Lim: Living better

Melanie T. Lim

THERE are the health nuts. And there are the naysayers. The health nuts are more passionate than television evangelists. The naysayers are more pessimistic than the dark clouds that drape the sky on a dreary day.

I’m not a health junkie, but I don’t exactly espouse the idea of eating in excess or living like a couch potato for the rest of your life. And I’m saying for the rest of your life—because it’s never too late to start getting up from the couch.

It’s never too late to take the stairs or to carry the groceries—yourself. It’s never too late to put the bag of chips down or to go easy on the candy or cake. It’s never too late to pick up some dumbbells or to do some squats.

It’s never too late to make better choices in life.

I’ve made both good and bad choices in life. I took up gymnastics at the age of 14. This evolved into jazz, aerobics and martial arts. Sometime in my mid-thirties, however, I stopped going to the gym—ironically, for health reasons.

The sabbatical from the gym unnecessarily stretched into a decade. Age inconveniently happened. After hearing that I looked pregnant, I was mortified—mortified enough to return to the gym. After shedding the pounds, however, I quit.

Fast forward to 2017 when I was diagnosed with kidney cancer. Surgery excised the cancer, but surgery rendered me physically weak and scared. I was determined to regain my strength. That’s how I returned to the gym.

I lost the capacity to do many things after a decade of a sedentary lifestyle. Now, I want to continue staying fit and strong. The road ahead is long, hard and offers no guarantees. But isn’t life the same?

I no longer eat in excess—a habit I acquired from those days long gone of being able to eat anything and not gain a single pound. Today, I believe in eating in moderation and in the mantra that the best exercise is “to push the plate away” when you’re full.

There are the basics to good health: sleep, nutrition, hydration, exercise, peace of mind, social interaction. But where special diets and exercise regimens are concerned, one size does not fit all.

It doesn’t matter if a bestselling author says it worked for millions of people. If it doesn’t work for you, stop doing it. You are not millions of people. You are you. Do what you think is best for you. And don’t start a health and fitness journey on the premise that this will make you immune from disease and/or death. No product, idea or lifestyle can offer you this guarantee.

Our choices in life don’t necessarily allow us to live longer because the reality is that God decides how and when it’s time to go. We strive to make better choices in life not because these choices allow us to live longer but because these choices allow us to live better.

Living longer is not our call. Living better is.