Disease, disability, and frailty are not the natural consequences of the aging process, unless you allow them to be. I read somewhere that from the age 50 on, 2/3 of what your health future will hold is under your control; not genetics, but lifestyle choices. I treat mostly geriatric clients, and while some look hale & hearty and ready to party, others look like they have one foot in the grave. Why? Almost always because of the choices they’ve made. Although the death certificate may say cancer, or heart disease, or diabetes, the real cause was because they became too weak to fight off disease.

I know that I harp on and on about exercise, but I know of nothing else that will give you the strength you need to ward off life’s challenges. Enough said. There is also another way you can choose to sabotage your future: what you put into your mouth. With roughly 2/3 of the adult population overweight, and an alarmingly large proportion of children fat and unfit, parents are choosing a path of health problems not only for themselves, but for their kids. Diet? They don’t work! Period! If they worked, nobody would be fat anymore. Low-fat foods, low-calorie diet sodas don’t help you lose weight, they only confuse your brain by tasting sweet but providing little or no energy. Remember, food is not only energy, it is also medicine, used by humans for thousands of years. Learn to eat what comes out of the ground, what I call True Food; it’s what our bodies recognize and provides the nutrients we need to keep diseases at bay. I read an article a couple of years back that looked at the air quality of large cities. Amazingly, over 500 known carcinogens were identified in the sample. Since we breathe 15,000 to 20,000 times per day, that’s a lot of exposure to cancerous stuff-your immune system needs to be running at a high level. Ding Dongs won’t help much, but an apple will. Only you make the choice……

Speaking of diets and losing weight, the only tried and true method I’ve seen work over the years is cutting calories by 100/day. This results in weight loss of 10 pounds/year, and is very sustainable-you won’t even miss them. Eat a 3 oz bagel rather than a 4 oz will save you 100 cals. Have one less glass of wine or beer, another 100+. Use whipped cream cheese rather than regular and bango-another 100! Mix in exercise on most days and you keep the metabolism revved up and burn even more calories. I’ve had this work for me and others. It can work for you too. You just need to keep your eyes on the prize at the end-your health.

Stay well, John R Blilie, M.S.