She first uttered these words to me when I was in college when I complained to her one day that the coursework was hard. I was on a pre-medical track and I wasn't sure I wanted to do the extra hard coursework, the multiple science courses and calculus, necessary to be accepted to medical school and to become a doctor. She gently explained that if I did well enough in school, I could choose to go to medical school or any school for that matter. It turns out that that her words were prescient because based on my efforts and consequent grades, I was accepted to both top medical and business schools.
I taught the same concept to my children who attended Harvard, The Jerome Fisher Program at University of Pennsylvania, and soon G-d willing, Barnard College of Columbia University. Hard work does pay off.
Why am I telling you this? The answer is because the same principle applies to your health and longevity. Taking care of your health doesn't guarantee a long and happy life. Neither did doing well in college guarantee that my efforts would pay off so well. But I have found time and again, that the more you invest your time and effort into something, the more likely you are to have better choices and outcomes.
My favorite quote is "Chance favors the prepared mind," a shortened version of something Louis Pasteur once said in regards to the field of observation. Basically, it means to some extent you make your own luck. Again, no guarantees but working hard and persistently towards a goal does make that goal more likely.
Similarly, eating properly, getting appropriate daily physical activity, sleeping sufficiently, etc. does improve your odds of staying healthier longer.
So whether you want to live to 100 or not, by taking care of your health now, you improve your potential of being in a position to choose. The same applies to weight loss and avoiding chronic diseases. No guarantees, but then nothing is in life.
I can't speak for anyone else, but I prefer to have good choices. For that, I can thank my mother.
Thanks Mom for showing me the way so many years ago.