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Is an active job a workout?

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I had a small argument with my dad about this. After a trip to the doctor, we was told his chances of having a heart attack were off the charts due to a combination of factors, including smoking, high cholesterol/triglyceride/everything readings, eating a full bag of Cheetos in one sitting and sleeping every hour he wasn’t at work. My dad was previously a construction worker for over 20 years of his life. The man has some pipes. But he also has quite the belly and much-too-high cholesterol levels.

I know construction work can be exhausting. But just because you work in an active job doesn’t mean you earn rights to eat anything you want. Just because you lift heavy objects all day does not give you license to neglect other body parts and your flexibility. Just because you only eat a small amount per day doesn’t mean that calorie allowance should be filled with filth. And just because said lifting builds muscle, it doesn’t mean you are getting any cardiovascular exercise, elevating your heart rate for an extended period of time. There is a HUGE difference. Let’s not even get me started on the smoking, daddy-o!

And dad refuses to switch from white foods to whole grains; refuses to eliminate popcorn drowned in extra butter melted in the microwave; and refuses to eat most foods from the produce section, and that’s just a start. He swears he doesn’t eat that bad, but a real, honest food log would tell an entirely different story. I don’t mean to rip on him, but I just have a hard time not getting mad. Now that I’ve made healthy trades and sort of jumped over to the “healthy” side, I absolutely hate excuses and I am easily saddened by situations where people decide not to take care of themselves. I suppose that’s because I’ve done a lot of reading and research about how certain foods and exercise affect your health. Unhealthy people have probably not done so (or ignore the facts) and don’t really understand what they’re doing to their bodies.

I’ve helped when I’ve been asked. It’s a gentle subject and I know the worst thing I could do is persist. I’ve given him a diagram of exercises to help strengthen his back and alleviate his pain, which I’m pretty sure ended up as a coaster. I made an entire booklet of information for him about healthy nutrition, because he couldn’t afford to go to a nutritionist. Even though I was asked, I was still insulted (basically told I didn’t know anything) and the book was completely ignored (i.e. discarded). Hours and hours of work down the drain is enough to make anyone angry.

When I became a mother, I lived, breathed, spoke, thought, and constantly worried about my health and that of my child. I think that’s a natural reaction for a parent. I can’t imagine losing anyone this close, especially for reasons that are within their control. I can so clearly see this teetering on a tightrope and it nearly makes me sick. I don’t want to see my daddy hurting, especially like this. Please pops, can you do better than this so we can enjoy your presence for much much longer?

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