I’m dying.

I’m dying.

There, I said it.

It may come as a shock to many of you. It really isn’t as bad as it seems though.

I’m dying. I have been for many years and I will be for years to come.

I’m dying and so are you.

When we are born, we begin a journey, one in which we grow, mature, blossom into all we were created to be. Some of our journeys end very quickly, while others are blessed with years — sometimes seemingly endless years.

Regardless of the timeframe, we only have one life. One body. One chance.

Nevertheless, people continue to end their journey via a preventable disease. This blows my mind. Numerous people are dying from PREVENTABLE diseases every single day.

Just let that sink in: every day, thousands of people die from diseases that they had the ability to prevent or manage. This doesn’t have the sting it needs to foster change. Unfortunately, being brutally honest seems to be the only way to make it clear.

So here it is in plain language: you’re killing yourself neglecting to care for your bodies.

Ouch — why does that hurt so much?

We care about loved ones lost. When we think Uncle Ted passed away from long complications with high blood pressure and heart disease, we can blame the disease. It wasn’t Uncle Ted’s fault; it was the disease, the medicine, or the doctors… anyone but precious Uncle Ted. So when you hear someone imply that Uncle Ted’s actions led to his own demise it packs a punch.

In truth, it’s placing blame where blame needs placed.

We are in charge of our health. So many people wait until their health is compromised to begin to take control. We have so many warning signs. Look at family history, slightly climbing lab results, declining fitness, and increasing lethargy. The list goes on.

Is it this simple? No — there are definitely uncontrollable factors that alter an individual’s predisposition to certain types of illnesses. However, those factors still do not trump personal responsibility.

It is your job to take care of your body. Why only do this when you’re at risk for premature death? Start now.

Small changes make great impact. You have to start somewhere and the right time isn’t 20 years from now when you’re pushing 50 with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and pre-diabetic blood work because every football game requires nachos and a six-pack.

At that point you’re managing a disease rather than preventing. Why manage something when you have the ability to prevent it?

Make an effort today to begin one small change, just one. Walk for 10 minutes, order a small combo instead of a large, drink one less sugary beverage, eat one more vegetable, go to bed 15 minutes earlier, drink 1 more bottle of water, smoke one less cigarette. Make one better decision today and watch the benefits compound exponentially.

Instead of winding up as the winded 30-something breaking a sweat chasing your toddler around the park needing another Mountain Dew to get through the day, focus on being the awesome 60-year old who hikes mountains with the grandkids.

I’ll see you at the summit.