“So, Tony”, my friend asked, “what is your New Years’ Resolution?”
I pondered the idea of my friend’s question with honest reflection. Most people resolve to lose weight or to get healthy at the New Year. I’ve already lost 120 plus pounds and kept it off over the past two years. I don’t have to take cardiology medicine anymore and I’m no longer in danger of facing inevitable insulin injections from Diabetes.
“I am going to continue to teach others what I learned the hard way about health and wellbeing,” I said.
My friend’s eye rolling and petulant pout told me he was unimpressed.
“Nothing new, huh?” was the response.
See, I’ve had the same resolution for the past 2 years. It’s not a new resolution, but it works for me. Unfortunately, there are thousands of ways to get skinny, instead of healthy and most of them following the same mantra: eat less, move more.
If it was that easy, everyone would look like Zac Efron after they set down the fried baloney sandwich and climbed out of the Cheetos scented La-Z-Boy. I guarantee that Mr. Efron hasn’t been sprawled out in a recliner, hitting the Oscar Mayer.
Seriously, have you seen that guy lately? He’s ALL abs.
But let’s be honest, that’s not commonplace. Most people are blissfully heedless about their health. They don’t know or don’t care about their weight, their size or, worse, the condition of their organs. I didn’t care that I was 307 pounds or that I wore 52” waist pants. Short of visiting a tent maker, I could still find things that fit me. I paid twice as much and looked twice as hard for 3X sizes, but I wasn’t naked. My wife still loved me even though I stopped doing jobs around the house, especially those that included ladders. I don’t even want to tell you the embarrassing stories of ladder steps that warped and crumpled under my bulk.
I learned the hard way about health. It literally took a hit between the eyes to wake me up to how I was destroying my body. Health is so important, but it has to be taught. It’s learned and it’s earned. It’s not something easily obtained like a forgotten $5 between the sofa cushions or sitting on the aisle 6 end cap at the local Wal-Mart. So how to teach what I learned to others without giving them a klunk on the head? Like anything else, you start at the beginning.
You start by asking what it means to be healthy. Is it a size 34 waist or a weight of 180 pounds? Is it eating nothing except a vegan diet where butter is held in utter contempt? Is it being able to out cycle everyone in the spin class?
No. None of those is what healthy is all about, Charlie Brown.
Here is what healthy is: breathing without snoring at night; trotting upstairs without hurting your joints; finding out that your pancreas is making the right amount of insulin; or, realizing your aorta isn’t in a state of collapse due to being overweight. Many of these can be corrected just by simple choices you make rather than relying on medicine.
Take a look and be honest with yourself. Could you run out of a house fire if you had to? Could you lift up your kids after a winning game point? Can you climb a ladder without worrying about it collapsing under you?
I couldn’t before, but I can now.
Health is not a size or a weight or a look. Great abs and chiseled muscles are all facades of wellness. Remember, a fatty liver is hidden to all but your hepatologist and the coroner.
If you resolve to be healthier, you need to decide what healthy is for YOU, not what a magazine or television or what fashion dictates. Choose something that makes you stronger, better, more internally fit. Set your objectives first and this year can change your life. Where do you want to be for 2017?
Next time, we will discuss not only how to pursue your goals, but how to keep them, too. Here’s to a healthier year!