Healthier with Each Year

Dr Neale Heal with Dr. Neale

Why can’t we get healthier and feel better with each passing year? Who says aging has to be a slow depressing process where we accumulate limiting health problems and watch collagen lose its hold? For some time now I’ve been after health like a dog with a bone. I have been practicing sustained lifestyle habits and my resolve. Resolve is like a religious act, come to find, and self-care is like a religion. It takes continual practice, dedication, and acceptance of oneself. I use failure as my best teacher and I keep on trudging on. I figure, I have the rest of my life to evolve my healthful self-care practices, so I can take it in stride. Each year I try a “small” tweak to my resolve and see how it lands in real time.

In 2015, I decided to tackle the elusive “regular exercise” dynamic. The me I always knew wasn’t an “exerciser.” I was the type who would start T-25 or the-like and hit it hard for 38 days and then stop for a year or so. Then something truly magical happened. A Bikram studio opened up in my town that was minutes from my house. My intention was to go and keep going even if that meant taking a week or a month off, but to keep going back after a pause. It worked. I went. I kept going back. I averaged 2.2 classes per week give or take a month off (August!). I watched my body and soul change as if I was a passenger observing. I found a home for sustainable exercise in my life, and exercise will never be homeless around me again.

In 2016, I decided to tackle the elusive “convenient but healthful eating” dynamic. Our food culture here in the US is the extreme polar opposite of convenient but healthful eating. As you may remember, I love systems. I systematized our food intake given the amazing resources now available, i.e. SunBasket, or a Vitamix – and husband played along, again. He’s a trooper. We tweaked after each little fail and tried again to add convenience and remove obstacles. It stuck. I watched, like a proud self- parent, as my/our hand-to-mouth habits changed and stayed changed.

In 2017, I decided to avoid alcohol in its entirety for one year, “a sober year.” I recognized that alcohol, even in small amounts was toxic to my system. My body and mind gave me definitive indications, over and over, that I should stop use. I did not want to stop use. I wanted to find a healthy relationship with good-old-ETOH. Looking back at my life when alcohol was my pretend buddy, I am remiss at just how much time I hung around with my ‘false self.’ I don’t want ETOH back, there is no love lost. I don’t desire it to unwind, to avoid, to socialize, to play, to celebrate, to anything. True story. I do not miss any part of the alcohol act. I now see alcohol for what it is, a toxic escaped convict who is always taking advantage of the smallest vulnerability or crack in the door and whose intentions-aren’t-good. I have arrived at a place I did not know existed. I am calling ‘this place’ my point of no return, where change won’t likely be undone because all desire to undo it – is lost.

In 2018, I decided to tackle “100% food choice resolve.” Another sober year wasn’t quite sexy enough, I wanted to take it up a notch, test my resolve for sustainable absolute change. As you may know, I’ve been a proponent of the 80:20 food relationship, 80 being functional food choices. It’s a flexible and balanced ratio, no? It allows some play, some wiggle, some pleasure – without much consequence, right? I am setting to find out just how much consequence that 20 provides. I am doing this for me AND for you! This year I will avoid (100% of the time) all grains (corn is the exception, sure I’ll try to keep it organic and non-GMO), all milk/dairy, all potato, and all sugar (cane derived) to the best of my ability. Is there a point of no return with food too? I suppose I’ll let you know next year, about this time.

Ps. If you’d like to share your 2018 resolutions with me please do! I’ll record them in your chart and we will have them for some reflection throughout the year and next Jan. Message me your resolutions via your health portal!