The Naked Truth about Staying Healthy

Carolyn, my cousin, with her grandaughter Rebekah

Carolyn, my cousin, with her grandaughter Rebekah

The reason I haven’t written this book about staying healthy is that it would only be 6 words. The dedication would be much longer – there are many role models and mentors that have taught me in principle and action that these 6 words prove the point.

Here they are – these 6 words.

Eat smart, exercise more, be grateful.

That’s it.

Yesterday my Aunt Ellen asked me, “Karen, do you diet?” Whether she wanted to hear it or not, I responded with my theory on staying healthy. “First off, Aunt Ellen, I hate the word ‘diet’. This concept sets you up for failure. You go ON a diet which means somewhere you’ll go OFF the diet. How come everyone doesn’t see this logic?”

She asked, “Well, what do you do?” I replied, “It’s three concepts. Think about it like three legs to a stool.” Here’s what I told Aunt Ellen –

Step Stool Leg Number One: Eat Smart
• Don’t deprive yourself. Deprivation creates a vicious cycle.
• Figure out what motivates you. For me it wasn’t about the scale. It was about the blood numbers. My internist and gynecologist both told me I needed to start taking daily prescription drugs to monitor cholesterol and triglycerides. Our society goes straight to drugs (and surgery) to solve all problems. I’m not suggesting that this isn’t the correct route for some situations, but not all. It seems that we go straight to the ‘easy’ fix-it without exploring more natural ways to combat negative health trends. So, I became very motivated – this is key to changing a habit. You have to figure out what you really want, and it makes the change agent easier to digest – no pun intended.
• Eat a lot less white sugar and white flour. That’s what my dear friend – who is also a trained nutritionist – suggested. I immediately told her I could not do this! But, telling no one, I decided to try this approach. It’s easy. You don’t feel deprived. There are good choices at any restaurant – eat corn vs. flour tortillas. It’s a little harder to stay off the sweets, but it’s so worth it. All my numbers lowered, including the scale.

Step Stool Leg Number Two: Exercise More
• I have a walking buddy and a training buddy. Do you realize how neat it is to get my exercise AND talking/therapy time at the SAME time? We walk very early – three times a week. It does not interfere with work. If it’s raining – we head to a mall. Thankfully my walking buddy is as committed as I am to this process. The only time we cancel is if we’re out of town! When she broke her foot we just found a gym to use their stationary cycle machines.

Same goes for the training buddy. Twice a week we head to a gym and work out with weights. Again – we do this at times that don’t interfere with our busy work schedules.

Step Stool Leg Number Three: Be Grateful
• Trite but true. Stay the course. Stay positive.

Final Thoughts

My cousin has pancreatic cancer and is now on hospice. It’s devastating…. but she is my role model on staying healthy. She’s always eaten smart, exercised routinely, and even NOW, she’s grateful. She’s lived a purposeful life, worked hard, raised a beautiful family, given back to the community.

Life gives us no guarantees. But it’s the only life we get. My cousin’s three-legged stool looks very different now, but she exemplifies the naked truth about staying healthy.

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