This One Body

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By Heather Reichert, RD, CDE
Registered Dietitian & Team Beachbody Coach

 

I wasn’t fully prepared when one of my worst fears was realized.  My mom suffered a massive heart attack.  Fortunately, she lives in a relatively small town and very close to the hospital.  The cardiologist was able to restore blood flow with several stents, though she will still require bypass surgery next month.  Those moments sitting in the hospital waiting for visiting hours, I couldn’t help but think of all of the ways that this incident could have been prevented.  But, the reality was that it happened and all of the “should-a”, “could-a”, “would-a” talk was not going to change that.  So, you start thinking of how you can make the most of the situation.  The event has certainly been a life-altering experience for my mom and, I suspect, there will be some major lifestyle changes as a result.  Of course, you can imagine who will be “master sergeant” in the nutrition arena.  And it all really got me to start thinking about the fact that we only have this one body.

It is probably safe to assume that most people take their health for granted.  We always think that we can just start exercising or eating better “tomorrow” or “next week” or the infamous “Monday”.  But, oftentimes, those days come and go without anything changing.  Sometimes those days never even come.  Through poor dietary habits, inactivity, smoking, alcohol and stress, we torment our bodies (often on a daily basis).  We seem to live as though we have nine lives…  That we can just have some type of surgery, take some type of shot, swallow some type of pill, or drink some type of magical concoction and all will be well.  If only that were true.

I remember, back in my early days as a clinical dietitian in the hospitals, a doctor asked me why I had his patient’s chart (the patient was a male in his 60s).  I told him that I was going to go in and speak to him about his diet since he had heart disease and diabetes.  His response to me was, “That’s the problem with you dietitians.  You think food is medicine.  Just let him take his medication and enjoy the remainder of his life.”  Those words hit me like a ton of bricks.  Was this the industry that I just jumped into?  Is this the battle that I would be fighting for the rest of my career?  The fact is that food IS medicine.  Dietary changes, in fact, DO impact disease states.  Fortunately, many of the doctors today are aware of the effect of foods on health, both the positive and the negative.  Over the years, I have seen medicinal intervention work alongside lifestyle intervention.  In fact, many individuals have been able to make significant changes to their cholesterol levels and blood sugar levels (just to name a few) with diet and exercise alone.

When we treat our bodies like the high quality and intricate machines that they are, then they will operate as such.  The unfortunate thing is that most people don’t do that.  Most people feed their bodies sub-par foods, doused with a ton of salt, preservatives and fake colors – foods robbed of nutrients by over-processing and refining.  When this is done over and over, the body doesn’t function like a high quality machine anymore.  It’s like putting low grade gasoline into a Maserati!  I’ve seen some people take better care of their cars than they do their own bodies.  Is that you?

There comes a point in life when we must realize that we have a responsibility to take care of this one body that we were given.  We have a responsibility, not only to ourselves, but also to those who depend upon us – spouses, children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, etc.

I frequently have patients who will come to me and say, “Ok, I realize I need to eat healthier, but what about my kids?  I don’t want them to suffer because of me.”  Once I rephrase their question and repeat it back to them, they begin to realize how ridiculous it sounds.  We all want better for our kids than what we had.  Instead of more money, better jobs and better opportunities, let’s start with their health.  Don’t put your health and the health of your family on the back-burner.  After all, we only get one body.

If you are ready to get your health on the right track, become a part of a challenge group today!  Contact me for more information.

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