YHATC021 – Dear YOU…

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A lot of times, my podcasts have some funny element to them.  I enjoy doing funny stuff a lot of times because I find that it helps me exercise my creativity, and I also find that it can help me get a message across.  Today’s podcast won’t have any funny parts to it, though.

Today, I want to be serious, and I also want to be frank.

Have you ever had a burden for someone before?  You know…a feeling like you want something really, really bad for somebody…a desire to see someone living well…a urge to help someone from experiencing something bad?  Well, this is what I feel.  I have this burden on me, even right now…

…and it’s for YOU.

You already know that I’m a personal trainer, and that I do this health/fitness podcast.  You know that I tell folks how to lose weight, how to clean up their diets and how to do proper push-ups.  If you didn’t know, well, now you do.

With that said, you probably would expect me to have a burden, so to speak, to see people living healthy lives.  Like, why would I be a trainer if I didn’t want that?

I’ll say, you’re kinda right, but at the same time, I don’t know if you understand how I really feel.

See, being a personal trainer, writing newspaper columns and recording podcasts is not just an occupation for me.  It’s not just a hobby, although I do enjoy doing much of it.  I do this stuff because, in a way, I feel like I must do it.

I’ve related this story many times before, but when I was a kid growing up in Macedonia church in Macon, I knew two people who died of heart attacks in the church.  I saw one lady as she laid in cardiac arrest on the pulpit one Wednesday night as the EMTs worked on her, and I vividly remember seeing the squiggly line on the EKG rather than the patterned waveform that appears on EKGs when folks’ hearts are beating normally.  And then the next day, we heard that she’d died.

I knew of another lady very close to me who died of a heart attack just over two years ago.  I’ve known others who passed away from cancer…I’m talking very, very young men and women, who are in the times of their lives where their bodies should be at their healthiest.

I’ve known others whose bodies were ravaged by the damaging effects of Type 2 Diabetes, causing them to get infections that their bodies weren’t able to deal with effectively, resulting in them losing limbs and therefore quality of life.  I’ve known others to deal with other ailments like hypertension, arthritis and autoimmune diseases like lupus and multiple sclerosis.

I know that disease is something that happens in this world, but ever since I learned that all disease in the body has a cause, and that a good number of the cases of disease are preventable, I haven’t been able to just settle with the “well, stuff happens” mindset.  I can’t do it.  I have the same temptations as everybody else, and I’m not the best with keeping away from the pastries, fried foods and sweet drinks all the time, but this is why I make an effort to live a healthier life in the way I eat, and in the rest of my lifestyle, for that matter.

Which brings me back to you.  I want so badly for you to get this health thing, which is why I record these podcasts for you every week.  It’s why I go around and interview health and fitness professionals who have stuff to offer that could help you live a more quality, more enjoyable life.

If you are overweight, for example

If you are overweight, the point I would like to make to you today in all love and sincerity is this.  Being overweight is not simply an aesthetics matter.  Getting rid of excess weight isn’t just a matter of looking good or getting back to how you were in high school.  The bottom line truth is that extra weight burdens your body.

Even if you don’t really feel it yet, extra fat makes your bodily organs have to work harder to do their usual work.  Your body becomes less efficient.  Your heart and lungs strain to get oxygenated blood through a larger body.  Your joints wear down from the extra pressure.  Being overweight is a doorway, if you will, to so many diseases, such as hypertension, as well as heart disease, which is the top killer in our society.

Carrying extra fat also throws your hormones off, contributing to Type 2 Diabetes and various cancers.  I’m not saying this to scare you, but simply to be real.

But the amazing thing about all of this is, being overweight is something that you can deal with.  It’s not irreversible.  It’s not outside of your realm of control.  You can deal with this.

Don’t get me wrong.  I am not being naïve and insensitive and just making a blanket statement that losing extra fat is easy.  It isn’t!  I will say that emphatically.  The concept of losing extra fat is easy, because it is as simple as burning off more energy than you consume, as well as eating real, clean foods.  If you do that, the extra fat will come off, plain and simple.

The hard part about it, though, is the mind part.  When we are in the process of moving from unhealthiness to healthiness, we have the task of 1) reversing all kinds of unhealthy bad habits that we’ve developed, from the obvious to the not so obvious, and 2) of learning to do whatever we have to do to avoid the temptations to live unhealthily which are so prevalent in this world.  We essentially have to be reprogrammed.  Our lives have to be fundamentally transformed.  The bible talks about this in the familiar verse, Romans 12:2.

This is the hard part.  So if you’ve been struggling and wondering what diet to use or what exercise program is going to work for you, no offense, but the diet and exercise programs most likely aren’t your issue.  You have to reprogram yourself.  What this means is, it is time for you to make some difficult decisions.  If you want to be at your healthy weight, and to be healthy overall, it is time for you to imagine your lifestyle as being totally different than what it currently is.  It is time to learn what a healthy lifestyle looks like.

Beware of health gimmicks

Now let me warn you.  There are a lot of counterfeit healthy lifestyles out there.  There are a lot of folks out there who want to make money off of you, too.  You might be surprised about how many gimmicks there are out there with folks masquerading their products as helping you to reach your goals, when in fact, at best they get you nowhere, and at worst, they put you in an even worse state than you were in before.  The pills, potions and powders that they say are supposed to help you lose weight with little to no effort, but with your money?…nah, man.  Remember that losing fat is as simple as burning more than what you take in and eating clean.  Any time someone tries to get you to pay money for a product that will give you something for nothing, it is a gimmick.

