What the health?

I’m sure many of you have seen the documentary What the health? In fact, many of you have vowed to no longer eat meat and other processed foods because of this documentary.

I hear you.

You know, I once saw Magic Johnson preach about all the consequences and risks of safe sex, like HIV and well… I can imagine some of you have taken that risk, as well as myself,  but whatever. Different things move people in different ways I suppose, good luck.

As I noticed all the new health nuts and vegans I found myself becoming annoyed with them. Not necessarily because of the message but because of how “preachy” they were. I chalked it up to human nature. I guess that when people start something new or find out “new” information there is something in us that makes us want to share. Not only share the information but get others on board.

Then there is me. I have been on somewhat of a health kick off and on for a few years now. Becoming more conscious of what I eat and changing my diet. From limiting certain foods to a Paleo diet to a pescatarian diet to sometimes going vegan for a week or two and even intermittent fasting there isn’t much that I haven’t tried to do. After doing all of this I came to the conclusion that you can eat super strict and healthy or at the very least eat the “bad” things in moderation. Add in some exercise and consistent check-ups at the doctor and you should be ok.

So, with this “knowledge”, I have been doing much better and able to lose a substantial amount of weight. People ask me what was my motivation and I explained that it was several things. One motivation was a woman telling me I was built like Prince Fielder (Google him). There was also a good old off guard picture of me on social media. See, when we take our own selfies and pics and post them on social media we have the ability of not only picking the best picture but also being able to work our angles and utilize filters. However, when someone takes a picture of us that we aren’t prepared for, the “real” us is seen. It just so happened that at one of my friend’s weddings there was a picture of me that was taken and posted and I was fat as hell in the picture. Still somewhat upset that no one told me.

The biggest motivation, however, was My Mom and to a lesser extent my family history.

In regards to my family history. On my Dad’s side, I’m probably the 3rd or 4th oldest male in the family. I’m only 35 years old. Now the reasons for some male relatives deaths weren’t always health related but still. The fact that there aren’t as many of us living after a certain age made me somewhat afraid.  Now let’s add my theory that has me dying in my 30s. Quick explanation. My Grandfather died in his 50’s. My Dad and uncle died in their 40s. My Cousin born the generation after me died in his 20s. So by my calculations, it means that I’m on borrowed time. Kind of eery but I would like to think that I am prepared if it happens.

Now let me talk about my Momma, lol. My mother is currently 63 years old and has probably had high blood pressure for 25 of those years and diabetes for 10 – 15 of those years. I honestly didn’t pay much attention to her health while my father was alive but I guess when you’re down to one parent you start to notice everything about them. Also as the only man in the family sometimes I felt as if it was my job to fill that role my father left. I noticed how her feet swelled even larger,  how she would shake, damn near like Ali at times. In fact, I would ask her about it in a joking way, (forgive me champ). I then noticed how she seemed to always drink sweet tea or how she always seemed to be frying something or making pork or cooking vegetables with pork. Then all of a sudden she seemed to be in the hospital a few times a year. That turned into it happening quarterly. I was telling management that my Mom was in the hospital so often that co-workers thought I was lying. As we constantly met with the doctor’s and I read my mother’s paperwork I learned more and more about what was wrong with her and why she was having so many issues. Hell, now that I think about it, it doesn’t take a genius to know that she was eating and drinking so unhealthy that it was impacting her health.

Ok, let’s get my Momma better. I mean she is damn near all we have left, we meaning my sister and me.

Bruh, it was like talking to a brick wall. As we would tell my Mom what she could and couldn’t drink it would fall on deaf ears. You don’t need that juice, you don’t need that tea, cut back on fried foods and pork. She would listen for a few days and then go back to eating whatever she wants. I knew I was in trouble when she proudly showed us a salad that she made. The salad was seasoned, had bacon bits, croutons, cheese, ranch dressing and catalina dressing. Pretty sure it was the most unhealthy salad ever lol. As I continued seeing this behavior I made my peace with things. I knew that because she didn’t live with us that she would not be disciplined enough to stick to the diet. So here I was, attempting to mentally prepare to lose another parent. It was so bad that every time she went to the hospital I would go prepared for the worst. As she told me she was going to eat better I just responded “whatever”. When she would mention any issues I would ask her what has she been eating. After her finally explaining herself I would just say “oh, you want to die”. As blunt and rude as it sounded that was how I felt. The doctor is telling you what to do in order to get better and you keep going against that. So obviously you want to die, so why waste my time telling you what you should do?

My hands were washed. Not because I no longer cared but I realized that you can’t make adults do anything that they do not want to do.

She got out of the hospital a week ago and the doctors informed her that she couldn’t “backslide” anymore. She has to be on a very strict diet. All the salty, fatty foods have to go. All the sweet drinks and candy has to go.

So, with all of this in my head and heart, it makes eating healthier a little easier for me. I swear everyday on FB there is someone posting about a relative dying due to health issues. Hell, every time I speak to my mother she is letting me know about someone else who died because of health issues. The irony of me being healthier is that when it is my time to die it won’t matter. Dead is dead. My healthy ass can walk outside today and be shot by a cop, or a bus can hit me or a mass shooter can kill me or someone in my neighborhood, anything can happen. I get that but I figure while I am here at least my quality of living will be better.

You know, I watched my Mom take an insulin shot and then pull out her pill case for the week which had 12 pills per day that she has to take. Not trying to shame or belittle anyone but that just can’t be me, I refuse.

Besides, like I told my Mom, I have to take care of myself because no one else will. It was a joke about being single but it was also the truth. No one else is responsible for your health. Not your trainer, significant other or your accountability/workout partner. You know, I had someone ask me to be their accountability partner once. I think it lasted about 10 days. After one cheat day and a few excuses too many I was like eff this, not wasting my time. It’s difficult enough making myself eat right and work out daily.

This weekend I went grocery shopping with my Mom and she did a good job in the grocery store. I just hope that this becomes a habit so she can be around longer because as she so eloquently puts it “nobody else gonna put up with your shit like me boy’ and she is right. So please hang around as long as possible. I love you.


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