What's the big deal about good health?
So you just got back from your doctor's office; your hands holding the report listing the various health related problems you have and the recommendations that she's made regarding improving your health. What are you going to do with this information? In years past., I might've started some of the recommendations that my doctor gave me but then pretty soon they fell off because I either got lazy, too tired to continue pushing through the pain of getting outside of my comfort zone (and when I say “comfort zone", I mean “comfortable” in my ice cream, in my Texas cinnamon rolls, in my latest import beer, or a big bowl of macaroni and cheese), or just not sure if it was really making a difference. unfortunately on this last reason, we don't always see immediate improvement even when we make major life changes so it's easier to give up then to stick with it when you're not getting that immediate gratification.
Here's my story of how making some life changes can indeed have some seriously positive impact on how you feel, think, and live.
As many of you know, type 2 diabetes has been kicking me in the backside for several years now. I've tried to use medications (oral and insulin) to control my blood sugar, all the while basically continuing my high carb, high sugar lifestyle. For me, it just does not work. My lifestyle has to be part of a drastic change cause disaster is right around the corner.
So, when I saw an opportunity to participate in a clinical study out of UT Austin on a health intervention aimed at reducing harmful activities and increasing healthful activities, I jumped on it.
The study is called WILD 5 Wellness (Wellness Interventions for Life's Demands)
An overview of the study can be viewed at this link:
On Monday March 6, 2017, I began the 90 day program and was cautiously optimistic but very excited! I ask for help through FaceBook, email, and other forms of social media to stay on track (the first 30 days is brutal - activities must be done every day for the 30 day boot camp period).
Here's what I completed everyday:
Exercise: 30 minutes moderate (I chose to walk/jog, eventually working up to steady jogging at about a 13 minute/mile pace. Slow for a serious running but fast enough for me.
Mindfulness: do meditation for 10 - 15 minutes per day. Included in the Wild 5 study were prepared guided meditations. With guided meditations such as you’ll find on iPhone’s “Calm” app or with programs such as those offered professionally by Hypnosis Downloads.com, you can easily learn to be involved in meditative activity often.
Sleep: engage in several pro-sleep activities (no caffeine after noon, no ambient light at night, no electronics 90 mins before bed, etc)
Social Connectedness: contact at least 2 friends or family members a day
Nutrition: MIND diet - like a Mediterranean diet; everything must be tracked on MyFitnessPal; one meal includes a mindful meal meditation (that is a new concept to me). I personally followed the nutritional recommendations of Dr. David Perlmutter, bestselling author of The Grain Brain, and found myself with greater energy, thinking more clearly, and feeling more motivated just by changing my eating habits.
All of these activities are entered in an online database. So LOTS of tracking! But their research shows that the tracking part is one of the major contributors to actual lifestyle change so I was game. I received a workbook with educational material and activities along with access to articles, research studies, and expert advice on the five areas of emphasis. Each day, I received a motivational email with a YouTube video or article designed to keep me on track.
90 days into the program, I had lost 25 pounds, was off all diabetes medication except for one basic oral medication and felt incredible. I was starting to see my abs and felt more control over my overall body than I had in a long time. My thinking was clear, focused, and engaged in everything with which I was involved. I finally felt “whole” again and for a 90 day program that was strenuous but certainly not impossible, that was a miracle to me.
So what’s the big deal about good health? Everything!
While I am admittedly not a nutritionist, one focus of my counseling services is including assessments and recommendations for how to best treat your spirit, soul, and body for the best you possible.