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Friday, November 17, 2017

Healthy Lifestyle Combats Diseases Triggered by Obesity

When I was the executive director of the American Heart Association (AHA) in Denver, I became acutely aware of a significant fact. We were taught at AHA that 20% of heart disease is due to genetics and other uncontrollable factors, while 80% is because of our lifestyle. It is both a burden and at the same time incredibly encouraging to realize we have the ability to affect and improve our health through the actions we take.

There is nothing worse in life than feeling helpless when confronted with a problem and feeling you have no tools in the toolbox to fix it. For chronic conditions like heart disease, diabetes and obesity there are no quick fixes. The truth is that in order to improve and manage these conditions we need a holistic, long-term view. It comes down to how we live our lives—including what we eat, what we do and who we do it with. It is all about having a healthy frame of mind and lifestyle.


A healthy lifestyle, adopted at any time in life, can and does improve our health and the quality of our lives. It is both preventative and the best tool in the toolbox to help us improve and manage chronic conditions we may be living with. It is truly about how we live our lives. But how do we do it successfully?

We have to create an environment that supports a healthy lifestyle…day in and day out. Most importantly it is about organizing a life that focuses on and supports an active lifestyle, not just exercise but also taking walks with friends, going to a farmer’s market with the kids, going bowling with your colleagues, or having a date night that has you singing karaoke or square dancing. These are just examples and are intended to get us thinking about the ways we can plan a life that incorporates healthy activities as a way of living life.


The environment also has to embrace healthy eating. For many of us that may mean fixing more meals at home instead of eating on the go. There are so many options available to us to help us do this from ordering meals kits from companies like The Blue Apron that are already pre-planned so all you have to do its assemble it or preparing “hack” meals from the grocery store where many of the ingredients are already prepped for you to use with out all the washing and chopping required. And don’t forget there is cooking from scratch which is a wonderful healthy lifestyle activity that can be enjoyed by the whole family.

What is most often forgotten, or left to last, is working to create a physical environment in your home and at work that supports you in the healthy lifestyle you are committed to live. This means literally setting up your house and work space to support you. This includes no TV in front of the dinner table, swapping a fruit bowl for the candy bowl, investing in right-sized dishware and glassware to right-size your serving sizes, putting the healthy foods in the front of your refrigerator, organizing your bedroom so it is cozy and relaxing for sleep, cleaning out the garage so you can easily reach the bikes, badminton set and sports balls for fun activities to pursue in and around you neighborhood…and beyond. This list is endless.


The proof is in, living a healthy lifestyle makes a big difference to our health and longevity. Having fun by getting up and out reduces our stress, and can improve all number of health issues. Eating right can reduce inflammation, boost our immune system, improve our mood, and lower the risks for heart disease, diabetes, obesity and many cancers. It is all about feeling better and doing better, because when you do, you have more energy and the possibilities for your life begin to soar.

The name of my company—Livliga—means “lively, vibrant and vivid,” which is what we wish for everyone’s life, because when you eat better, you feel better, and have more energy, so you can get to your bucket list.

Here’s to your health and bucket list! Live vibrant!