Are You Putting Your Money Where Your Mouth Is?

It’s not entirely clear exactly where this phrase originated, but one popular theory is that it started in Irish pubs where gambling (and boasting) were common.  A person would boast that they could do something and another person would challenge them to bet on it.   The theory being that if they were unwilling to gamble money on what they’d been talking about, they were just all talk and basically full of it.  Hence putting your money where your mouth is.

So my take on this in a Health context is this:
You say you’re interested in your Health, in living a long and healthy life. But are you spending your time, effort and your money to ensure that happens?

The lifestyle choices you make today can have an enormous impact on your future and this could not be more true when it comes to your Health.

Your Lifestyle choices can lead to the development of certain chronic and lifestyle diseases.  Despite having choice and control when it comes down to lifestyle factors – such as what we eat, how often we exercise, whether we choose to smoke and the amount of alcohol we drink, lifestyle diseases remain the leading cause of death in Australia.

Back in 2013 the government’s State of Preventative Health Report indicated that 63% of Australians were overweight or obese. And that was back in 2013!

So if you don’t want to join this growing trend, are you putting your money, time and effort where your mouth is when it comes to your Health?

Of course it’s easy to say “Yes” – perhaps you have Private Health Cover, many Australians do. That’s got to count for something doesn’t it? Yes it does, but you have to admit that’s quite a passive act – pay some money to a big corporation just in case you need an operation or become ill down the track. And what of the additional costs due to being unable to work, or time off required to visit various specialists, prescription medications for the rest of your life? And then there’s the limitations to the quality of your life – not being able to play with the kids or make it up the street without getting puffed out. It’s all a bit of a gamble really.  And let’s face it, it’s not a lottery you want to win!

So whilst having Private Health Insurance is a great idea, what else can you choose to do to ensure that you don’t end up with a chronic illness or disease that could have easily be prevented had you “put your money where your mouth is”?

Warning, these suggestions will require you to put your money where your mouth is!

Exercise – join a gym, sporting group or commit to regular exercise.
Exercising with a friend or in a group is a great way to keep you committed.
If you’re unsure what to do, haven’t exercised for a while or have existing injuries, find a trainer who can teach you what to do, create a program that allows you to work within your limits and rehabilitate injuries and will keep you accountable to your goals

Food – Buy the absolute best quality produce you can afford. Sadly, most people shop for food like they shop for petrol for their cars, the cheaper the better. The difference between petrol in a car and food in your body is that a car needs petrol to run, your body needs food to create the cells that make up your brain, your gut, your blood. So if Health is a priority for you, spend your money with local and organic farmers, creating health, rather than save a little now and spend a whole lot more money with the medical profession later on, trying to get your health back.
I’m talking organic fruit and vegetables wherever possible, avoiding the Dirty Dozen at a minimum.  Organic, grass-fed meats and chicken and fresh, not farmed, fish.
Avoid junk food, keep sugar and alcohol to a minimum (a great way to save money).

Get regular Health check-ups – With the amazing advances of western medicine, we have the opportunity these days to test for a myriad of disease and illness, even genetic testing to see if you’re predisposed to a particular illness. A problem discovered early is a problem more easily managed or hopefully resolved completely

Now a word of caution, if you do believe you are predisposed to a particular illness, whether through heredity or genetic testing, remember, genetics may load the gun but your lifestyle will determine whether the trigger gets pulled or not!

So whether it’s a western medical doctor, naturopath, chiropractor, physiotherapist, acupuncturist, Chinese medicine practitioner, osteopath, massage therapist or another chosen health professional, ensure you’re getting regular check-ups.

 Massage or Other Body Work – If you have a car, do you regularly get it serviced? Get it checked over, a grease and oil change even if nothing in particular feels wrong? Most people know that it’s a good idea to get a tune-up for your car on a regular basis. If you treat your car so well, why not treat your body that well too? If you are exercising regularly, it’s important to stretch well and get regular body work (massage, reiki, acupuncture, physio, chiropractic – whatever works for you) to keep your body supple, flexible and in tune. It’s so easy to create muscle imbalances if you’re not exercising both sides, upper and lower body evenly. An ounce of prevention is better than wasting days, weeks or months of pain, time off work, time to attend appointments, pills, creams, medications etc.

 Natural Health or Allied Health Professionals – If your aim is to lose weight and you’ve spent years trying, with limited results, chances are there’s something else going on in your body.
There are so many overweight and obese people in Australia today that it’s hard for me to imagine that all of them are just sitting on the couch eating crappy food and watching TV.
It’s no longer just about Energy In vs Energy Out.
You could be eating well, moving regularly but still not making progress if your digestion or your hormones are not functioning correctly.  Even though you’re eating healthy food, if your body is not extracting the nutrients from the food you eat, then you might be overweight but undernourished.
So rather than sticking your head in the sand until something major happens, like a heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure, autoimmune disease, diabetes, etc. and hoping the current health system will save you, why not take ownership of your health issue? Visit your doctor or investigate natural or allied health professionals who specialize in a natural approach to healing and can prescribe herbs and natural remedies to give your body that little bit of extra support to get it back functioning the way it was meant to.
PS. If you’re not one of the couch sitting, crap-food-eating individuals I mentioned earlier, and your doctor still says you’re just eating too much and not exercising enough, I highly recommend you visit a natural or allied health professional.

 Supplements – I used to be totally against taking supplements. I was totally against popping any sort of pills. To me, popping pills was just a way to alleviate some pain, rather than get to the root cause. In the world I grew up in, Got a Headache?  Pop an Asprin. Got a sore throat? Pop an Asprin. Got a Stomach Ache? Pop an Asprin.
These days, I’ve changed my tune a bit. To borrow a saying from Dr Mark Hyman,
“The Food We Eat, Isn’t The Food We Ate”.
Essentially what that means is that with the world wide degradation of soils due to poor farming practices, the food we eat today is not as nutrient dense and vitamin rich as the food our grandparents and great grandparents used to eat.  As an example, one would have to eat eight oranges today to derive the same amount of Vitamin A as our grandparents would have gotten from one.  For more information, read the Article Dirt Poor: Have Fruits and Vegetables Become Less Nutritious?

So whilst I am not advocating heading to your local pharmacy (or heaven forbid, a supermarket) and diving wholesale into a bunch of vitamins and supplements. What I am saying is that under the guidance of your chosen health professional, supplements can be useful in ensuring your body gets exactly what it needs every day or just to give you that extra bit of support until your body gets the energy and vitality to run optimally on it’s own.

 So if you haven’t worked it out by now, there are so many ways you can be proactive and take control of your Health. So much more you can do than just buy a ticket in the Private Health Cover Lottery and hope for the best.

Sure it does cost a bit extra. But let me put it simply.

You can spend a bit more on your Health now, be in control of which options are available to choose from, which practitioners or professionals you see and how often

Or

You can wait until you’ve developed a chronic disease or illness, spend 10 or 20 times more than you would have, struggle with pain or just to get through the day, hope there’s a hospital bed available and a Health System capable of looking after you.

And the best part? YOU Get To Choose!

Choose Wisely.

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