When I came out of shul earlier last week, I ran into a former client named Joe. Keeping our social distance, we had a very interesting conversation that I would like to share with you. First, a little history.
Health and fitness has been my field of work for over 21 years. Prior to that, I turned my own health around. I have always prided myself on advising people on health, fitness, and weight loss based on the latest science. I do my utmost to keep up with the latest in health research. Aside from professional magazines, I also receive daily emails from respected publications, many used by doctors.
There are two questions I ask about the research and studies that I read:
- Are the popular science topics based on sound research?
- Is there valuable information out there that isn’t being disseminated that might show something different than what you’ve been told?
Working with Joe
And now back to my former client. Joe first came into my program in his 50’s. He was suffering from heart disease, diabetes, and he was obese. He was also on multiple medications. Joe received our standard care at the time. He did make progress. He lost some weight, began exercising more consistently, and made many improvements in his diet. And yes, he did see some concrete results. Sugar levels and cholesterol did improve somewhat. But we never saw the breakthrough we wanted to enable him to eliminate his medication, lose more significant weight and to reverse his diabetes and heart disease.
When Joe decided to come back to my program 2 years after he left, the weight lost, 5 kilo (11 pounds), had all come back. He was really doing the best he could, but got frustrated. We were also doing the best we could – based on the science we were working with. The problem here was that what we were doing, and unfortunately what most are still doing, has its limitations.
Joe told me that he has been following a program from a book he got. His weight was as low as it has been in 20 years and he is feeling really well. It turns out the program Joe is following is based on a whole- food, plant-based eating program. I had explained to him that we had turned in the same direction.
Although many of my clients only require 85-90% compliance to get great results, people like Joe who are trying to reverse disease really must be strict. Joe is certainly being strict! He asked me if I thought he could get rid of his diabetes medication and I told him emphatically, YES! And even the statin drug for cholesterol. I still remember him telling me 3 years ago that his cardiologist told him he is now a member of a club—the club that has to take medicines for the rest of their lives. I’m glad that Joe is going to work on losing his “club membership.”
About research and change
To address my earlier question – Is there valuable information out there that isn’t being disseminated? Unfortunately, yes. A mostly plant-based diet, exercise and activity, reducing and managing stress, and finally, having good relationships and social interactions with our fellow human beings, all adds up to the prevention and reversal of our common chronic diseases. And it’s not a couple of studies, it’s thousands of them!
I am proud of Joe for not giving up and for pursuing a solution to his health problems. I am also proud of myself for not just doing the same thing again and again and getting mediocre results. Since our office changed direction, our clients are all doing far better and being far more successful—especially in the long term. One thing all of this research has shown us—there is only ONE way of eating that reverses heart disease.
Especially in these difficult times of a Corona virus pandemic, preventative health via lifestyle medicine is crucial. After years and years of trying to turn his health around, Joe found the answer—and that answer will work for just about everyone. Using lifestyle medicine and working on good health behaviors will “add hours to your day, days to your year and years to your life.”