By Dino Nowak, 50+ Department Editor
Welcome to this, the inaugural article of my entry into the Faith & Fitness Magazine family. Let me start with saying what an honor it is to join Brad and the team at Faith & Fitness Magazine as their editor of the 50+ Department. I’ve known Brad for several years and have always admired the passion and love for people he brings to this project to equip others to live their best life, be encouraged and informed.
Listen to the podcast interview with Dino Nowak produced in partnership with the Divine Wellness Academy.
So, lets dive right in as I get on my soapbox for a moment. A main goal of mine for the 50+ Department is to bring first and foremost something I believe is sorely lacking in the fitness field and that is… Freedom. I’ve been in the industry for over 20 years and have seen diets, pills and programs come and go. Each of them promising miracles, everything from losing weight while you sleep to needing to eliminate entire food groups to become healthy and attain the body you desire. You don’t know me just yet, but those who do would say I’m extremely protective of peoples’ pain and anguish in this realm and them being seen as nothing more than a target market to profit from.
I’ve said for countless years, with the worldwide obesity epidemic we face if anyone had the solution much less a “simple” one that didn’t require you to do anything but take their supplement or follow along a simple diet we would have eradicated that struggle. Every major pharmaceutical company would be engaged in a bidding war for the patent and the individual who created this modern-day miracle would be the recipient of the Noble Prize for their unprecedented contribution to society and the world at large.
Until that takes place, do not fall for any of the gimmicks and fads. Are we to really believe the cure for such a devastating burden to individuals and nations has been on a 3am infomercial all this time? Did no one bother to check channel 1171 for what ails the world? No friends, until you see the above happen you and I will work together here on tried and true methods that bring freedom, health and peace with your body not a war with it.
To achieve lasting change requires many things, top among them are character qualities that are paralleled in our spiritual walk. We just never think to apply them to the battle for our physical bodies. So, while in this series we will dive into specifics that adults over 50 face in caring for their health. This is a shared foundation for success required I believe for any age.
FIRST ON THIS LIST IS HOPE
Without Hope it doesn’t matter if you have the very key to your freedom in hand, you won’t bother to get up and unlock the door. Have you ever heard the story how baby elephants are trained so as adults they can be restrained with a simple rope and stake? When young, a rope is attached to a strong anchor and attached around their foot. They aren’t strong enough to pull the stake out and after repeated failed attempts over time they simply give up once the rope is put around them. Even though later being fully grown they could easily pull the stake and escape. In many cases the rope isn’t even attached to anything it’s just an automated response.
After years of trying and failing, going back and forth most people have similarly resigned themselves and given up. Even if they attempt to try yet again they go into their new endeavor halfhearted not really believing change is possible.
I pray this segment and what we’re about to embark on will do just that, help restore your Hope that with the proper ideology and our future discussions you can make an impact and set a powerful example for those in your family and your sphere of influence. This is so much more than just about a number on the scale or the size clothes you fit into. It’s about living with the freedom, victory and purpose God has called you to. To not be hindered by the self-doubt and whispers of an enemy who knows how to take you out of service not using your talents and gifts for good. These two realms, the spiritual and physical are more intertwined than you realize and it’s why you cannot address the health of one in isolation.
HAVE THE PROPER MOTIVATION FOR CHANGE
To make this stick once and for all, identify higher goals like being around to walk your little girl down the aisle at her wedding. Meet your grandchildren, maybe even great-grandchildren and be able to play with them. One of mine is to still be able to throw a baseball or football and play catch with my son despite previous shoulder injuries from competitive powerlifting. It’s a serious goal of mine just to be able to throw a ball pain free!
Or to be your very best for your family and spouse. To not be so tired and stressed, giving them the dried crumbs of what’s left over at the end of your day. Prayerfully consider your life purpose.
For yourself, to be able to do all the things you enjoy with vigor as you go through life. Not being held back by your body. There are countless examples of people who work hard for years, save for retirement only to not have their body cooperate when fully needed to immerse and engage in all they dreamed of over the years. They end up resigned to “seeing” those experiences from the limited experience of a tour bus when a fuller more engaging way is possible.
How about diving in and snorkel the Great Barrier Reef instead of simply sitting on a boat looking at it through a glass bottom. You see the difference?
What shouldn’t your motivation be?
It shouldn’t be to find your identity in the image in the mirror, to make others like you more, to find a mate. Hear me, not that you won’t feel better and be more confident about yourself, that you won’t be seen as more attractive and maybe even find that special someone because of the changes you’ve made.
The distinction is those are ancillary results not a primary Motive.
If those are your primary motives, it won’t be enough to sustain you through the tough times when you want to quit. Chose a loftier goal and you will inevitably achieve all the ones beneath it.
