Can healthy choices reverse a lifetime of bad choices?

Updated: Nov 7, 2020

Lately I've been thinking about healthy choices vs non-healthy choices. I am not talking about splurges, such as having a piece of chocolate cake on the weekend or a 3rd glass of wine. After all we are not robots! We must have balance some bad with the good. I'm talking about lifestyle changes and the ability to overcome the damage we've done to our bodies prior to those lifestyle changes.

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I've been working out consistently for more than 10 years and started eating a plant-based diet about 5 years ago. But do those few years help to wipe out the previous 30 years of bad choices? Personally, I will not forget the first time I went for an annual physical after 1 year of being flextarian. I was shocked that my LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) dropped by 20 points. It wasn't even high! That kind of proof that my lifestyle change was making an impact blew my mind!

I started researching this topic and found some interesting information. On a TEDTalk Radio program, Dean Ornish from UC San Francisco and author of Eat More, Weigh Less, discusses how he studied 93 men who had biopsy proven prostate cancer but refused traditional treatment, such as chemo, surgery, etc. The men were randomly put into two groups. One group made lifestyle changes - eating healthy, working out, practicing yoga and reducing stress. The other group did not.

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Dean Ornish found after 1 year, the group that made lifestyle changes did not need treatment for prostate cancer while the group who didn't make changes required some form of treatment. Dean Ornish went on to further study genes - more than 500 - after he saw the results from the men in the prostate study. What did he find?

In just three months, with lifestyle changes, the good genes that protect us from disease were turned on and the bad ones were turned off! Dean Ornish is quick to state: "often people say, oh, I've just got bad genes, you know, what can I do about? Well, it turns out you can do a lot, and much more quickly than we had once thought possible if you simply make intensive changes in diet and lifestyle."

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So this proves that lifestyle changes can help overcome a lifetime of bad choices. And it can happen relatively fast! If you haven't started making changes to eat healthier or workout, I hope this post inspires you to. If not, let me know what is stopping you! Maybe I can help! Foll