First of all, Happy New Year to you and your loved ones!! 2015 promises to be a great year, and I am very excited to be kicking off this initiative with you. But, before we get started, I would like to give you a little background on how this initiative came about. (This is going to be a little long so please bear with me – I promise to keep future communications shorter – but this is important stuff!)
**if you don’t care to read the background, just read the last 2-3 paragraphs and the post script of this letter**
I have worked in the healthcare and/or fitness industry for 25 years, and I have been an active health enthusiast since a very young age. I began my professional career in the industry as a Senior Healthcare Management Consultant with Ernst & Young in 1990, then I became a Health Data Analyst and Client Reporting Manager for a subsidiary of Trigon Blue Cross Blue Shield. Between these two jobs, I learned the ins and outs of the healthcare industry from the provider’s perspective (doctors and hospitals), from the insurer’s perspective, and from the employer’s perspective.
While I loved the work I was doing, the corporate environment was not an ideal fit for me. I decided at 32 years of age to change my career so I left my job and went back to school. To subsidize my income, I became a certified personal trainer in 1996. I have been training people ever since, and I started FitInYourBody® Personal Fitness Services in 2006.
As a health enthusiast, one thing I found curious over the years was the trend toward obesity and chronic disease and the seemingly impossible challenge of losing weight. It stumped me for many years because it was so easy in the 80’s. Clean up your eating habits, move your body, and voila, you easily reeled in those extra pounds. Really, it was that simple.
At first, I attributed the ease of weight loss and vitality to youth. But over the years, the challenge of staying healthy and trim, or obtaining that goal, has grown exponentially more difficult. Employing the same weight loss techniques not only didn’t work, but they seemed to have the opposite effect.
So here we are at January 2015. There is an alarming rate of obesity and chronic disease in adults, and childhood obesity, diabetes, and other chronic diseases are on the rise, autism is on the rise, and the average age of puberty in children is going down (in 1860 average age of onset of puberty in girls was 16.6 years, today it is 8-12 years), and there is a direct link between Body Mass Index (BMI) and puberty1.
Being an analyst, I am a trend watcher and I fully understand that there are underlying causes for all trends. These trends deeply disturbed me so I became obsessed with figuring out what the hell is going on. And intuitively, I knew that being healthy should be a natural occurrence, not some unachievable desire moving ever further out of reach.
What I found in my research scared the daylights out of me. It was very difficult for me to accept the truth at first, but the evidence is so clear I could no longer deny it. And having accepted it, I was able to shift the focus of my research from what went wrong to what can I do about it.
So, what did go wrong, why are we in this mess to begin with? I will spare you the gory details but in a nutshell, for-profit industries place profits first. Healthcare and big agriculture are for-profit industries. Unfortunately, that means that our health and the quality and integrity of our food takes a back seat to money. And, if you dig deep enough you will find industry executives in these and related industries (chemical and oil particularly) embedded in the executive positions of the agencies that oversee and regulate these industries, supposedly in the name of consumer protection.
I am not on a conspiracy rampage here, I am just telling you the truth. If you are interested in specific details, I will be happy to provide them. But all you really need to know is that the system is broken. Mass produced food is now engineered like cigarettes to be addictive, it’s laden with substances that are toxic, and official recommendations, policies, and legislation that arise from the overseeing agencies and government officials are not necessarily in your best interest, and frequently they are counter to your health and well-being. These are simply “business decisions” playing out on a grand scale. And the effects over time are cumulative, and frankly they are dangerous; hence you see the trends in obesity, chronic disease, and puberty.
How do we get out of this mess? Take your health and well-being into your own hands, period. Vote with your dollars. If you refuse to buy food with no nutritional value, produce that are laden with pesticides or that have been genetically modified, or animal products that have hormones and antibiotics in them, the industries will change their model accordingly, and/or a new healthier, consumer-friendly model will become the norm.
Will you have to pay more for food? Yes. Will you have to give up some consumption habits that you enjoy? Probably. Will you look and feel better? YES! And, I promise you from my own experience, if you make the right changes, weight management will no longer be a struggle, your health will improve, you will look and feel better and have more energy, you will not miss the junk in your current diet, and you will realize that the money and time you spend is a proactive investment in your health and well-being. Think of it as a health savings account that accrues with interest.
The purpose of the FIYB HLI is to get the word out on how to take control of your health and well-being. I want to empower you to make the changes that will maximize you health, well-being, and happiness. I will be sharing a lot of information, tools, and techniques that I have found to be helpful in my personal self-improvement journey.
Early next week I will send you instructions on how to get started, provide you with some initial tools and helpful links. In the meantime, be sure to read this week’s blog post: http://eepurl.com/baqtl5. And, please start gearing up mentally for the challenges ahead. Everyone is on their own journey. Some challenges will be mutually shared and others will be specific to each person. Some challenges will be easy to tackle, others seemingly insurmountable. Just know it is doable! And, we will have each other for support – there will be a blog forum for sharing, questioning, ranting, or whatever you feel the need to express as you track along the journey.
Thank you for coming along for the ride, I look forward to working with each of you over the upcoming months. And PLEASE SHARE this with anyone you think might benefit from the contents. All I ask is that you not give them the tools and resources you receive, rather I ask you to have them register so that they are part of the community. The registration page is http://www.fitinyourbody.com/new-year.html. You may, however, forward them today’s newsletter.
Here’s to 2015 being the best year ever!
To you, your health, happiness, and well-being,