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06/20/2024 AGEIST Magazine 396

In spite of knowing that the track we are on has a freight train barreling right at us, why do we sometimes refuse to move? I was swimming the other night in the pool in our area and I saw a man I will call John. He and I had met in the same pool back in December when he regaled me with stories of his love of sausage, eggs, and CocaCola, lamenting his 100lbs of extra weight he had put on, among other health issues. John and I reconnected earlier this week at the same pool. After a quick chat, I asked if he had a doctor — oh yes, and are they running blood tests, oh yes, and how is his LDL cholesterol? Horrible, as was his blood glucose — he is now diabetic. Looking at John, this was not a shock. Then I ask: How are you adapting? Only 1 Coke a day, still loves his manly breakfast feast, and only gets totally shit faced drunk once a week, now using brown sugar rather than white sugar. John, do you know where this is leading?

He knows exactly where all this is leading, but “change comes slowly to someone like me.” The research says that 30% of diabetics are not even diagnosed, meaning they are not seeing a physician and, of those that are, only 50% are able to get their A1C, their average blood glucose levels, below the threshold for diabetes. Why is this when the solution is readily available? It may have to do with identity; how we see ourselves in relation to others. Dr. Dave Rabin spoke about this idea on the SuperAge podcast: we all live within a box of our own creation; it is our world. Outside of that box is the everything, the entire world, and it is unknown. We are wired to prefer the bad known to the possibly better unknown. If we see ourselves as someone like John — big, physical veteran who eats manly food and gets hammered occasionally — then adopting a Mediterranean diet, going for more walks, and leading a healthier lifestyle could be a radical shift in identity. Getting someone to modify habits is hard; getting them to adopt a new set of beliefs about themselves is really hard.

In a conversation that we will be running soon with the gold medal Olympic skier Picabo Street, she spoke about the difference between fitting in and belonging. In the first case, it means taking some of the edges off of who we are so that we can fit in, not really being our authentic selves. In the latter, we claim our greatness, whatever the super power we each may have, finding the group we belong in. We are authentically ourselves. This is hard; it is scary; it is us moving against the person we have accepted we are to the person we could be. In order to make such a move it helps if we feel a sense of safety. It is hard to take in new information when we are scared of where it may lead. I know when I am frightened, be it physically or socially, the answer to pretty much anything is a hard no; then, after I calm down, I can reappraise and give it a better look. With John, I have to wonder about how scared he must be of becoming what is, in his mind, a different version of himself vs the very real possibility of dying. It is easy to pass judgement on people who may seem to be acting in a way that is so obviously harmful; yet, we are looking at this from our view, and to them this change could seem to be even more threatening. After all, what is scarier than becoming someone you are not familiar with? Before we are quick to judge, let’s take a beat and think about what a radical reappraisal of ourselves would feel like. Humans require patience and, unlike AI, we don’t operate on information as much as feelings.

Onward and upward,

See medical disclaimer below. ↓


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The ideas expressed here are solely the opinions of the author and are not researched or verified by AGEIST LLC, or anyone associated with AGEIST LLC. This material should not be construed as medical advice or recommendation, it is for informational use only. We encourage all readers to discuss with your qualified practitioners the relevance of the application of any of these ideas to your life. The recommendations contained herein are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. You should always consult your physician or other qualified health provider before starting any new treatment or stopping any treatment that has been prescribed for you by your physician or other qualified health provider. Please call your doctor or 911 immediately if you think you may have a medical or psychiatric emergency.

Taylor Marks
Taylor Marks is a certified holistic health coach and professionally trained chef from The Institute of Culinary Education. Her passions include the latest research in health science, culinary arts, holistic wellness, and guiding others towards feeling their best.


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