Celebrating Good Choices Dr Yesheen Singh

Summer is a season of celebrations, of both beginnings and endings. The cold wet days of winter are behind us with (mostly) sunny skies ahead. We've come to the end of the school, university and work year and a relaxing holiday awaits. We also celebrate the end of the Gregorian year, with a new one full of hope and potential to follow. Most importantly we celebrate life - another year in this spectacular complex physical body, on this wonderfully enriching planet, another year to grow and evolve, another year to move beyond our fears towards our highest potential.
Summer is a season of celebrations, of both beginnings and endings. The cold wet days of winter are behind us with (mostly) sunny skies ahead. We’ve come to the end of the school, university and work year and a relaxing holiday awaits. We also celebrate the end of the Gregorian year, with a new one full of hope and potential to follow. Most importantly we celebrate life - another year in this spectacular complex physical body, on this wonderfully enriching planet, another year to grow and evolve, another year to move beyond our fears towards our highest potential.

We have much to be grateful for, and much to celebrate. Yet when faced with the question of how to celebrate, why is it we often tend to choose actions and traditions that are neither self-honouring nor health-preserving? Why has it become socially acceptable, and even justifiable, for us to take a voluntary downgrade in our health status in the name of the festive season? Why do celebrations have to be a “win” for our mental and emotional states and a “lose” for our body? Why do celebrations bring not only love and laughter, but also high-calorie, nutrient-poor, trans-fat-rich, alcohol-laden, chemical-ridden, pro-inflammatory foods?

We humans are notorious at playing down the repercussions of our lifestyle choices on our health. We tend to pooh-pooh the idea that the extra serving of dessert, the additional glass of wine or the skipped activity session will cause any harm.

“It’s the holiday season, I deserve it” is something I often hear. What is it you deserve I question: the initiation of an inflammatory process that may lead to new health problems? A flare-up of your current health concerns? Metabolic confusion from the mixed signals between those for joy and upliftment through celebration, and those for imbalance and destruction through poor choices? Why don’t you deserve to get healthier and more resilient through the festive season? Why don’t you deserve a win-win outcome? Why don’t we remember that our well-being does not go on holiday when we do.

My challenge to you over this festive season is to make healthier choices - choices that empower you today by taking responsibility for your life and well-being. Choices made today that sow the seeds for the state of health you wish to reap in the future. The length of time between action and outcome, for example cutting out coffee today to ‘obtain’ better bone health in ten years, is often a stumbling block as we find it challenging to relate everyday decisions to their future repercussions. Imagine how different the world would look if we all got violently ill every time something containing sugar or refined carbohydrates was consumed? Cardiometabolic diseases would disappear and the incidence of heart attacks and other cardio-inflammatory events would decline. But this is not the reality we inhabit and the primary responsibility lies with us and how we choose to walk through life. Choose to walk this journey with self-compassion and self-nurturing.

For more about Dr Yesheen Singh log onto www.healthnation.co.za

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