If you’re a coach, personal trainer, physical therapist, athletic trainer, a general fitness enthusiast, or, I don’t know, someone who trains bomb sniffing reptiles for a living and is proud of how perky their ass is, you’ve probably spent many a sleepless night asking yourself why so many people take absolutely no responsibility for their health and wellness. For me, I usually think: how the heck do I get my client to care about their body, the way they care about pizza? How do I get someone to be accountable for their own body’s health? I know that even the best personal trainer has their limits. Just ask Michael Moore’s fitness whisperer.
Lets be truthful: people are scared of everything. ObamaCare, bathrooms at Target, zombies, Ben Affleck movies, you name it….we’re scared of it. However, apparently there are a whole lot of people running around with absolutely no fear of aging while simultaneously being fat, having high blood pressure, being on the verge of diabetes type 2, and looking like Michel Moore. Yes, I know, I’m picking on him a bit too much. I’m such a bad person….
Much like what the results were with the “All Carbs Are Bad” mania from a few years ago, the anti stretching phase at the turn of the 21st century, the current fasted versus non fasted workouts, low intensity steady state cardio versus high intensity interval training and the never ending debate over Ryan Reynolds versus Ryan Gosling, people have been overwhelmed with information, never knowing if it is accurate or just a pack of dirty lies. The science never seems to be settled on health related issues and
global cooling global warming climate change.
The one thing that should be settled by now though, with absolutely no debate, is that you cannot wish, hope and pray for a body that will not only get you to the end of your life, but one that will enable you to participate in that life as you age. What’s the point in living longer if you cannot fully take part in all that is presented to you? That’s a rhetorical question by the way.
The obstacle for most people, in my experience, is not being able to accurately predict the outcome of choices they are currently making. Okay, that’s just fancy talk for being all Scarlett O’Hara’ish and deciding to think about something as important as your wellness on another day. and then the next day. And then the next month. And of course that leads to the cliched New Years Resolution. Yes, I make those too, but mine never involve health, wellness and fitness, ’cause I got that locked and loaded. Nope, mine are usually about being nicer, patient, and more compassionate, but there’s always tomorrow for that….right?
It can be easy, though certainly not wise, when you are in your twenties, thirties and forties to decide on a daily basis that YOLO and then choose to indulge in all manner of things that do not contribute to a firm ass, strong heart and stellar blood and urine tests. By the time you get to your fifties and beyond, though, certain things become apparent…like perhaps you can no longer see your toes, and if you can, you can’t touch them. Life’s a bitch, eh? Like, who could have possibly seen that coming?
Listen, I’m actually OK with other people’s stupid choices. The stupid part is just my opinion, not theirs. What I get my knickers in a knot over is when those same people making those muttonheaded decisions complain about how their body looks and acts. Listening to someone complain about their rounded and gelified stomach and assular area really gets my goat, especially when they are stuffing a mountainous amount of fried food into their gullet.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. “Gail….calm your panties. Everyone is allowed to complain. In fact, weren’t you complaining just the other day that at this point in your life you’re basically 50% sarcastic, 30% exasperated, 15% caffeine and 5% dog hair”? Fine, perhaps I was, but in my defense Bella Blue is really shedding right now, and have you seen how everyone seems to be an expert on parenting, alligators and apes?! Sarcasm is a defense mechanism, and besides, most people don’t understand sarcasm anyway….which is another reason to complain. It’s never ending! Cycle. Must. Be. Broken. (say it like Captain James T. Kirk)
If you ARE going to complain, though, best to not do it in front of a fitness professional. We tend to give you answers and solutions. We will look at you funny when you don’t take our splendid ideas and put them into action, but instead continue to couch surf and stuff your piehole with that LAST eclair that has been whispering sweet nothings into your ear, or slurping down that once in a lifetime 90 ounce frappuheartattackccino.
Truth is you can indulge once in a while, but you cannot indulge and continue to take, take take from your body on a daily basis like a whiny self entitled Bernie Sanders supporter, and not have your body rebel at some point. You have to GIVE to your body the gift of movement. GIVE to your body the gift of whole foods. GIVE to your body the gift of health and wellness. This requires effort and planning, though, and this is where some people can get totally bollixed up.
