I started writing this piece while on a Three and a half hour layover in the Charlotte, North Carolina airport as a means to pass the time. It quickly grew into a rant that I felt the need to bring to life what is witnessed in American culture and what better place for it to be summed up than a bustling airport. Coming from a background and lifestyle that prioritizes being healthy through nutrition and exercise, I have grown accustomed to noticing health disparities in the general public such as obesity as it is the obvious physical trait that is portrayed by unhealthy individuals. Since this is a rant I feel it would be a disservice to sugar coat anything I may try to get across here, so buckle up this one is going to be to the point and may hurt some feelings. Just know that it is in an effort to invoke positive change into peoples’ lives. The airport is one of the most unhealthy places you can find yourself in terms of nutritional options. It prioritizes convenience and speed and there is no shortage of fast food, bagged chips, and sugary drinks. Now in a pinch you may not have another option and that is understandable. The one thing that really gets me is the lack of effort by the governing airport or city to help people make healthier choices easier accessible. It’s a business and business is currently better for companies that promote unhealthy convenience. This can simply be summed up by the lines I am witnessing between Starbucks, Burger King, and Bojangles versus a small shop here called Fresh Attraction that appears to sell fresh made sandwiches. I’m not a huge fan of deli meat either, as it can be packed with sodium, but the alternatives here are even less appealing. In a situation like this it comes down to the lesser of two evils and we all deep down know the right choice. Drinks are another telling sign with people going for anything from water, coffee, sports drinks, or soda.
Sadly in an environment like this it is blatantly obvious who prioritizes their health and who doesn’t. As I look around I see people who are thinner and appear to be healthier drinking water, coffee or juice of some sort. On the other hand, there is no shortage of people who appear overweight drinking Mountain Dew, Pepsi, or a soda they bought with their #3 meal at a fast food chain. Another sad reality that is prevalent is parents making choices for their young kids on what they will eat while waiting for their flight. Am I assuming based on this one interaction? Yes I am. Is there a chance that this is perhaps a tradition and these kids only get fast food when they travel? Of course. Unfortunately, their physical appearance proves the opposite. Most of these kids are also overweight or at least headed in that direction. I often wonder if their parents realize the situation they are leading their kids to based off these poor nutritional decisions. I am not saying it’s their fault. I understand there could be financial hardship or some other underlying problem that I am not accounting for just off of appearance alone but I really don’t believe that is the case. This reminds me of a saying I keep seeing thrown around social media “if you don't take the time for your wellness you will be forced to make the time for your illness.” This perfectly sums up the fight of instant gratification versus long term reward.
A quick gander around the airport terminal proves that Americans as a whole are not prioritizing their health; the scale is figuratively tipped in the heavier direction. (pun intended) So where can we begin to make changes that can lead us to a healthier lifestyle? In your mind. That is the only place that real results will be seen. If you can't win the battle in your mind you will most definitely lose the war. You have to start doing those things that may seem uncomfortable. Another great quote I use all the time makes this idea crystal clear “ if you want to be different from other people you have to be willing to do what other people won't.” In this case, being like other people is continuing to put your health second and succumbing to instant gratification through unhealthy habits. But you’re not like other people, that's our greatest advantage as human beings we are each unique in our own way and can quite literally do anything we set our mind to. So why would you want to be like other people when you can be exactly what you have always wanted to be! You may be saying to yourself, this kid is full of $h!t who is he to tell me that at 24 he has more wisdom and can help change people’s lives. Well in all honesty I have developed these feelings and habits from studying those that have made their wildest dreams come true. I live with that belief every day. Some days it's hard to stay true and focused towards the ultimate goal as it seems so unattainable at times, but I know that if I were to give up I would be just like other people and that is one thing I will never allow myself to become. I believe everyone should be working towards being the best version that they can see themselves as, and once they reach that version, being even better. It all starts with belief in oneself. If that self belief is not something you can find from within, start looking outward. Look towards other people who have a knack for motivation and can help convince you that making changes in your life will get you on the path that you want to be on. Once you can start to win the battle in your mind (even once a day) your habits will follow suit and before you know it you will be on the path towards becoming the best version of yourself and getting whatever it is that you want in this life.