When I was in chiropractic practice, a question I asked new patients went something like this:
“Given the current trajectory of your health and your habits, what do you think your life will be like in 30 years if you don’t change anything?”
It was not uncommon for a 50 year old to look me square in the eye and say, “I don’t want to live that long, Doc.”
My response: “Do you get the choice?”
“Unless you’re going to ‘off yourself,’ you will live however long you live. You may be able to have an idea of your genetic tendency but that’s about it. The difference you can make with your habits is how much you will suffer in the last 10 years of life.”
“You need only look at medical stats and the older folks you know to understand this.”
Here’s the thing:
Most of us live our lives on autopilot.
Not only do we not think about the future, we live as though we think we can get a ‘do-over’ when things start to go sour. Intellectually, we know that’s not true but it doesn’t change our behavior.
Then, when things start to go awry, it’s often too late to reverse the damage.
My goal as a health coach is to help you to be able to do the things you love till the day you die. And of course, defying the odds!
With that in mind, here are my 5 not-so-secret secrets for defying the odds:
- Eat mostly plants. It’s not necessary to be vegan but the healthiest cultures in the world (like the Okinawans, 7th Day Adventists and other Blue Zone cultures) eat diets that are about 90% plant-based whole food: fruit, vegetables, legumes and some grains. Statistically, 7th Day Adventists represent the largest group of independently living Centenarians. Doesn’t it just make inherent sense to do what others have done that works?
- If it comes in a prepared package, for the most part, leave it on the shelf. Sure, there are times when we need convenience. I’m not saying don’t ever buy anything in a package. But DO be more discerning. Look at the ingredients. Do you know what they all are? There’s a tremendous difference between a frozen dinner made mostly with whole food and one that has an ingredient list that takes up the entire side of the package. I often refer to these as “food-like substance.” You know the difference between chemicals and food. Eat FOOD!
- Rebuild your gut. We now know that our gut bacteria (AKA our microbiome) makes about 80% of our hormones. But it can’t make the right things when it’s been damaged. Have you eaten animal food almost daily, eaten processed foods regularly, been on antibiotics and more like most Americans? Then your gut needs help. More help than just eating some fermented foods. This is easy when you know how. Let’s talk today.
- Get some exercise. Let’s remember: the human body has over 600 muscles. It was made for movement. There are estimates that our hunter-gatherer cave dwelling ancestors moved up to 20 hours per day & used as much as 5000 calories daily just gathering & hunting for survival! THIS is the life your body was designed to lead. The more active you are, the better it works. PERIOD. FULL STOP.
- Pay attention to your mental-emotional well-being. Put the distracting electronics down & communicate with real people. Spend time in nature. Stop listening to the mass media mellow-drama. I’m not advocating that you live in a cave; only that you turn the dinge off long enough to remember what is really important to you; your friends & family and your primary relationships. Ask yourself if watching another 30 minutes of pre-digested news is helping anyone? Take that time & spend it doing something meaningful for yourself or others.
So there you have it.
A few simple things you can begin today to increase the odds that you can live a healthier life & defying the odds.
Need more or more specific help? Let’s set up a time to talk.