I want to talk about a truth that we all know– but often forget or ignore.
You are ultimately responsible for your own health, no one else.
No one else forces you to eat the way that you do, nobody else forces you to have bad habits, to smoke, to drink– or worse.
One of my roles is to help enable you to do just that– take responsibility for your health and take action!
I want to touch on some actions you can take to start getting yourself better even before you walk into my office.
The first step is to take a personal inventory. Are you overweight? Do you have bad habits? Now if you don’t know if you’re overweight, you’ll look at the scale or you look at yourself in the mirror, and there’s going to be areas that just have little bit more flesh than other areas.
So what we want to do is we want to find out what is causing those extra pounds.
A good way to raise awareness of your food intake is to start what’s called a food journal. It’s simple, you write down everything that passes your lips with the exception of air.
I’m not so concerned with the quantity, but the quality of the food that you eat.
Next, you’ll write down symptoms. If you eat something and four or six, 12 hours later you have some type of a symptom. It could be achy joints, a headache, upset stomach, nausea and more.
Write down the way your body feels and then go back and connect some dots. “What did I eat that cause this problem?”
Food journals are so important! When we raise the awareness of how our body reacts to the food we eat, we can begin to make better choices about our diet.
The other thing is water consumption.
- How much water a day are you drinking?
- How much coffee a day?
- How much soda?
- How much tea, sweet tea, especially?
- Are you drinking milk?
- Are you drinking orange juice?
- What is your fluid in take?
Everybody tells me the same thing, without exception. “Doc, I drink plenty of water.” Yet when I explore further, I find out that they maybe have two, six, or eight ounce glasses of water a day. That’s not enough.
We need to stay hydrated. Our body is 70% water. Where is it going to get that water? Yes, it does get some from the food that we eat, but the majority is from what we drink. So we want to make sure that we have good fluid in take.
The other thing is an exercise journal. Now as soon as I say journal people start panicking, “Well, I’m not good writing.”
Again, personal responsibility, you have to take responsibility for yourself.
These types of journals are very simple, it’s one line. What did you eat for lunch? Mac and cheese. What kind of symptoms did you have later? Upset stomach, fatigue, just felt like I was in a coma the rest of the afternoon, etc.
We apply the same methods to our exercise journal. “Walk around block, walk two miles.” It doesn’t have to be in great detail.
Why Your Personal Inventory Matters
Another thing that I recommend in these steps towards getting healthy is again a personal inventory. Not necessarily stepping on a scale. One of the things that I recommend my patients do especially our patients that are very weight conscious is ignore the scale.
Get the bathroom scale out of there. Hide it somewhere. Instead use what’s called a tailor’s tape. It’s just a simple cloth tape measure.
Next you’ll measure he following areas:
- your neck
- the bust
- the biceps
- measure the gut close to the belly button
- around your hips– on guys that’s where the belt is, on ladies that’s just a little bit lower
- measure the diameter of each thigh
- and the knees.
Write the numbers down somewhere that only you will see. Put it on the back of your closet door, put it in a drawer somewhere, put it in your journal. An overall health journal is wonderful way to track your progress and keep you motivated.
These measurements help track of yourself with a more accurate picture than the scale. When most people go on a diet they get very excited because the first several weeks they’re losing a lot of weight, but most of the time it’s simply water weight. Water weight shows up on the scale. It does not show up in the tape measure.
So as we lose weight we start losing inches. So people notice that in their waist line, your jeans are loose and you’re happy!
Keep in mind that as you go through your diet program, you exercise more. You’re going to notice the measurements in certain areas will be larger. Your body will shift a little when you exercise; the biceps are going to grow, the thighs will get larger, sometimes the bust line will get larger, the gut will definitely get smaller and the waist line should get smaller too.
The reason for that is you’re building muscle tissue. The more muscle tissue you build, the more inches you’re going to gain in areas that you want and you’re going to loss inches in areas that you don’t.
So why is this important to overall health?
Our weight directly affects the functioning of our organs. The more weight we put on, the harder our heart, liver, kidneys and remaining organs have to work.
We want to make sure that we take good care of those organs– our survival kind of depends on them, right?
I specialize in metabolic weight loss that focuses on introducing new, healthy lifestyles with guidance, support and results. I’d love to talk with you more about embracing that healthy vision you hold for yourself.
Please fill out the form below and let’s start the conversation!