My name is Allison, and I am the girl with curls behind HappyTalesBlog.com.
There, I talk about my work as a YMCA health educator, the crazy antics of my one year old puppy (Happy), running, and my recent acceptance into UNC Chapel Hill’s MPH program. Even though I am pretty new to the blogworld, I must say: I love it! And I was *so* honored when Karolina emailed me to write a guest post for her! Of course, I agreed without hesitation, as her blog is one I hold in high regard.
As a health educator, I spend a lot of time working with people who are trying to adopt healthier lifestyles. A lot of the people who come in to see me are referred by their doctors, so while they know they need to change some of their daily lifestyle habits, they may not necessarily want to do it… for themselves.
I mean really, haven’t we all been there -- you know you should be doing something, but you just plain ‘ole don’t want to? (Umm, I sure have cough.couch.elbownudge.cough laundry, cleaning the toilet (yick), servicing my car… the list could go on and on!).
A lot of my clients feel this way in regards to exercise and food. They have nutrition information available to them. They’ve heard it all before in the news, nutrition counselors, RDs, heck… even family members have been harpin’ down their necks. And yet, nothing has struck that chord within them that has made them want to change because they want to.
I call this little dilemma: not being ready for change.
You cannot force change upon someone who is not ready for it. You just can’t. Change is a scary thing. And changing habits? That’s an even scarier thing. We’re talkin’ about taking people’s comfort zones and throwin’ them out the window. So when changes involve a certain lifestyle… it’s very hard for some people to do. And it’s hard for some people to talk about. Because really, who wants to admit that they’re living the wrong kind of lifestyle?
It’s a fine line to walk, my friends.
And yet, I have somehow struck a chord with many of the people I see (Not all, of course. Ya can’t win ‘em all!).
Care to know how?
Of course you do!
Well, let me paint a picture for you.
Say you’re in the market for a new car. Or a new computer. How much time do you spend researching these kinds of items? A few days? A week or two, maybe three? Perhaps a month? Heck, if you’re from my family, you’ve probably been dreaming of that new car for a few years, now…
Alright, good. You get the idea there.
Now let’s talk about how long these items actually last. A laptop or computer probably has a life of five to seven years. And that’s if you take really good care of it. A car? Ohhh, I’d say about ten years, give or take.
Now let’s recap, here… how long did you research these purchases? Ah yes, we agreed that a month or two of research went into these items. And these items last, at maximum, ten years.
Now let’s think about our bodies. How often do you research the things that you put into your bodies? Are you truly informed about the types of products in which you are fueling your body?
Be honest. (I’ll let you pause and think about that one. No judgment here. I promise.)
I know that some of you can probably say that you do, in fact, know a good amount about the ingredients in your food… (and to you folks, I know I am just preaching’ to the choir!). Y’all cook your own food. (Or you at least flip over the nutritional label and read the facts that are provided for you). You know how those added sugars… well, add up (no pun intended) and you try to avoid preservatives, nitrates and all those other crazy things that are pumped into processed foods. Heck, you probably avoid the aisles in the middle of the store because you know the whole foods are located mostly around the perimeter. To you folks, I give major props. You’ve done the research, and you know what your body deserves.
But there others out there. Ohhh yes, there sure are. There are people who have never thought about their bodies in this way. They have never considered the fact we’re only given one body for our entire lives, and what you do with that body (move around? Sit on the couch?) plays a big role in determining your quality of life for years to come. If your computer gets that horrible blue screen of death (you know the one I’m talkin’ about…) and the next thing you know, your harddrive is wiped out, well…yes, that sucks (truly! It does, I’ve been there…) but, you can always get a new computer. (And do better research the next time around :P). If your car’s engine suddenly start’s smoking’ up a storm and dies on the highway… you can call AAA and be on your way in a rental car, most likely later that day.
But if you suffer a life-altering heart attack or stroke and subsequently lose the ability to speak, or become paralyzed on one whole side of your body? Well, there’s no 1-800-HALP-MEE number or Geek Squad for that.
So with that, my friends, I must say… do your research. And treat your body well. Oh, and as always wear sunscreen :P