The Power to Potentially Reverse Disease
Before we dive into what creating health can mean for your lifestyle and your longevity, I want to emphasize that you should always talk to your physician before making any changes. Your unique patient context is important, so seek out an expert for help.
The human body’s capacity to heal and to recover are remarkable. Unfortunately, the rise of the obesity epidemic has meant that very few of us are making the choices that help our bodies fight disease. We eat unhealthy foods, we sit for most of our day, and we live in a perpetual state of sleep deprivation. Under these conditions, diseases thrive. If we change course and replace of Habits of Disease with Habits of Health, the transformation you are likely to see in your life is profound.
Yes, weight loss is a key part of this, and it goes beyond how it looks and feels to live at a healthy weight. Medical research has long understood that obesity was a strong predictor of and contributor to disease, so every step toward a healthy weight means moving farther and farther from these known risks.
And it’s even more compelling than that. Reaching a healthy weight could actually mean reversing life-changing diseases like type 2 diabetes. While we are still learning about how extensive the impact of new Habits of Health can be on other diseases, what we know about type 2 diabetes is well-established.
A recent study (published in BMJ) suggests that losing 33 pounds could lead to a “total remission” in type 2 diabetes for some patients. That’s remarkable! That means that the over 400 million people who suffer from type 2 diabetes globally could prevent many of the complications that come with diabetes and potentially add years to their life in the process. This is not groundbreaking information, however. It’s a restatement of well-known research conclusions.
If the idea that type 2 diabetes can be reversed is not new, why are so few physicians and patients pursuing that path?
The reality of practicing medicine in our modern world is that even the best physicians find themselves lurching from symptom to symptom, from patient crisis to patient crisis. When I was a practicing critical care physician, we saw this pattern play out each day as patients who came to use for serious heart complications returned to us a few months later with even worse heart complications. Medicine, as it is currently practiced, does not help people address the core causes of most diseases: The choices that patients make again and again, day after day.
So, physicians treat type 2 diabetes with drugs and only barely talk about how lifestyle changes could transform a patient’s outlook. Though the patient has prescriptions to manage the disease, the behaviors that made it a problem in the first place continue, and the patient’s health often declines accordingly.
This is not a call for you throw away your prescriptions. No, this is intended to help awaken you to your own potential to create health and radically transform your life, one habit at a time. Reaching a healthy weight might be the single greatest health opportunity in your life. By preventing, and in some cases reversing, disease, you unlock a wealth of rewards, not the least of which is more time to spend with the people you love.
Talk to your physician about your health outlook and consider engaging a health coach to support you on your journey. There is much at stake and much to gain by creating health in your life.