Happy Quality of Life Day

Cooking class at Pritikin Longevity Center

Today is my [harrumph-th] birthday. It is a big birthday, the one upon which I become eligible for [Harrumph]care. I worked a long time for this and can’t believe I’ve lived long enough to win this prize for aging in the USA. A year ago I tried to get health insurance and couldn’t—being denied for no true reason except the insurers’ fears that at my age I must have something wrong with me. I take no medications and have no chronic illness, so go figure. But last year I spent about fifteen hours altogether filling out forms and talking on the phone, then waiting 2-3 weeks before learning that I wasn’t getting insured by the places I applied to. Last week I walked into the SSA offices, waited my turn for ten minutes, then sat with the rep for five minutes, and I was handed the timeline plan for acceptance into [Harrumph]care. You gotta love it.

Today is also one week and a day after my husband and I returned from a week’s stay at the Pritikin Longevity Center in Doral, Florida (home, too, to a famous golf course). It was my fourth visit, and Gary’s fifth, since about fifteen years ago. It ain’t cheap. As we sat over dinner one night at the “social table,” which you can select if you feel like chatting with equally-Pritikin-involved strangers at any meal, the subject came up: Why don’t more people know about or come to this program? The matter of expense was suggested, but at the same time we agreed that many people are okay with spending the same kind of bucks if it means a week at Disneyworld. So money didn’t necessarily explain the decision by people not to come.

My own opinion is that people simply don’t believe the program is as good as it is. They haven’t read the proven results or if they have, they don’t believe them. All I know is, after 1-3 weeks, depending on the money and time someone can devote, at Pritikin, which is really more a medical center than a spa, most participants feel like a miracle has occurred in their lives. Speaking only for myself, after one week, I felt better than I had in two years (think lower-back aches, weight gain, and diminishing energy), and I know this improvement will continue as I stay true to Pritikin’s guidelines.

From the publisher’s description of the publication The Pritikin Edge: “We Americans may reside in the greatest nation on earth, but our lifestyle is killing us. One quarter of us still smoke, two-thirds of us are fat, three-quarters of us don’t exercise, and stress and depression are ubiquitous. We wolf down oversize portions of fast food in minutes and boast of not having taken a vacation in years. We get misinformation like “olive oil is healthy” but then get fatter because drizzling three tablespoons of oil on a salad adds as many calories as two scoops of premium ice cream. Despite all our advances in drugs and surgery, obesity and the diseases it causes have shortened life expectancy; this is the first time in history that children can expect to die younger than their parents.”

No book can beat the on-site immersion program of a week or more at Pritikin’s facilities. But if you’re committed to improving the physical quality of your life as you age, you won’t find a better book to give you a clue. Me? I don’t plan to make many claims on my [Harrumph]care. I’m losing weight and gaining strength. If I believed in miracles, I’d say this is one. But I’m working for it, just like I worked for [Harrumph]care. In the end, it’s up to me.

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4 Responses to Happy Quality of Life Day

  1. Elizabeth Drake says:

    Joining [Harrumph] care needs to navigated with patience,persistence and Humor. Happy Birthday and welcome to the [harrumph] club, life gets better every year. Check w/Gary and see what he says about our club–but you already know this.

  2. John Rutter says:

    Dear Meredith,
    Belated Happy Birthday. I am really enjoying being on your mailing list. I don’t comment often, but on quality of life I feel qualified to comment: your discussion about reasons more don’t take advantage of Pritikin prompt me to suggest that some of us take some pride in our personal level of self discipline. I think the answers to quality of life are all around us if we would listen and act accordingly. Sure, many have inescapeable health problems, but for many of us all we have to do is get obsessive about exercise and be careful of how we eat. I just had my 82nd and am just as excited about my downhill ski pass as I was 40 years ago. However we get to Harrumph age, it is wonderful to get there and be able to maintain real enthusiasm for life’s endless adventures.

    John Rutter,
    The West Coast Relative

    • Couldn’t agree more, John. You may remember from my book that your cousin, my dad, still felt “like Peter Pan” in his eighties. I’m very appreciative of the Rutter genes that give us such a positive outlook, not to mention pretty good bodies too.

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