When you don’t give any thought to how your body is going to be able to meet your needs as you age, in a blink of an eyeball you’re going to be telling people that you don’t always have to call Life Alert, but when you do it’s because you’ve fallen and you can’t get up! That does happen. I saw it with my own mother. Falling can be the beginning of the end for many people, especially as you age. It’s not even the fact that you might break something. My mum didn’t, but what did happen is that she lost her confidence and that led to a continued downward spiral in her health and wellness. She became THAT person who was a drain on our already strained Canadian Healthcare System.
Before any of you remind me that my mother had CKD and many other health issues, I want to see your remind, and raise you with the fact that, yes, my mother had chronic disease issues but my mum never took care of her health. Ever. It wasn’t a priority with her. She ate what she wanted, when she wanted it. She never exercised on a regular basis, though when she owned dogs, at least she would participate in my favorite exercise to prescribe: walking. Once her health started failing, her way of thinking went like this: If I just sit down, I’ll be okay. Not the best example of critical thinking. I did my best to encourage and educate her, but it was to no avail. She was always ready with an excuse, never with an action plan. I’ll never forget the day she turned to me, sitting in that damned chair of hers, and told me that she couldn’t believe that this was the way her life had turned out. I did not say a word. I certainly believed it. I did not like it. In fact, I hated it, but I believed it. When you choose to live with high blood pressure for two decades, choose to stay overweight almost your entire adult life, choose to do nothing about your Diabetes Type 2 (and not tell the family about it), and choose to lead an inactive life, then the results are going to be obvious. I don’t write that with any joy, but it is the truth.
I also want to remind everyone that I was diagnosed with cancer just nine short months ago. So far, I have survived that cancer, in part, due to my already stellar health. That stellar health was not an accident. A chance happening. I MADE that happen. I also know that it enabled me to recover quickly from major surgery, and I also did not have to learn how to take care of myself. I had been doing that on a regular basis since my thirties. I am that grownass adult that takes care of her own body, despite the fact that I had a catastrophic event happen to me, which leads me to the following paragraph….
I also understand that there are many people who have taken fabulous care of their bodies, gotten some shitty disease and then have wasted away because the disease is terminal. I get that. I wanted to point that out in case someone else felt the need to. That still does not take away from my argument though. If anyone said to me, “Well, I might get a terrible disease that might rob me of my body’s physicality so I better not bother keeping my body fit and healthy”, I’d likely tell them that I’m getting real tired of their bullshit. Yes, that might happen, but you also MIGHT win the lottery. Who knows? I hate hollow and irrational arguments. It’s why I don’t watch MSNBC or The Bachelorette.
I can hear some of you right now: But hooooowwww, do I do it, Gail? Hoooowwww? I used to actually buy into, and be completely sympathetic, to this plaintive wailing, until I started seeing a psychiatrist for my post cancer health fears. I needed to learn coping mechanisms for my newly arrived and irrational bugbear. When I stared seeing this mind doctor, I stupidly thought she would miraculously fix me. Noperdoodles. I had to do that work all by myself. Certainly she gave me the tools, gave me direction and shoved me towards it, but I had to do the actual work. She did not press a button, give me a pill or flip a switch. I had to buy into what she was educating me on, accept it, then act upon it. I did all three, and I still continue to work the program she gave me. You can’t just do it once or twice and then say:”Alrighty then! I’m done”! This will be a lifelong guide for me. LIFELONG! This same rationale should be used for getting active.
The title of this post starts with “How to”, so I am going to point out the obvious to those of you still with me. You just do it. Stop complaining, stop talking about it. Just do it. Planning is great. I do it all the time because that is my obsessive and compulsively super cute, and not at all annoying, personality. However, if I spent all my time planning my next fabulous run, fantasizing how I was going to look all strong and determined, then I’d never actually get my run in. Again…you just have to do it. A trainer can give you all the tools, the direction and give you a forceful and mighty shove…well, actually not literally the shoving part. We’re not allowed to actually do that. We’d be in BIG trouble. The shoving is all figurative. The point is, though, that you still have to do the work. This is how you take responsibility for your own body and become a grown ass adult!!
I get up, I put on my incredibly cute Lululemon camo running shorts, a matching top, a pair of super absorbant and blister defying socks, and my trusty Saucony Hurricanes because I NEVER give it my some, I give it my all, even with what I wear. I choose to run. I choose to move. I completely realize that being 55 is the NOW for me, so I ask myself…what do I have to do to make sure 65 is just as fantastic? I’d love it if everyone reading this would think about their own NOW and ask themselves the same question.
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