Just recently, I did what I thought was near impossible.
I dropped a bomb on my parents.
In their mid-60s, both my parents are in the comfort zone of an alarming (or if it isn’t, it should be) statistic of the population that is overweight, which contributes to their being diabetic (Type 2), have high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Actually, the list is longer, but not nearly as long as their list of medications.
While my family has always encouraged and practiced a healthy amount of honesty, weight is such a sensitive topic that for years I just avoided discussing it.
My biggest issue was not that they over did it on food, but that they gave absolutely no importance to exercise. Granted there is a ton of information these days on how/what to do to stay healthy, but it’s not really a secret that a healthy lifestyle takes both.
Maybe it was the timing, or the fact that I felt bold, but an opportunity presented itself and I took it.
No more excuses
I gave them all I got; from using age as an excuse to not exercise, to the health risks they were facing; even the cost of their medications. I also alluded to the fact that my in-laws had neglected the very same things, and eventually both suffered strokes.
When it comes to your life, caring for your body is non-negotiable. The first thing that needs to go is the list of excuses.
An honest and loving conversation
If you’re thinking it was malicious or condescending, it wasn’t. It didn’t need to be. I spoke from my heart-honest, firm, but most of all concerned about what their reality was going to be if they continued down this path. I didn’t want to get that phone call in the middle of the night.
Once the excuses are gone, you have to get real with yourself. And that means total honesty.
Starting simple and small
Making any lifestyle change can be daunting. I asked them to start at a simple place — walking. Taking a 20minute walk 2-3 times a week in their neighborhood was doable. More, if they felt like it.
Amazingly, they received it well. Here was their daughter telling them, quite bluntly, that they needed to get priorities in place. The tables had somehow turned.
I’d like to believe I made an impact. But I know only too well how hard it is to have difficult conversations with the ones you love.
And sometimes, this is the kind of conversation we need to have with ourselves.
It is never too late to remember that health GOOD health is precious.
And you need to work at it. It won’t fall out of the sky at your beck and call. Yes, genetics may present a challenge, and so will time, age, children, work, chores, family and a hundred other things that will place demands on you. Without health, though, all those other things will not give you nearly enough joy as you want.
The choice of health, like all the things that make life worth living, is an active choice, and therefore, requires activity.
Are you going to stay passive to your loved ones’ health, or stand up and well . . . take a stand?