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“Happiness is not a state to arrive at, but a manner of traveling.” – Margaret Lee Runbeck

Ever find yourself feeling that your overall health, fitness and happiness levels need a boost? I do. I am constantly checking my progress. I am seeking that combination of the right amount of exercise and nourishment that will produce the results I’m after.

I want to avoid physical pain and overindulgence of food.  I want to maintain the weight loss goals achieved so far this year. I’ve developed fitness and health routines into my lifestyle, and it is making me happy. It is a journey that I don’t want to stop; I want to keep exploring the good things that are happening to me, through exercise, diet, and meditation.

Why do I want to live this way? Because there are studies that demonstrate good dietary habits are directly associated with positive attitudes and optimism about life which leads to better health and longevity. Many people now have a goal to live long healthy active lives well into old age; being young until you die, which hopefully will reach way into the future.

Quite the opposite effects are associated with people who smoke, drink alcohol, eat unhealthy foods, and are sedentary. Common sense has observed cause and effect here, but now research backs up these observations with facts. Bad habits do not produce happy results.

Living a healthy lifestyle and getting the right amount physical activity allows you to have more energy to serve others, and it is the best antidepressant on the open market.  It keeps us smarter because increased blood flow to the brain stimulates brain cell growth in the hippocampus which helps learning, memory, and improves mood.

As we get older the hippocampus shrinks, but exercise slows – or stabilizes – brain loss.  It puts people at less risk from heart disease, diabetes, brain fog, chronic illness and staves off the negative effects that come from aging.

Healthy elderly who exercise by walking and taking the stairs instead of the elevator benefit by having lower cholesterol levels and can maintain the same muscular profiles as younger people. Exercise is also the only known defense against getting Alzheimer’s disease.  It helps the left/right sides of the brain work together better and adds years to your life and life to your years.

This is the goal that I am striving for, and I would like you to join me.

Scientific evidence suggests that being happy may have major benefits for your health. For starters, being happy promotes a healthy lifestyle. It helps combat stress, boosts your immune system, protects your heart and reduces pain.

“Happiness in not something you postpone for the future; it is something you design for the present.” – Jim Rohn

What’s more, it may even increase your life expectancy. While further research is required to understand how these effects work, there’s no reason you can’t start prioritizing your happiness now. Focus on the things that make you happy. Avoid negative thoughts. This will not only improve your life, but it may also help extend it too.

If health, fitness, and happiness don’t happen immediately that’s okay. It’s not your fault that you are where you are. Our society has been bombarded for years now with false information about diet and nutrition for the sole purpose of helping corporate food conglomerates succeed in fattening up a major portion of our population.

An estimated one out of every three people in the USA will be classified as obese by 2020! We are influenced by advertising relentlessly to buy fast food products, soft drinks, pizza, and processed snack food that does significant harm.

I still struggle when I go to the grocery store because I’m battling a wheat bread addiction problem that caused me to be overweight for many years. I have to tell myself to not put bread in the basket, and then I praise myself when I check out bread free. Awareness of bad habits is needed to keep improving diet and exercise routines.

Fortunately, many of the changes I’ve made combine to make me happy.  I now know which items to put into the grocery cart that keep me healthy and save money by doing so. If I don’t get immediate weight loss results, I know that I’ve made good progress so far. More action in the same direction will eventually lead to a happiness level that has not been achieved before.

I often tell myself to never give up. I keep my weight loss goal in front of me and practice meditation to form an image of where I want to be today, tomorrow, and ten years from now.

There are obstacles that get in the way every day, so I need to make wise choices to avoid pitfalls. At the grocery store, I avoid putting items in the cart that have been advertised or are processed. If I can’t pronounce items on the ingredient list, forget it. I no longer eat ice cream, cheese, yogurt, potato chips, corn chips, whole wheat bread or breakfast snack bars.

I’ve built discipline into my lifestyle, selecting whole fruits and vegetables, rice, almond milk, coffee, and organic meat, olive oil and butter. I shun the fake soy food burgers which at one time not long ago I thought were healthy. Anything processed for convenience contains too much sugar, salt, or preservative ingredients that are not healthy, and they stay on the store shelves, not in my push cart.

I have learned how to make healthy meals using simple whole plant foods and rice dishes that can be prepared in 20-30 minutes at home. I make an awesome beef bone soup cooking the broth for an hour and then adding carrots, celery, onions, garlic, and kale that has enormous health benefits.

Be consistent with your food choices so you find combinations that agree with your digestive system and help you control weight. Aim to eliminate all sugars from your diet.

