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My family and I visited West point last month and are headed to the Coast Guard Academy this Sunday for summer camps my oldest boy is involved in. You feel very proud to be an American when you step foot on these campuses, knowing the sacrifices that our military men and woman have given for hundreds of years to protect our freedom.

And yet the very freedom that America stands for is eroding the foundation of this country.  For you see that we are free to make whatever choices we want (as long as we don’t break a law) and that means we are free to make choices that will lead us toward health and we are also free to make choices that will lead us to disease and infirmity, where unfortunately many Americans are heading.

Victor Frankl, who wrote one of my favorite books called Man’s Search for Meaning, a book about how he survived the Holocaust and thrived into his 9th decade before passing.  He was from Austria and a neuroscientist and psychiatrist and when he spoke to America audiences he had this to say about our freedom.

“Freedom, however, is not the last word.  Freedom is only part of the story and half of the truth.  Freedom is but the negative aspect of the whole phenomenon whose positive aspect is responsibleness.  In fact, freedom is in danger of degenerating into mere arbitrariness unless it is lived in terms of responsibleness.  That is why I recommend that the Statue of Liberty on the East Coast be supplemented by a Statue of Responsibility on the West Coast.”

The 8WW offices and teams will continue to impress upon you that the freedom of choice is exactly that…. a freedom.  We are free to choose what to eat, what to think, what to drink, when to exercise, and perhaps more importantly, we are free to choose what NOT to do.  Health is a choice.  Health is not merely a roll of the lucky genetic die.  Rather health is our responsibility to the many choices we have day in and day out.  Choices such as:  Did you choose to skip breakfast or did you choose to eat a healthy balanced breakfast such as an egg-white, vegetable omelet and slice of high-fiber toast?  Did you choose to watch two hours of TV last night or did you choose to take a 45 minute walk?  Did you choose to drink at least 64 ounces of water today or did you choose to drink 4 cups of coffee, 3 diet cokes and 2 beers?  Did you choose to jump out of bed this morning and begin your stressful day (just like yesterday) or did you choose to wake up 30 minutes before anyone else in your household to take time to meditate, pray, say affirmations or visualize “making it a great day?”  Did you choose go to the grocery store on the way home so that you could make several healthy meals for the week or did you choose to get take out… again?

Let’s balance our Statue of Liberty with the yet built Station of Responsibility.  God Bless and Happy Independence Day.

Dr. Denise Chranowski, co-founder 8 Weeks to Wellness