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It’s Not Too Late to Make a Better Health Choice

How many times have you heard someone say, (or maybe you have said), I can’t do that, it’s too late.  Or perhaps you or someone you know has said “I’m too old to make that change.”

 

The truth is, rarely is it too late to make a change in your choices regarding your health.

 

Most of us don’t change because we are “too old” or it’s “too late”, most people don’t make important changes in their health habits because they have told themselves a story that they can’t- and then they reinforce that story again and again every time they even think about making a change.

 

 

Making a change is often difficult. We like what we like. We don’t want to change that we don’t exercise, or that we eat too much sugary desserts and treats, or that we drink or smoke in excess.  We often do what we have always done, and those neuro pathways in our brain are like the well worn swath of carpet that goes from our front door to the kitchen.  Those pathways get a lot of use.

 

So it is with the neuro pathways in our brain.  We are truly creatures of habit and most of us resist the mere thought of changing the way we do something, surrendering something we like that we have always done, or the thought of starting to do something we know we ought to do but have not done.

 

Another truth- most of us have a lazy brain.  Our brain wants to be on auto pilot for many things. That saves us work, time and energy to just keep doing what we have always done and in the words of my Italian friend, “fah-geta bout it”.

 

But what if we changed the story we tell ourselves… instead of “ I can’t because” thinking, what if we shifted our story to a question that sounds more like, “what is one thing I would be willing to practice shifting so I could enjoy…”  the rest of that story could be, better health, or more energy, feeling better or sleeping better.  So - many- ways- we – can-change -our -story!

 

On a recent visit to Arizona to see my 85- year- old stepdad and my 88 year old mother I showed up in the same ways I always have – I make smoothies every morning, take a walk, swim or go to the gym at their rec center when I visit.  I take my healthy lifestyle with me wherever I go. 

 

I have often shared my passion for healthy living with my family, and my aging parents in particular.  Through the years, they’ve made some exciting changes, like switching to alternative milk instead of dairy, and taking some supplements.

 

But this trip something shifted.  I made extra smoothies for my stepdad to try. Additionally, many of our conversations were about why eating healthier can make such a difference in how your body and brain feel and function.

 

A big surprise came when my stepdad announced that he really liked these smoothies and inquired what was in them.   While I have been making them for years, this time he wanted to try them. He was curious.  After declaring that they were very good he asked if I would show my mother how to make them.

 

In the past, Mom would make one or two smoothies after I returned home, and then clean the blender and tuck it back into its forgotten home way back in the lower cabinet never to be touched again until I showed up during my next visit.

 

To my surprise, my mother announced recently that she has made a space for the blender on the counter top so that it is available every morning without her having to bend down to the lower cupboard to reach it. 

 

She has recently shared that my typically sedentary stepdad, who had endured a hospital stay just weeks prior to my arrival, is now moving about more, helping with household chores again and is moving his body.

 

You are never too old to make a new and beneficial decision for your health!

 

Additionally, my mom who has suffered with IBS proclaimed upon my arrival home that she decided to go gluten free.  ( We had discussed  that gluten is inflammatory- whether you are “allergic” to it or not and that inflammation in the body also means inflammation in the brain).  She asked me for recommendations for gluten free snacks and baked goods which I was all too happy to supply.

 

Since consuming smoothies in the morning and getting off gluten, my mom has shared that she has not had an issue with her gut and she can’t believe what a difference those two choices have made in how she feels.

 

It is almost never too late to make a beneficial choice for your health!

 

Another reason people resist change is they perceive they will have to go without something they have come to love or rely on – like sugar, or caffeine for example.

 

Instead of telling yourself you “can’t have” something you have come to enjoy, start telling yourself that you are choosing to not have ____, but you can have _____ instead.

 

We all have a rebellious sixteen- year -old in our brain that says, Oh I can’t have ___, just watch me!!!

 

So instead of denying yourself a pleasure, consider the alternative options that exist that can get close to what you are used to.

 

I am thankful that being dairy and gluten free in my own diet, there are now so many wonderful options to choose from.  I don’t feel like I have to deny myself anything.

 

I too have digestive issues when I eat either of those things, so my reward is finding ways to eat that taste good and are good for my body.  By feeding my body foods that are tasty and nourishing, I generally feel and function at optimal levels.

 

Of course there are other choices to make to feel great like moving your body regularly, having safe and healthy relationships, having a good support system and a fulfilling spiritual life are all at the top of the list. And what you fuel your body with matters greatly too.

 

Today, consider one small change that you could make by telling yourself a different story. Catch  those self sabotaging thoughts; when you tell yourself that you are too old or it’s too late to make a change.

 

My 85 and 88 year old parents would tell you otherwise.

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