivated by self interests: you want your clothes to look better on you, you want to be in better shape than your best friend, you want to live longer, you want to have a better sex life. These are all fine reasons to stay motivated, but for most people the self-interests do not last very long and before you even recognize it, you are back to your same olípoor excuses: I donít have enough time, itís too expensive, itís too hard.
You donít need to think about health all day long to be successful at it, in fact that would probably be unhealthy. And itís completely normal and good to not be perfectly healthy all the time, if you make some bad choices one day get back on it the next day. You donít need to make a grand announcement to everyone around you that you are now making healthy lifestyle choices. You can go about it quietly and un-noticeable, incorporating little things here and there. I recommend thinking of a person or an event or a circumstance beyond yourself. John inspired others to train for a races that benefit other people, like the Challenged Athletes Foundation. We are all inspired and motivated in individual ways so I encourage you to discover what keeps you engaged and make 2011 a Healthy New Year.
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Chad Larson, NMD, DC
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