Why Even Bother? What’s the Point of this Healthy Food & Exercise?

Debbie Hatch  |  Family & F.I.T.
This is the message that precipitated my blogpost.

This is the message that precipitated my blogpost.

I saw this post on Facebook today and couldn’t help but write to it.  This is a topic I’m more than a little passionate about.
Our parents, and prior generations, provide DNA. That’s not open to debate and there’s nothing we can do about the DNA we were given.  We have what we have.  That is what leads some people to say, “Why bother then?” “Why eat healthy? Why work out? Why use sun screen? Seriously, why bother?’ ….and that really irritates me.
Why bother?  I can easily give you a hundred reasons.  In the interest of not boring you, or posting a 25 page thesis, I’ll limit myself to a Top 3 here.
#1: Because, while we can’t change our DNA, there is SO much we can have an impact on. Epigenetics is proving that, more every single day. If you don’t know what epigenetics is, it’s the study of how external and/or environmental factors can actually switch genes on and off – how things outside our body affect the DNA we can do nothing about. It’s FASCINATING!!!!!!! Truly.
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#2 By making changes in your life, not only do you have an impact on how your genes express themselves, but you influence which genes are passed to your future family 172708-20160116members. Wow!! When you are pregnant, are you going to drink, smoke, and/or eat whatever to heck you feel like? Probably not. Why not? Why bother taking care of yourself and trying to give your baby the best possible start? Why bother, because they (like you) are just at the mercy of their DNA…
If you have time, read more about that here.
#3 Regardless of how long I live, being active and flexible throughout life, is a pretty friggin amazing thing. During the entire time I’m fortunate enough to be here – be that aDIGITAL CAMERA

short or very long time – I am going to be strong and vibrant. Baring an accident or life altering injury/illness (which I’m not going to just sit around and wait for), I am going to be able to run and play with my grandchildren. I am going to be able to get out of a chair by myself and pick myself up if I fall. I am going to carry in my own groceries, and be able to reach and bend to put them away. I sincerely DO plan to be strapping a 35 pound scuba tank on my back, no matter how old I am, and jumping in the water.

The other issue I have with the passage, is equating “bacon upon bacon, butter on top of butter, fat on top of fat, never exercising, and being out in the sun burnt to a crisp” as the definition of “living life to its fullest”. Really?
While we’re talking about genetics, let’s talk about why we humans find such things as butter, bacon, and fat desirable in the first place. “If we were hunting and foraging for food in nature, we would need some way to signal us that we’d found something useful. Thanks to nature and biology, our brains have been hard wired to appreciate three basic tastes: sweet (a safe source of energy), fatty (a dense source of calories) and salty (a means of conserving fluid).” (From It Starts with Food by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig). The problem is that the hyper palatable food-like things we eat today are far, far sweeter, and contain more salt and fat, than anything found in nature. The hits of dopamine we get from eating these things is what keeps us coming back for more, upon more, upon more. It’s not healthy and it’s also not natural.
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Do I eat bacon? …and cookies, and cupcakes, and “bad” foods? Hell, yes!!! But I do those things in moderation. Regardless of what my DNA has in store for me, or maybe because of it, I am not going to equate the quality of my life with how much butter I can eat. Some of us would say that having the opportunity to eat fresh fruits and vegetables, move our body, and exercise – while also “jumping in the ocean, speaking the truth, being silly, kind, and weird”, driving our motorcycle, and all of the other amazing things that active, flexible people can choose to do, leads to a pretty friggin amazing life as well.

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