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Are You Healthy or Are You Normal?

Are you healthy? Is your body running at optimal levels?  Are you at a good weight and have energy for all your activities?  Or are you like everyone else? The Center for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC, reports that as of 2012 about half the population of the USA has at least one chronic illness, and 25% has two or more chronic illnesses. (Source) That number continues to grow at an alarming rate.

Are you healthy or are you normal | Chronic Illness | Inner Savvy Wellness
The U.S. National Center for Health Statistics defines a chronic disease as an illness lasting for three months or more.  They state that 88% of Americans over 65 have at least one chronic health condition. (Source) Now remember, that chronic health conditions don’t just appear overnight.  The issues typically develop over years of poor eating, smoking and lack of movement, fitness and sleep as well as being in the state of constant stress. If that many Americans over 65 have a chronic illness it is logical to conclude that as many younger Americans are living with the beginnings of a chronic health condition even if they have no symptoms, or don’t realize the symptoms they are feeling are signs of chronic illness developing. Are you one of them?

As I have been chatting with women 35 and older, many will tell me they are feeling fine. Yet as I ask a few more questions I find that they are taking medication for one reason or another.  “Oh that, it is just for….” Inevitably it is a chronic illness such as arthritis, cholesterol, acid reflux, depression, fatigue and more.

Are you healthy or are you normal | Most people think chronic Illness is normal, but is doesn't have to be | Inner Savvy Wellness
Ding. Ding. Ding.  It hit me.

What we feel…many chronic illnesses are so normal that we now consider it healthy or at least an inevitable part of aging.  It is what it is.

Are you healthy or are you normal | Chronic Illness | Inner Savvy Wellness
That is sad. It can make one feel hopeless.  But hope isn’t lost.

Our bodies are meant to be in a state of homeostasis. A state of balance.  A state of optimal, peak performance and energy.

Yet many of us have not felt that optimal state for so long.  Our state of imbalance is so normal that we believe it is the only way of life.

I don’t believe that for a minute.  Our bodies are beautifully and wonderfully made.  Our bodies have an innate ability to work synergistically and return to a state of balance if we give it the nourishment, movement, rest, and state of calm it needs. We must give it a chance.

Now I am not saying all illnesses can be reversed. No, there are states of illness of no return to 100% optimal. But there always are things we can do to help our body run and feel better even if we can’t be 100% healthy.

Even though I was sick most of my life. I did think it was normal and nothing I could do.  I was waiting for the white coat cure. Finally, it was getting so bad I started making lifestyle changes and my health took a turn for the better.  In my late 40’s I feel better than I did for most of the years prior.  No, I am not at 100%, but when I think about how bad it was. When I think about how bad I would be now if I hadn’t made those changes. I know things would have continued to get worse. I know that the changes were worth it. 

Are you healthy or are you normal | Chronic Illness | Inner Savvy Wellness
If you had told me then, that I would be eating completely different, become a morning person, getting in movement every day, praying and meditating, rarely if ever experiencing stomach issues, and avoiding a hysterectomy, I would have thought you were crazy. It would have been too overwhelming, but through small changes that became a way of life, it happened.  It isn’t overwhelming, and I am feeling great most of the time.

My wish for you is that you don’t accept your little signs and symptoms as just a part of aging.  That you don’t fall for the belief there is nothing you can do to stop the slow decline. You can make changes. You can move from normal to healthy.

First, figure out why you want to be healthy and not normal. Figure out what area of health to start with. Add in the basics of healthy eating.  Make changes slowly. It all counts. Don’t let overwhelm take over. Rome was not built in a day, neither will your move from normal to healthy.

Start out fall with a healthy and fitness focus.  Join the 7-Day Healthy Habits Email Challenge in your email box starting September 8.

Need help to develop your health goals and strategies to achieve them?  Schedule a 20-minute phone call with me to see if we fit.

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Are you healthy or are you normal | Chronic Illness | Inner Savvy Wellness
Are you healthy or are you normal | Chronic Illness | Inner Savvy Wellness

 

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47 comments

  1. Tara says:

    I had this same thought when thinking about my husband. He says he feels fine, but all the while complaining about pain in his knee or shoulder, heart burn, exhaustion and insomnia. It just didn’t seem “fine” to me. I know there are some lifestyle and dietary changes he could make to help him feel so much better, but he has to be willing and he’s not willing … yet.

