Not If…Just When and How Bad

When you are young and healthy, it never occurs to you that in a single second your whole life could change.

Annette Funicello

The way you think, the way you behave, the way you eat, can influence your life by 30 to 50 years.

Deepak Chopra

To keep the body in good health is a duty… otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.

Budda

I made a commitment to completely cut out drinking and anything that might hamper me from getting my mind and body together. And the floodgates of goodness have opened upon me – spiritually and financially.

Denzel Washington

One day you are young and running wind sprints and dancing the night away and then, in what appears to be an all of a sudden occurrence, you are older and your body doesn’t respond the same way. The totality of what we have consumed in eating and drinking, the nature of our physical exercise and the inherited genetic disposition to disease just come together in a way that lets you know that things are different…that you have entered into the segment of the population that you used to view from far off as if you would never ever be one of them.

That stinks.

I know that is not a very mature way to say it but that is precisely my point. Who wants to mature and ripen when you realized that what comes after ripen is to get rotten??

From the beginning of time people have been trying to apply the “fountain of youth” to their lives. In some cases it is superficial and cosmetic. Grey becomes brunette. Bald becomes shaggy. Sags become lifts. In other cases people have been profoundly driven to keep their bodies so pure that the air itself would be sufficient to provide them enough nutrients to survive.

Most of middle-aged america is somewhere between trying a diet every now and then, walking and playing golf to get a little exercise and taking some form of medication. The general attitude tends to be one of watching the other guy go through life changing health challenges but knowing that you still have time to one day get healthy. The “eat drink and be merry for tomorrow you die” attitude seems to warn us that we are going to die tomorrow so we might as well live it up today. However, there is more truth in the warning that the very nature of our eating and drinking today is what will be the “cause” of our death tomorrow. Sometimes is does not quite register with us because we imagine that tomorrow is a long ways off…but the reality is tomorrow always comes.

Without going into the nitty-gritty gory details of my own health journey suffice it to say that  my desire for a healthy lifestyle has been hampered by my desire to eat. The effects of a person being overweight are well documented. I have known that for a long long time. So have you. I have always thought that one day I would solve it and live a long normal life. The years have ticked by…one by one and now I find myself confronted with numerous health issues including the need to have both hips replaced.

I am finally ready to change my life and my ways. I am excited about the future. I have joined Weight Watchers and have dropped twenty pounds. More importantly, I see a way that I can sustain my new lifestyle and not go into a stress attack because I am limited in my food intake. I bought a bike and have started riding it. I am doing all of the things that you and I have known about since we had our first health class in school. It is not that over the years I haven’t tried and haven’t had various periods of great success. I have. It’s just that this time I am out of time and running out of options.

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A hip surgery is not the worst thing that can happen. Many folks are going through much worse experiences than I am. The truth is however that each of us is responsible for our own health and the clock is ticking. According to one estimate there are over 100 deaths per minute worldwide or over 150,000 deaths per day. The vast majority of these people a few years ago probably thought their final tomorrow would never come. It is not a question of if your life is going to be affected by declining  health but when and how badly. The sooner we pay attention to this “elephant in the room” (pun intended) and put our health first, the longer we will reap the rewards of a healthy life.

HighFive Your Life Principle: Have the fortitude to place your health at the top of your list of priorities and do not assume that you will always have the latitude to start living a healthy lifestyle tomorrow.

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