There’s a shift going on around us. It may only be a slight shift, but it is a shift nonetheless.
As a wellness coach, I am used to living and breathing a healthy lifestyle. In fact, I am surrounded by it. So much so that it can begin to seem like the norm. However, this lifestyle is not the the norm for a large percentage of the population of the United States. While lifestyle cannot be measured, weight can, and for this introduction, it is what we will use. Approximately 35% of the adult population of the United States is overweight (CDC 2015). While that number is daunting, looking closer reveals something a *little* different.
In 2011, the national percentage of overweight adults was 35.8%. In 2012, 35.7%. 2013, 35.5%.
These changes may seem insignificant, but when you look at the population of the United States, it’s not quite so insignificant. Based on the 2010 Census, the adult population in the United States was 209,128,094 (Census 2010). Assuming no growth in population between 2011 and 2013, the number of overweight adults in the United States dropped by 627,384 people. That’s more than the entire population of Omaha, Nebraska.
So, what does this shift mean?
I believe it means people are waking up and realizing that our lifestyle of the past 50 years may be significantly shortening our life span. We went from a county that worked hard in mills, factories and fields, to a county that works hard sitting at a desk. We went from a society that valued the home cooked meal, to a society that craves the convenience of the five-minute meal. While we are able to move through life much quicker, we were also quickly losing years off our lives. That is reflected in the leading causes of death in the United States (CDC 2016):
Chronic Respiratory Disease
Six of the ten listed are known to be at least partially preventable based on lifestyle. The number one cause of death is completely preventable by lifestyle.
So, what do we do now?
We shift our priorities. We shift our goals. We shift our plans. We shift so that we can spend more days in the sun with our kids, more days playing with our dog, more days loving our family. We are blessed to live on a planet so diverse, we don’t all fit into the same mold. There is no correct body type. There is no perfect shape. There is healthy and there is unhealthy. Unhealthy does not discriminate. It affects all races, all genders, all locations. Forget about weight, focus on health. I believe people are opening their eyes and realizing that the priority shouldn’t be losing weight, the priority needs to be being healthy.
One example of this shift in priorities: organic food. In the United States, the sale of organic food increased by 296% between 2005 and 2014 (USDA 2016) while the population of the United States only increased by 7.9%. That’s a whole heck of a lot of food per person! The more we demand it as a society, the more we can find it. A few years ago my local grocery store did not carry organic produce. Now it is nearly impossible to find that ‘other’ produce.
Also, have you ever seen so much kale? When I was working as a waitress in high school, kale was used as a decoration on our salad bar. Now it is known for it’s real power – nutrition. Though, it still makes a lovely green backdrop.
From kale, to sweet potatoes, to spinach, hummus, eggplant, squash, organic, GMO-free, antibiotic free, free range, and vegetarian fed. We are witnessing a revolution in how we, as a society, demand our food.
Every single human being on this planet deserves to live the life they want. They deserve to be happy. They deserve to be healthy. What stops most people from achieving that is themselves. We are our own worst enemy, our biggest obstacle, our strongest opponent. We create walls around us. We blame time, location, age, weight, family history, sleep, family time, friends, jobs, money as the reasons we can’t be better. We come up with a million excuses as to why we can’t change.
Then, one day, we wake up, and we realize, we are worth it. We realize we don’t want to feel tired all the time, fight chronic aches and pains, spend thousands on blood pressure/cholesterol/diabetes medication. We don’t want to die. We want to live. And we want to live well.
So, with all of our will, and all of our desire, we start. We start eating better. We start moving our bodies. We start making time. We start our own revolution. We start to think about where our food comes from, how it was prepared, and how it will benefit us. We learn about spinach, sprouts, cucumbers, oranges, zucchini, berries, peppers, apples, and yes, even kale. We try yoga, go for a walk, go for a hike, go for a run, try zumba, spin class, cardio kickboxking, and maybe even swimming. We tell everyone around us about our revolution and before we know it, they are starting their own revolution. We see a change. Not only in ourselves, but in everything around us. Before we know it, we are an army of wellness crusaders working to end the trend of preventable disease in our country and our world. We will demand better.
All because, we made a shift, that started a revolution.