Usually i wrote something about software engineering / programming, but this one will be different. I would like to share a thing that happened in 2020 that enlightened and hit me differently. This one will be mostly about how you should care about your health and take good care of it while you can.
Prolog / Background
Last year, in the Q3 of 2020 my father was sick. It was started with some symptoms of limp, sometimes hard to breath, lack of appetite, nausea, and others uncomfortable things (pardon me for not so good english in describing a disease related topic). The point is, his physical quality was dropping relatively hard quickly. After doing some check up (doctor and labs), he was diagnosed with kidney failure and diabetes, therefore needing a dialysis treatment (mainly the kidney failure).
For those of you who doesn’t know what dialysis is, in a nutshell when your kidney cannot do its function to remove waste products and excess fluid in your body through urine, it needs to be extracted using a dialysis machine. This procedure must be done regularly 2–3 times in a week (based on the patient case) for the rest of your life. Alternatively you can look out for kidney transplant, but the process is more complex and expensive.
Long story short (after some urgent surgery related to the dialysis treatment requirement), there are a lot of things that impacting his daily life and routine, ie: cannot drink too many water (even mineral water), cannot eat a lot of foods / ingredients (sweet, soda, coconut milk, huge chunk of meat, banana, etc). I can’t remember them all but it’s only a few things left that are allowed. Any attempt to eat the prohibited ingredient sometimes drastically impact his health and it can be seen even after 1–2 day, so the effect kicks in pretty fast.
Some Root Cause Revealed
Based on his experience, it was revealed that during his younger age, some unhealthy diets were involved along with the timeline. Several things includes:
- Already knew that his father was also diabetic but not controlling his own sugary / sweet related diets
- Consuming energy drink is usual habit when he needs to “catch up with work”
- Active smoker (not a main factor but also considered catalyst to all of the disease)
- Stay wake up till very late night very often
I know that sometimes, even a disease can be genetic or does not guaranteed to be a result from those points, but still those points can derail your health to get worse from day to day, therefore making you higher chance to get sick / disease in the future. Usually it’s the bad habit that pile up for 10–20–30 years and ended up as a “damn big size” disease when we’re old. Simple analogy is, try not brushing your teeth each day, it won’t affect you in 1 week, or maybe even 1 month, but sure it will affect you in 1 year or so (you’re getting cavities, plaque, gum disease, etc). Therefore, there are some learnings that i got from here.
Your health and well being is a priority
People usually take it for granted when it comes for health, we’re realize that we do something wrong when we’re sick. We know what we did wrong, take some medicine, back to health, and then back to square one again. We must think our health as our “engine and core” of the body, all of our act and accomplishment are based on our core, therefore maintaining it run at its finest is a must. We can do this by controlling our diet, food, doing regular exercise, etc. Our body’s function is decreasing over time, therefore while we’re still “young” maintain it as best as possible to minimize the degradation. If you’ve read the book of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, it is also stated that exercise is considered not urgent but important.
Unhealthy Decision is Yours to Bear
One thing that i would like to highlight as an example of i think most common workers are, when we’re tired, instead of taking a break / resting, we’re “doping” ourselves with a shortcut. Coffee & Energy drink usually is the scapegoat for this habits, just drink them up when you’re tired but need a boost. But i need to get things done and the time is not enough, what else should i do you might asked, well in my opinion “making the shortcut” is ok if it’s not frequent, but if you’re doing it frequently, of course it’s bad in the long run. The simple analogy is like this
- fire alarm is ringing on a building due to fire ~ our body is tired, you’re getting not focused, dizzy, etc
- instead of extinguishing the fire in the building ~ taking a proper rest / break
- you break the alarm so it won’t be noisy again ~ take a pill / energy drink / coffee to “solve” the tiring body
Also be aware that damage to your body, cannot be undone. You might heal, but it won’t be as good as it’s in the first place, like a broken bone that might heal but won’t be strong like before.
Beside all of that, it’s worth to mention that your body is yours to live. If you’re making it sick due to unhealthy diet / routine for whatever reason, you’re the one who are going to feel the pain, not someone else.
Small Habits Matters in the Long Run
While it’s hard to start healthy life / habit / diet, the main challenge is to maintain it also in the long run. Eating salad and exercising on one week and eating McdDonald everyday for the next week don’t do good for you. It’s better to improve bit by bit but consistent, that will benefits you in the long run. Simple things like:
- Reduce the habit of drinking soda, consuming sweetened food / drink, etc
- Doing small exercise only 10–15 minutes once in every 3 days
- Making sure you’re well rested and sleep on the optimal hours
- Minimizing consumption of MSG / processed / canned food
Little by little but the benefit will be exponential in the long run for your health. I would like to refer a bit from the book of Atomic Habits that small good habits might not be seen in the short term, but it will be giving its huge result in the long term.
While it seems pretty hard at first if you’re not get used to it in the first place, from time to time your body will adjust accordingly, I’ve been maintaining these habits for example
- Not eating crackers / snack / instant noodle that come up with lot of msg. I only allow it once a week / biweekly. This rule has been running for almost 6 years++.
- Reducing sweet drinks (sweet tea, soda, etc), most of the times I only drink mineral water. Sweet tea once every 2/3 week, for soda i don’t even remember when was the last time i drank soda, maybe 1.5 / 2 month ago. This rule has been running for almost 5 years++.
Still far from perfect, I haven’t done regular exercise and doing optimal sleep hour, but I’m trying to.
Keeping it a short as possible, here are the summary that needs to be highlighted
- Maintain a healthy life and diet, it’s ok not to be perfect, start small and improve gradually and consistently
- Don’t put your body to the “stress test” with unhealthy diet frequently, damage to your body / internal organ cannot be undone!
- Your body is yours to feel, no one will bear it for you if you’re sick
- Do regular health checkup to prevent “a piling up disease” happening to your body, treat problem when it’s as small as possible quickly
- Live healthy so you won’t be living your 60’s or more uncomfortably
Stay healthy, and stay happy, cheers :)