You may know you should eat healthier, exercise more, lose weight, or stop smoking. But saying you should isn’t enough. Knowing you should isn’t enough. It takes the action steps.
And it takes persistence.
When my husband and I first got to know each other he was living a very unhealthy lifestyle. It was killing him. Literally. And he knew it.
Today he has changed all of those unhealthy lifestyle habits. It wasn’t easy, but he feels better in so many ways. He’s given me permission to share some of these changes here so that hopefully you will be encouraged to make the changes YOU need to make for yourself.
- He drank alcohol. A lot of it. He used alcohol to cope, to escape, to not feel. It was a normal part of his daily life.
- He smoked – for more than forty-five years. And he kept on smoking when he developed some significant health problems as a result. He told me once that he really doesn’t remember ever NOT smoking.
- He ate very unhealthy. Grease was a staple. Bacon, hamburgers, fried chicken, sausage, biscuits and gravy, and lots of dessert. Fast food. Sodas. You get the idea – the “normal” American diet.
- He was overweight. And when he quit smoking that became an even bigger problem (no pun intended!). He weighed about 85 pounds more than he should.
Over the past 4 years so much has changed. Some changes happened quicker than others. But the difference is quite remarkable.
- He quit alcohol completely. He did this on his own before I knew him. He’s had perhaps one drink a year in the past several years. That’s well-nigh to a tee-totaler!
- He quit smoking. That was tough! He used prescription medication and a lot of support in quitting. And he’s now approaching four years smoke-free.
- His eating has completely changed. Processed meats are gone. Fish and chicken are staples, but never fried. And he really looks forward to fruits and vegetables every day.
- He’s lost about 50 pounds of weight – without dieting. He’s lost it by eating right, and moving around more. It’s been remarkable enough that his doctor asked what kind of diet he was on. (Answer: just eating right!) And there have been so many other “small” health improvements this has led to, including no more snoring at night. (Can you say, “Happy wife?!”)
Yes, Al has changed! He’s much healthier and happier, and feels so much better. He does have some health effects from living as he did for so long, but most of them are so much better than a few years ago.
What made the difference?
Finding a reason big enough to go through the difficulty, anxiety, and discomfort of changing. And being willing to stick with it.
What’s your reason for changing? Or at least wanting to change?
I’m very proud of my husband for many things. Among them, I’m proud of him for making the difficult lifestyle changes he has made, and for making those changes permanent. I want him around for as long as possible! And when he feels better, I’m so happy. I’m glad my support has been helpful, but HE is the one who has made the changes, and stuck with it. And it’s wonderful to watch.
I hope this piece of his story encourages you. If he made such dramatic lifestyle changes, there’s no reason you can’t also. Remember, it’s never too late!
Your turn: What lifestyle change do you need to make? What’s your big-enough reason? Have you actually made the change? I’d love to hear from you!
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