Realize just as there isn’t one type of flower throughout creation that’s the standard of beauty there are a myriad of diverse types. We were not made from a cookie cutter mold. We are to be different shapes, sizes and colors, all beautiful. This is about being your best- body, mind and spirit with what you have been entrusted with, not conforming to the images that are marketed to us. Untruthful and often unrealistic as they are.
HAVE PROPER EXPECTATIONS OF WHAT CAN HAPPEN
Too often people buy into the marketing hype they are bombarded with. “LOSE 30lbs OF FAT IN 30 DAYS GUARANTEED, ITS EASY!” then when 30 days goes by and they’ve only lost 10lbs they get frustrated give up and quit. Not even realizing what a victory 10lbs is and the progress they are making. Set realistic expectations, focus on how you FEEL. Do you have more energy, less aches and pains, do activities feel easier. Look for progress not perfection. Do not seek instant gratification but know what you are doing is right and good and that success is inevitable if you only persevere.
THAT LEADS TO GRACE
We are too hard on our bodies, berating them for not measuring up to the perfect photo shopped magazine and internet images that people put out of themselves at their very best ideal moments. Only to compare ourselves fresh out of bed, no makeup, hair all over the place as you stand in front of the mirror picking yourself apart. Have some Grace. Stop comparing perceived realties to your worst self.
There will also be times you slip up, have Grace and don’t let those slip ups turn to self-sabotage. So you had a slice of birthday cake at the office for your coworkers birthday don’t then go home to order a whole pizza for yourself figuring “oh well I already blew it today”. The retaliation is always worse than the initial slip up. Have Grace and move on.
THE METHODS WE CHOOSE ARE IMPORTANT
Are you starving yourself talking all sorts of drugs and miracle concoctions out of desperation and misplaced trust. Are you beating your body up with excessive exercise routines, punishing your body because it doesn’t conform to what you feel and what the world says is beautiful, attractive, desirable and worthy of love and care.
Or are you learning about your body, nurturing it with healthy food, getting plenty of sleep, seeing movement and exercise as something you get to do, finding activities you enjoy vs it being punitive just for an end result of losing weight.
WHO ARE YOUR ROLE MODELS?
Role models are a critical aspect of this, who are you lifting up and trying to emulate. Is it a real image? Is it realistic? Or are you comparing yourself to a 26-year-old at 52 years or even looking to past pictures of yourself in college thinking you need to get back there to be happy.
Sometimes we need to see what’s possible from others who have gone before us. Even the disciples fled in fear and retreated upon Jesus arrest and crucifixion. It wasn’t until they saw with their own eyes His victory over death and His resurrected body that they then had unwavering confidence in Jesus words of what was possible for their lives and eternal destinies. Because of this they saw the cross differently. They saw that death no longer held victory over them, it had been conquered and was not something to be feared. They moved forward emboldened to take massive action despite the threat of death and extreme opposition.
When we hear stories and testimonies of those over 50 with various aches, pains and often medical challenges and what they have accomplished it can instill not only confidence but restore hope and inspire us to what’s possible, that it truly isn’t too late for us. Someday you, yes you, might be a role model for someone who needs to see what’s possible and hear your story. Which leads us lastly to…
PURSUE INTERCONNECTEDNESS INSTEAD OF SELF-RELIANCE
This is one of the few areas I’ve seen where most people try to embark on change by themselves. We know we’re not to walk our spiritual walk in isolation but in community. You cannot rely on will power and self-effort it only takes you so far. Get at least one person you can be open and honest with about your struggles and victories, to cheer you on and pray for you
Look around, you’re not the only person struggling it takes more strength to reach out than it does to continue to shrivel up and stay dried out and numb inside. Plus you have no idea the blessing you most likely will be to that other person who needs someone as well. We were meant to do life together. In fact, we’ll get into this later in a different article but one of the major issues affecting adults over 50, especially middle-aged men is isolation, boredom and depression. We don’t thrive when we’re alone it’s not healthy on multiple fronts.
As you can maybe tell the challenge I have is there is so much to share I could go on forever. I’m incredibly excited to walk this journey with you all and get to know you more. Our next time together we’re going to talk about specific health related topics for those over 50 everything from selection of proper exercises for postural challenges, how to exercise with specific aches and pains to help correct and reduce their incidence, the impact exercise has on the brain and the reduction in dementia risk and so much more.
I also want to end each issue with three things:
1. My Question to You: What are you most grateful for that your body allows you to do? It may be something you took for granted all this time. Post your answer in the Facebook comment section below.
2. An invitation for you to speak directly with me. What question do you have for me? Send me an email. Your questions will help guide our conversations and we may, with your permission, even feature it in a future issue.
3. An encouraging song that supports the article's message.
This Issue’s song to encourage and uplift is “Thrive” by Casting Crowns
I believe it fits perfectly with the call for us to lay our foundations first. May it encourage you. The chorus goes like this:
“We know we were made for so much more than ordinary life, it’s time for us to more than just survive. We were made to thrive.”