Do You Feel?
But how do you know just how healthy you are? It's not a black and white issue; there are many shades of gray. If you rate your present state of health on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the worst health you could possibly have, and 10 being the best health you're capable of experiencing, how would you rate your health at this point in your life? If you answered "7", I'd ask you, "How do you know?" Good question, right? How can you know you're at 7 unless you've experienced 10? Most people who believe they're at 7, are actually somewhere around 4! They could be soooo much healthier, and therefore feel soooo much better than they could ever imagine.
We all have a "health potential"; this is the healthiest your body can possibly be, given ideal circumstances. And we all have a "longevity potential", which is a lifespan unaffected by conditions that cause you to pass away prematurely. Since I want to live to my health and longevity potentials which means passing away in my sleep at a ripe old age in relatively good health I must live "differently" than the average person, who lives to about 72 and spends their final years battling some degenerative disease. (72 may be an improvement over a previous average life expectancy of 55, but when compared to an average life expectancy of 95, which human beings once enjoyed, it's not much of an improvement, is it?)
So to reach this worthwhile goal of living to my health and longevity potentials, I've made positive changes in my life as it affects my health. And by doing this, I am a lot healthier than I ever imagined I could be! My blood pressure is down to 108 over 65, my cholesterol is 145, my white cell count is now normal (down from average) and my homocysteine is 8. No more headaches, no more ills, and I'll no doubt avoid diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease, and the causes of death that usually appear on a person's Death Certificate. And I'm a lot happier too... not because I won a lottery or went through counseling, but because I'm physically healthier; and believe me, your physical health affects your emotional health.
Is a healthy lifestyle for everybody? No. It's just for those who want to be healthy, and live a long, happy, and as disease-free a life as possible. Attainable? Absolutely! You just need two things: truthful knowledge and the wisdom to put that knowledge into practice, and to take action.
But back to the issue of how you feel. When I speak to people about healthy lifestyle habits, many times I get resistance from those who judge their state of health by how they currently look and feel. If they believe they feel "fine", they assume their health is fine, and therefore they feel that no changes to habits that affect health are needed. From experience I've learned that this is not necessarily so. A more accurate indicator of how healthy you are would be how your cells and internal organs look; what shape are they in. But even if you went by how you look and feel, as I said before, most people could look and feel a lot better than they do now... they just don't know they can.
When my Dad started experiencing gastric problems and had it checked out, he received a diagnosis of colon cancer. We got to see the radiology films of the tumor, and I asked the doctor how long this fist-sized tumor took to grow to that size. He said it could have taken anywhere from 30 to 40 years. (It had simply been growing in a location where it didn't bother anything, until it did.) At some point I asked my Dad, "If five years ago I would have asked you how you felt, what would you have said?" He answered, "I would have said that I felt fine!" I learned a valuable lesson that day. Just because you feel "fine", doesn't mean you're in good health. If you think a 4 on that 1 to 10 scale feels "fine", how would you describe how 10 feels? By today's standards, it would feel incredible, amazing, and unbelievable... and I guarantee that you'd love feeling this way so much so, that you would never want to go back to just feeling "fine".
And I also guarantee you this: If you're not giving your body what it needs, and you're giving it what it doesn't want, there's no way you're going to be as healthy as your genetics will allow, or feel as good as you're capable of feeling. This is not an assumption, it's a maxim of health (an unwritten truism). But if you respect your body's wishes, you can look and feel unbelievably great!
It's never too late to embark on the path of improved health, but, naturally, the sooner the better. And, just like investments made for your financial future, making investments now for your future health is a wise thing to do if you want to avoid being broke, health-wise, when you find yourself in the Autumn and Winter of your life. This is a case where planning ahead can avoid needless suffering and premature death... two things I'd certainly like to avoid.
When you wake up tomorrow, what better way to start the day than with thoughts of improving your health. So don't wait to make a New Year's resolution; now's a great time to start putting those thoughts into action so that one day, if asked "How do you feel" instead of replying "fine" you can say, "Incredible!", and you'll know that you really are.