Sunday, January 9, 2011

Sunday...A Day Of Rest....A Day Of Planning

Here we are at the beginning of another week, 1 full week into 2011. The first week is in the books and we can't affect anything that happened in the last 7 days. You CAN look back on it and see where you did well, and where you think you need improvement. Some of us may have done well with our plans for the year, some of us have already dropped the ball on some of our commitments. If you fall in the latter group, don't despair, this is a new week, and one can always start over.

Here's a way to decrease your chances of not fulfilling your plans. It comes down to one simple word: plan. I heard a speaker say once, "People don't plan to fail, people fail to plan." I agree 100%. None of us say to ourselves, "I want to become less healthy this year" That would be silly. If asked, we'd all say, "I want to be healthier at the end of this year", right? Of course. So, what is a healthy year made of? It's made of healthier decisions made on a monthly basis. A healthy month comes from putting together several healthy weeks. A healthy week comes from the decisions we make daily, and we can affect each day by taking time to plan each week. Here's a way to do just that.

Here it is Sunday as I said, this is a great time to plan the week. Look at your week and see what the schedule looks like. Look for some times you can get in your exercise for the week, even if sometimes a day may only allow a 20 minute brisk walk. Schedule it in. Plan your exercise for the week. Put it in your PDA/Smart Phone and make sure it beeps at you to remind you about it. Planning it makes it a priority, and increases your chances of getting it done, rather than just saying "I am going to exercise x times this week."

The same goes for the other 3 pillars of wellness that I preach: eating well, thinking well and resting well. Look at your schedule and make sure you note days that may challenge you in your attempts to eat healthier. There may be a time when you know a luncheon is coming up where you can't control the menu. For that day, make sure your other meals/snacks are especially healthy, and plan to not over-indulge in the bad foods you have.

Also check your schedule for challenges in getting in enough rest and down time. This is an important pillar of wellness as well. Make sure you set aside some time daily/regularly to think/plan as well. The planning I am talking about doing is part of thinking well. It helps us get focused on the important things that need to be addressed. Use that time to create your to-be-done lists and follow through on them, thus making them "ta-dah" lists.

The point of this is to create a healthier year by planning out your months/weeks/days regularly. Make it a new habit that every Sunday evening (or another day if your schedule is one that doesn't allow it to be Sunday) to plan and create your new, healthier future.

I hope you find this thought process beneficial, I know I do.

Until next time...Be Well!

Dr. Bruce

Dr. Weil on Health Care in America

Here is part of an interview with Dr. Andrew Weil and his input on health care in America. I thought it was interesting and worth the read.

Kupfer: Where do you see the nation’s healthcare system going?

Weil: Unless we transform it, it’s going to steer us into bankruptcy. At the moment the debate is mostly about health insurance, but that’s not the root problem. The root is cost, and I don’t think we can look to politicians to bring costs down. Both Republicans and Democrats are so beholden to the big-insurance and pharmaceutical lobbies that they are not free to act. If Congress can stop the big insurers from disqualifying people on the basis of preexisting conditions, that’s great, but these are little steps. Real change is going to come only if people get aroused enough to start a movement that shifts the balance of political power.

Also, if we don’t get serious about our health, it’s going to bankrupt us as a society. We already have the worst healthcare outcomes of all the developed nations, and we spend more on healthcare than anybody else. We’re spending something like 17 percent of the gross domestic product on it, and it could soon be 20 percent. That is simply not sustainable. And this is before the baby boomers reach old age and become the heaviest consumers of healthcare. We want universal healthcare, but we cannot extend our present disease-management system to all of our citizens. No one could pay all those bills.

Kupfer: Specialized medicine is the most expensive. How did we end up with so many specialists and so few generalists in American medicine?

Weil: The reason is obvious: specialists get paid more and have more prestige. But research has shown that countries and states with more primary-care providers have healthier citizens. To balance the system we could try forgiving student loans for people who go into primary care, but we need political organizing to promote these ideas.

Kupfer: Do you think there’s an opportunity now to get holistic practices covered by national health insurance?

Weil: Yes, but the priorities of insurance reimbursement are completely backward. We happily pay for interventions, diagnostic tests, and drugs, but we don’t pay for doctors to sit down and teach patients how to eat or how to relax. We talk about prevention, but that’s not where the money is going. One way to change those priorities is to conduct outcomes-and-effectiveness studies. Let’s look at five or ten common ailments that now cost us huge sums of money, such as type 2 diabetes or chronic back pain. Because conventional medicine has no magic-bullet treatment for these conditions, people often try complementary and alternative therapies. We could compare conventional treatment with integrative treatment (which might make selective use of conventional medicine) and assess medical outcomes and costs. I’m quite certain that integrative approaches would produce better results at lower costs. If we could get the data and show it to the people who pay for the nation’s healthcare, then they might change their reimbursement policies and start to pay for preventive and integrative medicine.