Think About What You Gain
Optimal Health is not about what you lose.
Though your journey toward Optimal Health may begin with weight loss, you will likely soon realize that creating health is more about what you gain rather than what you lose. Sure, losing weight feels good, but what that accomplishment gives you is far more rewarding.
In losing weight, you regain control of your destiny. You can be more active. You can spend more time with your family. You can recapture your self-confidence. You can unlock a vibrant new lifestyle. Ultimately, what you gain is more meaningful time to spend with the ones that you love.
This pursuit of longevity is a powerful journey for this reason, and squashing obesity is the first step. As I have written about before, record levels of obesity have contributed to rising rates of Type 2 diabetes. This preventable disease contributes to a number of health complications that can impact longevity. Recent research has found that impact might be greater than we originally thought.
A study published in Neurology found that Type 2 diabetes increased inflammation, leading to poorer performance in mental skills over time. Compared to the control group after two years of study, the individuals with diabetes had less gray matter, lower rates of blood flow, and lower mental test scores.
In an interview with the New York Times, lead author, Dr. Vera Novak, an associate professor of neurology at Harvard, said that no treatment currently exists to combat this decline. While that doesn’t necessarily mean that people experiencing these effects are hopeless—as this was a small study exploring a relatively new inquiry into the consequences of Type 2 diabetes—but it should help you to see more clearly the value of preventing disease through the Habits of Health.
Being proactive about your health leads to far more rewards than being reactive, which is the basis of the Optimal Health mindset.
How you frame this in your mind is important. Rather than thinking about losing weight or being afraid of what Type 2 diabetes could mean for your life, think instead about what you will gain. Since you know that your mental health is intertwined with your physical health, you can focus on all of the great things you will be able to do and experience with a greater mental presence.
Don’t think about losing weight. Think about gaining confidence and health. Don’t think about being afraid of Type 2 diabetes. Think about adding more wonderful memories to your life.
I emphasize these points because we so often think of health in negative terms. We think about losing weight or being afraid certain illnesses. While those can be part of what drives you to pursue health, I have found it is much more powerful to think about what you can add to your life.
You can create new memories with the people you love. You can enjoy more of the activities that leave you feeling fulfilled. You can savor a more vibrant lifestyle.
Optimal Health is truly about growth. In the long term, what you gain can be far more meaningful than what you lose.
What are you adding your life today?