Today’s article is a bit of divergence from my usual content, in that it is meant to be a largely reflective, inspirational and hopefully motivational article.
The take home message is clear: It is never too late to start eating better.
How we eat as adults is at least partially a reflection of the sum of our life experiences.
How we were raised to view foods, how we encountered food in our social setting and of course our own personal choices as well as a whole slew of biological and economical considerations.
You should understand that many of the forces that shape our food patterns are completely out of our control.
With that in mind, know that even if you aren’t in the state of health today that you want to be in, whatever the reason may be, it is not too late to change.
There are so many different factors to consider, but you should not blame yourself. The reality is that some of us are luckier than others in that, for a whatever the combination of reasons, we have seen and understood the value of healthy eating and strived to embrace it earlier in life.
This article is not about me, but I personally did not appreciate or engage in healthy eating activities until my late teens. I am not a dietitian because I was necessarily raised to eat well, I am a dietitian because I adopted healthy eating later in life and was able to witness just how much of a difference it made in my own health and happiness.
That difference , that feeling is what I strive to impart on each person I encounter whether it be through my blog , social media or my private practice.
Don’t misunderstand though, that feeling is not easy to achieve and you should not expect to achieve it easily.
Learning what it means to eat well is a road full of trial, error and tribulation.
If you have experienced all of these things on your journey you should know you are on exactly the right path , even if you have not yet made the progress you had hoped.
Now the goal of today’s article is to convince you that it is never too late to start eating well and I’m going to try and do this using two different types of arguments.
If I don’t reference scientific data then this whole article is really just opinion ( which anyone can give). Obviously, as a dietitian, I’d like to think my professional and personal reflections have some special value but at the end of the day there needs to be concrete science to support my statements.
Here two powerful examples to consider:
1. A weight loss of just 5-10% of your current weight is enough to produce an observable reduction in your risk factors for a variety of chronic diseases. ( 5% weight loss in a 200 lb person is 10 lbs which could theoretically be lost in a manageable, sustainable way within 3 months especially under the supervision of a professional).
2. High Blood Pressure and High Cholesterol ( LDL Cholesterol) are two of the most common reasons for medication to be prescribed in Canada, and they are also two big risk factors for heart disease. Did you know that, with a strong dietary approach, you can actually significantly lower your LDL cholesterol in 4 weeks ( by about the same amount as cholesterol lowering medication!)
#2 Personal Appeal
Just like other things in life ( such as your career) your attainment from a health and dietary perspective absolutely represents the sum of your achievements thus far, but that does not mean you cannot drastically alter your course.
How many athletes were late bloomers. How many people do you see pursuing rewarding career changes later in life. Opting to pursue a healthier diet and lifestyle is not all that different than these scenarios.
Let me provide you a personal example…
My parents lived a much more difficult life than the one I have had to, and healthy eating was simply never something that was prioritized or considered for them growing up, it was more of a pragmatic survival mind set which they carried with them into adulthood.
Without being overly sentimental, one of the most rewarding parts of pursuing my profession is helping to affect a change in their health and their diet.
I want to see my parents, who sacrificed so much for me, living long and healthy lives and those two things are much more likely to happen in the presence of healthy balanced eating.
I am sure this sentiment resonates with many of you reading this today.
So when you think about what it means to eat well, beyond the innumerable benefits it will provide you personally, you should know that it will have an amazing benefit on those around you as well.
Humans learn by observation and one of the most important considerations in encouraging change in others is the support and encouragement of those they trust.
I urge you to keep this in mind the next time you question if it is too late or if it is even worth it to pursue a healthier life.
I appreciate that today’s article may not be enough to be your tipping point, but I hope that you do seek out that extra push and motivation.
It is never too late, and myself and my fellow professionals are here to help.
Whether you love us or not, dietitians are everywhere and although we can’t fix all of the problems in the world, we can meet you where you are at and help take you to a level of health and wellness you might not have thought possible.
And hey, if seeing a dietitian 1-on-1 is not an option for you, use the power of blogs and social media to help guide you.
Although today’s article was primarily intended as a reflective/inspirational/motivational read , I hope you also found some substance and practical guidance in these words today.
As always, thanks so much for taking the time.
Andy De Santis RD MPH
PS. HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM ( MY MOM WAS ON OCTOBER 31ST, 1959)