A while back someone used to be my Facebook friend responded to a post asking whether a size 24 model was a role model.
She said something to the effect of ‘that person should never be a role model. She is a disease laden piece of crap and you never see obese old people and there’s a reason for that.’
Except that I know this person knew someone who was obese and old. And I did too.
Grandma Helen, Ryan’s grandma lived to be 87. And in all but the last couple months of her life, she was sharp, vibrant and active. And even in those last couple months, she lobbied to get out of the hospital to attend our family Christmas party…2 weeks before she died.
By the time I met Grandma Helen, I had spent almost a decade researching obesity, physical activity and health. Everything I learned told me Grandma Helen should not have enjoyed quite the vibrant life she did.
Here is what I learned about ladies who vibrantly live until 87 from Ryan's grandma.
1. They are active. Grandma Helen went places and did things. And didn’t stop.
2. They never did boot camp for exercise. Do you know what old ladies do? Whatever they like. Walk. Garden. Play sports like golf and tennis. Movement doesn’t stress them out, it moves their lives forward. Do you ever watch old ladies mall walk? They look so happy. They chat.
3. They garden. I swear every old lady I know of had a garden and ate from it.
4. They bake cookies. They eat cookies and they do it with love. I don’t think Grandma Helenate their entire cookie jars. I never once heard either grandma reference their hips when they ate cookies…or ever.
I could go on for hours about the amount of power I give to cookies and their effects, but Grandma's treat baking cookies as a vessel of love. Because they are created, consumed and shared with love.
5. They keep their brains sharp. They played cards and games. Grandma Helen read to old people.
6. They pray. Life is stressful and hard if you believe you have to do it all by yourself. They believed that their higher power was with them and would keep them strong.
7. They were filled with Grace. In the 10 years I knew Grandma Helen, I never heard her speak ill or complain. She probably did, but it was not pervasive.
8. They didn’t complain about their bodies.
The secret is that most of these things are not confined to Ryan's grandma. These are the things that healthy people and healthy cultures do.
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