One of the most confusing questions may be – what should I do, or what do I have to do for my health, or to become healthy? It seems we spend much time and plenty of money to find our health, but are our efforts all in vain? Where do we lose our way and when are our efforts rewarded?
How often do you self prescribe supplements based on things you have read about, getting half way through bottles of supplements before something new appears in the media. We often hear stories from clients of the greatest health regimes and weight loss programs that have failed them, either because they couldn’t be maintained, there wasn’t enough training/education given to make the lifestyle changes stick or because the program was not specifically suited to their particular individual needs.
It’s unfortunate, due to the drastic changes in our lifestyles and foods, that we even need to work at our health, I doubt our ancestors even gave it a thought!
But for us our lifestyles and foods have changed so much that when it comes to our health we have to think about it, if we want to retain or regain it!
Here are some simple and practical ideas and context on how you go about the job of ‘find or gaining your health’:
Get clear on what you are trying to achieve
Its important to know what symptoms are bothering you or what health condition/s you are trying to prevent. You may need some advise on this – there may be some symptoms you want out of your life, while other symptoms you may not even realise are a sign of that your body is struggling.
Think about things such as headaches, constipation/straining/urgency, fatigue, painful cycles, skin issues, aches………Believe it or not many of us go on for years with these symptoms not realising that they are signs of health issues. When it comes to prevention of disease, take a look at family members and their common health conditions, then this gives you a clue of your genetic weaknesses you may need to focus on. Whilst you can shut down symptoms with drugs you need to consider if this is always a wise choice as it may prevent you from identifying what has caused the problem and possibly cause further issues down the track.
Find out what is a reasonable time to expect to see results. With anything you take on its good to have realistic time frames. Using a health practitioner, determine the most likely cause, make the changes within a given time frame and workout when you should expect to see results. For example if you want to alleviate headaches, the cause may be either dehydration, detoxification issues, iron deficiency or a food intolerance – decide on the change to be made and for how long you need to make the change to get a result. For example it may be increasing water intake daily by 500mls for 1 week or it may be increasing green smoothies for 6 weeks. The time frames made need to be reasonable for the type of treatment.
Measure Your Results
Measuring your results is important, there are a couple of ways this can be done. A simple way is just observing if the symptom has been alleviated or reduced in frequency. This is great and easy when you can easily identify symptoms, but in many instances different measurements may be needed. For example a Vitamin D deficiency has many health risks, which do not always show up symptomatically, and so a blood test is needed. Testing and then treating (either increasing sun exposure or taking vitamin D), within a set time frame and measuring again will let you know if what you are doing is changing your levels to optimal. Many of us assume because we are getting enough sun exposure that our vitamin D levels will be fine, but a lot of times this isn’t what shows up in the testing. So the only way to know if you have actually affected your risk is to measure!
Your health status will be the decider, on what range is right for you, e.g. if you have osteopenia, osteoporosis, fatigue or mood issues your vitamin D needs to be much higher than someone who doesn’t – you will need a practitioner that knows the ranges.
Determining If An Approach is Right For You
If you are going to undertake a health regime, either conventional or more complementary (which may, in fact, be suitable), make sure you find out about it, ask professionals. When you do, ensure they are backing up their advise, to avoid any bias. Get clear on the pros and cons. Whilst many weight loss programs are harmless, some can leave long term health consequences – impacting metabolism, effecting nutrients and causing hair loss- are not uncommon.
If you have been advised to go on medication, find out about the short and long term effects, identify what may be causing the problem as this should still be dealt with. For example if you are asked to go on thyroxine (thyroid medication), ensure that your iodine, selenium, zinc levels, iron and protein levels have been checked to establish if deficiencies are causing the problem. If you are asked to take a statin (cholesterol lowering medication), ensure you check other cardiovascular risk factors such as homocysteine, triglycerides, vitamin D, blood glucose, insulin, waist circumference, blood pressure and CRP (C-reactive protein) for starters otherwise you may have a false sense of security!
Be extra careful with kids
Children are growing and developing so be extra cautious about what you are doing here. For example chemicals that are in baby formulas, electronic devises are all new and where not around 40 odd years ago, so do you know the effects on growing babies and children. Taking dairy out of a child’s diet, requires you to be aware of how to replace this calcium – whilst in Asia they are not eating dairy (and they have a lower incidence of bone issues than westerners!), they are eating seaweeds and other high mineral foods and moving a lot more than our kids are – you should consider these things.
Once you understand your health risks and find out exactly what you need to do to change things around. Give yourself time to adapt to the changes, allowing them to have an impact. If something isn’t working, go back and check, and be honest with yourself, “have I given things long enough?”, “have I done what was required?” – ask yourself these questions and if you have and things are not changing, then this just may direct you down a different path or you may need to make more changes.