Health News (Week 31 – 2015)
By Robert Redfern
An epidemic that will change the course of human history is that of dementia. Much worse than any disease such as ebola, cancer or lung disease, the cost, both in emotional and financial terms is greater for the family and society.
Dementia can be a cruel disease that breaks apart relationships, devastating emotions and is by far one of the most expensive diseases for families and society to have to provide care and support for, over a very long time.
Long-term readers will know my books cover healthy lifestyle plans to both prevent and reverse these diseases. Many have had great results following these plans but something that is missing from my books is becoming apparent and it may be the greatest factor for all of us to get and stay healthy…this factor is willpower and self-control.
Willpower and Self-Control
A couple of weeks ago I was listening to an interview on the BBC Desert Island Discs program with Noel Gallagher from the band Oasis and he mentioned that he had been taking many (so-called) addictive drugs. He said he reached a point where he realised it was a crazy thing to do and he decided to stop the drugs. What really caught my attention is that he said it was easy for him to stop immediately as he had always had strong willpower and felt he could achieve anything he set his mind to.
This reminded my of the time my mother died (30 years ago) and I decided to give up smoking (cigarettes). I had tried to give them up for ten years previously and like many whined that it was addictive and very difficult to stop. The premature death of my mother aged 62 helped me to discover a strength I did not know I had and I threw the pack of cigarettes into the stove and I have never wanted one since. Where was the addiction? The addiction was exposed as weakness when compared to human willpower.
I don’t claim I have strong willpower compared to Noel Gallagher but slowly over the last 30 years I have come to realise that willpower is the X-Factor for human achievement. Anything I have achieved (or not achieved) is due to willpower (or lack of it). A book that really brought it home to me is: ‘WillPower: Rediscovering Our Greatest Strength’ by Roy Baumeister & John Tierney.
In his book he reveals research showing that most of our willpower is in place by the time we are 4 years old and a simple test of the 4 year-old kids showed that willpower correlated with their ultimate success later in life. The good part is he also shows that willpower can be improved at any time in our life and given enough motivation ‘when making’ changes, slowly our willpower and self-control will make changes easier.
There are many willpower videos on YouTube you can watch that will help you to strengthen your willpower and self-control, but be very choosy.
Addiction to Junk Food
Junk foods are the main cause of disease. There is no doubt about that. Immune systems are made weak, arteries are damaged, lungs are crippled, joints degenerate, eyesight is lost, babies are born with defects, and the dementia epidemic is happening to younger and younger adults.
Junk foods, mainly grains, cereals and potatoes: breads, cakes, cookies, breakfast cereals, rice, sugary drinks, processed fruit juices, chargrilled foods, artificial fats, and junk salt are some of the very difficult addictions to resist. There are various reasons for this but the main one is that the junk food industry knows that sugar and salt are highly addictive.
Is it because we are Lacking in Willpower? Even animals become addicted to sugar and salt after being exposed for a very short time and they go through withdrawal symptoms. The main thing is they never really kick the habit and this applies to humans as well.
Giving up cigarettes was easy compared to giving up bread. Of course the big reason it is difficult to give up junk food is it is everywhere. It is served in most restaurants, on sale in most grocery stores, served when you go to dinner, a BBQ, at the movies… I mean junk is everywhere, compared to cigarettes.
I can count on my hands the number of times I have been in the company of people who smoke cigarettes in the past 30 years. Junk foods are different. Unless I stay home and keep the TV switched off, I am exposed to junk foods everywhere I go. Even Noel Gallagher and Roy Baumeister could have difficulty resisting junk foods.
The Solution The moral of the story is we need much more willpower and self-control to avoid these junk foods that are stealing our health.
The steps I suggest are:
- Recognise that it is very difficult to resist this addictive junk.
- Only shop for your shopping list of foods and resist picking up impulse junk items.
- Stop one junk food type at a time (if that is easier).
- Always have tasty healthy alternatives available to eat.
- Google alternative restaurants such as Paleo, Vegan or Raw Foods.
- When invited for dinner, explain diplomatically to the host you are trying to make these changes.
- Constantly evaluate any weakness in your willpower and self-control and work on small steps to strengthen them.
Is it Worth It?
That is your call but I am enjoying working in my 70th year and have a long-term business and personal development plan to stay fit and healthy. This can only happen if I continue to develop my willpower and self-control.
What Help Can I Offer?
At present the offer from our Good Health Coaching service is in the form of hand holding to help keep you on the plan to good health. My long-term business plan is to expand our Health Coaching service and eventually offer support for willpower development.
If you feel you need help to keep to a good health plan then go to www.MyGoodHealthClub.com to take advantage of this free Health Coaching Service.
My Books are Free!
You can see all of my Free eBooks here and are welcome to share the link with anyone.
Many of my books are available to buy in print, click here.
Remember! If it feels tough making these changes then please contact our Health Coaching team Here, to help you with your personal plan.
Regards and Good Health,
Nutritionalist, Author & Broadcaster
Noel Gallagher on Desert Island Discs – www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b062hplj
WillPower: Rediscovering Our Greatest Strength – see a talk to children on YouTube www.youtube.com/watch?v=ibui4M4eito
Also see the book WillPower: Rediscovering Our Greatest Strength on Amazon or download the audio version.