I was recently speaking with a new patient, Ed, who referred to me by his physician. Ed, who is 86 years old, is a former B-24 pilot from WWll and Korea. He graduated from NYU and Harvard Business School, and was quite successful as a general partner in a development company with two other major players. When he retired, at the age of 60, he had made quite a name for himself in the business community, and when I say he retired, I mean he retired. He kicked back and enjoyed the finest life had to offer, to the point of gaining 80 pounds of fat and losing a considerable amount of muscle. After experiencing a mild heart attack, and developing metabolic syndrome (a precursor to type 2 diabetes), his doctor provided him with an ‘AHA’ moment: “That if he wanted to avoid a major cardiovascular event in the near future, he needed to change his lifestyle, pronto!”
As Ed and I talked, I asked him what he considered to be the most important thing in life. A personal philosophy of what he thought was vital to one’s very existence and enjoyment on the planet, that he would pass on to his grandchildren, etc. Ed replied “Certainly family, religious convictions, and future earning potential.” I told Ed that those were certainly great things to value, but THE most important thing in life is so vital, that the second item on the list lags far behind. Good health is the single most important thing in a person’s life-nothing else can even rival it.
Without good health, an individual has nothing. Poor health interrupts normal life, limiting normal function and the ability to participate in one’s own life. A minor cut on a finger can limit a person’s daily activities. A stomach ache, backache, or a headache can literally incapacitate. I’ve been dealing with a sore left foot for a few weeks, and I can tell you that it has changed my physical workouts as well as my mental makeup. One can then appreciate how a more serious ailment can affect a person’s life.
What are the roots of good health? Good choices. Decisions about the quality and quantity of food eaten; choices about foods that are high in sugar, fat, or additives. When one realizes how good choices influence health, decisions concerning the amount and frequency of alcohol, and/or tobacco products consumed, etc., become easier. Knowing the importance of good health makes it easier to motivate yourself to get off your butt and exercise. I told Ed: “Always keep your eye on the prize, which is your good health.”
Ed now realizes this.
Stay well, John R Blilie, M.S.