Each Father’s Day brings around Men’s Health Week and lots of articles on men’s health, fitness and wellness.

For me, I remember my Dad who passed away in 1993 from a massive heart attack, in his sleep, 4 months short of his 69th birthday. I turn 62 this week and my mom, born in the same year as Dad, will be 94 in October. Hopefully, I’ve inherited my mom’s strong immune system and longevity.

Dad, unfortunately had some very bad habits.

If we knew then what we know now, he might still be alive. I miss him and think about how he would have loved to help me with my business.

He loved:

  • food
  • salt
  • candy

He also smoked since he was 14 till the day he died. He was a swimmer and a lifeguard as a young man so he had strong lungs. In his 50s, an x-ray showed his lungs were clear. To him, that was a green light to continue smoking — against his doctor’s advice. However, he didn’t consider that smoking would affect his heart.

His smoking, along with high blood pressure gave him a scare. The first heart attack happened while we were still living in Upstate New York. Dad worked as a store manager for a carpet dealer – a high-stress job. He was charged with boosting sales, hiring and firing employees. If sales were down, he felt it was his fault.

The doctors said he had to quit putting excess salt on his food. I remember he used to pour so much salt on his rice and beans that it looked like a snow cap. He also put sugar on it. And sugar in his milk. (A habit that stems back to his mom who put sugar in his milk so he would drink it.)

[Related: Sugar is the Culprit not Fat]

As you can see by the top picture, he was overweight. Being Puerto Rican, the only really healthy foods we eat are white rice and beans. Mostly everything is deep fried.

Men's Health Week: What You Need to Know to Be Around for Your KidsDad tried several times to quit smoking, but it enhanced his bad temper and his employees used to say that he needs to start smoking again. He smoked the unfiltered cigarettes, too. Talk about addiction.

Dad’s other downfall was candy. There was always a bag of Snickers in the fridge and a bowl of peppermints on the living room side table. Watching TV, he ate those peppermint candies like they were popcorn. That habit led to what I call “self-inflicted” diabetes. He also subsequently lost all his teeth.

That’s an example of mindless eating.

I’m guilty of that. I’ve downed a whole bag of Lay’s Potato Chips (“You Can’t Eat Just One!”) Also, a whole box of Wheat Thins. I like crunchy things — not so much salty as crunchy. Now, I eat celery or carrots in stead of the junk food snacks and I get my crunch. Plus, I count out just enough to satisfy my crunch craving and think about how much more healthier they are for me.

That’s Mindful Eating.

The one good thing I inherited from Dad was his salt-and-pepper hair. I definitely didn’t get his knack for accounting!

Men’s Health Week: What You Need to Know to Be Around for Your KidsFathers, no matter how old you are, if you have bad health habits, it’s not too late to do a Whole Life 180. Now that’s it’s Men’s Health Week, think about your kids and grandkids. You want to be around for them.

Contact the good folks at Holistic Health Solutions for an appointment so you can start doing your Whole Life 180 and change for the better.

Note: The top picture was taken at my folks 25th wedding anniversary, in Puerto Rico. I was 24 and that’s my older half brother on the far right. That was also when I was my skinniest in my “Disco Days”. Click here for my story. 

By Giselle Aguiar, from the patient’s point of view, Holistic Health Solutions, Phoenix, AZ