About Lifestyle Medicine
Lifestyle Medicine is actually the foundation of conventional medicine. In fact, in all clinical practices for the top chronic diseases, lifestyle medicine is the first line of treatment with as much focus as medications and procedures.
6 Areas of Focus
You may not realize but you’ll notice that one, two, or all of the six areas of focus on lifestyle medicine are what your doctor once ordered but you were stubborn to follow. According to the World Health Organization, the world's biggest killer is an ischemic heart disease which is responsible for 16% of the world's total deaths. Stroke and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are the second and third leading causes of mortality with 11% and 6% of total deaths worldwide respectively. These chronic disorders could be prevented with improvements to diet and lifestyle.
To get a better idea, scroll down and read the six areas of focus in Lifestyle Medicine.
One of the focuses of lifestyle medicine is to encourage patients to eat better. In lifestyle medicine the more whole food plant-based nutrition, the better your health will be. A plant-based diet is centered around vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds, etc. It doesn't mean that you are a vegetarian or vegan. Rather, you are proportionately choosing more of your foods from plant sources and limiting or eliminating all animal products including meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy, and honey. Plant-based diets offer all the necessary protein, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals for optimal health and are often high in fiber and phytonutrients. If followed properly, a whole foods plant-based diet provides significant health benefits like:
low cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels
reduced risks from type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and certain cancers
reduced need for medications
You should be interested in moving towards a more plant-based diet to make it work for you. If you are not yet ready to go 100% plant-based, I will help and work with you to make changes at whatever pace you are comfortable with.
Another focus of lifestyle medicine is to encourage our patients to exercise regularly. An exercise need not be something that pushes you to your limits. Instead, exercise should be something that moves your body not to make your muscles bigger but to change the way your body functions. Anyway, exercise is free, the only thing that costs you is your time and energy.
We all know that exercise has a cumulative effect. Studies show that people who exercise regularly have different outcomes than people who give it up after 10 years. Also, aerobic exercise produces endorphins, those "feel good" hormones that do not only reduce stress but also are natural pain killers. So the more exercise you get, the better off you will be as long as you don't hurt yourself.
Even for 15 minutes of moderate-intensity activity, most days of the week can help lower your risks from chronic diseases. Moderate-intensity activity includes brisk walking, swimming, even gardening, or mowing the lawn. Any physical activity is better than being sedentary. It is the key to why some people not only survive but also thrive in later life. Because exercise could offset disease-causing cellular damage brought by stress and slow the aging process And if you have physical limitations like arthritis, poor vision, or balance problems, the key is to find a pattern or exercise that is within your capacity and that you can stick with.
Stress is a normal physical and psychological reaction of our body to the demands of daily life. A little amount of stress motivates you to perform well. But with complicated modern living, stress becomes a double-edged sword that could kill you if left unmanaged over time.
Your body has a built-in alarm system. When it perceives a threat, your body releases hormones that provoke a fight-or-flight reaction. Once the threat is gone, your body returns to normal. However, with so many things happening around you, it seems that your body's alarm system never shuts down. This becomes chronic stress syndrome that affects your body and mind and a significant factor for illnesses. Your body's physical reactions to prolonged stress may accumulate slowly and go unnoticed in your own way of adapting to ongoing stress. But what you don't realize is that your body continuously deals with an overload.
One way to combat the negative effects of stress is proper stress management. It can improve your mood, boost immune function, and promote longevity. The way you handle stress is a powerful indicator of overall well-being. So do not wait until stress damages your health. Start practicing stress management techniques today.
Another focus of lifestyle medicine is to encourage patients to exercise regularly. An exercise need not be something that pushes you to your limits. Instead, exercise should be something that moves your body, not to make your muscles bigger but to change the way your body functions. Anyway, exercise is free; the only thing that costs you is your time and energy.
Exercise has a cumulative effect. Studies show that people who exercise regularly have different outcomes than people who give it up after 10 years. Also, aerobic exercise produces endorphins, those "feel good" hormones that not only reduce stress but also are natural pain killers. So the more exercise you get, the better off you will be as long as you don't hurt yourself.
Even 15 minutes of moderate-intensity activity most of the week helps lower your risks from chronic diseases. Moderate-intensity activity includes brisk walking, swimming, even gardening, or mowing the lawn. Any physical activity is better than being sedentary. It is the key to why some people not only survive but also thrive in later life. Exercise could offset disease-causing cellular damage brought by stress and slow the aging process. If you have physical limitations like arthritis, poor vision, or balance problems, the key is to find a pattern or exercise that is within your capacity and that you can stick with.
No man is an island, no man stands alone...
That is how the song goes. This shows human relationships, whatever these may be, are important to your survival. Humans are social animals therefore it is inherent in you to have that desire to be close with other people. It is natural for you to want to feel needed, and part of something bigger. Having a healthy relationship can provide you a sense of well-being and purpose which could add years to your life.
Surround yourself with trustworthy people who can walk with you through your triumphs and struggles. Identify your support system and maintain these relationships to reach their full benefits. Remember that support is a two-way street. Communicate openly with them with trust and respect but without judgment. Be open to their feedback even if they tell you tough truths. It is the only way for you to see other options and perspectives.
If you're the type of person who prefers being alone, that is okay, too. You can still maintain a small set of family members or friends to have healthy close relationships.
You probably often prioritize other activities over sleep and accept constant sleepiness and sleep disruption as inevitable. Sleep, like nutrition and exercise, determines your health status and well-being. It is a basic requirement that influences your patterns of behavior which could affect your health and relationships. Inadequate sleep is a common problem among adults who complain of fatigue. It could also affect your productivity and may even put you at risk of mishaps.
Like food and other "feel good" things in life, psychoactive substances can change the way you feel. It can also get you into trouble. The reasons you use a substance influence your pattern of use and the risk of harmful consequences. If it is out of curiosity or other fleeting motives, occasional or experimental use may follow. But if the motive is strong and enduring (e.g. relieving a chronic sleep problem, etc.), then more long-lasting and intense substance use may follow.
When your brain is repeatedly exposed to a substance, it may respond by making several adaptations to re-balance itself but this balancing act comes at a price. Your brain may become less responsive to a particular chemical so that natural "feel good" sources no longer provide any significant pleasure for you. As a result, you feel the need to use substances to feel normal.
Conditioning is another side effect of repeated substance use. It can lead you to link things in the environment with your substance experience which could trigger powerful cravings. For example, you may associate drinking coffee with smoking, with one psychoactive substance triggering use of another; or you might associate the end of a workday with going out for a beer.
Effective health promotion strikes a balance between personal choice and social responsibility, between people and their environments. Helping people understand that complexity and giving them skills to manage it, helps make them actors rather than victims in their own lives. Since many people use substances often or in part to promote health and well-being, health promotion along these lines involves helping people manage their substance use in a way that maximizes benefit and minimizes harm.
To get a better idea of how Lifestyle Medicine can help you, download a FREE copy of an abstract written by Dr. Edelita Jamis.
For Lifestyle Medicine and Wellness lectures and motivational talks, contact Dr. Edelita Jamis using the contact form below.