Cake, Cookies and Candies, Oh My!
High cholesterol? Take a pill. High blood pressure? Add another medication. Let’s not even start with diabetes. By adding pill after pill, eventually, you have a small handful to take daily. If your pills ever get mixed up, the Drug ID app can help you straighten things out. But, WAIT– what if things could work the other way? For instance: better blood pressure stops the medication, same with better cholesterol, or getting your sugars under control. This is the goal of healthcare; this is our ideal situation. So why then, is it so infrequently seen?
With a new diagnosis of any of the “metabolic diseases”: high blood pressure, cholesterol, or diabetes; treatment generally includes the discussion of “lifestyle modifications.” Then comes the talk: What are you eating? I don’t think we always realize what an effect our diet has on our overall health. So what should you eat? How do you get to that healthy weight?
Well, have you heard of the “watermelon diet”? How about Keto, Atkins, or teas all day? I love watermelon in the summer, so I’m all for that diet! In reality though we are sometimes forgetting how this conversation started — those two words “lifestyle modification”. When it comes to eating healthy and maintaining an ideal weight, there is no magic for long term effects.
When we look at lifestyle modifications, we are always talking diet and exercise. Given a goal or a plan, we often dive in head first to reach that goal. Why then, do we frequently fall short of that goal? LIFESTYLE CHANGES TAKE TIME. We live in a society that likes immediate gratification. When we don’t see positive outcomes quickly, we frequently slack off or quit altogether. And sometimes those positive outcomes might be just around the corner. The word to focus on is Lifestyle –it needs to be a lifestyle change.
Yes, I would love to eat watermelon all summer. And then I ask myself – whatever this plan is; could I make that change for life? When we want to see effective long term changes we have to make long term commitments to our goal. So, what do I ask before making a change? How long can I do this? Can I easily incorporate this into my life? When the challenge is too difficult, it becomes easier to quit; and creating a NEW habit change becomes that much more of a challenge.
So what is the advice? Start somewhere and start small. When you effectively incorporate your new eating habits or exercise routine, you can always challenge yourself to do more. Also, remember the easy rules of balance and moderation.
I can’t say I “diet,” in terms of always watching what I eat or avoiding certain foods. I love cake, cookies, and a giant hamburger with fries on any day. I just don’t eat them everyday. I balance it out. I have learned to love exercise, whether that is a yoga class, a gym workout, a run by the ocean, or just a walk with my dogs. Stay active. Remember: balance and moderation in picking what to eat and working out. This is where it starts. And please don’t hesitate to pass me a good size piece of cake at the next celebration!