Being healthy has a bad rap

Being healthy gets a bad rap. It’s everywhere in society: in advertisements, in conversations, in our thoughts. We’ve been bombarded with the idea that exercising and eating healthy are for wimps, hippies and people who don’t accept themselves for who they are. Nutritious foods are often labeled as “rabbit food,” and people who exercise are intense, obsessive and self-involved.

Whether we like it or not, these ideas get buried in our subconscious and, with enough exposure, being healthy starts to sound like a hassle. More importantly, this gives a negative spin on the actual practice of it. Instead of enjoying the benefits being healthy has to offer, we dread the experience before it happens and hate it while it’s actually happening. It becomes a tiresome experience simply because of the way we feel about it, which makes it harder to actually get out there and do it.

On the same wavelength, we’ve become conditioned to settle for instant gratification. These are where addictions, as well as things we know are bad for us, trump all else. Take the example of someone with diabetes who chooses to eat candy bars on a daily basis, rather than leaving them out of their diet, knowing the latter will benefit them greatly in the future. Many would rather indulge in that instant gratification of eating a candy bar, despite the consequences, instead of conditioning themselves to cut it in order to live a longer, healthier life.

Things like this happen every day and the more individuals who are exposed to it, the larger the problem becomes. Change is scary, and adhering to our usual lifestyle feels safe. There’s a little part of our brain that keeps telling us to smoke that cigarette or to just give in to skipping that hike. It can feel impossible to rid ourselves of the things holding us back from becoming the best versions of ourselves. But things don’t have to be that way.

The bottom line is that we have to change our attitude about health. We have to change the way we view it in order to truly benefit from the experiences that come with attaining a healthy life. So much of what we do is greatly affected by the thoughts we have, and the right attitude makes them not only easier to accomplish but enjoyable as well. Just like anything else in life, your body and mind simply need time to adjust. Eventually, this will become an organic process, and you’ll soon look forward to your daily run or your super-healthy meal plans.

Society, that commercial that you keep seeing, or your disgruntled friend shouldn’t be a factor in your decision to take care of yourself, and neither should those nasty cravings and addictions that don’t seem to want to leave you alone. You can change your attitude and with that, you can be free from the oppressive thoughts telling you that you aren’t capable of that same change.

Don’t dread the things that make you a better person: embrace them. Be part of the movement that says, “Yes, change is possible.”