1. “I’m not going to live forever.”
Eating healthy has never been about life extension for me, but that’s often the snarky response. It’s about having good energy day to day, and not dragging your sluggish feet through life accompanied by a slowed mind in a mental fog, much like a zombie that craves fast and processed food instead of brains, and all the negative health implications that always follow.
I was never a consumer of terribly bad foods, or a consistently bad diet, but I did eat much worse than I currently do for the majority of my life, particularly of the fast food, processed food, and excess sugar variety.
It’s not an easy habit to break either; when I quit soda pop back in about 2007 it was as much for teeth health as anything, and the first month it was super tough-I realized how addictive it really is!
A few years later when I first started personal training professionally I thought I was getting old really quick due to lack of energy even though I worked out consistently, correctly, and intensely. Then I started to become educated about the power of a nutritious diet, started implementing changes, and had unlimited energy! I have more energy now than I did at half my age, and coincidentally the diet’s never been better. I started telling my clients about how much nutrition affects everything of the physical and mental variety, and they saw the same changes! You can too!
It’s not until you go away from those foods that you realize how bad they are. For example a few months ago I accidentally took a sip of lemonade when it got mixed in with the water cup I always get at Chipolte, and almost gagged, thinking there was some kind of pure sugar coming out. Even though it was a tiny sip I had to spit it out in the garbage can, and realized how cloyingly sweet it really was, poisonous really.
Like Robert Crayhon opines in his book “Nutrition Made Simple,” “the unexamined diet is not worth eating.”
2. “My grandma used crisco to cook with everything. PawPaw smoked cigarettes until he was 91!”
Genes play a huge role with Alzheimers, cancer and other diseases, but rarely taken into account when people say this is that a healthy lifestyle has been proven to greatly reduce the chances of delaying and getting certain illnesses, not to mention (most importantly,) the quality of life within the years you’re alive.
Though there are rarities and exceptions to anything, you’re chances of having poor habits of the nutrition and physical variety consistently, and living a healthy, long life are about as good as winning the Powerball.
I would almost guarantee your grandma also probably had a garden, had an active life, often worked with her hands in the soil, cooked most if not all of her own food, and lived in a time before processed food even existed, not to mention color television (if she had one at all). I guarantee she wasn’t sitting around all day either, as desk jobs barely existed during her time.
I’m lucky to have good genes (and least physically) on both sides of the family, but my Grandpa on my Mom’s sides was a heavy drinker and smoker, as well as having a terrible diet, and even after many surgeries, he continued his poor habits. He lived relatively long, but the second half of his life was a miserable one, that included getting diabetes, mostly losing his eye site, as well as getting a foot amputated because of all of the above.
I have memories of him as a withered, hunched over wheelchair bound man that looked twice his age, needing assistance to do the simplest of activities like eat and dress, who would have me read him his favorite newspaper comics to because he couldn’t see clear enough, even with the bifocals he always had attached to his head. He wasn’t a bad man, but he was often in a foul mood, and his diet was terrible, always talking about pecan pie and eating breakfast cereal catered towards children, like Frankenberries.
Contrast that to my Grandpa Bud on my Dad’s side, who was physically active all his life, had a very healthy diet, and who was always doing something active, often outside with his impressive, size-able arms, and healthy physique even though he was in his seventies. He was always building something outside, playing catch me, even going down waterslides when I was scared to do it myself. Though he died of Leukemia, and lived to about the same age, (Grandma Bud did live five years longer) the quality of life was night and day, as were their habits.
Hand picking out one or two unhealthy habits your ancestors did, while ignoring the healthy ones, and then using it as empirical proof that the few habits don’t make a difference is an exercise in delusion.
3. “What’s the point I’m going to die eventually anyway?”
Not much of an answer can be offered for a defeatist attitude like that, you may as well get a head start.
“My genes are bad, I’m destined for a unhealthy existence, and early death, just like my parents, and grandparents.”
Again genetics and luck play a role, but poor habits and negative mindset play a much larger role in the quality and extension of life, and you can always reduce the odds of getting any disease, or shortening of life with good habits, staying physically active, and good nutrition.
I remember reading a health book and the author was talking about how all of his relatives had died in their fifties. He wanted to make the most of his life, and so realized he had been taught poor eating and lifestyle habits, and didn’t start making the positive changes until he was in his forties. When he wrote the book, he was in his seventies.
Though I’ve often been told my healthy weight is due to genetics by friends wth poor lifestyle habits, (particularly nutritionally and rarely breaking a sweat,) I personally broke the fifth metatarsal in my right foot in 2001, and I couldn’t put weight on the foot for a month, or run or do fast lower body movements, (as I wore a walking boot for two months after that).
Coincidentally I gained 20 pounds in those three months, getting up to 198. I didn’t even notice until my best friend pointed it out. Since that day, I changed my eating habits, and vowed to never get back to that weight again, and I haven’t, nor will I.
Anyone can make the same decision, no matter where they are today, it just takes an honest with yourself, and some self reflection.
Free resources abound, and though it’s a challenge, and hard to go away from the unhealthy comforts we once knew, once you get away from you’ll never look back.
The capability is within everyone, it starts in the mind, and once the mind makes the choice, the body will follow.
I’m rooting for you!