Sunday, January 20, 2013

Then, and ONLY Then, Will It Happen For You

It's 20 days into the new year of 2013, and I wonder what percentage of New Year's Resolutions are still standing.  So I did a little (very little) research into the topic.  Here's what I found in one article this morning:

"It took one-third of Americans less than a week to cheat on their New Year's Resolutions, a new study by research and consulting firm YouGov reveals. The research showed that 11 percent had already broken at least one resolution, while 22 percent had cheated a few times, but were still trying to stick to their goals."  That was taken from Business News Daily's January 15 edition.  

Wow, that didn't take long did it? Less than a week?  Elsewhere in the article, it stated that health and fitness were the most common types of resolutions made, and thus the most common ones to be broken.  Have you been one of those annual health and fitness resolution breakers this year?  and last year?  Or maybe for most or all of your life?  There's a simple reason for this, and I am going to explain it here.

Here it is in a nutshell:  Your "why" isn't big enough.  That's really it.  If your "why" were big enough, you'd not have any issue staying true to your stated goal/resolution.  Your "why" is your reason for making that decision.  If your resolution is to get fit, or lose weight, or get healthy because you're in need of those things, yet you've failed regularly at it, then your "why" isn't big enough to keep you committed to your goal.

Oh sure, you "know" you should get fit.  You "know" you should lose weight.  But you actually haven't sat down and really gotten serious about listing and reading and "feeling" all your reasons for staying true to your desire. It's in your head, but not your heart.   If you had done this, your commitment would stick.  Lots of people "want" to, but most don't.  I had a friend and patient that allowed herself to gain massive amounts of weight, and I mean massive.  I remember trying to coach her to stop the weight gain as she became larger and less healthy.  Eventually she had to have a tracheotomy so she could breath, and eventually she was confined to wheelchair, and eventually her bed.  I even tried to hit her with what to me would be the most convincing and compelling reason to change:  watching her son grow up.  Sadly, none of this worked and she continued to gain weight, her health continued to deteriorate, and she died in her mid 40's.  

On the other hand, I can think of a few examples in my world where people have hit "rock bottom" and created such a massive reason or "why" that they made incredible changes in their life and thus in their health.  One such lady lost well over 100 pounds by eating better and exercising and now looks FANTASTIC!!  Beyond looking fantastic, she's feeling great physically, and about herself.  She simply had a big enough "why" to stay committed to her goal.

Oh sure, I get that there are reasons that sometimes we fail.  I sometimes have my's be real here, there aren't reasons, there are excuses.  I sometimes come up with a good enough excuse to not exercise for a day, or eat badly for a bit.  It happens to the best of us.  But how long do we sit in those excuses?  That is the issue.  Skipping exercise isn't so bad for a day, but when that day turns into a week, or longer, or a lifestyle, that is the issue.  

If you're not where you want to be with regards to your health, fitness, weight etc and you know it, GOOD!  At least you know it.  First step done!!  Now you have to come up with all the reasons why you need to change, all the pain that you have from not making that change.  Make it real.  Feel it.  What will your life/body be like if you continue down this path in 1 year, 5 years, a decade?  How will you feel about yourself if you don't make the changes?  Then, spin it around and write down and think/dream/feel what it will be like if you DO make the changes you know you need to make?  Get really really good at feeling those emotions for making and NOT making the changes.  Once you have that down, you'll get moving in the right direction.  If you fall off the wagon, re-focus on those reasons again.  See and feel them.  Make it real.  

Then, and ONLY then, will you it happen for you.

If the "why" is big enough, the facts don't count.

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

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Building Immunity, The Natural Way

We are right in the middle of the annual flu season, and there's a rather large (to say the least) outbreak occurring in our country.  It's all over the news.  It's the talk at coffee shops.  People are asking questions about flu shots and immunity. In short, it's the talk of the town.

This isn't a discussion about whether or not you should have the flu shot.  I'll leave that up to you to get educated and make an informed decision.  I will say this though.  The shot gives you only about a 40% chance of not getting the flu, so even if you DO get the shot, you'd better do a few other things to increase your odds.  Here's my suggestions.

