Why we don’t talk about heart health - and why we should
Many of the patients I see in my office have loved ones with similar health concerns. And I’m often struck by that fact that those same patients tell me that they’re reticent to speak to the people they care for so deeply about those very health issues.
It’s as if they consider it to be impolite or pushy or exceedingly intrusive to inquire or provide any advice regarding diet, exercise or weight. Even though that discussion could ultimately save someone’s life!
Weight is especially difficult to talk about – despite the fact that obesity is a leading cause of diabetes and heart disease. But if you approach it from a place of kindness and support, you might just help someone change their health trajectory.
When I discuss weight with patients I typically ask “At what weight did you feel good at? Not what the BMI tables say, but looking back – what’s a good weight for you?” Most people know the answer to that question. And it may not be “perfect” by the tables but that’s irrelevant. Living life well means feeling good as you go through it – even if you’re not a stick.
Then we formulate a plan – what could some easy wins be to help move towards that goal weight. 100 calories a day is 10 pounds in a year! Tiny changes, if sustained, can lead to big improvements over time.
And here’s where you have a huge advantage over me when it comes to helping. I can only cheer someone on when I see them in the office – which is once every few months. You can cheer on your loved one every single day!
Plus you can be a real-time exercise or nutrition buddy. We can all eat better and move more – why not support not only your own efforts but those of someone you love?
There’s no amount of medication or procedures that can make up for - or impact our health outcomes more – than the way we live. We all have the power to heal. Maybe if we share that power we can all receive the boost we need to keep going. We’re all facing the same health enemies. Let’s battle them together!
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