Healthy Living (and I don’t mean sugar free or low fat)

We eat a lot of canned fruit at our house. It’s easy and our baby likes it. I’m usually pretty good at spotting sugar free foods or anything that might have artificial sweeteners in them, I hate that stuff, but recently I missed this on some canned peaches and fruit cocktail. It wasn’t the type of product that I ever expected would have fake sugar included. Isn’t fruit naturally sugary enough? I would have thought so. The label simply says reduced sugar.  I thought it meant the fruit was in water instead of juice or syrup. Reduced sugar doesn’t mean artificial sweetener added, not to me, anyway. When I tasted it I could tell right away that there was a sugar replacement in it. I think artificial sweeteners taste like a broken leg. I digress.

The Tourist I Admire - Drawn by Markus Hannonen, used by permission. (c) 2013 Markus Hannonen

Image used by permission. (c) 2013 Markus Hannonen. (See note at bottom of post)

Healthy living doesn’t mean eating less sugar and fat, although diet can play a roll in healthy living. After all, if your body is sick then there is a good chance your mind is as well. The body and mind are inseparably connected. I’m using mind here to represent the self-concept, not the biological mass of neurons that we call the brain. It is important to eat healthy, but for me healthy living goes beyond diet. Healthy living means you accomplish the things you set out to accomplish, with the implication that you do set out to accomplish things. 

I’ve never been a big fan of formal planning with a daily calendar and setting goals, but I do think about the future. I don’t carpe diem, squeezing every ounce out of every moment, but I do more than drift where the wind takes me.  I approach the future with two questions:

1. What would I like to accomplish?

2. Who do I want to become?

In contemplating these questions I shape my future. I break down the steps needed to accomplish a task, such as recording an album or writing a book, and then take those steps. I look at who I want to become and consider the qualities I need to develop in order to get there. I can then work on those qualities over time and change who I am. I’m not opposed to formal planning, it’s just not how I do what I do. Regardless of how it is done planning is important for healthy living.

Success in life shouldn’t be about external recognition or accumulation of things, but rather internal satisfaction and accumulation of experience. When we live in accordance with our beliefs and personal code of ethics we reach internal satisfaction. As we make plans and carry out the steps needed to achieve the end results we accumulate experience. I believe this is how we can achieve healthy living, or living with a purpose. I know one thing for sure, when we are busy doing good things there is less time to do bad things. A simple way of saying it, but it rings true.

How do you define healthy living? Does it involve formal planning?


About the image: I included the above image because I think it captures the intent of this post, not so much in the image alone, but in the artist’s description of it, which is –

“The Tourist I Admire…
The 400 pd, bald tourist that doesn’t care what anyone thinks about what he looks like. He came to Hawaii to be shirtless, lay on the beaches, soak up the sun, and have as many damn snow-cones as his heart desires. He’ll cross the clogged artery bridge when he comes to it. Right now…he’s livin!”

About paulbrodie

I am a writer and a musician. My education is in psychology with emphasis in industrial/organizational psychology. My work experience has been primarily with electronic document management. Academically and intellectually I am interested in criminology and sociology. I am married to my favorite person in the world and we have one daughter.
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2 Responses to Healthy Living (and I don’t mean sugar free or low fat)

  1. dinadove says:

    I love the fat tourist ending. I really enjoy your writing.

    • paulbrodie says:

      Thank you! My friend Markus posted his image and the caption on his Facebook page a week or so ago. It wasn’t the inspiration for this post, but after I typed it up and was thinking about an image to add then the tourist came to mind. I think it worked out nicely to make the point that while healthy living does include physical health, that’s not all there is to it.

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