Making the choice to be healthy is challenging. We live in a world where inactivity and poor nutrition are fostered. We drive everywhere. There is a fast food restaurant every five feet. Fewer and fewer schools have a quality PE program. Obesity levels are at an all time high. Did you know that there is only one state with an obesity level of 20% or below? I didn't either. (It's Colorado, in case you were wondering).
We are an unhealthy nation. And it bothers the heck out of me. Because it wasn't inevitable. It was caused by a series of choices. Choices that each and every one of us is presented with.
Last night, I started reading Body by Design. In the early chapters, the author discusses the effect of our peer groups and support systems in the choices we make. Apparently, research has been done that shows that if an individual has obese friends, they are more likely to fall victim to obesity as well - even if they don't have face-to-face interactions with each other (think social network sites).
When I thought about it, it really started to make sense. As a teen, I was overweight. And so were my friends. We fostered each others negative behaviors. We (as a group) chose eating out over eating healthy and movie nights over workout sessions. Then, when I decided to make a change, I found myself drifting from those people, maybe intentionally, maybe not. And as I drifted, I formed new connections with people who supported, agreed with or shared my passion for health and fitness. And now, I am surrounded (both virtually and in real life) with individuals who "get me" and what I am trying to do. They understand why I would want to run a marathon or be a vegetarian, even if they don't aspire to do the same. They understand that my choices are intended to improve the quality of life for me and my whole family. They see the big picture.
Sure, there have been speed bumps along the way. I've encountered people who I thought were there for me, but their negativity was too great to overcome. So, I've left them behind and I'm better for it. It hasn't always been easy, but every struggle has been worth it. And I will continue this journey with the support of my peers (especially my loving husband who supports me 100% regardless of what I throw at him). And I will do my best to inspire the people around me to do the same, if for no other reason than to give back some of the support I have received ...