We conclude our month-long look at our approach of living healthy in an unhealthy world by asking the questions, “How do I live fit? If I know what to do, how do I put that knowledge into action?” In our [LivFit] seminar series we try to answer these questions because actions do speak louder than words and knowledge is useless until you put it to work.
Step 1: Start with your case study.
A case study in medicine is an autopsy of a situation. It dives into the facts at hand to look at the most important and pertinent information so that one might learn from the case to help others in the future. So start with a case study on yourself. Use only the facts in front of you, not excuses, not good intentions just the facts.
Here is mine:
Demographics: 39 year old male, unremarkable health history, no current medications.
Chief Complaint: occasional fatigue and allergies
Lifestyle factors: 4 kids=busy life, runs his own business
Food Diary: Could always be better
Chief Goals: Consistency in eating and exercising habits.
The case study is quick and to the point to examine how things are in your life. Be honest with yourself and set detailed goals of where you want to go.
Step 2: Detox yourself and your pantry.
A healthy detox starts by kicking out the bad things in life. We have discussed in the previous articles this month about the inflammatory foods in our culture: sugar, processed carbs, trans fats, and other man-made foods. Cutting these out of your diet is a great way to start your detox. Likewise, detox your pantry. Go look in your pantry and trash all those bad foods. Do not keep them for later, an emergency, or even give them to the needy. If you are trying to help someone, give them food that helps them, not food that will kill them!
Step 3: Write and work your plan.
After you have kicked out the bad foods, fill up on the good foods. Start by making a menu of healthy meals that your family likes. I suggest around 30 meals. Place these on the fridge for you to reference when you start the next step, menu planning. Write down a menu for at least one week. Even if you only write breakfast and dinner ideas and let lunch be leftovers of either, get something on paper. Take in consideration your schedule of events and how that will impact your lifestyle and dietary habits. If improving your exercise and sleep habits are part of your goals then write that plan down as well. Remember, a goal without a plan is only a wish.
Step 4: Chart your progress.
To keep track of how you are doing keep track of your progress. Track these items: weight, before and after pictures of your body changes, fatigue, irritability, mental awareness, or any other items you want to keep track of. Definitely keep track of what you are eating throughout the day. I would even keep track of your exercise and sleep habits.
It’s a good idea to chart how you are feeling during this process. This can can come in handy down the road if you need to investigate food sensitivities or to troubleshoot other problems. You might want to use a piece of technology like a Fitbit or an app on your phone to track these items. These can be fun ways to capture this information, but an old pencil and paper works well too.
Step 5: Share your experience and teach someone else.
Sub-par health is our modern epidemic. We are the walking unwell. So when your health improves, others will take notice. People will ask you “What you are doing?” And “What is the key to your success?” Do not shrug it off like it is nothing! Tell them that it comes from hard work. Tell them it comes from doing things on purpose. Tell them it didn’t happen overnight. Share about your struggles, but share with them your successes as well.
Then be prepared to teach someone what you are doing. Right now that might seem laughable, but when you start becoming healthy, you will be an abnormal American. In America being unhealthy is normal. When you purposely make changes in your life and you reap the benefits of that hard work, you have done something the majority our culture has not. So teach someone else how to do it. Imagine your friends and family following your lead and all beginning to feel better and live life more fully because of what you taught them.
That is how we live fit in an unfit world. Learn, put into action, and share your story. That is how we turn this world from unfit to [LivFit]!
Daryl C. Rich, D.C., C.S.C.S.