By Sarah A LoBisco, ND
In last week’s blog, I discussed some simple lifestyle measures that all health savvy experts agree on as the basis for achieving optimal health. These concepts of proper nutrition, exercising, allowing time for adequate rest, maintaining nurturing relationships, and replacing addictive substances with life-sustaining ones, make for a balanced physical and emotional life. Admittedly, to shift from a disease to wellness orientation, an initial investment in time, learning, and finances is necessary. Still, the results of implementing the above suggestions pay for themselves in dividends with a happy, joyous, healthy, and fulfilling life.
To many these lifestyle suggestions aren’t new.
In fact, the majority of those with health challenges have been instructed by various “medical authorities” to implement these very changes in their health behavior. It is common for me to hear how my patients have been told to “go on a diet”, “lose weight,” and/or “exercise,” yet are left baffled at how to actually implement these suggestions.
As a holistic practitioner, I have to pause to ask, “Why is it that if these ideas are so commonplace and “simple”, many are still unhealthy? Furthermore, why are so many intelligent people still making the same decisions that brought them sitting before me in their current state of dis-ease?
It is apparent to me that just because one knows they “should” do something, doesn’t mean they want to, will do it, or stick with it…even if they’re paying for that something by an exchange of quality of life (vibrancy, vitality, joy, ect.).
I’ve seen this time and time again in my practice. People come in, they have done the diet, “elimination plans”, miracle drugs, and recent panacea and it did work—for about 6 months to a year. Now, perplexed at why they started up again on the butterfingers, whiskey sours, and diet soda, they sit in front of me ready to “get whipped back into shape”.
Whoa! Hold your horses…
…and not because I’m worried if those are organic carrots or if they are sprayed them with hormone-mimicking pesticides and gut-destroying BT toxins??!! ;))
I’ve already blogged in the past how biochemistry, such as improper neurotransmitter, hormonal, or immune balance, can trump the best of lifestyle intentions. Still, if these factors are out of sync, is it because one really has a biochemical imbalance that is causing the behavior or is the behavior itself resulting in the negative biochemical effects.
Diets do work for weight loss, elimination of inflammatory chemicals and foods definitely assist the body’s immune response, and exercise is critical, but it’s becoming evident that these physical aspects aren’t the most important element to health?
If following lifestyle modifications based solely on diet and exercise are the most important aspects to health then why do Europeans eat fatty foods late at night, drink lots of wine, and have better health stats than us? And if the WHO reports increased fruit consumption and decreased smoking and alcohol intake in European children, why are obesity rates continuing to rise worldwide?
There has to be some other connection…..
CONNECTION TOWARD HEALTH
In the past, I wrote on the number one predictor of death from a heart attack. It was not related to cholesterol number, amount of exercise, or egg consumption. It was related to the feeling of isolation. This shocking and not well-known fact is published in such conventional medical journals as The American Heart Journal and The Arch of Internal Medicine.
In an eighteen-minute TEDx video, Dr. Rankin discusses her journey from conventional OBGYN to integrative medicine, and finally, into her true passion of what really makes people healthy. This Shocking Truth about your Health being more than just physical is a wakeup call to many.
Before you think I’ve gone of the integrative high beam, this is being documented in conventional literature that there’s more to health than manipulation of biochemistry and numbers (who is me, the biochem geek!).
Here are just a few examples to end with (and munch on :)).
The Power of Prayer
Does prayer help heal? Click her to read my answer on Sharecare.
Body-Mind Connection Through Yoga:
Various studies have shown the power of exercise, but many people can’t keep motivated as discussed; however what happens when they connect movement to stress relief? The following study demonstrated the benefits of yoga on physical health and its psychosocial effect of adherence:
Conclusions: Ten weeks of yoga classes twice a week significantly increased previously inactive participants’ adherence to physical activity. Additionally, the findings suggest that a mind-body exercise program may be an effective intervention in the fight against physical inactivity.
Read my latest blog on health in old and young on saratoga.com.
OECD. Health at a Glance: Europe 2010. European Union. Accessed 9/19/12. http://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/social-issues-migration-health/health-at-a-glance-europe-2010_health_glance-2010-en
Friedmann E, Thomas SA, Liu F, Morton PG, Chapa D, Gottlieb SS. Relationship of depression, anxiety, and social isolation to chronic heart failure outpatient mortality (abstract). American Heart Journal [2006, 152(5):940.e1-8]. PMID:17070164.
Farouk Mookadam, MD, FRCPC, MSc(HRM); Heather M. Arthur, PhD, NFESC. Social Support and Its Relationship to Morbidity and Mortality After Acute Myocardial Infarction Systematic Overview. Arch Intern Med. 2004;164(14):1514-1518. http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=217216
TEDxFiDiWomen – Lissa Rankin – The Shocking Truth About Your Health. December 2011. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7tu9nJmr4Xs
Olver, Dutney. A Randomized, Blinded Study of the Impact of Intercessory Prayer on Spiritual Well-being in Patients With Cancer (abstract). Altern Ther Health Med. 2012;18(5):18-27.http://www.scribd.com/doc/103833498/Intercessory-Prayer-on-Spiritual-Well-being-in-Patients-With-Cancer
Bryan, Pinto Zipp, Parasher. The Effects of Yoga on Psychosocial Variables and Exercise Adherence: A Randomized, Controlled Pilot Study (abstract). Altern Ther Health Med. 2012;18(5):50-59. http://www.scribd.com/doc/103833477/The-Effects-of-Yoga-on-Psychosocial-Variables-and-Exercise-Adherence-A-Randomized-Controlled-Pilot-Study