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Don’t Be A Fred

I have a neighbor I’ll call “Fred” (not his real name).

I met Fred almost 2 years ago, when I moved in to my present location. He’s retired, age 65, and spends his days (and nights) in his “mancave”. He has his computer and TV there, and sleeps on the sofa in that room. He goes out maybe once a week to shop, and that’s about it.

He’s a happy and outgoing guy, and on the surface seems to have his life in order. But there’s a huge problem Fred has that’s not obvious from the outside, except maybe for his 264 pound weight.

You see, Fred has no willpower. Oh sure, he’ll start this program and that one too. But he never lasts, or sometimes just prepares to start, but never does.

Let me give you an example. Earlier this year, Fred told me how he had spent $30 to buy a 1-year pass to some park that has a walking trail, and he was going to start walking. He even went out and bought some walking shoes. But Fred never got around to using that pass or those shoes.

Or last year in April when he told me he had oiled up his treadmill and starting May 1st, he was going to be using it. But, as you have likely guessed, he never did.

Or the time he was going to follow a vegetarian diet and lasted about 4 days. I could go on. But what’s the point? Read on to find out.

Let me talk about Fred’s diet. He eats pretty-much the same thing for most meals of the day.

Around 6am, he has a Jimmy Dean sausage, egg and cheese breakfast sandwich with sausage (410 calories) plus a glass of orange juice (112 calories) – total 522 calories.

Every day (by his own admission), Fred eats a whole 12” DiGiorno Pepperoni pizza, with additional toppings he adds. Calories: about 2,500!

Last week, he was telling me about the sandwich he made with butter, cheese and an egg, and then fried it all.

One day, I gave him a vegetarian sausage to try out. Here’s how he told me he prepared it. “Sausage bits and then the egg mixture, covered with a layer of sharp cheddar and I added a potato cake that I had prepared yesterday along with two slices of toasted 7-grain bread coated in real melted butter.” And, he ate this only 3 hours after eating his 522 calories breakfast!

One time I gave him some shrimp cocktail sauce, as I didn’t like it. The next day, he emailed me: “I just finished off a hard boiled egg dipped in shrimp cocktail sauce. It was so good I had to follow it with a Philly Cheese Steak with the sauce drizzled through and through.” Maybe another 600 calories?

Earlier this year, Fred told me he had been diagnosed as “pre-diabetic”, and was going to have to cut his caloric intake way back and start exercising. But he never did.

And so, about 3 or 4 months later, Fred had his diagnosis changed to “diabetic”. Now he faces:
Heart Disease – People with diabetes have a higher risk for heart attack and stroke.
Eye Complications – People with diabetes have a higher risk of blindness and other vision problems.
Kidney Disease – Diabetes can damage the kidneys and may lead to kidney failure.
Nerve Damage (neuropathy) – Diabetes can cause damage to the nerves that run through the body. About half of all people with diabetes have some form of nerve damage.
Foot Problems – Nerve damage, infections of the feet, and problems with blood flow to the feet can be caused by diabetes. Infections of the feet can spread up into the leg. Sometimes the infection is so severe that toes, the foot, and/or possibly part of the leg must be amputated.
Skin Complications – Diabetes can cause skin problems, such as infections, sores, and itching. Skin problems are sometimes a first sign that someone has diabetes.
Dental Disease – Diabetes can lead to problems with teeth and gums, called gingivitis and periodontitis.

On top of his diabetes, he also has bad acid reflux, so bad it wakes him up at night sometimes. No doubt his being overweight has contributed to this condition, as well as his high-fat diet.

But Fred just keeps on doing what he’s been doing.

I understand why, to a degree. He’s 65, lives by himself, has no friends here, and has decided not to get back in a relationship after his young wife cheated on him about 40 years ago. So Fred takes his pleasure in food. It’ll likely cause him a lot of suffering before it kills him. I wish him well, but I can see a heart attack in his future, as well as possible esophageal cancer.

The sad part is that his health problems are not caused by cancer or some horrible disease. They are caused by eating way too much unhealthy food and not getting any exercise.

There are solutions for this issue, as there are processes to help him release that sadness he still has. But I gave up on Fred months ago, after I spent a lot of time giving him solutions, none of which he tried, or not over a few days.

So what’s the point of this story?

The point is that it’s important for you to make the decision to be healthier and to actually do something about it. Look at your diet, and make healthier choices, both in what you eat and how much. Check out my nutrition section: https://middleage.org/good-nutrition/.

Get moving, if only a little to start with. Go for walks, do a few movements. Go here to learn more:
https://middleage.org/physical-fitness/.

Start slow, and make steady progress. Many, if not most health conditions can be improved, it not eliminated by proper diet and exercise, and helped by supplements.

If you don’t, you could wind up like Fred. Don’t be a “Fred”.

Look at your issues and make the efforts to clear them so you can have a happy & healthy life. Explore this site and make your plan to get healthier. It’s for you!

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