I’m on Facebook and get to see the insides of way too many people’s minds. Sometimes the filtering system is slightly askew and I see way more than I see daily in my real life. We tend to not filter when speaking to a wider audience of the hundreds of friends on Facebook but when speaking to one or a small group, there is some internal dialog that keeps us from sharing too much information – sometimes.

Today, on my News Feed was a bunch of stuff about body image, body shape, fatness, fat shaming, and the like. It is the holiday season and so there were also links to various and sundry tasty dishes made especially for the holiday or for parties. What a disconnect.

Some of the recipes that appear on my feed are not all that bad. I have liked some Paleo sites and they put up recipes made from whole foods and lacking in sugars and starches.

Many of us claim to want the perfect body. I have no idea what that would look like but I know I’m too old to have one since when I picture it, there aren’t a bunch of wrinkles and … well I don’t want to get into TMI, but I am sixty.

That body, whatever it looks like, is not for sale. It isn’t for sale no matter what your age or gender. That sculpted look comes from sculpting. You don’t buy it in a box of Oreos, you get it at a gym. And slender or slim is not the same as skinny and while not necessarily dooming, skinny isn’t always healthy. Although, as a teenager I was skinny AND healthy (just a high metabolism and active life), it isn’t a guarantee.

And that’s the thing. We stress the LOOK of a weight or body type or shape or whatever. What we need to concentrate on is the health aspect. Being healthy isn’t a given. Like anything else worthwhile, it is earned. It comes from doing the right things.

If you eat fast food daily, you aren’t going to be as healthy as you could manage. Eating healthy means more fruits and veggies and less bread around them. Processed foods aren’t healthy no matter how they taste or what the label says. And that is our problem. We base our food choices, far too often, on taste alone. Or maybe the advertising. It is harder to have healthy food around. It takes more effort to peel an orange than to open a bag of chips. It’s easy to pick up a pizza and cooking parsnips takes a long time.

To add insult to injury, even foods that could be purchased off the shelf are made unhealthy by our food suppliers. We are having ever more difficult times trying to get food as Mother Nature made instead of Monsanto and the GMO crowd. Yes, it is nice that Round Up can kill the weeds and not the plants, but I’m not all that crazy about the entire population of the US being used for long term studies on how these modifications will affect lifespan and health.

The hardest thing I’ve done in years has been going BACK to the gym four times a week. It is daunting and lots of work each time I go. It is difficult and at times humiliating. The only way to get back to the body I knew was hiding here was to work for it. I was tired of being old and fat, old and tired, old and out of shape, old and winded, old and creaky. Now I’m just old and there isn’t much I can do about that. I don’t think I’ve been humiliated for a while, but I am still often chagrined. I am much younger and more able inside my head than outside it and I make attempts at things that old farts, or at least this old fart, can’t manage – yet.

But the thing is, with cleaner eating and more exercise, I’m in the best shape I’ve been in for the last couple decades. That’s what I’m really saying. I’m better now than I was at 40 (maybe, I can’t remember exactly how old I was when I stopped playing racquetball, but around that age). I’m stronger than I have ever been, for sure. I know there was never a time in my previous life when I could back squat with close to 100 pounds resting on my shoulders.

It didn’t come free and it sure wasn’t easy. It is difficult to get out of a nice warm bed on a cold winter morning and hit the gym. Eating better isn’t all that easy, either. Not only because of the work or price of healthier foods, but because of habit. It is ridiculously easy to grab a granola bar of any variety, but when you read the ingredient label and understand what it says, it is scary. And nauseating.

When I was born, Americans ate 0 pounds of high fructose corn syrup per year. It wasn’t around yet. Today, Americans average over 50 pounds of that shit per person per year. I eat some because I’m not a purist, but I don’t get my 50 pounds in – someone else is getting that for me.

You deserve health which means you have to take care of the place you live. This means that some of your snack food needs to be rethought. It means working at a better diet and working at working out or at least getting off your ass. It means taking care of your heart and soul as well. Being kind and generous does wonders for your health. Intellectually stimulating your precious brain does great things for your overall worthiness. Doing something that matters with your days gives not only structure but meaning to your life.

It isn’t easy – this health crap. It takes effort and planning – lots of planning. You must buy healthy food, set your alarm, make the time to do the things on your personal To Do list, and care for yourself. Nope. Not easy at all. But so very worth it.