People advertise their products with fitness models who have actually taken care of their bodies the old fashioned way – through exercise and healthy eating.  Companies know that you’re going to see those models and you’re going to want to look like them, so they know that if they slap those pictures onto their advertisements and labels, they might grab your attention.  This doesn’t mean that every book or product with a fitness model is a fraud, but a lot of them really are.

The power is YOURS

Let me ask you.  Do you want to live a healthier life?  From the bottom of my heart, Lord knows I want you to, but do you want to?  If so, hear this.  It is going to require your effort.  Period.  Any other way that promises an easy path has a catch, and if you think about it, you’ll see what I mean.

So do you want it?  Like, do you really want it?  Do you want it bad enough to do whatever it takes to get it?  Do you desire to live a higher quality of life?  Do you want to avoid avoidable diseases?

When I was a kid, my brothers and I used to watch that cartoon called Captain Planet.  I remember that Captain Planet used to always say “The power is YOURS.”  And you know what?  It is.

If you want to do this thing, you’re going to have some hard decisions to make.  You’re going to have to rearrange your life so that you are moving around like you were designed to, rather than sitting around.  You’re going to have to wean yourself mostly off of some of the foods you’ve enjoyed.  Some things you’ll have to wean yourself off of entirely.  That’s a hard pill to swallow, I know, but the truth is that, some of the foods that we hold on to are the foods that will forever keep us from getting to that next level in health.  So there are some foods that you’ll have to give up.

You’ll have to give up the magic pill mindset, too…that you can just take a vitamin or a shake or something and keep living the kind of life you want to live.  That won’t work.  You’ll struggle forever if you do that.  If you want quality life, which I personally believe is something that God wants for all of His creation simply based on how this world is designed, you gotta work to get to quality life.  There are no shortcuts.  Again, I know this sounds kinda harsh, but the wonderful part about it is that when you and I take the no-shortcut path, the rewards are so, so much better.  I mean, think about it…How much more do you value something when it costs you a lot?

You won’t just get the looks.  You get the life that comes with the looks.  Your organs and tissues function better, and you can feel it.  You can play with your kids, or even your grandkids, you know?

Now, believe it or not, I’m not saying that you are going to have to go cold turkey on turning towards a healthy lifestyle.  Some may be at the level mentally to do that.  That might be you.  But for most of you, I personally advocate that you take it one step at a time.

It kinda reminds of me of the motto of my current partner, Salads 2 Go:  “Getting healthy one salad at a time.”  It takes a while to become unhealthy, since being unhealthy is usually the accumulation of abuses to our bodies.  In the same manner, it will take time to become healthy, too.  I advise those I train to focus on one healthy habit per week, depending on what their current lifestyles are.  For example, I might tell a client to focus solely on eating only whole grains for an entire week – making sure that all flour, corn and rice (etc.) products consumed are whole grains.  When you do that, you give yourself a chance to see just what that feels like, and you don’t feel the overwhelm from being new to the healthy lifestyle and trying to do it all.  Take a while to strategically dismantle the building blocks of your unhealthy lifestyle, while replacing all of that with the building blocks of a healthy lifestyle.  Keep learning and applying a bit at a time.

Listen.  What is the use of always dreaming about a day when your health is great, while never getting there?  Are you dreaming about that?  Are you dreaming about when you’ll get off of medications, or when you’ll be back at a healthy weight?  Do you dream of cooking up healthy meals for you and your family?  Do you dream of getting back into old clothes?  Do you dream of being able to let go of anxiety that you feel from worrying whether or not you or your kids will suffer from what your parents suffered from?

Hear me.  A new day is here, for you.  Today is a new day.  Not only is it a new day in the literal sense, but also, if you let it, this can be the beginning of a new, healthy life for you.

I challenge you.  Stop dreaming about it.  Look at the tools in your hand.  Look out there to what God has given us to be healthy…plant foods, healthy, lean meats, etc.  Focus on the power that has been given to you to do whatever you will with that body of yours.  Your choices today, moment by moment, can move you closer to that healthier version of yourself that you’ve imagined for so long.

Feel overwhelmed?  You can message me (shawn@yourhealthatthecrossroads.com).  Or, you can contact someone else you know who knows about healthy living.  Sometimes, your physician can help.  Pray!  Ask God to show you how to reverse your life, and how to choose the right things to eat and how to live in ways that promote longevity and wellness.

You can decide today that you will begin living a lifestyle that can reverse the unhealthy trajectory that you and your family are on.  You can do things to increase the likelihood that you will be around for grandkids, or even for great- or great-great-grandkids.  You can.

But you’re not going to get there if you’re not taking responsibility for your own health.  It has to matter to you to make a big change to your lifestyle.  Your doctor might tell you to make some changes…your trainer might tell you to do something…you might even have a spouse or child ask you to take better care of yourself.  But you and I both know that a lot of the time, we don’t even hear those closest to us.  You have to decide for yourself that it’s important to pursue a healthy lifestyle.  I’ll tell you myself that it is important, but you now have to decide that it’s important for you.

Please don’t get to the point of experiencing a traumatic situation before you decide to change up.


Have a question you want answered on the Your Health At The Crossroads podcast?  Interested in becoming a sponsor of the show?  Tweet your question to @ShawnB2BFitness, put it on the YHATC Facebook page, or call (478)216-8536 and leave a voicemail.  You can also send your question via e-mail  to shawn@yourhealthatthecrossroads.com.  Sponsorship inquiries can be sent via e-mail or by calling (478)216-8536.

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