I just went through my annual physical with my Physician this morning and learned a new perspective on my life… I hope it benefits you to hear about it.
Physicals are funny things.. We are supposed to have them every year (at least when you are my age) whether we want one or not, whether we feel like we “need” one or not…
I don’t know about you, but it is the only time in the year when I feel almost exactly like I did in the fifth grade when I knew I had to go the the Principal’s office and face some consequences for my activities, and I traditionally dread that feeling…
Not today… Today I am grateful…
I’ll tell you why in a moment, but first I have some questions for you to answer for yourself……..
– How much do I really care about myself?
– In my daily life, how kind and considerate am I to my feelings, my needs, and my life compared to other people?
– How much do I take care of my Health?
– How loving, at the end of my life, will I be able to say I really was to myself…, or will I realize too late that I took myself for granted?
These may seem like silly and egocentric questions to ask, but I’m suggesting that you ask them from a different kind of space than you may be thinking..
I’m not suggesting that you forget about other people, or your responsibilities, or your Faith, etc., etc…. Quite the contrary, I realized today that, if I am not here and at my very peak of Health (meaning my level of vibrancy in all ways Mental, Emotional, Spiritual and Physical), than the best of what I desire to give to others will not be either…..
…. And in that way I rob them of what they deserve through my compromise of self-care, self-love….
… I’ve become nothing more than a vapid Martyr in the cause of intentionality without optimal results…, and that simply isn’t good enough for the people and things that I love and am committed to at the highest level…
Therefore, logic dictates that I must love myself, be good to myself, be kind to myself, and be a wonderful Steward of my own Health in all of those areas if I am to contribute to others as fully as I am committed to… And for that I need Physical Health as a baseline of energy to get there… And to get there I need to monitor and adjust my approach to those aspects of Physical Health that I can influence, because God only knows there are enough genetic, Karmic and environmental influences that I can’t…
Therefore… Here are my realizations from “The Day of the Annual Physical”…..
If you accept my premise thus far, please try on the following thoughts for how they might work for you in your life:
– Health is more than merely Physical. It involves an equal commitment and practices for your mind, emotions and Spirit. Without all of them, you cannot be truly Healthy;
– There are factors that we can influence in all areas of Health, and factors we cannot. Genetic markers, for example, at this time are beyond our influence. We do, however, have a sacred and absolute ability to impact the trend lines of our Health by our thoughts and actions.
– Who you are today doesn’t really matter other than as a starting point. You are going up or you are going down in your Health Trend Lines, and assessing who you are and where you are today simply gives you a starting point.
– If you aren’t as healthy today as you would like to be, then the greatest gift you can give yourself is to make yourself objectively aware of how unhealthy you are. As Rudy Giuliani said of the day he was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer, ‘It was the greatest day of my life!” People asked him how he could possibly be serious about that, and his reply was, “It was the greatest day of my life because the day before, I didn’t know I had Cancer. Now I knew and could begin doing something about it!” Today he is in remission….
– If you have a Personal Life Vision or a set of defined Personal Core Values that you operate by, they are a great starting point for beginning a new relationship with yourself beyond the confines of whatever habits you have developed that created your lack of Health or downward Health trend line.
– Impatience kills more Health Programs than anything else, because it undermines commitment to true life-style changes that reverse the Trend Lines. Impatience is based in the unrealistic idea that “I want it and I want it now!” It will take a somewhat similar period of time to improve your Health that it did to wreck it in the first place. If you are badly out of shape due to years of non-exercise and poor diet, you should realize that it may take years to become a vibrant and Healthy individual again. That’s okay… It is all trend lines anyway. Your Health “airplane” is either gaining altitude or losing it, and it is a marathon (i.e. Life habit change) not a sprint (get skinny quick and go back to my destructive habits) that really makes a difference.
– To be willing to practice any of the above you must value your Commitments more than your Comfort.
– To value your Commitments higher than your Comfort, you must stand for something more than your own image in the eyes of others (i.e. You must be an expression of your Values and Character, rather than mere promoter of your Personality or Image).
– To any of the above, you must be willing to begin to Love yourself in a new way…, a way that you don’t misconstrue as egocentrism, but rather something more sacred than that… (perhaps what has been called “Agape” Love);
– The traditional excuses of “I just don’t have time” or “I have too many other responsibilities” or “I’m too stressed to even think about it” are, in themselves, declarations of a commitment to self-destructiveness through indifference to your own highest priorities in the name of the illusory priorities elsewhere in life… In the end, you are making a decision to be lazy and disempowered, as am I when I make such excuses… There is and always needs to be time for your highest priority… Your own life….
– Find the best Doctor you can find and afford… To do that, I went to the various Doctors I knew and asked them who they went to for their medical needs and physicals… When several of them told me they went to the same guy, that is now my guy…..
– We no longer die (primarily) from infectious disease. Up until the invention of antibiotics (in the 1920s and 1930s and going forward), humans primarily died from infections. My guy (which is how I will refer to my Doctor for these purposes) says he sees at least 2 people per week with red streaks running up their arms that indicate an infection that would of killed them 100 years ago. Nowadays, he simply gives them an antibiotic and they are cured in a couple of days…
– We do primarily die from Vascular Disease nowadays, followed closely by Cancer, complications from Diabetes, etc. There are fabulous ways you can influence your ability to avoid Vascular Disease as long as your genetic code (and God) allow you to. They include the obvious lifestyle choices regarding weight, smoking, etc. that you have heard before. But, in addition to those, you can investigate the following: after a certain age, most people can dramatically decrease their Vascular Disease risk by taking a low-dose Statin Drug (e.g. Lipator), a low-dose Blood Pressure medication (e.g. Lysinopril), and a low-dose aspirin every day… To prove the value of this approach, Great Britain is looking at making a “Super Pill” available for everyone over the counter (i.e. Non-prescription) of a combination of all of the above in a single pill… They estimate that it would cut Vascular Disease in half if they did so….
– I’ve interviewed several Cardiovascular Surgeons who have told me that every Cardio Doctor they know takes a Statin (i.e. Cholesterol lowering) drug every day, even if they don’t have high cholesterol, as a preventative…
– It is more important to see what you are eating that Helps you than to be concerned about what you are eating that Hurts you…. In other words, fat-free pretzels may not hurt you, but they don’t help you like a good salad would.
– On the diet front, fruits and vegetables are the closest thing we have to cancer preventatives…. By far… Eat as many as you can as often as you can…
– Weight loss is useless if it is practiced only short term or periodically. 93% of people on diets regain the weight in a short period of time. To make it matter, you must think of Fat loss and lean Muscle gain, not Weight Loss. Muscle weighs more than fat, so it is entirely possibly to weigh the same as you do now but dramatically improve your health by shifting your fat to muscle. To do that you must include both diet and exercise together. The diet needs to be healthy and something you can maintain over a lifetime of eating habit, and the exercise must include both aerobic (i.e. Cardio) training as well as strength training…
I hope these thoughts serve to have you take a serious look at your relationship with your Health, and therefore with yourself…
Remember, if you aren’t in good Health, you will not be able to truly love others or contribute to them at the level that matters, so your first obligation is to improve your relationship with yourself, so you can forget about yourself and truly be about others…
What are your thoughts…? What are you going to do about improving your Health trend lines?
(By the way, my Physical turned out fine and I am healthy, but am only going to stay that way or grow it if I re-read everything I’ve just written and practice it the rest of my life…) Which I have begun to do over the last 6 weeks!
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