Luckily, I don’t have to travel much for work. While I love getting away, lugging my life around in bags and defensively blocking my way through crowds of tired, rude and testy people isn’t something I enjoy all the time. As usual though, several work responsibilities arose at the same time and stuck me with a month on the go.
Now back home in LA, I realize why traveling often irritates me. My life in Pasadena is a happy and healthy one, surrounded by people who live with similar priorities of being proactive. Even the not so healthy people in my community seem pretty aware of their decisions and knowledgeable to some degree about what would be required for change. We try to stay active, eat at least one vegetable every day and enjoy the great outdoors instead of getting stuck on the couch for what can seem like an unending eternity.
The moment I step away from this safe haven, my eyes adjust to the light and it seems like an endless sea of overweight, unhappy, unmotivated people that lack any interest in an alternative path of healthier priorities. The restaurant menus of food that’s entirely beige begin to make me lethargic and I can’t help but wonder why it doesn’t get old for so many people.
To be totally frank, it breaks my heart and leaves me with a deeper sense of pride and positivity about where my loved ones and I are headed. Granted, not all places qualify as heartbreaking communities riddled with unhealthy masses, but the high quantity that do exist are far more than it seems there should be.
So what are we to do? The answers are likely endless, but I propose we start here, now and not wait another second to settle for less than we deserve:
Start with yourself and yourself alone!
Getting into better shape and living a healthier lifestyle is something we have to tackle from within. Yes, accountability buddies help, but what about when they leave? Where are we left when our friends fall off the wagon or when we don’t have a community to keep us accountable? This is YOUR life and it’s your responsibility to push yourself in a more positive direction. Spending the much needed time reflecting on your own strengths and weaknesses, striving for healthier priorities and creating a sustainable system is something that will stay with you forever. Not only that, but it will filter into the world around you. Setting the example can be intimidating but well worth it when looking at the big picture.
Stand up for your healthy behavior!
Unfortunately, there’s a lot of people who will give you a hard time for being healthier. Jokes about why I drink so much water, eating like a rabbit, walking around all the time and maintaining a positive attitude most days are regular occurrences in my life. At first, it bothered me and I didn’t know how to react. The truth is, whether people are trying to be funny, playful or whatever else, it’s not about you…. it’s about them and their insecurities. Don’t ever be afraid to look those people straight in the eye and say, “YES, I am drinking so much water that I pee every 20 minutes. I love feeling hydrated and healthy!” The more we stand behind our positive approaches to a healthier lifestyle, the more acceptable, admirable and attainable it becomes. Whatever steps you’re taking to improve yourself and your life, they’re worth it – don’t ever let anyone let you think otherwise!
Save the next generation!
Traveling allows healthy families to stick out like a sore thumb. I love seeing families walking through the airport that are in good shape, maintaining a positive attitude and setting a great example. Yes, I’m not a mother so there’s a lot on this topic I’ll keep my mouth shut about, but I am a proud member of a healthy family and I stand by the reality that raising healthy and happy children is absolutely possible. Having children is our opportunity to create a new generation. We shape them from the moment they’re born – believe it or not! Show them that we live in a world with healthy options, get them outside to stay active instead of the standard electronics driven afternoons, help them learn and grow, allow them to succeed short and long term!
Suggest something different!
Whether you’re with a group of people you know well or just random acquaintances, you have the opportunity to be the brighter light. Suggest eating at a healthier establishment, participating in more active opportunities and embracing better choices. Even if you get out voted, your voice will be heard and likely hit home. No need to be a pushy little princess, just put your 2 cents out there and see what response you get!
Schedule vacations to healthier locations!
With so many amazing places in this great big world, it’s our duty to embrace and explore all the endless options. Advocate vacations that will entail more nature, exercise, exploration and excitement. Picking places that are healthier doesn’t mean you’ll have a terrible vacation – it means you’ll relax and reflect on life while coming home happier and lighter on your feet than when you left. Discover national parks like the Grand Canyon and Yosemite, go camping, look up some of America’s healthiest cities, Yelp the local farmer’s market or fitness studio while hanging in your hotel and get creative!
To a healthier world we’re happy to be part of,