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Everyone I have ever met wants to be healthy. We all desire abundant energy, ability to do whatever we enjoy doing, freedom from pain and normal function of our body systems.

In our youth, we were able to take most aspects of our health for granted. Although many readers have faced health issues even in their youth, for the most part, life was easier before aging began playing a role in our lives.

Regardless of whatever genetics we happened to have inherited and what past traumas we have endured and largely overcome, the state of our health still depends on our habits and behavior.

In most aspects of life, we tend to develop habits that are based on behavior that is easy, convenient or pleasurable. Only if we are intentional enough to be proactive and create a habit of purposeful activities or actions that will be beneficial to us will we actually develop positive habits.

In many cases we tend to develop habits by consciously or subconsciously mimicking other people. As cultural norms we adopt the behavior of our family or associates. In other words, we tend to follow the crowd and do what everyone else does.

As a result of these non-purposeful habits and behaviors, we often create our own health problems.

Many patients have asked me over the years what they can do to improve their health, reduce pain or increase energy or abilities.  This week’s column addresses that question.

I have found throughout my three decades of working with thousands of patients that most people want to make positive changes in their life, as long as it is not too difficult, doesn’t cost much money or won’t disrupt their current lifestyle too much. Does that sound familiar?

As a result, I try to present options that are actually attainable for people instead of pipe-dream imaginary perfection based objectives.   

There is not a single best suggestion for a perfect action to take to improve the health of every reader.  The one most important thing to do depends on too many variables.

For example, for many people that smoke, there can be few suggestions that would be more valuable than to simply stop smoking. The habit of smoking causes more body damage than most other habits for most people.

The exception would be if a person also has other destructive habits that of a more urgent concern that the smoking. For a person addicted to opioids or other destructive drugs, it would likely be most important to break that addiction immediately and deal with the smoking as a second-most important behavior to correct.

For many readers, perhaps most, the one thing that would improve every aspect of their health most significantly would be to stop eating too much food. The reason I can say this applies (almost) universally is that (almost) everyone is too fat. I intentionally chose to use an unflattering term rather than saying we are all too heavy, overweight or use some other expression that makes us more comfortable.

If we are to make positive changes in our lives it is important to deal with facts. The simple fact is that a majority of health problems facing nearly everyone today are related to being too fat. That means there is too much accumulated fat within our bodies and this is having a worsening effect on our health from year to year.

The simplest reason most people are too fat is that we have consumed too much food for years.  

Most readers would like to deny that, since we eat in a manner that is similar to everyone else we know.  So, we tend to think we eat a normal amount. But since most people are significantly overweight, it is obvious that the normal amount of food is too much.

Research has consistently shown that substantially reducing the amount of calories consumed on a daily basis results in improved health. Studies show that participants reported less daily pain, more energy, better sleep and that their medical tests revealed much better health profiles as a result of simply eating fewer calories consistently for a matter of months.

There are many possible changes we could make in our routines to improve our health. For most readers, the single most important first step would be to begin to intentionally eat less food every day.

Dr. Mark Kestner is a licensed chiropractic physician in Murfreesboro. His office is at 1435 NW Broad St. Contact him at mkestner@DrKestner.com

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