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Thursday, March 6, 2014

You Must Make Your Health a Priority!


You have heard me say it before and you will no doubt here me say it again and again, you have to make your health a priority.  If you don't, then what is left?  You spent all your time chasing after the money, the status, etc... you achieve them and then what?  What happens when you have a heart attack, or some other health event that is caused by not taking care of you, what do you do then?  Was the money really worth it?  Was it worth not being around or diminishing your quality of life so you can't enjoy it?

Today, I decided to share with you all a part of my life I rarely talk about.  My Grandma, (actually she is my Nana, she hates being referred to as Grandma), has severe Alzheimer's. 

Nana and I were always very close.  One of the best parts about moving to Santa Barbara for college was that I lived near to her so that I could visit often.  Throughout college Nana's house was my destination of choice to do laundry, get a home cooked meal, and take a break from the college life.

Nana always liked to brag about me to anyone who would listen, "this is my Grandson and he is going to the University of California at Santa Barbara," she would say.

Education, she felt, was very important.  She was always very proud that I went to college.

Around my sophomore year I noticed she was starting to become more forgetful.  By my senior year it was becoming very obvious that something was wrong.  Two years after that she had forgotten my name.  Shortly after that she rarely would recognize me.  At present she is virtually a vegetable.  She can barely speak, she can only eat if my Grandpa feeds her.  She cannot move without his assistance.

I feel like she is scared... like she has moments of recollection, kind of like she should know what is going on, but then she realizes she does not and it frightens her.  Like a little kid would be scared if she found herself lost in the forest, unsure of how to find her way back home. 

The process of watching someone you love wither away is heartbreaking.  Selfishly, I do not visit as much as I used to because, quite frankly, I want to remember Nana in a certain way and this is not it.  Nana has been "lost," for so long that I want to try and protect the memories I have of her before she got like this.  Every time I see her now, it is harder and harder for me to remember her how she was.

I want to remember her how she lived, not how she is dying. 

My point un sharing this with you all is this: while scientists may not know exactly what causes Alzheimer's, cancer, and a plethora of other horrible diseases, one thing they do know for certain is that being healthy: eating right and exercising, goes a long way in helping to prevent the onset of any of those diseases.

Nana never had the best eating habits nor did she actively exercise, why would she?  Information was not as available to her as it is to all of us now.  She is from a generation and a way of thinking that did not understand exercising especially for women.  Perhaps if she knew how important it was to eat right, (and what eating right consists of) and exercise, things could have been different for her. 

I can only speculate on what could have made a difference for Nana and for my Dad for that matter.  I can't go back and change those things, but what I can do is appeal to you all now to make some positive changes for you.

If you are a son, a daughter, a parent, a grandparent, a cousin, an aunt, an uncle, a friend, a family member, then you matter to someone else.  

So the actions you take, consistently eating unhealthy, and the actions you do not take, forgoing exercise, will not only affect you, but they will affect others who you care about and who care about you.

If my Dad would have made healthy eating choices and made exercise more of a priority, would it have changed things???  Who knows, but I feel pretty confident about saying it certainly would have benefited him.

If Nana would have made healthier eating choices and made exercise a priority, would it have changed things for her? Who knows, but again, I feel pretty confident in saying that it certainly would have benefited her.

Your health is a key that can unlock a limitless number of doors, doors that lead to joy, happiness, fulfillment, wealth, you name it, and your health can have a positive influence on it.

Make your health a priority, if not for you, then please, do it for the sake of someone who cares about you.  At the bottom of this blog I have included a short video about the importance of your health.  I encourage you to watch it.

I promise you that you will never regret the day that you do not suffer from a disease like cancer, Alzheimer's, heart disease, etc...

As they say in the airline business:

"Please secure your oxygen mask first before you assist another passenger."  Translation: you have to take care of you before you can effectively take care of anyone else.

The picture below is from my most recent visit with Nana, taken about six weeks ago.

I wish you all a healthy and inspired week.

Carpe Diem,

Jesse










4 comments:

  1. I am trying, just started working out again. I have around 45 lbs to lose but i need motivation. I am always tired. I have been eating healthy but three weeks in and my weight has not changed I am so discouraged... I have to do it for my family for me. Help please send me happy thoughts and motivation. Thanks Jesse..Reading your face book and blogs help... Much love Jeannie

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  2. Love this Jesse! Thanks for truly caring enough to share such a touching story about your Nana and Dad. Also to emphasize how damn important taking care of yourself NOW is for your future self...thanks for the amazing post! :)

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  3. This is so touching and beautiful.
    I love the picture of you with your Nana.
    Much love

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  4. Your comments, posts, stories always seem to come at the right time and moments for me. Thanks for sharing Jesse - our generation is all too quick to assume we will live forever. I know differently as many do - I lost my dad in August of 2000 to a fatal heart attack caused by Cornorary Heart Disease. I as well as many family memembers take for granted that we will be here for ever when the reality of it is - your right we have to take care of ourselves first. It's harder to do I think when your a mom - we mom's tend to focus more on the needs of everyone else. I am gulity of this task and am trying to make sure I put myself first before anything or anyone, but that is super hard to do on some days. Keep on trucking I say. Thanks for all you do and all you share.

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