One of the most frustrating yet potentially powerful conversations I have with patients is about their lifestyle. It is not uncommon for me on a daily basis to discuss patients poor lifestyle and how it is affecting not only their health but their wallet. Being sick costs a lot of money and good years of life. It is estimated 2/3 of us in the USA are either obese (BMI 30+) or overweight (BMI 26-30). Along with being overweight, there is an increased risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis, high cholesterol, heart disease, stroke, cancer, sleep apnea, heart failure, depression, liver disease, menstrual problems, infertility, gallbladder problems, etc. Holy-smokes, that is a boat load of problems and all because of me not doing the things every day to invest in myself.
My experience is when people change their lifestyle by eating the right things and exercising every day they lose weight and as they lose weight they also lose many things including medication, pain, depression and progression of the above mentioned problems. I have had the conversation many times which goes as follows, “I just want you to know that I do care for you and really enjoy you as a patient. But, when you go home tonight and have “your” stroke or heart attack, I will go to my home and have dinner with my wife and kids. When you are lying in your bed having someone change your diapers because you can’t, I am out riding my bike or enjoying a run. Though I do care for you as a person and patient, no one cares for you as much as you do! Will I lose sleep because of what you did to yourself? I will feel really bad for you but the answer is-No, If I did I would never sleep! Then I would be at risk of bad health.
So what do you need to do? Start! Start today to invest in yourself! If you’re worried about starting, see your doctor. Once you start do so moderately and don’t go out full steam which likely will set you back a few steps with an injury. Progress as you can tolerate and before you know it you will feel great! Go watch a great documentary which inspired me to take better care of myself called “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead.” If they can do it you can. I hope this inspires you as much as it did me. Is change easy? No! Is it worth it? Only you know what is worth it to you but I would suggest it is!