 “Happiness is not being pained in body or troubled in mind.” – Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826)

Try simple recipes with whole plant foods and rice that are easy to make. Create convenience in your kitchen by having dishes of cooked rice and beans stored in airtight containers. Rice, beans, and lentils combined with vegetables and spices make for tasty dinners.

Leafy greens deliver more nutrients than any other food because they are loaded with fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals.  A leafy green salad gives your body strength to fight off potential killers like heart disease, cancer, hypertension, and insomnia.

My favorite leafy green produce is spring green mixes, kale, spinach, Swiss chard, mustard, and dandelion greens. They add vitamin A, C, K, folate, potassium, and calcium to your diet.

Obstacles getting in the way of achieving happiness goals are not helped by our lifestyles. At our jobs, most activity has been engineered out of the tasks we used to perform, so now we spend a lot of time sitting in a chair at a desk or workstation.

In my case, I am fortunate to have an adjustable stand-up desk, so I have the option of sitting or standing. While I prefer standing while at work, I do way more sitting than is good for me when I am at home.

When we sit in a chair for any length of time our circulation slows, and we burn less fat and also fewer calories. Researchers now compare adverse health effects caused by too much sitting with the same level of risk associated with smokers of a couple decades ago.

It is imperative that sitting cycles be interrupted every 45-60 minutes else bones get softer, muscles get weaker, productivity drops, and energy is drained from the body.

Sitting for too long makes you feel like you need a nap when all you really need to do is get up and take a walk. Therefore, when I’m at work I take the long route to the bathroom to get the blood circulating and I try to break every hour.

So, when it comes to lifestyle choices, we must ask ourselves, what would we rather face every day; anxiety and depression or, happiness and optimism? The end result needs to be the longevity of life, living life young, healthy and vibrant until death. We want to have good mental health and physical resilience for a lifetime, and we get there with proper health and fitness.

Happiness is found by seeking solutions that help you stay well. If you wait until you get sick to go to the doctor, that’s too late. You’ve missed the opportunity to correct the problem. Let’s start living now with the goal of never having to visit the doctor again. Is it possible?

Is it possible for people to eat right and exercise enough so they never get sick? This is a lifestyle worth exploring, but you must be responsible for managing your own body. The medical doctor is not going to give you advice that keeps you away from the exam room; they make money off you!

When I was heavy, my doctor did not recommend a change of diet or habits to reduce my weight. So, self-motivation is required for proper lifestyle changes.

Choosing not to think about your health is costing you everything whether you know it or not. It may not affect you now, but it will cost you later. Don’t wait until you’re sick and dying to

“Whatever good things we build end up building us.” – Jim Rohn

Think about the proper diet and exercise for living! What are you doing now to help your body so that you can accomplish the dreams you have that you’ve postponed for the future?  Gradually cut back on sugar intake until you are in full control of blood sugar levels in your body.

Become empowered with the knowledge that proper diet and exercise strengthens your body. The results can reverse aging processes, improve our optimism level, and increase happiness. No matter where you are on your happiness journey it is possible to become stronger and healthier. Stop putting crappy bad sugary food in your body! Eat only plant-based whole foods.

How healthy can you get? You can have a flatter stomach by eating less. Build intermittent fasting into your daily routine; not all at once but gradually.  Did you know that fasting has the same positive effect on your brain as exercise? Both produce the same physiological response in the brain.

Let’s start a daily walking routine. Go around the block and gradually lengthen your walks. Pretty soon you’ll be jogging and then running half marathons.

Build up those muscles; what’s stopping you? You can be vibrant, full of energy, ready to have fun with our family because you know that’s what they want. What is that dream image of yourself that you keep locked away in the back of your mind? That’s the person you want to be now before it’s too late.

Address your health issues now. Diabetes is an easy disease to reverse by cutting back on sugar consumption, so let’s get educated so that we understand what actions need to be taken now before we get sick or diagnosed with diabetes. Did you know someone dies from diabetes every ten seconds? With very doable changes in our food habits, this risk can be totally eliminated.

Let’s keep track of our progress. Start writing a food diary. Note the food that goes into your body. Write it down; think about it; did it feel good? Did it come out the other end okay? Is it something you want to repeat or maybe try something else? Evaluate your moods and overall gut health. Read the ingredients on the food products you buy. Be very selective if you want to live right.

Wake up and start thinking about this now… Ill health effects can be turned around, but you have to make the changes.

If you’d like some help making the right changes to see results, I’d recommend checking out my favorite system to get a flat stomach here.

See you there!
– Jim McGough.