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Why Is Being Healthy Hard?

And sorry, but the truth is, it IS!

Being healthy is hard; it must be as currently, 45% of Canadians grapple with chronic illnesses. Just think of that - almost half of us are currently sick with a chronic illness, and that also indicates a 50% likelihood of developing such conditions! This prevalence extends to our loved ones and colleagues, with half of those in our circles affected by chronic illness. Globally, chronic diseases account for approximately 41 million deaths annually, constituting seven out of ten fatalities worldwide. Alarmingly, around 17 million of these deaths are premature, robbing individuals of years they should rightfully have.

Reflecting on these statistics prompts questions about why such widespread health issues persist. I knew that chronic illness was bad, but even I was shocked when researching the stats for this topic. This led me to wonder if all mammals suffered chronic illness this severe: are high levels of chronic illness natural among all mammals?  It turns out that temporary ailments affect some animals, while chronic illness remains relatively uncommon among them, except in domesticated species. Consequently, it's reasonable to attribute much of our health challenges to human domestication. Predominant chronic illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer often stem from factors like poor diet, obesity, stress, and sedentary lifestyles.

Recognizable symptoms, ranging from headaches and joint pain to weight gain and sleep disturbances, underscore the toll of these diseases. Our fast-paced, sedentary lifestyles, characterized by desk jobs, high stress and processed food consumption, exacerbate these health issues. Nonetheless, we also now live in a world where work remains essential for survival, raising the question: Can we make healthier choices amidst these challenges?

The full answer is nuanced. While achieving and maintaining good health requires dedication, it pales in comparison to the difficulties of living with chronic illness. There are four key categories to living healthy: movement, nutrition, rest, and stress management.

Today's wellness demands extend beyond work hours, necessitating daily efforts to counteract prolonged sitting and other sedentary behaviors. Incorporating regular physical activity—be it through workouts, walking, or active commuting—forms a cornerstone of this endeavor. It is not enough to have regular exercise; you should be using a sit-stand desk so you aren’t sitting for 8+ hours a day.  It is vital to have consistent cardio, strength training and stretching every week incorporated to your schedule. 

Nutrition choices need to be thoughtful, healthy, and deliberate, let’s say 80% of the time. This means home cooking, reading food labels, educating yourself about what healthy meals are, how much protein, carbohydrates, healthy fats, vegetables, and fruits you need, and choosing a variety of foods regularly. It means saying no to fast food and processed foods most of the time. It requires cutting out or limiting stimulants like coffee and alcohol. To be successful at this requires some knowledge, mostly planning, and lots of preparation. It requires that you think about what you are putting in your body on a daily basis. Ideally, you figure out a way to do this that brings enjoyment to the process, cooking with others, for others, and perhaps taking cooking classes. For full benefits, eating with others and eating slowly over lovely conversation is key for proper digestion and enjoyment.

Similarly, cultivating sound sleep hygiene and addressing underlying sleep issues are vital for overall well-being. This requires learning about great sleep habits and hygiene and then committing to them daily. If you are someone that struggles with sleep, it is critical to work on fixing the root problem and changing your sleep struggle.

Importantly, addressing chronic stress is paramount. While occasional stress is normal, sustained low-level stress poses significant health risks. To address stress, one has to be self-reflective enough to recognize it is happening, manage the effect of that on the body by various tools such as meditation, breathing, exercise, art, or talk therapy. However, this is still not enough, especially if the stress is continuous. One has to be brave enough to look at the cause of the consistent stress and face it head-on to eliminate or change it.

Balancing these health pursuits alongside work, family, and other obligations is undeniably challenging. So no, being healthy is not necessarily easy. It is because we have come so far from our natural world where we would have moved more, eaten more naturally, slept when we were tired, lived a slow-paced life mostly, we were immersed with nature and community and relationships were integrated and integral parts of our life.

Bridging the gap between our modern lifestyles and ancestral health practices is essential. This endeavor demands patience, self-awareness, and commitment, recognizing that individual journeys toward wellness vary. As I am writing this, I am thinking it’s no wonder half of us are running around ill and dying off sooner than we want or should. While the path to good health may seem daunting, the alternative—living with chronic illness—is far more arduous.

To make things more challenging and confusing, there is a multibillion-dollar health industry peddling dieting fads, programs, and supplements, all promising that being healthy can be easy if you buy into their program or product. Here's the truth, the hard truth: as you've read, being healthy is hard, and there are no three steps, one diet, or three-week program or supplement that will give you long-lasting health. Yes, I too have been sucked into many of them, and I can tell you that they certainly didn't help me attain or maintain my health.

Therefore, I say pick your hard, pick it now and here. Pick wellness, your birthright, and your natural state of being. Once you start a health habit, it does get easier, I promise! Not only does it get easier, it can even become addictive, in a good way, and one good habit often leads to another. I used to hate running, HATE IT, and when you start running it feels awful, which makes it so easy to stop. But I kept doing it, and eventually I grew to love it and now it’s hard to get me to stop. When I’m active I don’t feel like a burger, I reach for the salmon poke bowl with extra veggies and less sauce instead. If this doesn’t sound convincing enough, or it is sounding like too much work or overwhelming, ask for support.


Oh, I already heard you and I’m here to help. Currently, I have three ways I can offer support in making your choice for a healthy hard, not so hard!

1) “Revolutionize Remote Work” like the name suggests it designed to transform how you work and feel. It integrates health habits seamlessly into your daily life, particularly if you work remotely or in a hybrid model. This course addresses the adverse effects of sedentary work environments, providing practical strategies for optimizing health amidst modern demands. For more information or to register, check out this link:

2) If you prefer something more personal and tailored to your unique one-to-one coaching is likely better for you. Inquire here:

3) If you care about your employees' health or want to incorporate wellness into your company, I do corporate learning and workshops. Inquire here:

If you like what you are reading, please share with those you care about as wellness is contagious!