When I meet resistance from my patients about lifestyle changes like eating right and exercising, I don’t take the warm and fuzzy approach. I tell them all the same thing, “Just do it.”
If you want to look better, feel better and have more sex, you have to change. Period. End of story. Don’t get me wrong, I believe that change has to come in stages – but even small changes make a big difference. It is all about changing ingrained habits gently, gradually and permanently.
The first place I like my patients to start is with a look over their attitude towards food. It is a basic part of the American culture to use food for celebration, reward, comfort and stress release. We don’t just eat to satisfy a need, we eat to satisfy our emotions. A recent study published in the July 2011 issue of the “Journal of Personality and Social Psychology,” discovered that even your personality can influence your attitude toward food and therefore, your eating habits. The food industry does very little to save us from ourselves and instead reinforces the connection between eating and emotion. Processed food, fast food – it’s fast, it’s easy (and artfully packaged to be all the more enticing.) That’s why learning to buy healthy, whole foods and the best ways to make them easy and convenient to prepare is an important part of dietary lifestyle changes. That being said, I like to give patients these starter tips:
- Eat foods found in nature whenever possible
- Eat foods in combinations that maintain blood sugar balance
- Identify food sensitivities and eliminate them
- Eat enough, not too many calories
- Eat to reduce inflammation
When it comes to exercise, I meet classic excuses like, “I don’t have time” and “I don’t like exercise.” To this, I usually ask my patients if they have time to watch TV. Most Americans carve out between 4 and 6 hours a day for TV time – I’m certain you can spare 30 minutes for the good of your health and your sex life. As for taking pleasure in exercise – that’s a little trickier. You may not like exercise now, but once you reap some of the benefits, like weight loss, increased energy and muscle tone, you may begin to wonder how you ever lived without it. It is a slow process, but with dedication and consistency, it really pays off – and you don’t have to trust just me – success stories are everywhere.
Stop making excuses – JUST DO IT!