As I turned onto the main road and started driving back to my office…there was one quote from the day that stuck in my mind….
“I just want to live long enough to walk both of my daughter’s down the aisle.”
I had just left a ‘discovery chat’, the first meet and greet, with a middle-aged man who I will refer to as Tom.
Tom was very interested in understanding more about my health coaching services after being referred to me by a local GP.
A ‘discovery chat’ is when I get to know ‘a lot’ more about a potential client…their goals, their challenges and their past history, and when someone gets to know a little more about me and importantly if I can help them.
The conversation is really about finding out if we are a good fit. As it is a journey of change and can be very challenging and emotional for some people.
This first contact can often go for an hour or more, and what I’ve found is when I do find a strong connection with these people, and we’re in a confidential environment, they really open up and share many of their struggles and challenges that have got them to this point.
Back to Tom…on this particular day, where he openly shared with me his health situation, his doctor had advised him that due to having high blood glucose level, being overweight inactivity and high blood pressure, he was a prime candidate for a pre-diabetes.
These words ‘pre-diabetes’ ring in Tom’s ears constantly. He shared that whilst he knew what he was doing, he couldn’t stop. The patterns, the guilt, the shame wasn’t enough to give him the shake-up he needed to make a start on being there for his daughters on one of the biggest days of their lives!
We talked a little more about his life…a typical days nutrition…and that particular quote that Tom repeated a number of times.
“I just want to live long enough to walk my daughter’s down the aisle.”
After seeing the expression on his face when he said this and for me being a father of two teenage daughters, I could certainly appreciate the gravity of what he was saying and the position that he was currently in.
Making a change was not an option…it was a matter of urgency.
Generally speaking, Tom’s story and the lifestyle that he is living, his food, exercise, alcohol and sleep is very similar to the one’s that I hear about all-too-often, and that so many people have been living, not for years but decades.
From a nutrition perspective most of us live on a standard modern-day diet which is high in carbohydrates – grains (eg bread, cereal, pasta, etc) and sugar, some obvious and others hidden in ‘diet’ labels and low fat branded products, as well as processed foods and oils.
Here is what I hear of a regular day for many people:
Breakfast – cereal, milk, banana, juice and toast.
Morning tea – muffin, or a biscuit and coffee.
Lunch – salad sandwich a piece of fruit and a soft drink/ water.
Afternoon tea – biscuit or a chocolate bar and a drink on the run.
Dinner – meat and vegetables with a bread roll, or pasta with a sauce topping.
Dessert – finishing off with a nice bowl of ice cream.
When we eat carbohydrates, our body breaks them down into various nutrients, one is glucose.
Glucose is a good energy source which our bodies have adapted to over millions of years, to be able to draw on and use in an emergency or ‘fight or flight’ situation, as it is a very short and clean burning fuel.
Our bodies can only use a small amount of glucose and can only store a small amount in our muscles and liver. The rest is stored as fat.
When our bodies use this small amount of glucose, we start to feel hungry, cranky, and we feel the need for more carbohydrates for more energy…so we eat more carbohydrates and the cycle continues.
However, if you eliminate foods such as grains and sugar and focus on low healthy carbohydrates, medium protein, high healthy fat foods such as meat, fish, vegetables, eggs, fruit, nuts, seeds, avocado & coconut products…changes occur.
Over time you are able to reprogram your genes, and your body learns to burn fat for energy, rather than glucose.
This fat can be from food you eat or stored body fat…not easy, but certainly doable.
Fat as an energy source is a much slower burning, longer lasting fuel source, that again we have adapted to rely on as our primary fuel source for millions of years and this forms the basis of the nutrition component that I help people with, just like Tom, to walk down the aisle at his daughters’ weddings.
For most people and certainly those who have slipped into pre-diabetic condition, good health and wellbeing can be achieved and maintained with lifestyle changes so lasting family memories like these and many others can be enjoyed and shared for many years to come.
So just because you are aging and your lifestyle has caught up with you, doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t enjoy those wonderful family events for years to come.
There is another way.
Good nutrition is at the core of how our bodies function and can have a massive impact on achieving a long happy healthy life