I don’t know if you know this, but I’ve got a big family.
My dad is one of 9 kids and my mom is one of 10. I have over 50 first cousins.
Yes, I said 50.
To complicate things further, my dad is one of the youngest among his siblings and he was 41 when I was born. So, most of my cousins on my dad’s side are old enough to be my aunts and uncles. Quite a few of them have kids that are older than me.
When I was growing up, our big family vacation was to our family reunion in Evansville, IN every summer around the 4th of July. We three kids got stuffed in the back seat of my parents’ car and off we drove- for 8 to 9 hours one way. We got doted on by my aunts and uncles, who were just like a bunch of grandmas and grandpas- just a little more strict though.
I grew up and went away to school in New York, then was in the Army in North Carolina, and after that my husband and I moved to Texas, where we lived for almost 10 years. Needless to say, travelling to Evansville didn’t happen very often. In fact, I haven’t gone since my daughter was 3 months old, almost 10 years ago. So, I’ve been a delinquent family member. But, our recent move to the Chicago area shortened the distance quite a bit and I was thinking that I might be able to go more now.
Unfortunately, I had the opportunity to make the trip a lot sooner than I expected. One of my cousins, Terry, died of a heart attack while on a missions trip to Belize. He was a preacher of a church in Springfield, OH and frequently travelled for missions trips around the world- Romania and Haiti to name a few. Recently his focus had been on Belize and working with the homeless in his community.
I was so glad to see my family, despite the sad circumstances. My aunts, uncles, and cousins were all 10 years older than they were the last time I had seen them, but what broke my heart was that some were not in good health at all. Since I had just had some genetic testing done last fall, I could see the physical manifestation of my genetics in their health problems. We tend to live long lives, like to our late 80’s even 90’s, but the last 10 or more years are plagued by heart problems, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, eye problems, cancer, obesity, and more. My uncle, who is almost 90 himself was very sad to have to bury his own son, at only 66. Like I said, it was heartbreaking to see the people I loved suffering so much.
I know that genetics are not the end-all be-all of my life. They may be the gun, but the gun won’t fire if it isn’t loaded with diet and lifestyle bullets or the trigger isn’t squeezed by environmental causes. I can still help myself and my kids not have that same fate.
Most of my family grew up in a time where food was still actually food, and you could trust what you bought in the grocery store, so they had no idea what was happening to the food supply as they got older.
I know how inflammation works and how it wreaks havoc on the body. I know how we each have different sensitivities to food, lifestyle, and environmental triggers that cause excess inflammation. I have no excuse.
After the trip I had learned two lessons.
The first was to ask myself, “What are you going to do about it?”
The second was to say, “Whatever you are going to do, DO IT NOW!”
So, what am I going to do about it?
I got up and exercised while I was at the hotel in Ohio and then again while staying at my cousin’s house outside of Evansville. I stuck to the plan and had only a few potato chips and bites of French fries during the whole four-day trip.
I cannot say that I was perfect, but I am only human. I don’t pretend to be perfect.
My healthy lifestyle is not so that I can look good on stage for a few seconds, it’s so that I can be as healthy as I can be in my later years.
Could it be all for nothing, if I meet an untimely death in some sort of tragic accident? I guess some would say yes, but I still don’t think so. Because I feel better now than I ever have and I can enjoy more of my life now than I did back when I was on anti-depressants and sleeping pills.
I guess that’s why I’m so passionate about what I do.
I ask my clients and potential clients, “What are you going to do about it?”
I have initial consultations at my gym and talk to members about their goals. Most say they want to lose weight and tone up, but just want some exercises to do and don’t really want to talk about food and lifestyle.
Last week, I met with one woman that wanted me to give her exercises she could do to get rid of that stubborn belly fat. She talked about how she had had two C-sections 20-25 years ago and how she hasn’t had a flat stomach ever since.
I gave her a pretty good core routine other than the silly machines she had been using, but she was pretty surprised when I started to talk about what she ate, and how the fact that she didn’t get more than 4 hours of sleep at night due to her constant need to worry about things was increasing cortisol and making loss of belly fat nearly impossible.
Doing a few exercises a few times a week is a lot easier than changing habits, but a lot less effective for actually reaching goals. My clients that take my advice and slowly change their eating habits are the ones that get the best results. Honestly, it’s not just about exercise.
My second point is “Whatever you are going to do, DO IT NOW!”
My reason for saying this is because you never know how long you or someone you love has on this planet.
When I was younger I went on a few missions trips and loved them. I always thought that I would go on a trip with Terry. I’m not a minister, but I could do lots of volunteer work. Now I won’t get the opportunity.
I told myself, “I’ll do it when the kids get older…when this happens…when that gets going.” But there was never a good time, I had lots of good reasons why I couldn’t go, and now there never will be.
I have a few ideas for what I can do in Terry’s memory, but I’m not going to get into that now. I’m just going to say, “Whatever you are going to do, DO IT NOW!”
So, I encourage you to take a look at your future and your goals and ask yourself, “What are you going to do about it?!?” Are you making goals that you are just giving lip service to?
If you want to get healthy or learn more about a clean eating lifestyle, I encourage you to check out my 8-Week BUFF Life Challenge, but only if you’re ready for me to and then constantly ask you, “What are you going to do about it?” and then give you the tools you need (i.e. great recipes, workouts, schedules, support, accountability, weekly lessons, and more) and tell you to get to work. DO. IT. NOW.
Questions? Comments? Please let me know.
One BUFF Mama