It seems that health practices, and especially health advice, change every few months. But many of us have been doing the same old things for years and nothing too bad has happened…right?! Enter your 50s, 60s, and beyond. Well…things certainly can change, especially if you’ve been following conventional dietary and general “healthy” living advice (or not). Suddenly we’re hearing about metabolic syndrome, diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer, coronary heart disease, arthritis, and more. We all know how hard it is to change daily habits, but after 20, 30, or more years? It’s even harder and may feel like it’s impossible. How many New Year’s resolutions have we all broken?
However, when motivated (or even scared) enough, we can move mountains of bad habits and after the initial transition, start enjoying the rewards that come…like not aching anymore, feeling more energetic, relaxed, calm, etc. Our moods can change, and with that, our outlook on life can become more positive and seem more hopeful. Here are a few suggestions to try out:
Stop eating foods that are addictive and harming us! Cut out the grains and heavy sugar intake. At first it might be quite hard, but focus on the positive aspects of making these dietary changes. Many people, after a few months of healthy eating habits, are finding themselves being taken off medications because their conditions are diminishing and even disappearing! Remember – our foods are correlated with our moods. Yes, it’s science. Read all about it.
Replace your bad eating habits with healthy ones. Focus on all the delicious foods you still can eat that you love and crave. Healthy fats and sauces are quite filling. You can bake your own goodies in a way that is not harming your health with almond or coconut flour and a healthy sweetener. I personally enjoy salads with various veggies and meats. Eventually your physiological cravings for grains and sugars will diminish which makes it easier to navigate through the emotional ones.
Find a group of people you can meet with (form a support group) with similar goals. Whether online or in person, it is easier to share your triumphs and difficulties with others who have the same health goals. However, do not let someone else’s negative mood change your hopeful and positive one!
Think about why you eat or perhaps smoke or drink the way you do. If necessary, engage some mental health services to help you navigate the burdens of emotional and cognitive connections to eating and behavior. Above all else – dare to believe you can do this!
Get moving! Even if this means just walking a little more, this is a positive thing. Most cell phones come equipped with apps which can measure minutes of movement and numbers of steps taken. Or you can download a free app. I recommend starting with a modest goal of perhaps 30 minutes and 3,000 steps per day.
While I am not saying this is easy, it should get easier over time. Make up your mind to do something positive for yourself and stick with it! If you fall, just get up and start all over again. I am doing this myself, and know how hard it can be. Remember, if I can do it, so can you!