  2. Great thoughts. I think so many people “give up” on their bodies as the inevitable signs of aging. There is so much we can do to keep our minds, bodies, and souls youthful and healthy. If only more people understood this.

  3. Audrey says:

    Great post! Yes our collective mindset is what is normal. To truly achieve the state of health we seek, we really have to go back to “normal” 100 years ago before our culture became one of convenience foods and sedentary lifestyle.

  4. Christy says:

    I know that I need to do better. I love yoga and getting outside for a nice long walk. I haven’t made the time to do either of these on a regular basis lately and I miss them both. I can tell the difference in how I feel. This is a good reminder to kick myself in the rear end and move my toushey.

  5. Christy says:

    Being healthy is really not an option. I know I need to get out and move more. I love yoga and need to make the time for it on a more regular basis. In the summer, I love paddleboard yoga too. Summer isn’t over yet I still have time.

  6. This really got me, Karen: “What we feel, many chronic illnesses, are so normal that we now consider it healthy or at least an inevitable part of aging.” How true! But as you say, the body is meant to be in a state of balance. Love this!

    • Karen says:

      I am hoping that as people read this, that very statement will strike them so they take time to evaluate their health and make changes so they can feel better before it gets worse and more drastic measures are needed. Thanks, Susan.

  7. What has become normal for me is to sit too much, nibble too much & complain I’m unhappy with my weight. My eating is basically good- my nibbling is not. Am I ready to really take ME on. Don’t know what I’m waiting for but I’m not in the mindset.

    • Karen says:

      My suggestion would be for you to take time to write down reasons you may want to stop your poor nibbling habits and get moving more. If you can then find your big why, it makes it easier to get in the mindset, if not, it is easy to justify that this one bite won’t hurt. Been there, done that. Fall into from time to time still. It isn’t a final destination, it is a journey of twists and turns.

  8. Karen, this article is very well written. I always pray that people will begin to see that being on 25 different medications is NOT normal. Everything our body needs for optimum health has already been provided by our Creator not the AMA. Thank you for sharing with us at #SimplifyWednesdays! Pinned, Tweeted, Shared, Stumbled

    • Karen says:

      Thank you so much for sharing it. I know that the sooner people realize they are heading down the wrong road, the easier it is to get back to optimal health. Thanks for hosting #SimplifyWednesdays

  9. Thank you for this! I really needed it. I have been dealing with foot issues for months now and finally when to a specialized that said I need to be off my foot for a week or two. It’s really hard because taking walking is my relax time. Now, I need to find something else to relax me. Breathing and looking at the animals in my garden have been helping.

  10. Tamuria says:

    Great article and quite a shock to know that so many people consider their illnesses perfectly normal, an inevitable part of aging. I feel healthy and fit most of the time but my body is quick to let me know when I’m not doing the right thing. Just recently I’ve been making other things a priority over my daily walk and my knees have started to ache, a sure signal that I need to prioritize walking again.

    • Karen says:

      Yep, it is a sign you need to walk. I think too many people ignore those signs, but if we listen, our bodies really do tell us what we need to focus on or change in our lives to be healthier. Keep listening.

  11. Reba Linker says:

    This is such an important awareness. We can live healthy or healthier lives, if we apply the necessary awareness and make the necessary changes. You raise a very good point that we accept a very high level of disease in this culture – and I hope that changes soon.

    • Karen says:

      Reba, yes, we can do so much if we are aware. We need to stop accepting the normal and go for optimal when it comes to our health because with poor health it is hard to be and do our best and it has a ripple effect throughout our families, neighborhoods, work and world.

  12. GiGi Eats says:

    I am HEALTHY. I am not normal and I pride myself in NOT being of the NORM. When people meet me they actually classify me as one of the “weirdest” and “abnormal” people they ever meet and I believe that to be a huge compliment!

  13. In my own experience, both personal and with others, more often than not, people don’t listen to the small ‘whisper’ signals the body is giving them. They seem to wait until the body is ‘roaring’ at them with symptoms they can no longer ignore. There is a good quote from Kevin Trudeau… “Most people have no idea how good their body is designed to feel.” So yes, people seem to accept the symptoms as if there is no choice. In all of my own journey back to health, I intuitively knew that there is always another way. Another option. Another choice. Yes, we do get older, but that doesn’t mean that we have to accept the cultural mindset about what is possible when it comes to the state of our health. This is a topic I am very passionate about as well, Karen. Sometimes people just don’t want to take the steps needed to commit to themselves and their health. Like you, I know there are always options and choices to improve, and it starts with us.

