By Younas Chaudhary
I ate fast-food frequently throughout most of my life. Wendy’s was my favorite restaurant for at least a couple of decades. One of their locations was just next door to my office in Wichita, Kansas. I would often order and enjoy a double cheeseburger, fries, and frosty. It was so bad that if people didn’t find me in my office, they would come looking for me at Wendy’s. I ate poorly, had rough daily routines, and ignored my health for several years of my adult life.
When I was at home, I ate steaks daily and lamb gosht (traditional lamb curry) at least twice a day. I couldn’t live without meat every day despite dire warnings from my wife, who encouraged me to follow a healthy lifestyle. I would always keep it for another day.
My wife had a healthy lifestyle- yoga, gym, everyday walks, and a vegan diet. She would ask me to go with her for a walk and, after a lot of coaxing, I would. But, after 15 minutes I would retreat saying I was tired and bored. She often warned me that without proper diet and exercise, I would get sick.
Everything changed for me in June 2014 when my wife was suddenly diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. I saw her health deteriorate right in front of me despite her healthy lifestyle. This became a moment of realization for me.
For the first two years after her diagnosis, I was quite depressed and grappled with the question of why this had happened to her. How can a healthy slim person get afflicted by a disease with no hope to regain her past health?
I felt that if her health could deteriorate so quickly, then taking care of my mental and physical health should be a priority. So, I slowly started adopting a healthy lifestyle.
My transition from a fast-food eater to eating healthy food, trying to keep my mind relaxed, and exercising was hard and painful. As a meat eater, I detested salads, thinking it was for rabbits, and I never exercised in my life. So, around 5 years ago, I began with some yoga, then started walking, taking hiking trips, and recently added biking to my exercise routine.
Today, I walk for around 40 minutes in the morning and bike for half an hour in the evening. An early riser, I’ve adjusted my work schedule so that I wake up at around 5:30 am, do some work, and then go for a walk. Earlier, I would have taken a quick shower, skipped breakfast, and left for the office to work long hours including half days on Saturdays.
I’ve switched from eating meat three times daily to just once. I’ve also cut down the portions I eat. These days I eat more salads, fish, chicken, vegetables, and other healthy foods. I eat around the same time three times a day. I mostly try to eat home cooked, fresh food. I eat dinner at 6:00 PM sharp, the portions have become smaller, and I am quite careful about my daily food choices.
What have these changes done to me?
- I have become slimmer, and my weight is well-maintained
- I need less medication to manage high blood pressure and cholesterol due to genetic causes
- I am no longer grumpy
- I feel healthier, happier, and pleasant
- Health is my number one priority
- I am positive in my thinking, I am calmer, and more mature in my behavior
- My relationships with coworkers have positively changed
- I am a more empathetic person
If I can do this despite my strenuous lifestyle, running multiple businesses, and being my wife’s main caregiver, I believe anyone can do it. I encourage people to stop making lame excuses that you don’t have time, energy, or money for exercise.
All you need is an open path for a morning walk, a mind that thinks before your hand goes into your mouth, and the desire to lead a positive, healthy, and happier lifestyle. So, why wait for tomorrow or the next day, let’s get a routine that is good for your mind, body and soul started today. Blessings.
The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this article are my own and do not represent the opinions of any entity with which I have been, am now, or will be affiliated. Further, I make no warranty regarding the accuracy or effectiveness of my recommendations, and readers are advised to consult other advisors as well as their own judgments in making business decisions.