Health is our Greatest Investment

Here we are in the final quarter of 2017. Time to take stock, tally and assess which of our investments, advertisements, promotions, etc., yielded the best return on investment (ROI). Of course many people reading this might assume I'm referring only to all things business. The reality however, is everything we start, plan or dedicate an amount of time to, is done with an expectation of receiving a benefit of some description down the road? Or is it...?

We invest money to have that nest egg for retirement, put aside funds for our kids' education to help them get ahead and plan holidays in advance to get the best deal and ensure we can take the time off. We comparison shop for those large purchases, making sure to get the one that meets all our needs, book our vehicles in for scheduled service to make sure we aren't left stranded at the side of the road, plan milestone birthdays and anniversaries months in advance to surprise the guest of honour; heck, we even set aside a specific day of the week to grocery shop in an effort to make sure everyone has their favourites for the week's lunch boxes. Whether dealing with large-scale retirement funds or the small everyday-scale lunch boxes, we invest time, money, and even our feelings in just about every area of our lives…… except our health!

Having worked with countless clients, it has been my experience, generally speaking, that until people find themselves in dire straits, they tend to take better care of their cars than their bodies. People are more concerned with how they'll get to work rather than how they're going to get through life. Interesting thought process since our bodies really are “vehicles” that drive us through life. Unlike the vehicle in your driveway however, our bodies don't come with a warranty, nor are trade-ins an option. We only get one.

Failure to invest in your health is a costly venture as over the long term it robs us of both time and money. I've seen many people retire only to spend the rest of their days going from one doctor appointment to the next, spending crazy amounts of money trying to regain their health. And then there are those who aren't even close to retirement, yet unexpectedly find themselves unable to work due to some serious illness. Just as your financial advisor asks questions to determine the best way to invest your money, ask yourself these questions to determine the value of investing in health:

What would happen if I could no longer work?

Would I lose my job?

Would my business survive if I'm not there everyday?

How would this affect my family?

Do I have enough money saved to cover expenses and treatments?

Not questions we like to think about, but definitely ones that need addressing.

There are six main components of health that, when invested in on a regular basis deliver maximum ROI on your health. Take a moment to self-assess, and note which areas need an immediate contribution.

1.​ Stress: left unchecked wreaks havoc on the body, both visually – hello fine lines and wrinkles – and internally – high blood pressure, high cholesterol, expanded waistlines and heart disease to name a few. Granted it's almost impossible to control what life throws at us, but we can absolutely do something about how we respond to it.

2. Sleep: lack of, or poor quality sleep, not only adds to any existing internal stress, it prohibits our bodies from properly metabolizing food and promotes fat storage.

3. Water: a good portion of our body and brain are not only comprised of water, but water is actually required to perform nearly all bodily functions. Just as running low on oil is hard on your cars engine, depriving your body of water is hard on the brain and all the body's systems, so drink up.

4. Nutrition: food should be fuel, not just fill. No one would dream of putting gas in a diesel engine but many don't think twice when filling their bodies with ‘food-like’ substances. Unless the majority of what we eat is coming from whole, unadulterated foods, our bodies become deficient at a cellular level from a lack of essential nutrients. It's at this point that aging and disease is accelerated.

5. Exercise: we've all likely heard the phrase “If you don't move it you'll lose it” and it's the truth. Activities that get you up and moving for about 30 minutes per day help maintain joint flexibility, strengthen muscles including the heart, improve bone density, stabilize mood and allow for better focus and concentration.

6. Supplements: most people are deficient in something. Finding out what that is and taking the right supplements to correct it, is as essential as having good winter tires on your car. You may not notice any difference in the way your car handles for a while, but come that first snowfall, you'll be glad you spent the money. Using quality supplements to fill nutritional gaps may not feel like you're doing much at the time, but you'll be smiling when cold and flu season passes you by.

Investing regularly in your health versus deferring any adjustments to a future date, is tantamount to contributing regularly to your investment portfolio or simply counting on CPP and OAS upon retirement. In both cases, you won't have much to work with. Although markets fluctuate, data shows that steady investments over time yield a much higher return than sporadic or no contributions at all, the same holds true with our health. We all only get one life, why not create a life that you will enjoy as you get older, rather than suffer with? The bottom line is this, you can invest in your health now, or pay to regain it later.

TANIA GUSTAFSON Nutritionist & Fitness Coach (IBNFC)

Tania, owner/founder of 
FIT Nutrition, is a global nutritionist and fitness coach, fitness instructor, workshop facilitator, educator, speaker, writer and success creator.

Tania is currently one of only five health professionals licensed
and certified in Canada to coach a proven, three-phase program providing education on the importance of blood sugar stabilization, not dieting. For more information go to

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