Hello everyone and welcome to my blog. Today I am going to share something that sets my clinic apart from so many other offices. Stay with me here. This isn’t an article about how some new vitamin you’ve never heard about will cure all your symptoms. This is an article about how your lifestyle is so important for your health. Did you just nod off? Stay with me here. While most of my patients agree that their lifestyle is very important for their health, I still feel like they are looking for that one medication or vitamin that will magically turn it all around.They agree in theory that lifestyle is important, but usually assure me they have no bad habits and if they just get on the right vitamins/medications they’d be better…
It’s a good thing I don’t believe them.
Something I will never forget from Dr. K
A few years ago I was attending a seminar given by Dr. Datis Kharrazian author of “Why do I still have Thyroid Symptoms When my Lab Tests are Normal?” He is a great educator and one of my top three influences as a doctor. I have attended numerous seminars from him on topics such as blood chemistry, hormones, thyroid, the brain, gluten, and neuro-immunology. At his thyroid seminar, another doctor asked about a certain thyroid vitamin. I will paraphrase his response:
“This is not about vitamins. Why would we do a 25-hour seminar to tell you to give your patients (Thyroid Vitamin X) at 2 capsules three times a day? This is a lifestyle change!”
Don’t take this the wrong way, because I talk about vitamins all day. The importance of getting someone proper thyroid medication dosage, and finding the right supplements can have a big impact. Dr. K wouldn’t have gone to the trouble of formulating 90+ vitamins if he didn’t believe in them. However, long-term health is so much more than taking pills from the right bottle.
A Simple Exercise Concept
A great book we use in our office is The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy. This book is based on a simple truth we all know. All the small stuff you do on a daily basis adds up to produce your life.Do you want a good marriage? You must do small things consistently to invest in your marriage if you want it to be great. Do you want to be a great piano player? You must practice consistently, over time to develop your skill. Do you want to be healthy? You must do small things consistently, over time, that change you into a healthy person. This in an exercise we do in the clinic and I recommend it to anyone for stepping forward with your health.
Step 1: Write out a description of how you want to feel/be when you are healthy. Be detailed. Include your height, weight, what size clothes you fit into, how energetic or sexy you want to feel, the projects you want to accomplish, the groups you want to be a part of, etc. Some people write pages and pages answering this question. The more details the better!
Step 2: Write out the daily habits of someone who has this health.
Step 3: Do a time journal for a week documenting how you spend your time.
Step 4: Compare step 2 to step 3. Pick one habit and focus on changing it for the next 21 days.
Lifestyle changes: One short example
- Short description of how you feel when healthy: I am 5’5, 135 lbs. I am a size 6 and feel comfortable on the beach with my husband during our vacation to Florida. I have the energy for a vacation to be a fun time for me and my family (not the thing I dread and just see as exhausting). I will have the energy to be on top of my workload and get a promotion at work. I will come home and still have the energy to be with my husband because he deserves more than a complaining, exhausted partner.
- Daily Habits of this healthy person: I get up, feeling refreshed, and exercise in the morning for 20 minutes before work. During my exercise, I listen to an inspiration audio book on a topic of my interest so I am constantly growing. I eat a healthy breakfast. I drive into work and am efficient. I take a 10-minute walking break in the morning and afternoon to keep my energy up and avoid that lull. I have a new desk at my workplace that allows me to stand while I work rather than sit at a computer all day. I eat a healthy lunch. I bring a healthy snack rather than eating donuts and sugary coffee drinks. When I get home, I do not turn on the TV. My husband and I eat dinner and spend time doing something together.
- Step 3: Compare that with my current daily habits: I wake up dead tired and don’t have time for breakfast. I stop and get a coffee with a double espresso to help wake myself up on the way to work. On the drive, I listen to talk radio and celebrity gossip. I get to work and sit at my desk all day. For lunch, I go to the cafeteria and sit eating my salad. I take the elevator, not the stairs. I sit all afternoon and buy an iced coffee drink with caffeine and sugar to get through. I sit driving in my car on the way home and collapse on the couch to sit and watch TV the rest of the night. I want my shows upstairs while my husband watches sports downstairs. I stay up too late watching TV and know I will be tired the next morning.
- Compare the 2: Believe it or not, that is a real example from my clinic. Could it be clearer that this patient’s daily habits were sabotaging her health? People give all kinds of excuses for why their “ideal” lifestyle doesn’t fit with reality. It’s the fault of my spouse, my kids, not having enough money, or whatever. My job is typically helping each patient fit a healthy lifestyle into their life. This looks so different for a 60 y/o grandmother with Rheumatoid Arthritis than for a 33-year-old single mother of 2 with Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism and chronic fatigue! However, I strongly believe all my patients have small lifestyle changes to make that will have a huge effect on improving their health.
The Secret of My Clinic: Conclusion
When Dr. K told me this health was about a lifestyle change I took him seriously. I go to great lengths with my patients to take care of chemical imbalances like leaky gut, adrenal fatigue, autoimmunity, detoxification, vitamin deficiencies, and a host of other problems. However, I do none of this without addressing a patient’s lifestyle. The best vitamin protocol in the world cannot be a substitute for improving the habits of your life.