If this does not inspire you to take action and ownership for your OWN health...nothing will. Aspartame was "invented" by a pharmaceutical company...what do they gain by slowly poisoning consumers? Hmmmm...well the sicker we get, the more medication we will need; the more money they stand to make. Quite simple really and a pretty genius plan (albeit diabolical and twisted...but genius) if all that matters to you is making billions of dollars.
They are counting on us to be passive, ignorant and trusting. The food industry doesn't care either...there is a DEMAND for great tasting "diet" foods and they will supply that demand, no matter what the cost to you and me.
I encourage you to watch the video to the end and empower yourself with INFORMATION that will allow you to make EDUCATED choices about what goes into your body and your children's bodies. We wouldn't take our children (or ourselves) anywhere in our vehicle without safely buckling them in...and yet we may be poisoning them unknowingly with artificial sweeteners. Why? Because we think sugar is bad for them??? Yes we know that excessive sugar consumption is not healthy...but even small amounts of sweeteners are bad for us...and in some people even lethal! Why are we jumping out of the frying pan and right into the fire?
The more reading and research I do, the more disheartened (ok, I'll be honest--pissed off) I become with the Food & Drug Industry. We are being manipulated and lied to and as our society gets sicker...those unscrupulous criminals get richer. Yes, it pisses me off that they have knowingly been poisoning us for 30+ years and they don't really seem to give a damn. It should make us all mad as hell.
The time for chronic apathy is over. There is no greater power than unified consumerism. WE DRIVE THE MARKET. If there is no profit to be made, the product disappears. Period.
So what can we do? Refrain from buying processed food whenever possible; especially anything with artificial, cancer-causing chemicals and sweeteners.
Read more. Trust less. Be an advocate for your own wellness.
Today I spent the day at the RISE UP Self Esteem Workshop for girls ages 8-13. I volunteered to be a table leader which meant that my role was to facilitate the activities and to encourage positive conversation among these young people. It was very eye-opening for me in many ways...as you will see if you choose to read to the end of my ramblings.
The workshop itself was a blend of education, activity and communication to raise awareness of self-esteem, offer strategies for dealing with difficult situations (including bullying), and finally to validate these young women and empower them to make positive choices for themselves, which included advice for healthy eating. Healthy food choices was definitely one area that I felt could have been its own workshop; along with “realistic body images” and “positive self talk”. Although this is an area most adults still struggle with, I am convinced that our damaging perceptions of ourselves and our unhealthy relationships with food begins as young as 5-6 years old. If this could be addressed at a young age, a life of healthy thought patterns and wellness could be set in motion.
Another issue that was made crystal clear today was the pressure that young women put on themselves to live up to the unrealistic representations of beauty that the media has inundated them with. It is nothing less than tragic. I think it is even more challenging for this generation of young women because they not only have to contend with television commercials and magazines, but they also now have the internet which is engineered to flood them with messages of inadequacy… all calculated to ensure consumerism in these future spenders.
There are programs on the internet designed to recognize search patterns of “surfing behavior” and throw specific advertisements in front of users. It is not random or left to chance…it is a carefully orchestrated maneuver to gear advertising towards not only specific demographics, but specifically to YOU. How scary is that? (Imagine, those programs, if put into the wrong hands, could manipulate an entire culture…. But I digress.)
Is it effective as hell? You bet! Ever wonder how the ads in front of you seem to play right into your desires or insecurities? It is not a coincidence that a few days ago you were Googling exercise tips or healthy recipes and suddenly ads are popping up all over the place advertising weight loss clinics, diet pills and health clubs. As adults, we have the capacity to rationalize and better understand this process. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for our young people. Those “messages” are playing right into their insecurities and their feelings of “I am just not good enough”.
I truly feel for this generation of young people because they have a vast cornucopia of mixed media messages contributing to their head trash; way more than we ever had. It is constantly in their face. What tools can we offer our children to ensure that they have the self-confidence strong enough to prevail over blatant commercialism that is designed to evoke pain to sell products? It dawned on me today, that now more than ever, workshops like RISE UP are imperative for our youth to empower them to be critical thinkers and secure, well adjusted grown-ups. It is my responsibility, and that of other coaches, to utilize our skills towards mentoring our youth and help them understand the importance of setting and reaching their own personal goals. Nothing is more powerful than personal accomplishment in building self-esteem and confidence.
