Your future self will thank you

Have you ever stopped to think how your actions today will impact your life in 5 years time? It may be that you are not overweight right now but you don’t consume enough vitamins and minerals to support basic daily function. You may be career focused and have put your health on the back burner while you charge ahead carving out an early retirement which is when you will get your health “back”. It may also be that you engage in physical activity 4-5 times a week, eat well and live a balanced life because you understand what you do today determines what you can do tomorrow.

You hear that last sentence often in sports, “I do what others won’t today so I can do what they can’t tomorrow.” Rephrase that to focus on yourself and understand that each day where you don’t take care of your body today has an impact on your life in the future. I am not writing this to make you feel guilty, I want to help you. We want to help you BEFORE it’s too late and a negative future is now the present. Before you are in the doctor’s office nervous about test results. Before making a start becomes harder. Before your kids learn habits you don’t want them to.

Just like the financially savvy have a plan for 5 to 10 years into the future you should too for your body. I hear the screams of “Live life now, embrace things you love as you never know what can happen”. That is absolutely true, we never know what can happen BUT do you really love having a bottle of coke a day? You were not born with that habit. Clever marketing, which you are surrounded with every minute of the day tells you to enjoy sugary food and drinks and that doing so will be associated with positive emotions. Just like spending your hard earned money on short term happiness purchases instead of investing it in assets that will deliver returns in the future why would you continuously consume foods that bring short term pleasure versus fuelling your body with smart choices that not only support higher levels of basic bodily functions but decrease your chances of chronic disease in the future.

Stop being selfish with yourself right now and starting thinking of your future self. Start taking actions for your future self. If you ask anyone with a chronic disease they would wish they could go back and change simple, easy life habits. Let me give you some stats from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare:

  • More than 1 in 3 (39%) of potentially preventable hospitalisations in 2013-2014 were due to the 8 chronic diseases
  • Around 1 in 3 (30%) problems managed in general practice in 2014-15 were associated with the 8 chronic diseases
  • More than 11 million Australians (50%) reported having at least 1 of 8 chronic diseases in 2014-15
  • 87% of people aged 65 and over had at least 1 of 8 chronic diseases in 2014-15 compared with 35% of people aged 0-44
  • Over 7 in 10 (73%) deaths in 2013 were due to the 8 chronic diseases
  • Physical inactivity responsible for 10-20% of burden for related diseases
  • Over 9 in 10 Australian adults had inadequate vegetable consumption while 1 in 2 had inadequate fruit consumption in 2014-15.
  • 99% of males and 95% females aged 2-8 exceeded the upper level of sodium intake in 2011-12.
  • Nearly two thirds of adults are overweight or obese, with the proportion of obese adults continuing to rise.
  • One quarter of children and adolescents are overweight or obese.

*The 8 Chronic diseases are listed as arthritis, asthma, back pain, cancer, cardiovascular disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes and mental health.

Now, there is also another interesting stat from the “Australia’s Health 2016” report which states that “85% of Australians aged 15 and over self rated their health as good or better in 2014-15.” This is quite contradictory to the stat above which states half the population (50%) reported having at least 1 chronic disease in the time frame. Combining these stats demonstrates a large percentage of our population do not realise that their health is NOT good or better which is concerning for those that have chronic disease.

What is more concerning is that many people are living day to day believing they are in good health simply because they do not have any chronic diseases right now.  If you eat sugary foods in place of a meal containing vegetables you won’t get a chronic disease in the short term just like spending money on 3 take out coffees a day won’t send you broke. In the long term that habit will catch up with you. The opposite would be eating a balanced meal 4 times a day with good portioning will result in a better quality of life just like saving $12-$15 a day on take out coffees would add up to $4380-$5475 a year.

Let me say again, I DO NOT want you to feel guilty or bad in anyway reading this. I want this to serve as a call to action for EVERYONE. I challenge you to go see your doctor for a health check. Yes even if nothing is wrong right now. Please, go and do it. Tell your doctor everything. Whether you are in the all clear or not, the next step is to engage professionals in the exercise and nutrition industry. This is our specialty. Helping people learn how to change their lives to become more active and eat well.



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