The drop in American life expectancy is a manifestation of the fact that we are expecting less from our own lives.
Two years ago I drove to work listening to Kimberly Perry sing:
"If I die young bury me in satin Lay me down on a bed of roses...
The sharp knife of a short life, Well I've had just enough time"
Unexpectedly, my own conscience cut like a knife through my soul. I realized I had NOT had enough time. I knew I had been taking my children, their patience and love, for granted. I realized I was living below MY own expectations and desires for motherhood. I stood at judgement with only myself and I could not defend myself. I cried, but a hopeful cry that watered seeds of change.
This was a similar pain I felt 9 years ago as I lay pregnant, binge eating, feeling the abuse I had just inflicted on myself pulsing through my veins. I had to find solutions, I had to change.
Pains drive us to find solutions. This is why I am building dieting differently. To share a solution- use food to fuel our dreams instead of allowing it, in the name of happiness, to limit our happiness.
You have pains too. Many of which you have found solutions for! Share those with your family, friends, and the world. It is your gift to the world. It will bring you and others joy.
Other pains you have kept buried under excuses, avoiding the painful (but relieving) moment where you have to face them. I do too.
Facing your mortality is a powerful tool prioritizing and re-aligning yourself with your values, fixing your deep pains. So, if you died unexpectedly, would you have regret? What do you want others to remember you for?
Whatever the answer is, give more attention to it.
We are facing our mortality sooner than our parents too. The life expectancy has dropped for the 3rd year in a row due to drug overdoses, alcohol deaths and disease, and obesity-related diseases. As a culture, we have little better to do than slowly kill ourselves in the name of instant gratification. Our consumerism is distracting us from deeper human needs. We need to stop avoiding our pains and find more purpose from our pains. We put the things we want today above the things we want most. We say we want relief, but really we want more than that. We want joy too.
Maybe moderation is the lie we keep feeding ourselves to avoid taking on the joyful struggle we really crave but are afraid to take on. As Dr. Brene Brown said joy is "the most terrifying, difficult emotion we feel as humans." There is nothing moderate about that.
I take Dr. McGreger's advice: "Eat fruits and vegetables like your life depends on it. Because in reality, it does." For me, it is a little more than that. My ability to feel joy and experience life is enhanced with a strong body and mind. Living life to its fullest depends upon eating well.
There is some cutting edge science that supports this too. Next Monday I will be discussing this with one of my favorite nutritionists, Monical Reiagel, also known as Nutrition Diva. Check out her podcast here. We discuss a newly discovered and powerful source of dopamine (AKA pleasure!) that you can only get from eating healthy. Sounds pretty good, right? It IS!
I often wonder if people will think my views are a bit out there. Maybe I will be like many artists who never make money on their work until they die. I'm ok with that. It is only fitting to finish with Kimberly Perry's words again:
A penny for my thoughts, oh no I'll sell them for a dollar They're worth so much more after I'm a goner And maybe then you'll hear the words I been singin' Funny when you're dead how people start listenin'"