My goal moving forward is to put together and facilitate a free support group for young women, ages 15-18 to offer them a safe forum in which to share their challenges, beliefs, and goals; and support one another through mutual understanding and recognition. My purpose as a coach would be to mentor and encourage them to set goals, offer strategies to overcome any barriers or limiting beliefs, and offer new skills that allow them to make effective choices and raise their self-esteem; so that they can move forward in their lives with purpose and confidence. I see an opportunity for other educators, coaches and mentors, who share my passion, to participate in these sessions and share their knowledge with these young women. Imagine the ripple effect! We could contribute to a culture of courageous, confident, independent young women that will have the tools they need to be critical thinkers and positively impact the universe.
Agree or disagree? Please take a few moments to share your questions, comments or general observations on the topic.
Today is February 5th. It is a day that, for me, has tremendous significance in terms of why I am the person that I am today. It is a day that holds very sad memories for me but also a day that empowers me, and reminds me of why I can’t ever stop caring about myself; physically, emotionally and spiritually.
February 5 is the day that my Dad suffered from a massive stroke, at the young age of 64.
I am often asked what inspired me to lose weight, how did I do it. What was my motivation? We all have experienced pivotal moments in our lives that redirected us, promoted change, and even propelled us forward. For me, losing my Dad was that pivotal moment.
It is important to know that my father led a very sedentary life. He was not overweight by any means, nor was he a drinker. To look at him you wouldn’t think that he was an unhealthy man. He was probably very typical of most people. He pretty much ate whatever he wanted, which primarily consisted of fast or “fried” food, and of course, sugary desserts and snacks. He was a smoker. Oh, and one more thing, his idea of exercise was crossing the room to retrieve the remote control, and only because he couldn’t train the cat to fetch. (No disrespect intended…I inherited my Dad’s smart ass sense of humour. He would have found that funny!)
I have since come to understand that it was the combination of poor nutrition, smoking and lack of exercise that led to his stroke and ultimate death, but at the time it just didn’t make any sense to me. How could someone so young just suddenly die? Strokes were for old people. Surely in this day and age a person should expect to live well into their eighties, right? I mean, my Dad was only 64!
In fact he was only 26 years older than me.
This was my wake up call. The unhealthy choices I was making for myself, in terms of food and lack of exercise, were not that much different than his. And worse than that, as the matriarch of my family, I was creating this lazy, unhealthy culture for my kids. (Can I blame Nintendo, please?) I was raising them to be lethargic, fast food eaters and sugar junkies. I was leading them down a path of obesity and sickness. Wasn’t it my responsibility as their mother to teach them how to be healthy; to be safe? I took great care to make sure they looked both ways before crossing a street, to hold a hand rail when going up or down the stairs, to never talk to strangers…and yet, here I was, forgetting the most fundamental life lessons to ensure a long and healthy life…to eat well and exercise.
So I had asked myself this question. “What if I only had 26 years left to live; would I be ok with that?” I was 38 years old but my biological age was probably closer to 60. I was sick. I woke up tired. I couldn’t climb the stairs without stopping half way. I suffered from constant headaches. I popped Imodium like tic-tacs. I also was borderline diabetic. (My Doctor had shared that with me a few years before and advised me to eat better…yadda, yadda, yadda…)
Yes. It was that bad. And yes, I was in serious denial.
I didn’t want to die a young-ish woman. I wanted to see my children through their graduations and marriages. I wanted to experience the joy of being a grandparent. I was looking forward to watching my grown children endure through the terrible two’s, back talk, and defiance from their own children (with great anticipation and glee I might add). I wanted to grow old and travel the world with my beautiful husband. I wanted to be a sexy senior!
I had to take absolute, complete, total, 100% ownership of my choices. My motivation was me. I chose life. And in doing so, I have created a healthier, happier future for my kids. By my actions I have taught them to live responsibly, to educate themselves, and be critical thinkers. I will be around to watch my precocious, opinionated daughter grow into a woman who will change the world! (I apologize for her teen years, but I promise, she will be an amazing, strong and powerful woman…if her Dad and I don’t kill her first.)
My Dad would have turned 70 this year. In the 5 years he has been gone, among many happy events, he has missed seeing his grand-daughter Stephanie’s marriage, the birth of his 3rd great-grandchild Freddie, and my child Anthony graduating from high school. He would have been so incredibly proud of them.
My Dad is gone.
But I am still here, maybe even thanks to him. He has inspired me to turn my life around, and in turn, to help others.
He would have been fiercely proud of me too.
Jen P.S. Ironically, February is Heart and Stroke Awareness month. Please visit www.heartandstroke.ca. It is a wonderfully informative website that offers education and tools for healthy living! As well, learn the symptoms and signs of a heart attack or stroke. You could save someone’s life. Maybe even your own.
This Blog is dedicated to my Dad, Thom.