Health Is The Most Important Thing

Without Health, Nothing Matters

The Brownie Bites Takeaway
Less than 7% of American adults are metabolically healthy. Prioritizing health ensures we can achieve our goals, at home and at work.

🏃 1. Prioritize exercise.
📅 2. Schedule your health and wellness.
🧘 3. Take time to meditate.
đŸĨ‘4. Make the time to shop for, and cook healthy meals.
đŸ“Ŗ 5. Remember that WE are the advocates for our own health.
👨👩👧 6. Prioritize family and friends.

Read on to discover why so many Americans are unhealthy, and why aligning our actions with what truly matters is the key.

93% of American adults are metabolically unhealthy. It’s likely a combination of our diet, not sleeping, stress, and never taking time off. Our healthcare system is sick-care, not well-care. It is designed to help us with prescriptions and surgery. Most doctors know very little about exercise, nutrition, or mental health. We live in a society that celebrates working hard, even if comes at the cost of our health.

Mental health is a foundation of our overall health. We must take time off to relax and reset.

Without Health, Nothing Matters

I spent the second week of February in bed, with a two-pack whammy combo of the flu and Covid. My fever held steady, over 102 for multiple days.

Despite writing about health and wellness I had forgotten to prioritize my own health in the weeks prior. I hadn’t slept well but attended a party anyway; I ignored my gut instinct that I simply wasn’t up for leaving the house. Like many other people, I was overworked and under-relaxed.

I woke up the day after the party with a headache, sore throat, and aches all over. The next few days were a blur. At some point I started marking time by taking the dog out.

One day after my dog refused to do his business, I sat on a park bench in the middle of Back Bay, Boston, and cried. Then, I almost collapsed on the stairwell trying to get back to my apartment.

The only thing I wanted, above all, was to get better. To have my health.

93% of American adults are metabolically unhealthy.

Trends and Disparities in Cardiometabolic Health Among U.S. Adults, 1999-2018;
Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Tufts University, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

Why Are So Many Americans Unhealthy?

The 2022 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) found that less than 6.8% of Americans are metabolically healthy. They examined data from 1999–2018 (pre-Covid). As Levels health observed, “Only 1 in 14 American adults showed optimal levels of all five metabolic risk factors: BMI, glucose, blood pressure, HDL, and triglycerides without medication. The same data showed only 37% of adults had fasting glucose under 100 mg/dL, the typical threshold for prediabetes.”

We are overweight, have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high triglycerides.

Here are the ideal ranges:
— Abdominal obesity – waist circumference <102/88 cm for men/women
— Blood pressure – <120 systolic and 80 diastolic
— Fasting blood glucose <100 mg/dL and HgbA1c < 5.7%
— Triglycerides < 150 mg/dL
— HDL cholesterol â‰Ĩ 40/50 mg/dL in men/women

Less than 7% of American adults have these levels.

What the heck is going on, and can it be explained completely by our diets?

Stress Is The Common Denominator

Stress can cause spikes in blood sugar levels, cause high triglycerides, leads to high cholesterol, and has an impact on blood pressure elevation.

Could stress be as important as a factor as diet? Americans are overworked and overstressed. We work so hard we don’t have any time to cook healthy meals. Forget about exercise.

I surmise our stressful lives are responsible for our decline in health.

We Glorify Wealth, But We Should Glorify Health

The most unhealthy I’ve ever been was when I was running a wellness startup.

I worked 15 hour days–every day. Every day I was stressed. I didn’t have any time to relax or sleep properly.

All of this led to spiked cortisol…which led to insomnia…which created more stress, and on and on.

When I first created my startup, my vision was to help millions of women be well. We connected women with amazing wellness retreats. Combining beautiful locations, community, culture, healthy food, and daily exercise was a recipe to reset and heal. But I couldn’t even go on the retreats my company sold because I wasn’t allowed time off.

I had terrible investors who treated me badly and worked me to the bone. I was in a world where everything was about making money and making your investors richer than they already were.

Nobody I worked with cared about my health. I was replaceable to them.

But do you know I wasn’t replaceable for? ME. My family. The people who loved me. I am convinced the issues I had with my fibroids a decade later were the result of the high cortisol experienced during my startup years.

Food is health and medicine.

Make Time For Health

My mother told me a story about how, when her mother (my Grandmother) died, her boss told her she couldn’t take more than one day off.

She was expected to work despite grief, despite stress. It’s a recipe for illness and disease.

When did we become a culture that reveres working non-stop, and shames people for taking time off?

“People who take vacations have lower stress, less risk of heart disease, a better outlook on life, and more motivation to achieve goals.”1

In other words, taking time off equates to health. Especially if that time off is to recoup from stressful situations. Moving. Divorce. Death of family members. We are expected to work through all these things.

Aligning Our Actions With What Matters

Feeling burned out is not a badge of honor.

As human beings we are meant to be outdoors, to spend time in nature, to have days of doing nothing.

We must make time for health. If we don’t, we may get to the point where we have no choice. The 6 months I had to take off when suffering from fibroids and heavy bleeding (and subsequent surgeries) was forced on me. I literally could not work and I am lucky to be alive.

None of my consulting clients cared about my health issues, apart from how it impacted them because I wasn’t around to work personally on projects.

Ask yourself–who would care if you end up in the hospital? Will your boss send flowers or ask when you’ll be back to work?

It’s time we start aligning our actions with what is most important.

Tips For Prioritizing Health

Health is the most important thing. Which means we have to take it seriously, prioritize it, and honor it.

🏃‍♀ī¸ Prioritize time each day to exercise or do some sort of movement. I like to do small bursts of exercise–walking up the stairs, parking extra far in the store parking lot, doing donkey kicks and other exercises while watching T.V.

📅 Schedule your health and wellness. I schedule my workouts into my calendar and I take these scheduled timeslots as seriously as I do my work meetings.

🧘‍♀ī¸ Let’s take time to meditate, or find peace to clear our minds. We can find ways to de-stress so we can get 8 hours of restful sleep and start our days in a better frame of mind.

đŸĨ‘ Make the time to shop for, and cook healthy meals–we know that fast and processed food hurts us so much in the long-term yet we run out of time and buy convenient food. That food becomes rather inconvenient when it causes Diabetes and Heart Disease.

đŸ“Ŗ Remember that WE are the advocates for our own health. It means reminding everyone in our lives, from our bosses to our family members, that wellbeing is critical. I have to remind clients all the time that I do not work nights and weekends, because I require sufficient rest time in order to do my best work.

💑 Love, family, and friends are truly important. Prioritize the people who will be there for you at the hospital, or the ones who walk your dog when you are sick. These are the people who will attend your funeral after you’ve (hopefully) lived a long and healthy life. Put things into perspective.

🎋 Remember that your health is NOT a luxury. It is essential.

Let me know in the comments below how you prioritize your health and wellness. Or, if you are struggling, let me know what your challenges are. I do offer coaching sessions for perimenopause health and wellness, but we can talk about anything.

Getting out in nature is a good way to reset your health.
Getting out in nature is one of the best ways to reset your health and wellbeing.

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