By Jenny Lundak
WGI Faculy, Beachbody coach, artist, windsurfer, and lifelong learner
Many people think of exercise and eating healthy as something you do to lose weight and look better. Many think of it as a sacrifice and a pain. I know I thought that way until I realized that exercise and eating good food gives me a much better quality of life now and as I get older.
You know the saying pay now or pay later? Well, you can pay attention to your fitness and nutrition now or you can pay attention to your illnesses, aches and pains later.
Look around you at the people in their 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. There is a huge difference in their quality of life. Some people move easily and have active, full lives. Others have limited mobility and are plagued with illnesses. Accidents and genes play a role in this. But lifestyle plays a major role and we have control of that.
There was a time I thought that the good life was eating what I wanted and taking it easy with a good book. In my early 40’s, I found myself 50 pounds overweight, in poor cardio vascular health with lots of aches,pains and no energy. So began my journey, first to lose weight, then to gain health.
At first it was all about giving up my favorite foods. Then it was about finding new healthier foods. And finally it became about being healthy and happy.
But it was very hard to eat well when I thought I was giving up the good stuff.
Luckily I married a very smart man who said the oddest things like, “There is no better treat than a good grapefruit.” You have got to be kidding! A grapefruit? Then I started thinking about how we decide what is a treat and what isn’t. In the United States anything that is good for you is not very desirable, and all the junk food is a treat. Who decided this? Do they get to make that decision for me? I set about changing how I think about foods.
Good fresh food is delicious. Sugar, fatty foods mess up my system. When I eat well I am not setting myself up to rot from the inside out. My reward is that I feel good. I feel well. I feel energetic.
And what about rust? If I don’t move it, I lose it, or it just rusts. My body needs exercise to know I am not ready to give up and die yet. I need to send a signal, “I have things to do and places to be.”
Beyond that, I feel so good to be stronger and more fit in my 60’s than I was in my 40’s. I am limber. I can do push ups. I can walk, windsurf, and ride my bike. I can be a role model for my kids. It wasn’t quick and it isn’t always easy.
Now I ask myself, “What kind of quality of life do I want for myself going forward?”
It isn’t giving up anything but poor health, when I choose to eat fresh fruit and veggies. I don’t need to make myself exercise; I just choose to challenge myself to be stronger and more fit each year.
What about you? What do you want for yourself?
*You have to age, but you don’t have to rust or rot. I got the inspiration for my motto from a book called “Younger Next Year” by Chris Crowley and Henry S. Lodge M.D. It explains the science of aging and how we can reduce or eliminate many of the symptoms of what we have considered “normal” aging.