Every game starts with rules.

I thought I’d be a rockstar mom and play a new board game with my son. He’d received it as a gift, and it had both Mensa and Parent award stickers on it (a guarantee of goodness, surely). We looked at the rules and started to set up the game, but things got complicated fast. After a few tries, we decided any game that was so, so complicated couldn’t be fun.

Isn’t that the way healthy living can be, too? Why are there so many complicated rules?

Rules like:

  • You need to be vegan to be healthy.
  • Eating healthy is expensive.
  • Gluten is bad.  Fat is bad.  Red wine is good…in moderation.
  • Low fat dairy is the best source of calcium.
  • Eat beef. It’s what’s for dinner (good marketing, oh man).
  • Only weirdos and hippies meditate.

If you try the no rules approach, there’s chaos. Too many rules, and you don’t want to play the game.

Here’s the good news: You have the power to rewrite the rules. What rules have you been following that are holding you back? What have you been assuming is true because you read about it online? The truth is what works for you, and might not be the truth for someone else.  

The Power of Diet & Lifestyle

Let’s face it. We don’t often embrace healthy living until we get a diagnosis of something like cancer, blocked arteries, or diabetes. But research shows that up to 85% of chronic diseases like the ones just mentioned may be prevented by diet and lifestyle (1), so it’s worth playing the healthy living game. If not for your own health, do it for the health of the next generation. Due to the rise in childhood obesity, kids today may have a shorter life expectancy than their parents (2). That’s the first time that’s happened…ever.

You might be thinking, healthy living is a nice idea, but get real. We live in a Gatorade drinking, Dorito loving, fast food culture. How do we fit healthy living into that?? Fair question. Especially when I see people online posting their perfect meals and touting their grass fed, pastured animal products or organic vegan creations. I even heard one wellness expert say she has a $50,000 bet with a friend if she would eat refined sugar. Seriously?

Extend Grace to Yourself and Others

We’re all imperfect, and some days will be great and others will suck. That’s life. But I hope you’ll get in the game of healthy living. Remember—you get to make the rules.

For starters, rather than come up with a bunch of doctrines, how about looking back to our ancestors? I like to think they knew what they were doing and didn’t overcomplicate things like we do today. While we don’t want to travel back in time and live without DVR and Netflix (or indoor plumbing), there’s wisdom we can use today. If we focus on eating whole, unprocessed foods most of the time and slow down so we can gather with people to share meals, we will move toward better health.

Should you NEVER eat junk food? As long as you live in America, that’s nearly impossible to do! Especially if you have teenagers. Being healthy doesn’t mean you take all the joy out of eating. Thankfully, there are lots of websites with tasty, healthy food. You can start right here on the Dani Lin Wellness blog for some starter ideas.

We need you to get in the game.  Will you join me?

 

 

(1) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK11795/

(2) http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/HealthyKids/ChildhoodObesity/Overweight-in-Children_UCM_304054_Article.jsp#.WZ34UXeGP-Y