Restore Your Health: A Lifestyle Prescription
Cate Reade, MS, RD ~
Each one of us is as unique as our own fingerprint. We all have different experiences, perspectives, genes, and abilities which is why the “one-size-fits-all” approach to health doesn’t work, and never will. It’s also a major reason not to set another lofty New Year’s resolution only to feel like an utter failure by February. Does this sound familiar? Like Dr. Phil says, “How’s that working for you?!”
There isn’t one diet, exercise regimen, supplement or pill that is good for everyone. We live in a quick- fix culture but health doesn’t work that way. This year, resolve to stop wasting your time and money chasing the next superfood, magical pill, product or gizmo that promises to cure you of your ills. Creating health takes time, effort and a plan.
If you are fed up with being sick and tired, know that you can restore your health with the power of lifestyle. I know because I have done it.
In 2014 I was diagnosed with Chronic Lyme, a debilitating condition caused by a tick bite and bacterial infection with “borrelia burgdorferi.” It’s a nasty cork-screw shaped bacterium that can drill into any tissue including brain, bones, muscles, nerves and organs. It can easily overwhelm the body’s immune system unleashing inflammation from head to toe that causes a variety of symptoms. For several years, I experienced joint pain, body aches, headaches, extreme fatigue, brain fog, memory loss, depression, anxiety, insomnia and suicidal ideation. Each day was a struggle to survive.
When I began treatment, I placed complete faith in the doctors and blindly trusted each one and their myriad of protocols and in the process wasted a lot of time and money. When I was tired of feeling like garbage, I resolved to regain control of my health by learning as much as possible about my condition. Knowledge is power. And to solve any problem you need to first understand it to take action to target and address the root cause.
I began asking the most important question, “Why.” “Why was I feeling this way and why is this going to help?” Education and understanding why you are doing what you are doing is empowering. I “fired” condescending doctors until I found functional medicine doctors to partner with and who shared the same perspective that lifestyle choices can be either the most powerful medicine or a slow poison.
Your body can heal itself. All you need to do is create the right environment. When you cut your finger, all you need to do is clean it and put a band aid on. Your body’s immune system and innate intelligence does the healing.
Health happens outside the doctor’s office. Perhaps one hour per month is spent visiting with your doctor (if you’re lucky!). The other 719 hours are filled with daily choices that can support or harm health. As a nutritionist and exercise physiologist, I have always valued the power of lifestyle but dug deeper to gain a greater understanding and reap the benefits to end my misery and start living again. And you can too.
No matter what chronic condition you are dealing with, lifestyle choices will make you feel better or worse. According to the World Health Organization, chronic disease is now the leading cause of disability and death worldwide. The rates of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, cancer and dementia are skyrocketing. The good news is that these diseases are caused by lifestyle choices, not “bad genes.” Epigenetics is the study of how lifestyle choices affect gene expression. The research is clear that lifestyle triggers genetic risk, or not. Yes, you can reduce inflammation and improve any health condition with what’s on the end of your fork, what you drink, how you move, what you do, feel, think and say.
Underlying each chronic condition is inflammation that wreaks havoc how your 70 trillion cells function. With inflammation your cells are basically on fire! Then pain shows up to tell you something is wrong and needs help. By making daily choices that reduce inflammation you can restore your health, energy and zest for life.
I radically changed my daily choices and continue to practice an anti-inflammatory lifestyle because good health depends on it! Four years after my diagnosis, at 55 years of age, I am happier and healthier than ever before.
Any healing journey begins with learning and gradually taking action, one small step at a time. A lifestyle prescription to restore health includes:
• Eating a plant-based diet
• Hydrating with filtered water
• Moving more and sitting less
• Building stress resilience
• Prioritizing sleep
• Engaging with positive people
As you begin to feel better, you will naturally be motivated to learn and practice the best lifestyle choices possible because healthy feels so good! Be aware of your starting point and envision what you want your health to look like next year and in five years.
Know that aging is inevitable but decline is not. If you have doubts, check out the older adults who are living and thriving in the Blue Zones across the globe, well into their tenth decades!
If you don’t take care of your health, who will? Be proactive, make one hour a week to learn more by reading books, researching on www.PubMed.com, listening to podcasts, attending lectures and asking “why” until you find your unique lifestyle path to live and love life more. Resolve to start today! Here’s to your good health. Cheers!
Engaging and inspiring, Cate Reade, MS, RD is a nutritionist and exercise physiologist who has been teaching, writing and prescribing healthful eating and exercise programs for more than 25 years. As CEO of Resistance Dynamics and inventor of the MoveMor™ Mobility Trainer, Cate is delighted to be empowering older adults to regain strength and balance safely and quickly. She speaks locally and nationally with healthcare professionals and senior living communities about science-based mobility, fall prevention and lifestyle solutions. Restoring her own health from the ravages of chronic Lyme disease, Cate is passionate about helping others experience greater vitality utilizing the power of lifestyle medicine. She can be reached at Cate@ResDyna.com.