A few weeks back prior to the holiday's I had two very interesting discussions with two gentlemen in their early 50's with two very different takes on their life and health.
The first one was with a gentlemen that was 53 years of age, we got to talking about health as he asked me about Health Coaching and why I got into health and when. My story is here on this website but long story short I told him "I wasn't sick, but I felt lousy and was not happy with the road I was going down, so I made the change". I asked "what about you, what’s your story"?
He told me over the last few months he has lost 35 lbs.by changing his diet to mostly plant-based and has begun exercising gradually, but plans to take it up a notch now that he has gotten a clean bill of health. I asked "if you don't mind me asking, what was the issue that led to the changes"? He told me he was starting to feel old physically and began living a more sedentary lifestyle because of it. I can relate to that as I once felt that way......no longer though!
He visited his doctor for a checkup and was diagnosed with early stages of heart disease aside from being overweight and was put on medication. It was that moment that he had a realization that he had completely neglected his health for quite some time. I asked if that eye opening diagnosis frightened him. He paused for a moment before answering, he then answered "the first thing I thought about was my kids and wife". Then went on to say it was that moment he decided that his health is now his priority and his responsibility to his family. I shared of few experiences with him and he told me he was on a mission to correct all he did to himself through poor diet choices and in his own words his own laziness. He is also working with his physician in minimizing his medication with a goal of getting off them altogether. My last question to him of course was "what if you didn't get that health scare".......again he paused and answered "I don't even want to go there".
Later that day I was speaking with a friend about training and we were comparing our workouts when another friend 50 yrs. young walked in, we asked him how many push-ups can you do? He looked and laughed and said "I don't exercise, I leave that to you young guys", I replied "I am older than you". He went on to explain he worried about exercise and health in his 20's and 30's but now that he is 50 those days are over. We asked "but why do you think that you don't need to worry about your health in your 50's". He answered that he only cares about working for 15 more years so he can retire. We asked him how he feels. He said "you know actually lately I have not been feeling too well, I am always tired and don't have much energy". Imagine he feels this way now and has no plans to take care of himself other than working for 15 more years. I asked him if he feels this way now what does he think he will feel like in 15 years when he plans to retire? Now he was pausing before answering, "I guess you are right there" he said. He said "maybe you’re right, I need to also think about my wife and kids"........interesting, see the same thought process as the first gentlemen.
The common thread here is that both guys had basically given up on any type of self-care and conceded to the misconception that they are 50 years old and that is the beginning of the end. One however had his eyes opened when he was told he had health problems and was scared into realizing he had to make changes and he did and is now doing really well, living a healthy and active life and is sharing this with his family. While the other has not been scared into making changes because he has not received a diagnosis from his doctor that he had to change. But he was admittedly not feeling well and after talking had second thought on his way of thinking and neglecting his health. Both of them although different circumstances when faced with health scares thought about their families right away.
The reality is that many of the chronic diseases that we face are directly related to the diet and lifestyle choices that we make. Turning 50 should be just the beginning of the second half of our lives and we should embrace it as that. Maybe we have to work a little harder and give up some of the things that don't benefit our health, but living a life free of medications and physical restrictions is something we should all strive for and owe to ourselves and our families!!
Don't take your health for granted and hope that later on you don't get bad news. The bodies we were given are incredible machines but they too need preventive maintenance, they need to move and be fed the right way. You may be surprised at how great it can feel and operate when you do!!
Be well friends!
Peter Burke 1/5/16