Young People Ask
Why Care About My Health?
Put a ✔ next to each goal you would like to reach.
◯ Lose weight
◯ Improve complexion
◯ Have more energy
◯ Be more alert
◯ Reduce anxiety
◯ Control temper
◯ Feel more confident
THERE are some things in life that you as a young person don’t get to choose—your parents, your siblings, and where you live, to name just a few. Your health, however, is a different story. Whether you’re in shape or not can depend on hereditary factors as well as the lifestyle you choose.*
‘But I’m too young to worry about my health!’ you might say. Do you really think so? Look at the list of goals above. How many did you check off? Believe it or not, good health is a vital key to reaching each one of those goals.
Granted, your feelings might be similar to those of 17-year-old Amber,* who says, “No way could I stick to eating whole wheat and low-fat, sugar-free food all the time!” If that’s how you feel, don’t worry—you don’t have to be a fitness fanatic, give up sweets, or jog outrageous distances every week. Really, it may take only a few simple adjustments for you to start looking better, feeling great, and performing at your best. Let’s see how some of your peers have done it.
Eat Right—Look Better!
The Bible recommends moderation in our habits. “Don’t . . . stuff yourself with food,” says Proverbs 23:20. (Contemporary English Version) That advice isn’t always easy to follow.
● “Like many teenagers, I’m always hungry. My parents have likened my stomach to a bottomless pit!”—Andrew, 15.
● “Because I can’t actually see how some foods are harming me now, they don’t seem that bad.”—Danielle, 19.
Do you need more self-control when it comes to your diet? Here’s what some of your peers say works for them.
Listen to your stomach. “I used to count calories,” says 19-year-old Julia, “but now I just stop eating when I’m full.”
Avoid unwholesome foods. “By cutting out soda,” says Peter, 21, “I lost ten pounds [5 kg] in just a month!”
Adjust bad eating habits. “I try not to go back for seconds,” says 19-year-old Erin.
Secret to Success: Don’t skip meals! If you do, you’ll feel starved and tend to overeat.
Exercise More—Feel Great!
The Bible says: “Bodily training is beneficial.” (1 Timothy 4:8) Yet, many young ones don’t seem too eager to exercise.
● “You wouldn’t believe how many kids failed gym when I was in high school. It was the easiest class, next to lunch!”—Richard, 21.
● “Some think, ‘Why run around outside in the hot sun until you’re sweaty and tired when you can play a video game that allows you to pretend you’re someone else doing that?’”—Ruth, 22.
Does the very word “exercise” tire you out? If so, here are three solid payoffs from getting into a good exercise routine.
Payoff #1. Exercise boosts your immune system. “My father always said, ‘If you can’t find time to exercise, you’d better find time to be sick,’” says 19-year-old Rachel.
Payoff #2. Exercise releases brain chemicals that calm you. “Running is a good release when I have a lot on my mind,” says Emily, 16. “Physically I feel refreshed, and emotionally it’s a great relief.”
Payoff #3. Exercise can increase your fun. “I love the outdoors,” says Ruth, 22, “so my exercise includes hiking, swimming, snowboarding, and biking.”
Secret to Success: Devote at least 20 minutes three times a week to a vigorous physical activity that you enjoy.
Sleep Better—Perform at Your Best!
The Bible says: “Better is a handful of rest than a double handful of hard work and striving after the wind.” (Ecclesiastes 4:6) Without proper sleep, your performance will nosedive!
● “If I don’t get enough sleep, I’m out of it. I have trouble focusing on anything!”—Rachel, 19.
● “At about 2:00 p.m. I get so tired that I could almost fall asleep in the middle of a conversation!”—Kristine, 19.
Do you need more sleep? Here’s what some of your peers have done.
Avoid late nights. “I’ve been making an effort to get to bed at a decent hour,” says 18-year-old Catherine.
Cut out the chatter. “Sometimes friends would call or text me really late,” says Richard, 21, “but I’ve recently learned to end the conversation and just go to sleep.”
Aim for consistency. “Lately,” says 20-year-old Jennifer, “I’m trying to go to bed and get up at the same time every day.”
Secret to Success: Strive to get between eight and ten hours of sleep each night.
Which of the three areas discussed in this article need attention in your life?
◯ diet ◯ exercise ◯ sleep
Below, write a goal you could set to help you improve in that area.
You have everything to gain by taking just a few simple steps to take care of yourself. Remember, having good health will help you to look better, feel great, and perform at your best. And unlike certain things in life, your physical condition is something over which you do have a degree of control. “In the end,” says 19-year-old Erin, “your health depends on only one person—you.”
More articles from the “Young People Ask” series can be found at the Web site www.watchtower.org/ype
We acknowledge that many people suffer from health problems or disabilities that are beyond their control. This article can help such ones achieve better health within their limitations.
Some names in this article have been changed.
TO THINK ABOUT
● How can taking care of your health affect your self-confidence?
● How can you display reasonableness when it comes to your health?—Philippians 4:5.
[Box/Pictures on page 13]
WHAT YOUR PEERS SAY
“The human body is like a car—it’s up to the owner to maintain it. That’s one reason I like to work out.”
“Having a partner to exercise with gives you incentive because you don’t want to disappoint the other person.”
“I like the way I feel when I exercise. And when I start to look better because of it, that’s a great confidence boost!”
[Box on page 14]
“I MADE A LIFESTYLE CHANGE”
“By the time I was six years old, I was slightly chubby. Then, gradually, what started out as having a treat here and there turned into snacking all the time! And I never did anything active—I never liked to. Before I knew it, I was an overweight teenager, which was something I never wanted to be. I was so unhappy with the way I looked and felt! From time to time, I tried to lose weight with some special diet, but I always gained it back. So when I was 15, I decided enough was enough. I wanted to lose weight the right way—a way that I could maintain for the rest of my life. I bought a book that discussed basic nutrition and exercise principles, and I incorporated what I read into my life. I was determined that even if I ‘fell off the wagon’ or got discouraged, I would not give up. Guess what? It worked! Over the course of one year, I lost 60 pounds [25 kg]. I’ve maintained my weight for two years. I never thought it would happen! I think the reason I was successful is that I didn’t merely diet—I made a lifestyle change. Once I embraced the fact that this was going to touch every aspect of my life, I was ready and willing to make the necessary adjustments.”—Catherine, 18.
[Picture on page 14]
Your health is like a car—if you don’t maintain it properly, it will break down