Health Behaviours


Will they make a decision to tap in number 41 and watch as a chocolate bar throws its self into the little dispenser tray waiting to be devoured? I mean, who doesn’t like chocolate? Who wouldn’t want to luxuriate in its smooth, yummy taste? Or, perhaps they might choose A2 and encourage a bottle of water to land with a thud. But, why would they do that? Where is that instant gratification from drinking boring tasteless water? Where’s the pleasure in that?

Once the initial high of enjoying the taste of chocolate has gone we may then start to feel a little disappointed that we have given in and eaten yet another chocolate bar along with all the implications that are caused by this brightly coloured gift wrapped lump of sugary fat. The choice of drinking water, however boring will have a much more positive affect  on our body; it keeps us hydrated at a cellular level which helps our bodies to function better inside and out so although it doesn’t give us that instant hit, over time it is so much better for us. OK, I can see you’re not convinced…

It all boils down to our health behaviours, these are specific health activities and decisions which we  choose that can have a positive or negative affect on our long-term health. We all make these decisions throughout our lives:

The choices we make can be influenced by many things:

The problem with choosing negative health behaviours is that they give you that instant buzz. You’ve been at work all day and all you want to do is to sit down in front of the TV with a take-away pizza, a glass of wine or beer and maybe a cigarette or two. Straight away you begin to unwind and feel better about the world. But, if you do this every day over time the implications to your health is not good; weight gain and all the associated health problems such as, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke are just around the corner plus you will feel yuk! On the other hand, if, when you finish work you choose to take part in some form of physical activity, eat a healthy, balanced meal without alcohol and nicotine the long-term looks very different and you feel good!

I see this all the time with people wanting to lose weight or get fitter. For years their health behavior has been negative choices. There’s usually an upcoming event like a holiday or they’re getting married that has led to them wanting to make a change,  But, how difficult is it to un-train years of health behaviours that have resulted in weight gain and being unfit?

This is one reason why most diets and attempts to get fitter fail, it’s such a big change all at once and people find it hard to sustain. You can’t expect to change everything at once, my advice is that you focus on eating a diet 80 % healthy and have 20% of the naughty stuff so that you don’t feel deprived! Gradually build up your activity levels, don’t go head first into a punishing routine that you know you won’t enjoy. Once you see a difference in your waistline and your energy levels you can then start to address other health behaviours such as alcohol and smoking, oh, and make that medical screening appointment at the GP’s you keep putting off!

It really does come down to the choices YOU make, the pain of discipline or, the pain of regret? Drink the water or, eat the choccie bar? Sit on the sofa all evening or go for a walk? … decide!!

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