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A Daily Commitment to Better Health

April 19, 2013 by  
Filed under blog

In early March I was on my way back to Kauai to spend the rest of the winter when we had a long layover in Los Angeles. Unfortunately I had left Dr. Lustig’s book “Fat Chance” at my Salt Lake City office, so I wandered down to the airport bookstore for a copy and stumbled across Daniel Amen’s book “Use Your Brain to Change Your Age”. There is a lot of good stuff in his book including many before and after brain scans of people that turned around bad habits and behaviors both in eating and exercising. The huge difference in those brain scans really got my attention but what stuck with me the most was the story Amen tells about 52 year old Andrew McGill and what he did to end up with a “younger brain, a sharper mind, and a happier life.”

Andrew McGill is a doctor who had totally let himself go and was in poor health (which just goes to show that even being a medical professional does not insure great health.) His brain scan reflected his poor physical state, looking like the scan of a much older man. Daniel Amen says “it could be attributed to a number of causes: alcohol; drugs; environmental toxins, such as mold or organic solvents; infections; a lack of oxygen; or a significant medical problem like severe anemia or low thyroid.” On top of these other possible contributors to his poor health, Dr. McGill weighed 289.5 pounds, which I’m sure was also a major contributing factor.

To cut to the chase and the real heart of the story, McGill had one day “found himself lecturing a diabetic patient about the importance of nutrition, losing weight, and exercise. On the way home he thought to himself, ‘Andy, what a hypocrite you are! When are you going to stop playing around with your own health?’” It wasn’t until later, in November 2006, that McGill finally made a deep, committed vow to never to miss a day of exercising. That was five years ago. Surprisingly, he has kept that promise, not missing a single day. Ever.

Wow! Just … wow! That kind of commitment really made an impression on me. And he was paid well for his commitment. He lost 100 pounds and a new scan showed the brain of a much younger and healthier man. Now, as I mentioned last week, exercise is not the only thing you need to lose weight and be healthy. Dr. McGill also stopped drinking alcohol, which contributes a huge amount of sugar to our diets, among other healthy changes to achieve these results.

The thing is his story was enough for me to make that same commitment to exercise every single day. Truthfully, it’s not that big a deal. There are so many things you can do to get in your exercise each day, things that don’t even require equipment or a trip to the gym—a lunch time walk, a morning run, 10 minutes jogging up and down the stairwell at work, calisthenics on your living room floor while watching your favorite show, etc. The important thing is to do it and if you make a habit of exercising in some manner every single day you will become healthier, especially when combined with healthier eating.

Since reading that story I have only missed one day of exercise and only because my wife had surgery. I have decided that I am going to keep it up for at least one full year … that’s when I hit age 70! And I know I can and will do it. So why don’t you? Is there any reason not to? No. But there are so many, many reasons to take on this simple challenge, aren’t there?

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