Ilsa Burns here.
Baby Boomer, senior citizen, (according to Social Security), grandmother (of five) and looking forward to many more healthy years on this planet. Hey, I don’t want to live forever, but I do want to live without the burdens of chronic disease.
This was me, not too long ago:
- I felt tired all the time. I had trouble focusing.
- I lost my patience pretty easily.
- I felt unmotivated.
- I experienced all kinds of digestive issues.
- I noticed my blood sugar levels rising at each doctor’s visit.
- I suffered daily (and nightly!) aches and pains.
- I found it impossible to lose any excess weight. (although that had not been a problem a decade before that…).
- Oh, did I mention that I had tried just about every diet out there by the time I turned 55? (Grapefruit, anyone?) My sister and I even tried the Popcorn Diet, which was a thing, back in the day.
- Oh, all the diets were successful, haha, but I gained all the weight back. Sometimes even more than I had lost.
- I couldn’t find the energy to do what I wanted to do.
- I was watching my older relatives and friends end up in nursing homes because they could not take care of themselves.
“If I was having all those problems in my 50’s, I thought, “what would my life be like after I retired?”
- I started to worry about becoming a burden to my family when I retired.
- I wondered if I’d be able to be an active grandmother.
- I became afraid of getting Alzheimer’s or dementia.
- I became confident that I was headed towards diabetes or pre-diabetes. One in three adults has it. And the risk does not decrease as we age.
- I assumed that if my family members suffer(ed) from chronic diseases, then that would be my future, too.
I mean, isn’t that just the way the elderly in this day and age end up?
The short answer? NO, IT IS NOT!!!!!!!
In my early fifties, my health started to deteriorate. Problems began to appear, and the medical community’s only responses were to say, “I’ve never heard of that before” or “Take this pill.” Each drug that I was prescribed had unwanted side effects. Often I was given no guidance at all, because my symptoms did not show up in the drug catalogues’ lists of symptoms.
I was so sure that there was a better way.
It turns out that I was right.
I started to scour the library and the internet and found amazing teachers there. I found practitioners who understood the importance of finding the root causes for ailments like joint pain, depression, extreme fatigue, anxiety, skin diseases and uncomfortable and embarrassing digestive issues.
I started to apply their advice, which involved treating the root causes of each symptom. I changed my diet and I established a bunch of new habits, while I trashed a fair number of old ones.
That turned out not to be enough. I decided to become a certified holistic health coach after attending Institute for Integrative Nutrition’s year-long deep dive into over 100 dietary traditions, new and old. There I learned from the most respected health and wellness experts on the planet.
Not being satisfied that I could adequately address the varied challenges of my clients, I then became an ADAPT-Certified Functional Health and Wellness Coach through the Kresser Institute. I thus became completely confident in my ability to support my clients as they struggled to reach their goals.
This is me now:
- I am 66.
- I currently take no prescription or over-the-counter drugs.
- I am 38 or so pounds lighter than I was when I started this journey.
- I have no need for willpower any more.
- My health is now in my own hands, which is where I’d like it to be.
- I now live without having to worry about what my life will be like in 10 or 20 years.
I have a compelling reason to keep going on this path. Unless I get hit by a truck, I feel confident that I will be dancing at my four-year-old granddaughter’s wedding. Maybe not in heels, but I’ll be there without a wheelchair or a cane.
What will your life be like when you’re retired?
What is your why?