When you think about priorities, what automatically comes to mind? Is it children, religious convictions, work, career or family?

Somewhere in there we could squeeze in health. In fact, I feel it should be before anything else. Without a healthy you, it's difficult to maintain or enjoy the rest of the things on that list.

Prioritizing wellness means reserving the time to ensure you take care of yourself first. That includes eating right much of the time. Secondly, making health a priority involves getting up and moving the body.

Just as we have to show up for work or pay bills on a certain day, a healthy diet and regular physical activity should be unbreakable tasks.

We take our health for granted. We don't realize how precious it is until something breaks down or we must take medications for something.

A couple of years ago, Dr. David Katz renowned physician and creator of the grocery store nutrition ranking system, NuVal, said in an interview ahead of his visit to Tyler that health should be seen as an investment. He put it this way:

"To some extent I think we do have to change the whole culture. We have to make health a priority. (It's interesting) how few people think about investing in their physical health. The notion that being active today is a way of getting dividends tomorrow, will have more years of life. The idea that health is something that matters — we all realize how much it matters when we lose it but we have to start thinking about it in a responsible way, kind of like the way we think about money. It really is shocking to me — I'm a preventive medicine specialist — that every responsible adult thinks about financial investment and virtually no responsible adult thinks about health investment."

His assessment surely puts things in perspective. Basically, pay now, or be sorry later. But in our fast and multitasking culture, it's easier said than done. It's something I struggle with myself. For the New Year, I've said I will "get my mind" by putting my health at the top of my list of things to work on.

For me, it's more than about a size or target BMI — because we know both can be deceiving. It's about seeing my future grandchildren grow up and having a good quality of life.

Here's to a healthy New Year and to getting your mind — and priorities — right.




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