January 28, 2016

Day 28: Let's Get Real About Life

Let's get real about life. Like fo' reals. We all have bad days. No human is immune. We all struggle. We all wonder if its worth the hard work. For those of us working full-time jobs, we wonder if slaving away to meet deadlines and increase success and sales is worth exchanging 50% of our life for. For those who are full-time students you wonder if the 4 years of mind-numbing lectures, reading assignments, group projects, and late night cramming sessions are worth that magical piece of paper that we spent $100,000 to obtain. 

Well, it's no different for those making a valiant effort at exercise and eating healthy. You have bad, challenging, struggling days. You wonder if it's worth all the hard work. Why am I eating like a bird and running like a rodent in a cage, so that I can be thin and dainty? Is it worth it? If you're single, dating, and trying to find your true love, then perhaps you have more motivation. But if you're past that stage, whether married, maid, or widowed (guys included), then what? Why can't I just sit back and watch TV and eat whatever I want? After all, we are all at risk of disease and death. Skinny people, athletes, health gurus, doctors, and nutritionists, they all get cancer too. They get in car accidents, they have heart attacks, they have strokes, they get struck by lightning. They die like the rest of us. In fact, we are all going to die. None of us are getting out of this place alive.

So then why all the emphasis on healthy eating and exercise? Is it because you want to increase your odds of living longer? How long do you want to live for - 70 years, 80, 90, 120? The global life expectancy average age has risen to 70 years old, with some countries over 80. Check out the chart below from this website. It has been rising about 25 years per lifetime. That means for those born around the year 2000, the average age will be 100 by the time they pass on. Which also means that the oldiest and moldiest will make it to 125 or 130. Can you imagine? The year 2130 with hover boards and Jaws 10. My great grandmother, old mother Hubbard, was born in 1888 and lived until 1993. She died at 105. Four out of her six kids were all alive into their mid nineties. I have two grandparents alive in their nineties. So did my wife. So 125 is a very real option for us. How do you feel about that?

Life Expectancy Chart from Max Roser on OurWorldInData.org

Contrary to what our children often believe, Heather and I are not idiots. We have not been duped by an MLM company. Nor are we not caught up in a big charade of trying to impress everybody. We don't live a pink la-la land of unicorns and rainbows. We just want to feel better. I want to wake up without a back ache every morning. I want to play with my kids for more than 5 minutes without panting for breath. I want to work in the yard on Saturday and not feel it for 3 days. I don't want another excruciating kidney stone. And Heather? She wants her chronic stomach pains to go away. She wants that weird rash on her finger to disappear. She wants to wake up in the morning and feel good about her life. She wants to gain control of her emotional well-being. She wants to keep up with the children for a full-day without collapsing into bed like a drunken sailor. 
We know that some of you want the same thing. But many of you want it to be fixed with a magic pill, or a handful of them. One for the pain, one for the anxiety, one for the heart burn, one for the blood pressure, one for the allergies, one to put bacteria back in my body, and a few supplements for all the nutrients that the other pills leech out of you. We know that. We've been on pill regimens. We've spent hundreds of dollars on prescriptions. We've felt like old people at a rest home making sure we get our AM/PM pills. And guess what? It sucks! It's not fun! It doesn't feel good!

And guess what else we've learned through hard and painful experience? Healthiness and fitness does feel good! You may not remember it, since it was so long ago, but you would be amazed! You know the tears of joy on the faces of all those people on "The Biggest Loser" when their friends and family see them again. And you cry along with them sometimes, don't you? Is there any wonder the show is a national obsession? To think that there is a chiseled person waiting inside every one of those people, inside every one of us? It's frankly baffling and miraculous. What could be more awe-inspiring and amazing?

But it's one thing to watch it on TV and quite another to have to say no to these babies below. Look at them. Take a good long gander at them. You walk into a work meeting in the morning. You haven't had breakfast and this is what greets you. Look at those maple bars, apple fritters, glazed chocolate cake donuts, chocolate frosted (and filled) pastries, and then those beauties at the top with frosting like a nice groomed tropical beach. Wouldn't you want to stuff one of those down? Maybe one at the start of the meeting, one during intermission, and one as you're heading out the door. What's the harm? Oops, I took 3 days off of my life for 3 donuts. Big deal. It was worth it. I lived that way my whole life. I pigged out.

Do you know how the whole month of January has been in our house? One long round of sickness. Here we are stuffing ourselves with veggies and salads and we are all taking turns getting sick. But you know what? This happens every January. We get a cold and then the flu. I dream of a year of this not happening. But how do you fix it? How do you strengthen your immune system? Are you sick of colds and coughs that linger for 6-10 weeks? Are you tired of migraines and joint pain? Are you sick and tired of feeling sick and tired? I am.

How does it feel to roll out of bed at 6am when it's 10 degrees outside, for 5 months out of the year, and climb in the car and drive to the gym? Do you think that is fun for anyone? Do you think its in any way enjoyable on that car ride? It's not. Or walking through the icy parking lot, trying not to fall down or get hit by other drivers just as tired and grumpy as you. The pool water is not a balmy 90 degrees. It feels somewhere in the high 60's, though I'm not quite sure what it really is. We know that your favorite exercise machines are often taken when you arrive. Or your friend didn't show up to meet you like they said they would. Jerk. But you know what? Most people there are not frowning. They might be focused. They might be tired. But they are not sad and depressed. They start exercising their muscles and something magical happens. They start feeling better. And the longer they go, the more positive thoughts they think. You start thinking, "I could do this forever. I might stay here all day. I might compete in a local event and place in my age group. Maybe I'll turn pro. Why can't I?"

Friends, we don't have it all figured out. We are in the midst of it all just like you, trying to separate fact from fiction. Is brown rice good for us or poisoning us with arsenic? Is seafood good for you or is it pulled out of waters so polluted that you would be aghast? We wonder if the government is knowingly allowing businesses to poison our food, air, and water. Do you trust the FDA? The EPA? The WHO? Your doctor? We wonder if there is any way to protect ourselves even with our best efforts. 

We wonder if it's all worth it, just like you. But you know what, we've tried the alternative, the easy road, the wide road, the sugary, salty, fatty road. And it's not for us. Not anymore. So we started this blog. We're NOT doing it to get rich. We're starting it to help document our learnings and to share them. To try to help sort out what is true and false. To share tips that have helped us. To help raise your quality of life as our friends and family. To help you feel better. 

Our 30 day challenge of daily posts is almost over. We hope you are still with us. We will probably be pulling it back to just a few posts per week and we won't clog up your daily Facebook and Twitter feeds with all kinds of healthy advice and tips. But we'll pop in every few days to share what we've learned. If you ignore us, that's cool. We'll be here when you are ready.

Do you want to move around a little easier, look a little nicer, feel more confident and happy, and have a little less pain? Give it a try. Try actually reading our entire posts. Don't surf them. Read them. Take some notes, some real notes, as in write some things down. And then implement them, a few baby steps at a time. You might just find that this health and exercise stuff feels a whole lot better than you could have imagined. 

Your friend, Scott

#FoReals! #StraightTalk #BiggestLoser 
#NewYear #Food #Health #Fitness #Diet
 #MoreFoodLessCrap @MorFoodLessCrap

1 comment:

  1. Keri Johnston here. You guys are awesome! I have found all of these things to be real and true on my own too. Wish I had figured it out earlier! And still learning of course.