Wednesday, March 11, 2015
HEALTH CHALLENGES FOR BOOMERS
Michele Happe MA Certified health coach
March 11, 2015
I am in my 60’s. As we age our body naturally deteriorates, we lose some brain capacity. Our hair turns grey and our skin and bones get more thin and fragile. I would like to define healthy aging as the ability to grow old gracefully and gently. We all have to accept that the natural progression of things is toward decrepitude and eventually death. As a Buddhist, I have contemplated death in the hope of accepting without fear its inevitability.
So how do we stay healthy while aging. First and foremost is to maintain a healthy weight. This does not necessarily mean having the BMI of a 20 year old. Skinny people do generally live longer but often that is a goal that is nearly impossible for some of us who have genetics that run contrary to skinniness. There are standards that have been adopted for older people that are much more lenient yet still promote health and well being. Overweight promotes heart disease, cardio vascular disease, diabetes, cancer and even Alzheimers.
Exercise is also incredibly important. Even a 20 minute walk is very helpful toward promoting health. I do yoga, kettle bell swings, walking and stationary bike which I vary each day. This helps build muscle and to circulate the blood. The blood is the clearing house for toxins in our bodies and in our brains. When our circulation is hampered it affects every aspect of our health.
MY OWN PERSONAL CHALLENGE
In order to maintain a healthy weight I need to eat very few calories per day. Before I lost this 30 lbs I was averaging about 1200 calories per day with lots of vegetables and very few carbs. Menopause had a very profound effect on my weight. I started the Take Shape For Life plan and rapidly lost the weight and began to feel so much better. Maintenance has been very enlightening for me. In order to maintain this weight I am pretty much staying on the same 5 and 1 plan that enabled me to lose the weight. The temptation is to say that this is not fair but as my eating disorder mentor, Judi Hollis used to say, “the fair is in Pomona”….
Many say well i will just carry this weight and continue to eat the healthy foods that I love…but this clearly contradicts the concept of healthy weight. So I am happily resigned to a regular diet of 900 calories daily in order to maintain my weight and believe me I am not skinny!! Acceptance is the key here. We have to accept the realities as they are. I am in acceptance and am so grateful that I can eat six times per day, food that I love while keeping my caloric intake down.
Getting older requires an attitude of acceptance of the erosion of our youthful vibrance. Complaining just seems to further erode our health. So the key is to focus on compassion for ourselves and others and to rely on the wisdom that comes with living many years on the planet. The result of this is joy and gratitude which in itself promotes health.
Until next time ……Be well