Nearly 5 years ago I was living a lie. I told myself that I ate well, I didn’t eat too much and I exercised as much as I had time for. The trouble was, for the seven years prior to that I was tired, lacked focus, my weight ballooned, I couldn’t climb the stairs without breaking a sweat and I was in excruciating pain in my abdomen. My bad cholesterol was high and my good cholesterol was low, my blood pressure was high, my bowels were irritated and I was on the strongest form of acid reflux inhibitors legally allowed in Canada.
I had undergone 7 years of testing that all confirmed, repeatedly, that my liver and spleen were enlarged and getting bigger every year. 7 years of radioactive dies, cameras, ultrasounds, MRI’s and none of them could tell me *why* I was sick, just that I *was* sick.
It took one bright young doctor and one blood test to diagnose what so many others had seen before but failed act on; my triglycerides were too high and I was bordering on diabetic.
It took a radical change in diet and three months time to completely reverse the illness that had been building in me for 7 years. I lost 40 pounds, no longer had acid reflux, my spleen had shrunk, my liver was starting to absorb the fat deposits it had been storing, I was alive, energetic and pain free. But I was still living a lie.
The new diet was not a change in lifestyle all together. It was just a diet, a way of eating not living and it took me almost 5 more years to figure out the second part of this equation. The diet was like taking your car to the mechanic when your breaks need fixing or when your tires are bald or the engine makes a *clunk* noise. I had only fixed what my body was presenting as an issue right then. The diet was a fix for what ailed me but it was not preventative maintenance for the future.
This year I sat through a whole season of [America’s Biggest Loser](http://nbc.com/The_Biggest_Loser “Weight Loss TV Show, Pictures, Photos, Video & Episodes Online – The Biggest Loser | NBC Official Site”) with my wife. In years past I was judgmental as a once 200 lb. man who was able to get “fit” on his own. A show like that was just exploiting the weaknesses of American society and putting them on show for all to laugh at. I started to realize, however, that the show really was changing lives and really was trying to change the lifestyles of people world wide.
It was during this season that they drilled the same message in over and over and over again; diet and exercise, diet and exercise, diet and exercise! And it finally got through to me, the other half of the lie I had now been living since high school; I DO NOT EXERCISE… EVER! Being 165-170 lbs. may *look* healthy but is it healthy when walking a flight of stairs can still wind me?
For months now I have been exercising. I go for 30-45 minute walks in the morning and take another 20 minutes out of my day to do some push ups, sit ups and squats on alternating days. I have never felt better at a time when I already thought I felt my best. Diet *and* exercise are the preventative maintenance that the body needs, like taking your car in for regular oil changes, tire rotation and engine tune-ups. It’s not to *fix* what’s wrong with you now, it’s to prevent what could go wrong with you the older you get.
So here is the disheartening fact of the matter, and I hardly have a leg to stand on seeing as I was just as guilty not long ago; when I am out for my morning walk, I am the youngest one (35 yrs.) out there. I pass older men and women walking in their 60’s, I pass men and women running in their 50’s but I never pass anyone my age or younger. I know that I have been living in my own lie for more then half my life now, but is my whole generation living in that same lie? Do we all think we are too busy? Do we all think we have too much work, or that family gets in the way, or we have to get on Facebook or vent some aggression on the X-Box?
I am begging my generation to take stock of your lives and for once, think about where your *life* is going. Not your career, not your game stats, not your iTunes playlist; your *life*. Do you have the tools, the plan, the system in place to be a viable member of our generation for years to come? Are you doing preventative maintenance on your body so that our generation isn’t the sick, dying, cancer infested, diabetic generation that is going to bankrupt our healthcare systems and our economies and our morale?
It’s sad that it’s taken me 21 years to finally *understand* the message that Nike was trying to convey in 1988; “Just Do It.”
That is what I am telling you now; stop lying to yourself, stop telling yourself you don’t have time, stop telling yourself that you’re still young, stop telling yourself that you are too tired, too weak, too stressed. Just get out there and make the change now. Take control of the only future you have the power to change here and now. Change your lifestyle for the better. Eat well, exercise and just do it.
[tags]health, exercise, diet[/tags]