I’d like to start by telling you a story.
I still remember the moment like it was yesterday, sitting in the doctor’s office and being told my dad had cancer.
In an instance my life was completely turned upside down, and I sat there in shock thinking that wasn’t supposed to happen to him, me, or my family.
Just like so many others I had the mindset and belief that those tragedies only happened to other people. Yet there I was, thrown into a situation completely out of my control, as I felt completely powerless, lost and overwhelmed.
What followed were months of torment, leading to him eventually having most of his bowel surgically removed. The issues didn’t stop there though, as after several complications what was meant to three days in the ICU turned in 25.
Most of that time was spent watching him on life support, breathing through a hole in his throat due to a tracheostomy and with doctors saying they honestly didn’t know if he would pull through. I spent every day helplessly watching on, as there was nothing I could do to help the man I always looked at as invincible.
It was after that experience that it dawned on me how much of an influence his lifestyle choices had on causing the disease. With everything from a diet high in sugar, to being a pack a day smoker who did no physical activity and an overwhelmingly stressful career, all unsurprisingly taking a toll on his health.
At the time I lived a largely sedentary life, paying no attention to what I did or ate, and it showed, on a mental, physical and emotional level. I was close to 50 pounds heavier and had huge problems with everything from self-confidence to my relationships with food, managing stress and dealing with the ups and downs of everyday life.
As you can see that’s a huge difference, not only did I look older, but I also looked exhausted, miserable and out of shape.
That ordeal gave me a glimpse of my future if I didn’t change my ways, and made me re-evaluate my habits, actions and behaviours. I decided that I needed to change before it was too late, and I set about focusing on improving my own health, as I was forced to see how I would end up if I continued down the path I was on.
Flash forward a few years and I’ve not only lost the weight, but I’ve also kept it off, all while changing the way I think, feel and view life.
I’m no longer always tired, lacking energy, moody, stressed or always on edge. Looking back the truth is I never even realised how bad I felt until I finally started to feel better, which is the unfortunate reality so many people are living in every day.
I honestly believe that if I can make these changes then so can you, and I even wrote a book called ‘Become a Better You’ to help people on their journeys. (which is available on Amazon UK and Amazon.com)
Most people however don’t get that moment of forced self-realisation, and instead live in a world with a ‘it won’t happen to me mentality’, continually burning the candle at both ends and pushing their bodies to the limit, oblivious to the damage they are causing until it’s too late.
That’s why at present we are facing a chronic disease and obesity epidemic, which has reached the extent where it’s estimated that up to 20 percent of deaths every year are caused by poor lifestyle choices.
Just let that sink in for a moment.
That’s one in five deaths every year that could have possibly been avoided.
We can’t keep living the way we do and expect there to be no consequences for our actions. Yet we do, as with how busy and stressful our lives have become all of our energy is expended on just making it through the day, meaning we rarely stop to think about what we are actually doing.
I think it’s fair to say we are all guilty of prioritising everything else above ourselves and putting things off that in the moment we deem as inconvenient or something we simply don’t want to do.
After all, how many times have we said that from Monday we will start eating healthy or going to the gym?
Using that to justify our actions, and unsurprisingly when Monday comes there is always another excuse or reason to not go through with it.
The honest truth is there will never be a right time to focus on your health, which is why you need to decide the right time is now. Not next Monday. Not next year. But today.
Just think, what is the cost of not taking action? And if you don’t act now where are you likely to be six months from now?
I’m not saying you need to completely change who you, spend every day in the gym, or give up all your favourite foods. But you do need to consciously focus on being better, not perfect, but better.
You need a plan based around long-term sustainable change, that actually works, and isn’t just another fad diet or trend.
You need to stop obsessing over the concept of losing weight and viewing improving your health as a punishment. Instead you need to start to enjoy the journey for what it is, taking slow gradual steps and not adding more unnecessary pressure onto yourself.
After everything that happened to my dad I made it my mission to help as many people as possible avoid going through what happened to him, and that’s why I’m on a mission to change the way this country uses and thinks about food, and show others that a healthy lifestyle is achievable for all.
So please share this article with your family and friends, and show them the risks of continuing down the path they are on.
What do you think?
Post your thoughts and questions in the comments below about these ‘small’ changes to getting started on improving your health