When you’re young, you’re invincible. At least you’re supposed to be. However, at age 29 I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. My blood sugars soared into the 600’s and I found myself very, very sick. In case you’re wondering, I wasn’t overweight. And no, I wasn’t an alcoholic either. My problem was that I was a mortgage loan officer who worked too hard and neglected his body. When things were very busy in the day time, I would catch up by working into the early hours of the morning. I’d grab 3-4 hours of sleep and then guzzle a gallon of coffee to keep going the next day. On September 29th of 2006, it all caught up with me. I realized I wasn’t invincible any more and I had to make some changes. That was 10 years ago and as of today, I am the healthiest I’ve ever been. In today’s post, I’ll share with you my advice for staying healthy as an entrepreneur.
Do What You Like to Do
As entrepreneurs, we’re used to getting our own way. We do what we want, whenever we want. We know we need to be in better shape, but we lie to ourselves, saying that we’ll start working out after this next project. When the project is over, we get a gym membership or buy a treadmill. Heck, we even get some workout clothes and techno gizmo to track our progress. Even though we’ve got everything we need to get started, another project comes up and we still aren’t exercising.
In 2006, I had everything I needed to be in shape. I had a Bowflex home gym. I had an expensive treadmill with a built in TV. I had exercise clothes, and literally everything I needed to be successful. So how in the world did I get Diabetes? In my mind, because I internally hated the idea of lifting weights and walking on the treadmill, I refused to do it. Remember, most entrepreneurs are self leaders and won’t do things they don’t enjoy doing.
So how did I get in shape? I discovered something I like to do! Running! I’m not saying you need to run to be in shape, but for me it was my fitness savior. I’m not fast. I don’t do marathons or races. I just run. For me it started out by deciding to go for a walk. That walk turned into a jog. One mile turned into two miles. Two miles turned into three miles. Before I knew it I was running two or three times per week and loving it. I love my running routine because it fits my slightly high maintenance personality. I can run anytime I want – Yes, you might find me running at 10 or 11 o’clock at night through my neighborhood. I like running at night because it’s cooler at night down here in Florida. I’ll have headphones on and be wrapped up in an Audible book. In thirty minutes I can run two miles, shower, and be relaxing with my wife in front of the TV. The secret is simple. Because I like to do it, it gets done!
Find Healthy Foods that You’ll Actually Eat
I’ve probably read about ten books about nutrition over the years. I’ve tried all sorts of healthy meal programs as well. I’ve also received dozens of emails and comments about “all the things” I should do to get more healthy with my eating. Please don’t email me. We’ve tried eating all organic, becoming vegan, juicing cleanses, and a few other ideas from well meaning friends. I’m not knocking any of these programs. They were good. However, the amount of time it required to do these meal programs was ridiculous.
Remember, as an entrepreneur, I’m used to being in charge of my time. Those programs all hijacked it and made me a slave to research, planning, cooking, and all that they required. In the end, the difficulty of these programs eventually caused our family to jump ship. We would quit and fall off the wagon for a while. At this point, the health nuts are judging me and planning out their comments. Remember, this is just what worked for me. Keep in mind that entrepreneurs have loads of pull on their time. Not only are we the chief cooks and bottle washers, but we’re also carrying several other rolls outside of our business. We’re dads and moms, husbands and wives, and have the same, if not more responsibility than W2 workers.
Yes, I’ll admit it. I realize I am a high maintenance eater. If I don’t like a food, I won’t continue to eat it. What broke the chains for me was when I found the NutriBullet, an ultra fast, healthy smoothie maker. Add spinach, frozen fruit, green drink, a cup of orange juice, and water. Blend for 30 seconds and you’ve got a healthy shake and 100% of your vegetable servings for the day. I also use our NutriBullet for making protein shakes as well. It works for me because it is fast, easy, and I like the taste of what I’m eating and drinking. Granted it isn’t perfect, but it is better than not eating any veggies right?
Putting Your Health in Perspective
When you talk health, everyone has an opinion. Buy you’re life is unique to you. Do what works for you and ignore everyone else’s two cents. The best health plan in the world is worthless unless you’ll actually put it into practice. If you’re an entrepreneur, you’ve probably got a lot on your plate. You know you need to be healthy, but you’re probably not if you’re reading this. I believe that entrepreneurs who are losing the health battle, are doing so because they haven’t found what they love yet. It’s time to find it and build a routine which improves your health.
In case you’re wondering, after 10 years with diabetes, I have no medical complications at all. I have low glucose levels and weigh 10 pounds less than the day I got married. I can run 5 miles without stopping and probably longer if I tried. My goal is to be balanced and continue to find things I like to do to get exercise. Obviously, there are things I could be doing better. I know that! However, I believe health success is measured by building a health routine that you can live with forever! You have to flesh it out and stick with it. My encouragement is to find something you love to do and do it. Find something good for you to eat and eat it. Eat it every day! It won’t feel like a burden because you’ll love every moment of it. The goal isn’t to be the perfect image of health or have a body like a movie star. Who cares really? Your goal is to simply do better and if you love what you’re doing, it won’t feel like work – just like being an entrepreneur.