What happens to a car that sits in the driveway for a long time? The battery goes dead. It will need a jump from a battery that is not dead to get it started. So you jump-start it and then you drive it around the block once or twice and then park it in the driveway. The battery will go dead again because you did not drive it long enough for the battery to fully recharge. You then have to jump-start it again. Pretty soon that battery is not going to jump-start anymore and you’re going to need to buy a new battery.
Many people get up in the morning with a dead battery even after sleeping all night. They might not have had a good restful night sleep because they ate late, ate too much or ate a very heavy meal late in the evening. It seems like stress is many peoples middle name today. Stress and worrying will also interfere from getting a good night sleep. Headaches and tension are so common today. Relationships don’t last and marriages end up in divorce. Financial problems are probably one of the biggest causes of stress and divorce. Money problems create more problems and things escalate. Many people neglect to take care of their health. Many times people don’t realize just how poor their health really is. Yes they get up in the mornings, reluctantly and not eager to go to work. They get through the morning with a couple of cups of caffeine and a donut. They overeat at lunch but somehow manage to make it through the afternoon. They get home after work exhausted and then plop on the sofa to watch TV for hours and eat another low fiber, high fat, high calorie dinner. The most exercise many people get is walking to the mailbox.
These types of people don’t complain much. Some people have learned to live with their health problems. They are used to the usual headaches, sinus problems, allergies, constipation, acid reflux, heartburn, asthma, anxiety, migraines and a few other symptoms that I forgot to mention. It’s amazing how many people believe that these are normal everyday problems that everyone has. High cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis, cardiovascular problems are the result of continued poor lifestyle choices.
They do this routine for several years. They don’t exercise and they wonder why they don’t have any energy and get headaches all the time. They go to their medical doctor and the never-ending prescription drug roller coaster ride begins. If this sounds like what you have been going through please take a minute to really think about where your health is headed. It’s amazing how many people are just alive. I mean they are breathing, talking, working and just getting by. They are not living up to their full potential. This is a life far from the true vitality and energy that the body was designed for. They have health issues, but since they are not life threatening some people will ignore the warning signs. Others self medicate because so many prescription drugs are now available without a prescription. Just turn on the TV any time of the day or night and you know what I’m talking about. Those feel good commercials telling you that you don’t need a doctors’ prescription to buy the latest symptom relieving drug that will make you feel good.
You Can Do It!
So when was the last time you felt really good? When was the last time you felt good without taking any prescription drugs, illegal drugs, alcohol, sugar or caffeine? Maybe it’s been a while. Maybe it’s been a really long time. The good news is that you can change all that. But only YOU can change it. You might need some help and that’s why I wrote this article. To help you as much or as little as you want. You decide. It is unfortunate that sometimes it takes a good scare like surviving a heart attack before one makes the commitment to a much needed change of lifestyle. For some people it’s a divorce and for others it’s a trip to the hospital and having a doctor tell you that if you don’t stop drinking you will die from an inflamed pancreas and liver failure. But WHATEVER IT TAKES, JUST DO IT. Just like the Nike commercial says, “Just Do It.” You have so much to gain. Do it for a loved one, for your children, for yourself. Do whatever it takes, but just do it.
Too many people are in denial. They think that since they do not feel horribly bad that they are okay. But the absence of pain does not mean you are OK. Pain is only one signal telling you that something is wrong. Other warning signs are: Headaches, high blood pressure, constipation, arthritis, colds, allergies, numbness in the arms, hands, feet or legs. Still other warning signs are: nausea, lack of energy, insomnia, acid reflux, heartburn, joint pain and the list goes on and on. Medical treatment is a different pill for all of these different warning signs. But as you probably already know the pills do not correct the problems or the causes. Refer back to The Ten Most Common Causes Of Pain And Disease . If you have any of the above symptoms you are likely violating one or more of The Ten Causes. Next look at the Seven Healthy Habits. Follow those as best as you can and you will see improvements in your health and vitality. Sometimes your health can make a dramatic improvement within a couple of weeks.
If your life is out of control, please don’t be embarrassed to ask for help. Get professional counseling, talk to someone who cares and make that commitment to yourself. You are worth it. If you don’t make the commitment, who will do it for you? If not now, when? Do it now that you are thinking about it. It’s too easy to put it off until tomorrow. Do it now while all of this information is still fresh on your mind. If it is late at night I urge you to just get up and write a simple goal or plan to get started. If you are serious about your life and health you will write something down. Just get started and do it. Write something as simple as “I will start taking better care of myself.” Or, “I will go walking thirty minutes every day.” Just start making one simple change at a time. As the weeks go by add to your goals. Re-write them when necessary. The hardest part is getting started. Once you get started you will gain momentum. Recruit a friend, spouse, children or co-worker to start doing something healthy together. When you support each other and hold each other accountable there is less room for failure.
It is wonderful to be able to wake up without needing an alarm clock and all those toxic jump-starters to get the day going. The first thing you could do is go for a morning walk. Many people get up an extra hour earlier and go to a gym or simply go for their morning walk. It really takes only thirty to forty minutes of moderate exercise to feel really good and energized all day. Equally important is to feed your body nutritional foods. Many people think that since they exercise they can eat whatever they want. I have proven how wrong that thinking is many times to myself. If you exercise it is extremely important that you eat healthy too. If you are thirty years old or younger you might still get away with eating not so healthy. Living in El Paso, TX, the Mexican food capital of the country, it’s easy to forget about eating healthy and instead have some Mexican food. My opinion is that you can reward yourself once in a while. Follow the 90/10 rule, which I explain at the end of this chapter. This way it tastes really good because you are not eating that stuff all the time. Remember that the key to success is consistency and moderation.
