No matter what the season, there is always plenty of sports to watch from the professionals to little league. We love being spectators, too. Unless, of course, our team loses. As a result, we somehow believe that as a spectator we can change the outcome of a game. Cheering intensifies in a close game, rally hats come on when our team is down, and booing erupts in an attempt to change a bad call. Even fights erupt between rival fans over something they are powerless to change.
Ironically, there is a parallel between this spectator phenomenon and our approach to health and wellness. The evidence rests in the most recent health statistics from the American Public Health Association:
- 29.6% of the population is obese
- 10% of the population has diabetes
- there has been a 4% increase in drug deaths
Almost a third of the U.S. population seems to be sitting on the sidelines with obesity as a spectator. This passive approach to life has a domino affect on our life as obesity leads to other health conditions such as heart disease and stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, some cancers, and osteoarthritis. However, many cases of obesity are preventable and treatable.
Sitting on the sidelines is like sitting in the passenger seat of a car, because we are simply along for the ride with no control over which direction the car goes, how fast or slow, or its destination. Why would we consciously choose to be a passenger, especially in life? Taking ownership of ourselves means we want a say, that we care about the journey. Having an active role in the game of life elevates our quality of life because we are living on our terms, not limited by external forces. Ironically, these outside forces are something we subject ourselves to voluntarily by:
- Eating fast food.
- Living a sedentary lifestyle.
- Relying on medications to relieve symptoms.
- Consuming too many highly processed foods.
- Limiting fresh fruit and vegetables in our diet.
- Making countless excuses to not exercise regularly.
- Not holding ourselves accountable to a healthy weight.
If you are one of the almost 30% who are sitting on the sidelines acting like a spectator to your own life, perhaps it’s time to change that. The first step is deciding to join the game. Commit to yourself.