It’s always really interesting how I end up with multiple clients going through a similar journey at a similar time. It’s probably fair to say that because many of my clients are in the second half of their life, they would have reasonably similar experiences. I’ve never believed that giving the exact same advice to two different people is a good idea. But sometimes a nugget of information can apply to two different people. Sometimes, not all the time.
I’m going to paste a little questionnaire that I’ve posed to a couple of clients lately. Maybe there’s a moment that you the reader can reflect on the questions and have an experience with your answers.
Please keep in mind that I likely don’t know you whatsoever. So these questions are not directly for you. But, if something positive comes out of it then that is just wonderful.
What does getting old mean to you?
What does aging mean to you?
What do you want your health look like in one year?
What do you want your health look like in 10 years?
What currently worries you the most about your health and wellness?
What is your greatest strength in your health and wellness?
Green Day, Slipknot, even Marilyn Manson back in the day (admittedly not so nowadays with details of his abusive relationships coming to light) – those have been some of my musical tastes since I was a child. They’re not just rebellious bands, they’re not just fast and aggressive. As a young man, they were an outlet for my mind and emotions – an escape from a world that was hard to make sense of. My Dad taught me one of the most important lessons of my life. He has always said “just do the right thing.” There have been countless instances throughout my almost 36 years where hat advice has rung true. And yet, from early childhood I can remember getting so frustrated – irate even – wondering why the world as a whole can’t seem to follow that same advice. I’ve never claimed to be perfect, but I do live in a constant journey of continuing to improve myself. As my articles are generally, this is now going to change into a discussion about health and wellness. I still maintain my frustration with the world as a whole. Maybe I’ll forever want more and better, or maybe one day I’ll find satisfaction in what is, is. But until that happens, I will continue to push myself and everyone around me (including you, the reader) to improve. My clients are looking to improve physically. At least that is what they set as a goal on our first meeting. But to improve physically, lifestyle changes generally need to be made. As the phrase goes: “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result.”One of the most common goals set by any clients I have ever worked with is to lose weight. This requires any mix of the following:-eating better food-getting more activity-doing some appropriate exercises to adapt the body to do more – and better – activity over time-changing sleep habits-social factors such support from loved ones-environmental factors such as the amount of time spent sitting for work (including commuting). Losing weight is not simply improving yourself by eating less and exercising more (which likely should be thought of as having more activity, but more on that in a different article). It requires improving yourself as a whole. It might require improving those around you also. It’s a journey in having a healthier body, mind, social circle, and more. Maybe this is why life took me toward a career in health. I get to help people with their journeys of self improvement, thus satisfying that young man listening to angry music. He gets to help people be better.What is better? Right now I’m thinking that self improvement requires an element of selflessness. It has so much to do with having a positive impact on the world around you, resulting in a better you.Let’s take nutrition as our example for this point. I desire to eat good food because the nutrients I intake through my mouth then become the cells that replenish my tissues. I’m just reading that Colon cells die off after about four days. For me, I’d like those cells to be replenished with really good nutrients. That’s how I think about the process anyway. Is my Colon made up of nutrients from candy or from Chickpeas? Admittedly I’ll have some treats and “bad stuff” in my diet over a week. I’m working on getting crackers and peanut butter out of my routine, intaking less alcohol, etc. That’s the self improvement part. But I am also very interested in farming practices and gardening. How does that tie in? If the food that I eat is treated with unnecessary chemicals, are those practices also harming my gut microbiome or decreasing the vitamins and minerals that I could be ingesting? If I do my own gardening, what if I practiced the no-till method to enhance the health of my soil by not tilling out microbes? What if I add clover into my lawn, attracting pollinating species and decreasing the amount of water I use? Those pollinators could benefit my vegetable crop. That water can go to more productive means. These factors help to make me healthier, without ever being a decision between “good” for or “bad” food. By looking after the earth around me, I’m doing something selfless, but also improving my own health at the same time. It also isn’t doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. That young idealist wanting a better world, but only knowing how to deal with it by listening to rebellious music would be happy with his future self.