    • Karen says:

      Beverley, I am started to think we are kindred spirits. I love that, the whisper of our body. Part of it is that we all put too much on our plates so we don’t listen but even if we do hear it, we think it will just go away on its own. I don’t want people waiting until it is too late because there are options and choices to make. The options and choices narrow the more we ignore the signals. Here is to your health and all that read this.

  14. I’m a type 1 diabetic, so I think I’m one of those people who can easily pick up a new chronic illness. I don’t like it all. I have made so many lifestyle changes, but sadly, some are genetic. So instead, I focus on trying to eliminate those I can change.

    • Karen says:

      Don’t give up. Keep working on your diet, rest, movement, and stress reduction to feel the best you can even though you have a chronic illness.

  15. “My wish for you is that you don’t accept your little signs and symptoms as just a part of aging.” So beautifully said! I am amazed by our body’s ability to, sometimes, heal itself. Thank you for reminding me that I should go back to my exercising routine. 🙂

  16. Good stuff and our health is the most important thing we have as our body takes us through our life. I think I am pretty healthy… never been in/to hospital for myself other than two natural non-drug birth babies and a fractured wrist. Sure I suffer from getting older.. but heart, cholesterol, blood pressure, body is still pretty fit.

  17. Hi Karen,
    I definitely want to be “healthy” and at age 53, I am on the right path now……I joined a gym 2 years ago this October. I am eating so much better than I was…….and I really listen to my body 🙂 I have not felt this good in such a long time! Excellent post!! Makes a huge difference when you just make little tweaks in your daily routine.

  18. Such an interesting perspective! As someone with two chronic illnesses (celiac disease and fibromyalgia), I know that I will never be 100% “healthy” or “normal.” But I also know that I can be the healthiest version of myself through exercise, a healthy diet and meditation. We – not genetics, age, etc – are ultimately in control of our health.

  19. Joyce Hansen says:

    You’re so right, Karen. We’ve adopted the “new Normal” to include all these unnatural illnesses. Simply changing to a healthier diet and adding more exercise can make a big difference. For some people that’s too much to ask and their content complaining. Thanks, for a great post.

    • Karen says:

      Yes, simply changing diet and adding in movement can make a difference, but it isn’t easy. Simply but not easy, that is where I can come in to help. 🙂

  20. A good article…I cannot comment much because I do not know much about cultural and work climates in the US, or your eating habits….other than what we here see in the movies, and that does not often look very healthy 🙂

  21. Funny you should mention…had some tests done last week — not because I feel bad but because I’m 64 and my mom just died of cancer and it had been a long time since I’d had any blood or other analyses done. The good news: I’m not dying any faster than I was a week ago. The bad news: I’ve got to get my cholesterol under control or go on meds. I’ve got some good advice on how to make those changes.

  22. Karen Grosz says:

    I am so glad you got a check up, as well as some good advice on how to make changes. Food can make a big difference, but don’t forget sleep, that too can really help your body. I wish you the best as you make these changes. You can do it.

  23. Ann says:

    I have struggled with health issues most of my life, so thinking it is normal(at least for me) is something I can relate to. Of course, like most people, I have a lot of things to improve on – losing weight, eating healthier, getting more exercise(I do moderate exercise now), and just taking better care of myself – all of which I am presently working on. I have a “fitness” friend who is encouraging me and is very supportive. My hubby has been working along with me to become more healthy himself. I have always been the “caretaker” of the family and have been the one others rely on. But recently my health has really gone downward and I have been really forced to rethink about taking better care of myself. It isn’t easy for me, but like you said, we “can make changes. We can move from normal to healthy.”

    • Karen says:

      Oh, Ann, what you wrote is my life. I can feel your pain and frustration. My pain and illness was my normal so I thought it was the best I could feel. So glad that it isn’t. Not that I am 100% healthy now. I have ups and downs, but it is possible to move more toward healthy and feeling better so you can embrace life better. If you haven’t, I hope you join the 7-Day Healthy Habits Challenge starting Sept 8. It just might give you extra motivation to keep moving on your health journey. http://bit.ly/29ZvXY7

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