ageist editors | august 2, 2018


aging well is hard work

This week I learned one of my high school classmates, who has also been overweight/obese for decades, has Type 2 diabetes, organ complications and a grim future. I have no knowledge of what has been said between him and his doctors these past decades, but I can make a pretty good guess. Maybe they gently mentioned that he should “stay active” and maybe lose a bit of weight. Maybe they explained away the weight gain as just what happens with age. And all the while he is dying in front of them. Those are the sort of doctors I run from.

There has been an abdication of responsibility both on the part of patients and doctors that is causing the biggest health crises in the world today. Somehow it has become ok to be overweight, because the thinking goes, at least you are not obese. No, it is very much not ok. It has been shown to lead to things like insulin resistance, Type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer's, joint issues, metabolic syndrome, on and on. This is not speculation, this is what can happen. The cause of weight gain in 98% of people is not genetics, it's self-imposed.  

People simply do not understand how food interacts with their bodies. They also do not understand exercise. This is not rocket science, it’s very simple, but we’ve lost our way.

Being overweight and engaging in other anti-health activities is everyone’s right. If they wish, anyone can commit slow suicide. But it is a moral failure on the part of the medical establishment when they do not directly confront and educate patients on what is happening and what can be done about it. We have become numb to the truth that these horrid diseases which are now so common, are fully preventable. Does your doctor have his head in the sand and says we just have to suck up a grim reality of a diseased future? Fire him. Then find a good nutritionist, one who is smart and engaged. You eat every day, three times a day, for your entire life. Shouldn’t you learn what that is about? You need your body to be in good shape if you want to age well. Get an expert, the very best you can find, one who understands that building muscle is life saving and understands how to do it with people our age. Those little 5lb weights and the elastic bands are not going to do it, and simply eating less calories is also not going to do it.

We have lost a sense of personal and community responsibility in so many areas. For me, this is where I take a stand. I have a media company, I have influence, and I will keep hammering on about this. This is not about financial capacity: walking is free, and broccoli is affordable. This is about education and behavior. Actions have consequences, and you can choose the ones my classmate did, or not. The life ahead of you is a result of the actions you take today. Let’s do this thing.