1.  Focus on eating health promoting foods.  I'd particularly focus on fruits and vegetables.  If you're a fan of juicing, double up on your juices, try some new recipes.  Avoid eating junk, including soft drinks, candies, crackers, bread (even supposedly healthy "whole grains bread) and other things that lower your immune response.  Find a good whole food supplement (I use Nanogreens and Nanoreds) to SUPPLEMENT (not replace) your healthy diet.

2.  Keep up with your exercise program.  If you're not exercising, start.  And if you're not exercising, do NOT over do it.  This will lower your immune response by wearing out your body.  Actually that goes for regular exercisers too.  Be careful not to push too far and have a worn down body.  Exercise has been shown to increase the immune response, and it combats stress which would ordinarily lower your body's ability to respond to potential infections but too much has the opposite effect.

3.  Keep your body on schedule.  This will allow you to rest appropriately.  Our bodies work best when on a schedule, they get into a rhythm and the result is a body that is best prepared to attack when foreign invaders attack.  It has been shown that one bad night's sleep slows down your immune response, so do your best to stay rested.

4.  Lastly, wash your hands regularly.  Using regular water, and soap from time to time as well, especially if you are in contact with people in public.

PS, if you didn't recognize something vaguely familiar in the first 3 recommendations, they boil down to my wellness mantra:  Eat well, move well, think well and rest well.  It's as simple as that.

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

Saturday, January 5, 2013

What Kind Of Breeding Ground Are You Creating?

It's the time of year where I see more and more of my patients and friends and acquaintances dealing with the common cold, or upper respiratory issues, sinusitis and the like.  Many of them are quick to rush out to grab the first over the counter "remedy" they can find.  Some venture beyond that to see a medical doctor for their symptoms, with our without having had any fever (sign of infection).  I find this interesting and sad all at the same time.

It's sad because so many times, simple throat irritations, cold symptoms, and even mild fevers are going to resolve without any help from anyone.  It's interesting to me, because it shows that our culture in general still looks to the medical community as the be all, end all, for health and well being.  Of course, I live in a different world, a world where I know the body has this amazing healing ability, a world where I believe that the body doesn't need outside help as much as it needs less interference.  In my world, I grasp the fact that we are constantly building or destroying our bodies with our habits.  How we eat, move, think and rest creates a breeding ground for one of two things:  health and wellness, or sickness and disease.  It's a long term process that occurs daily.  Just like we don't become obese by eating one bad meal, or skipping exercise one day, we don't become ill by one exposure to someone with the flu.  Conversely, we don't become well by eating a healthy meal one day, or for a week etc.  It's a constant, ongoing process that sees us always moving one way or the other on what I term the "Wellness Spectrum".

Have you ever noticed how often sick people get sick ?  This is not a knock on anyone that gets sick a lot, but honestly, I see people with years, or decades, of behavior patterns that are unhealthy, and they are the one's usually who are always sick.  (Yes I know there are exceptions to the rule, but they are, by definition, exceptions, not the rule).  For someone like that, it may take years of turning their life around with new habits, to clean out their body, and to build a new foundation inside for wellness.  I see people with unhealthy relationships, lifestyles, habits that are consistently getting sick, taking medication (over the counter or prescription) and they never seem to get any better.  Oh sure, they get over the current condition, only to be whacked by another one right around the corner.

Again, this is not a knock on anyone, and some people have had serious problems that have weakened their immune systems, that's a given.  But too many of us blame outside circumstances for our health issues, ie bad luck or bad genes.  Yes, those may be a factor.  But in reality, if we work to build our body's immune system, if we strengthen it by how we eat, move, rest and think, our batting average of fighting off illness will get better.  I'm a good example of this. I used to get sick and miss work about 2x a year as I am constantly exposed to people carrying various illnesses, viruses, etc into my office and me touching them physically.  However, in the past 7 or 8 years, as I've focused on wellness more intently, this has begun to happen less and less. It doesn't mean I don't ever get sick, everyone gets a little sick at times whether it's the flu, or just a bit of a scratchy throat.  Again, I like the concept of "batting average", where we improve our ratio of well times vs. sick times, much like a baseball player wants to improve his ratio of how many hits he/she gets to how many times they make an out.

Start a trend today, right now, to move in a wellness direction consistently.  Don't get down if you do fall ill, you may have decades of habits that have created an unhealthy base in your life, and everyone gets sick somewhat at some point.  It takes time, but in the long run it's worth it!

Until next time...Be Well!!

Dr. Bruce