Like most people, I indulged a little more than I should have during the holiday season and I am paying for it with extra workouts and a clean diet. I am an advocate for healthy eating and I do believe that a person’s health problems greatly correlate with what they eat. Most people may attempt to lead a healthier lifestyle, especially during the New Year, but the choices for a better well-being over indulging in pleasure from food and beverages, are not as consistent as they should be. Such an inconsistency allows for people to give up on their resolutions, and fall back into living unhealthy lives. As a nation, American obesity rates have doubled since the 1970’s, which is why obesity is one of the leading public health problems in the United States (Food, Research, and Action Center).
The only reason health issues like obesity are on my mind today, is because I watched The Biggest Looser, and a documentary called Soul Food Junkies (after my workout of course :-)). My family and I watch portions of the Biggest Looser on Mondays during dinner, and it seems as though the struggle the players go through motivate my family members to want to be healthier, at least for the night. I wish the desire for healthy eating and exercise would stick throughout the week for the millions of people watching the show every Monday. But when there are no cash prizes for every home audience member, how do we get people to stay motivated about their health?
One of the biggest excuses for sedentary lifestyles, over eating, and obesity, is culture. This is especially true within ethnic communities. When ethnic women are compared to White women we see that “82.1 percent of Black women and 75.7 percent of Hispanic women are overweight or obese compared to 59.5 percent of White women”(Food, Research, and Action Center). As an ethnic woman, these statistics make me nervous for the women closest to me because not only is obesity unhealthy, it can also cause other health related illnesses, and eventually death… all due to unhealthy living and bad eating habits.
In Byron Hurt’s new documentary Soul Food Junkies, he talks about the infatuation people, especially African-Americans, have with unhealthy soul food dishes. It is known that soul food dishes can be cooked in very unhealthy manners, but what he touched on at the end of the film was that, soul food dishes can actually be very healthy for people if the dishes are prepared in a healthier ways. For example, broiling a dish instead of frying it is a better healthy cooking alternative. So excuses that allow people to say unhealthy eating habits are due to cultural practices, are not good reasons for people to continue leading unhealthy lives. We as humans are equipped with the ability to make choices that will affect our lives. When we are given the option to be fit and healthy versus obese and ill, we should choose the better alternative, if not for ourselves, then for the ones that love us (For more information on Hurt’s documentary click HERE). Wanting to live a longer, healthier life should give us all the motivation we need.
I try to implement healthy practices in my life by eating clean (Check out my 7 Day Clean Eating Challenge HERE), and exercising almost every day. If I make a mistake, or fall off the wagon like I did during the holidays, I just pick myself up, and work harder so that I can reach my desired goal for a healthier life. Seeing shows like, The Biggest Loser, and documentaries like, Soul Food Junkies, motivates me to be a good example for the people in my life. I want everyone to be fit and healthy, and by showcasing my healthy habits, I can hopefully help my family and friends live longer, healthier lives.
What are some things that motivate you to be healthy? Are there people in your life that you would like to help live healthier? If so, who? Leave your responses in the comment section bellow :-).
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Food, Research, and Action Center- Ogden, C. L., Carroll, M. D., Kit, B.K., & Flegal, K. M. (2012). Prevalence of obesity and trends in body mass index among U.S. children and adolescents, 1999-2010. Journal of the American Medical Association, 307(5), 483-490.
Soul Food Junkies by Byron Hurt