Everyone experiences health issues from time to time – some more than others. I consider myself fortunate that I am rarely sick. Outside of a little cold now and then, it is highly unusual for me to have any health issues at all. At nearly 57 years old, I’m 5’10” tall and weigh 145 pounds. I don’t run as often as I used to, but I still walk at least five miles a day, jogging some from time to time. I’m on target to accomplish my health goals for this year and look forward to setting some different goals for 2014.
There have only been two health issues of concern since the year 2000: (1) a series of heart atrial fibrillations for about a decade (that ended overnight when I gave up my stressful PhD pursuit), and (2) melanoma in 2000 that was removed with no recurrence. Every annual checkup, blood test, and biometric exam yields great results. I’ve lived with the ringing in my ears for so many years now from tinnitus that I don’t even notice it unless I’m in a very quiet room. All in all, I won’t complain.
I have my parents and a very healthy family line to thank for good genes, and I’m grateful for that. Not everyone is as fortunate. My 79-year-old parents still go to the local YMCA nearly every day to work out on a treadmill for a while. They are both very active with Mom volunteering and taking care of a huge, old home while Dad takes care of their 60-acre farm. I think that’s awesome.
Having good health also requires taking reasonable care of myself – an ongoing goal that demands regular attention, even though I certainly enjoy the occasional decadent food choice that tastes oh, so good, and at times I test my luck with a too-busy schedule for too many days running. I track my calories daily and make sure I don’t overdo it. I’m more mindful now than ever of the value of recording everything I eat and drink to get familiar with what is healthy and what is terribly costly in terms of calories. It’s amazing how few calories healthy foods have compared to the poor choices of processed or fast foods. I am convinced that the single best thing anyone can do to really get a handle on losing or maintaining a desired weight is to record everything consumed and the caloric consequences. It’s very eye-opening.
I weigh myself every morning to make sure I am at or below my target weight of 145 pounds, and if I’m over it even by ounces I do not eat a meal until I can weigh in under the goal at some point in the day. I haven’t missed a daily weight goal since July, 2012, including the typical holidays where much is consumed. I made sure this past week that I entered Thanksgiving Day a couple of pounds below my goal so I could enjoy the foods of the day without weighing too much the next morning. I’m down about 25 pounds from my highest weight in the spring of 2012. Any weight I would gain would just go to my gut, so I have no interest in doing that. I have several daily vitamins and supplements I also take without fail.
Since wearing my Fitbit Flex in September, I have not had a single day without accumulating at least 10,000 steps, nor any seven-day period with less than 80,000 steps. I track my sleep to make sure I average at least six hours per night – more than any year in recent memory, although my body is telling me lately that it isn’t quite enough.
There is certainly more that I could be doing. I could be better about stretching, other regular exercises or weight training. I could run more often and will set a 2014 goal for that. I could space throughout the day what I eat rather than concentrate most of it in a single meal. I could get more sleep and will set a 2014 goal for that, too. Still, I’m happy with my health and with being able to do whatever I choose to do. I know I’m not the spring chicken I used to be, but I can’t expect that.
None of us are guaranteed another day in this life, so I won’t take anything for granted. I have joked a number of times that I have every intention of living to be 100 because I think it would be awesome to have that birthday party. Who knows if that will happen or not, but I’ll keep plugging away expecting it until I have a reason to think otherwise.
Good health is precious. I am thankful for others around me who promote it, for genes that contribute to it, for the desire to work at staying healthy, and for working at a company that offers constant healthy behavior incentives and rewards to encourage the right lifestyle. Every day of good health is a gift.
Thank you, God, for my health.