By Dr. Rick Tague
Far too many individuals end up with health (or lack thereof) as a life distraction instead of a resource for greater productivity. Does that really have to happen? And what impact is unnecessary disease having on the world around us as attention and resources are being devoted to recapturing lost health that should have never been lost in the first place?
As a physician assisting others in the pursuit of optimal weight, metabolic health, and wellness, I know all too well the discomfort and pain caused by less than optimal health. It seems the modern environment we live in, with all its perceived benefits, is quite conducive to a steady drain on our health. High capacity individuals come to see me overweight, tired, on multiple medications, and frustrated because they cannot live up to their known capacity. Their limited productivity brings them searching for help. Physicians, attorneys, pharmacists, politicians, pastors, CEO’s, business owners, as well as laborers and housewives have all come to me with the same frustrations of unnecessary lost health.
For some, it is a sense that they feel 20-30 years older than their chronological age. “I’m tired doc and just can’t keep up.” Men and women in their 40’s and 50’s often have high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, joint pain, and have typically experienced 30+ pounds of weight gain since their early 20’s. When they should be in their most productive years of life, they often tell me their energy is just barely enough to get them through the day. Their marriages and love lives suffer because of irritability, fatigue and loss of sexual function that should not be issues until in their 70’s or 80’s. Medications prescribed by their physicians are often expensive and have unacceptable side effects. Life in the fullest, it seems, has passed them by.
For some, the illnesses are so impactful, normal schedules are simply not a possibility. Surgery, chemotherapy, or long treatment plans are needed for illnesses that could have been prevented. Cancers, heart disease, strokes, and severe arthritis are occurring far too often, in people far too young. Is it necessary? Is it preventable? If it is already present, is there an answer?
Research is clear that our lifestyles are killing us and making us sick. 70% of cancers, for example, are the result of what we put into our bodies and associated inactivity. Poor nutrition, overweight, smoking, and alcohol trigger the formation of cancer cells and then promote their growth. Diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and strokes are typically preventable or manageable without medications in the majority of cases. However, knowing this information has made little impact on health and well-being for most people.
Even for high achievers and very spiritually minded, conscientious individuals who achieve success in every other area of their lives, optimal health, for many, has been elusive. The pain, energy drain and distraction of poor health has sabotaged many careers prematurely. For others, marriages have been sacrificed as overweight and medical issues have become too much of a distraction and too great a source of stress in the relationship. It’s easier to just “get out” of the relationship. Too often, mood disorders occur, which result in damaged relationships personally and professionally, not to mention the limitations it can place on productivity in the workplace.
The damage to health seems to be unbiased and epidemic. All economic classes and every education level is affected. It seems no wonder that a health care crisis exists in our country. Is there a solution? If so, is it obtainable?
I contend that there is such a solution and it is obtainable with proper tools and strategies. I would propose that by simply, but strategically, addressing bodily care from the standpoint of physiology and body chemistry the answer for most individuals will be forthcoming.
The Lyon Diet Heart Study is one such simple example. The research published by the American Heart Association in 2001 showed clearly that the most common cause of death in the U.S., heart disease, could be reduced by 50-70% simply with dietary change.(1) The Mediterranean Diet researched can be followed with U.S. foods. Yet, even with this information at our fingertips, we, as a country, choose fast, cheap, unhealthy, convenient, but unhealthy options. Does this situation make any sense when we are in the midst of an expensive health care crisis?
The failure to consume nutrient rich foods takes its toll on our health. Nutrition is the driving force for health. That point is not debated by experts, it is a known truth.
Proper nutrition is both prudent and responsible as we care for our bodies and seek the best health outcome possible. For many, a sense of being 20-30 years younger occurs once proper weight management and nutrition has been achieved. For many others, medications of various types can be discontinued, along with the expense and side effects. The body can experience tremendous healing through proper care. Fortunately, our bodies are quite forgiving.
Just like a financial plan, seek out someone to walk you through the process of getting your nutrition plan on track. Start with the obvious and build upon it. Your body will thank you and you will reap the benefits for years to come.