Wednesday, March 14, 2012

This Is Not A Diet, It's Your Life!

I saw the title statement as a subtitle in an article I read just recently and it really started my brain to going.  As much as I preach lifestyle changes, as much as I promote living a wellness lifestyle, I continue to see the masses searching out the "one thing" that they can take that will address their health issue.  It's sad, but it's a part of our culture.  Our culture has developed the medical mentality toward health:  "If I have a problem, there's got to be something I can take to make me healthy again".  "For every ill there is a pill".  So when their cholesterol rises, they get put on Lipitor, with it's myriad of side effects.  (See This Link for an article on statin drug side effects)  They make no change in their lifestyle, so the cholesterol numbers are artificially lowered, yet they're still dying inside.  Some studies suggest no change in age of death for those on cholesterol lowering drugs.  Yet people flock to the next "one thing" that can supposedly make them healthy, just like buzzards to road kill.  It's a shame.

So, when someone says they are on a diet, I have mixed emotions.  I am happy they realize something is amiss in their life that has made them less than optimally healthy.  Unfortunately, many of them, if they aren't turning toward some type of pill or surgery to help them, are on an unsustainable program of eating a certain way.  I've heard of all kinds of diets, one of which someone I know was on, included eating a pickle a day for some reason.  Some are fairly reasonable, some are so off the wall I cannot believe someone would even try it.  Here's the thing.  If you are on a diet of some sort that severely restricts eating certain food groups (candy is not a food group by the way), or severely restricts caloric intake, it most likely may help you lose weight, but it's not sustainable.  Thus, when you stop the "diet" and go back to your old ways, the weight returns, often with a vengeance, meaning you put even more back on.  Then, months or years later, a new diet comes along and the same yo-yo track is followed.  Sadly, this up and down cycle has deleterious effects on one's health in the long run too.

I can't state enough that when we think about weight loss, we need to think first about being healthy.  Health should be the goal, good health that is.  To get there we need to look at developing a wellness lifestyle.  A lifestyle is something that is sustainable for the long haul.  Yes you may fall off a bit from time to time (if you're like me anyway that will happen) but overall you live a life that is filled with things that move you toward optimum health.  So yes, one day you might have some bread pudding for dessert.  The holidays come along and there's a lot of treats to partake of.  I get that (I do that).  But the predominance of our lives needs to be eating, moving, thinking and resting in ways that produce wellness in our lives and (here's the kicker for me) in the lives of those we bring along with us (ie kids, friends etc).  Yes, how you choose to live your life affects the generations to come.  I hear people talk about wanting to leave a legacy.  Let me say this.  You ARE leaving a legacy.  You ARE influencing people.  That's not an option.  But, HOW are you influencing them?  THAT is the question.

So in reality, it's not a diet, it's your life, AND it's the lives of those you influence. So, what will you do with your life to influence the generations to come?

Until next time...Be Well!!
Dr. Bruce

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