Believe it or not you CAN and NEED to be your own best doctor. Very few doctors will tell you, “Look, what you really need to do is change your lifestyle, your eating habits, exercise, lose that excess weight you’ve been carrying for years, quit smoking and drinking so much, have your spine adjusted by a good chiropractor and get a massage regularly. This way I don’t have to prescribe drugs to make you feel better and help you get through the day.”
I am not talking about being your own doctor if you have a heart attack, break an arm or some other type of situation that requires immediate emergency type of care. What I am saying is that you can be your own doctor and prevent heart attacks in the first place. Most of the health problems people find themselves suffering from occur because of their lifestyle choices. What you eat, drink, breathe and do with your body. When a patient comes to me, aside from some type of trauma, I explain to them that their health issues are a result of their own doing. Many people know this already, they just need to hear it from a doctor that cares and is not just going to give them a bunch of pills to suppress their symptoms. You know what you do with your body twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. You basically know what kinds of foods are nourishing to your body and what kinds of foods are not. Remember, let food be your medicine and medicine be your food. You know how much or how little you exercise. The body is not going to function very well if you just sit at work all day and feed your body good tasting, lifeless junk full of artificial chemicals, preservatives, emulsifiers, artificial colors, flavor enhancers that cause dozens of health problems.
There are many excellent books on the subject of nutrition, eating the right foods for optimum health and energy. See the recommended reading list in the section on Foods, Diet and Nutrition. The more natural your diet (raw fruits and vegetables, whole grains, purified water, less meats) the better. Stay away from fast foods, packaged foods with added synthetic chemicals whose names you cannot pronounce. If you eat wholesome foods you don’t have to overeat to satisfy your hunger. Eat to nourish your body not to feel full or stuffed. Supplement your diet with good quality vitamins and minerals. Get off the couch and away from the TV and do a little exercise four to five times a week. Put an exercise bike in front of your TV. Most gyms have multiple TV’s in the cardio rooms.
It’s so sad to see so many patients coming to see me who are in their fifty’s and sixty’s who have been on all kinds of prescription drugs for years but still suffers with the same symptoms but now a few more from the side effects of those drugs. It didn’t have to turn out that way. People are getting smarter and beginning to realize that. But now it’s a lot harder to reverse all those years of poor lifestyle choices and poor habits that were simply masked and covered up by prescription drugs.
Let me share a story with you. For several years I kept suggesting to my sister, Mary, to start walking after work. She would emphatically tell me, “You don’t understand. How do you expect me to go walking? By the time I get home after working all day I’m exhausted.” Mary owns a flower shop so I know that she was not doing manual work all day. Yes she was on her feet a lot but that was better than sitting at a desk all day. What she was really saying was that going for walks was not part of her routine and life. It was not a habit of hers. It was something that she was not used to doing. I would also educate her on making better choices with her diet. Specifically, the need to eat more fruits and raw vegetables. Gradually her diet improved. A couple of years later she finally started walking after work. Soon she reported that she was having a difficult time getting to sleep because she had so much energy after walking. Soon her body got used to it and she felt better and had more energy during the day. Walking was now a new habit and part of her weekly routine.
Some habits are hard to change. One morning I’m at my sister’s house. We were going to go walking. I watched as she sat and bent over to tie her tennis shoes. That was the way she was used to doing it. I mentioned to her that I teach my patients not to bend over like that because it puts a lot of pressure to the lower thoracic and lumbar spine. It is especially bad for the last disc in the spine or the L5 disc. She asked, “How should I tie my shoes?” I explained that she could sit and cross one leg and tie her shoe and then cross the other leg and tie that shoe. The other way is to cross your legs to put your shoes on and then stand and put your foot on a chair or stool and tie your shoes that way. A couple of days later I was at her house again and guess what? She went to tie her shoes just like before. As soon as I started to remind her she quickly made the correction and crossed her legs. Old habits are sometimes hard to change. But they can be changed and replaced with new and better habits. Got any old habits that you need to get rid of? What are you waiting for? If not now, then when? If you don’t do it, then who will? Just do it. Do it now. Do it now. Repetition, repetition, repetition. Repeat good habits to replace bad ones.
Scientists say that it takes twenty-one days to form a new habit. Dr. Maxwell Maltz wrote the bestseller Psycho-Cybernetics. Originally a Plastic Surgeon, Dr. Maltz noticed that it took twenty-one days for amputees to cease feeling phantom sensations in the amputated limb. From further observations he found it took twenty-one days to create a new habit. Since then the ‘Twenty One Day Habit Theory’ has become an accepted part of self-help programs. Brain circuits take engrams, which are memory traces, and produce neuroconnections and neuropathways only if they are bombarded for twenty-one days in a row. This means that our brain does not accept ‘new’ data for a change of habit unless it is repeated each day for twenty-one days (without missing a day).
You can take charge of your own health. It is in YOUR BEST INTEREST. There are a lot of references that you can use to help you. I have mentioned many throughout my book. They have done the research for you. You just need to do some reading. This is no different than the saying, “You get out of it what you put into it.” It’s like one of the Universal Laws. Your health is worth putting a lot of energy into it. You’ll get back what you put in.
There are also many excellent Chiropractic, Naturopathic and Homeopathic Doctors who can help you. There are also some very good massage therapists, acupuncturists, personal trainers who can all become part of your health care team. You don’t have to do it alone.
To those of you that have made the commitment to a healthier, happier and longer life, CONGRATULATIONS! You are on your way to feeling so much better and preventing years of pain and suffering. Be patient. Change takes time. Healing takes time. Follow THE SEVEN HEALTHY HABITS. Your health and quality of life depends on it. Remember, without health you have nothing, with good health you have everything! Start making better choices little by little. You CAN do it!