Guest post by Deb
On March 22, 2010 I watched the Obama’s Health Care Reform Bill get passed and wondered, “What does that mean for me?” Without getting on my political soapbox and screaming, “Who the hell has to pay for all this?” I can shout about “prevention” which is something they talked about during the February debates and something I think everyone should do so I don’t get stuck paying for their “I was too lazy” medical bills.
Last year I went to a Kaiser health pre-screening at work. I thought it would be fun and I was SURE I was in excellent health because I was running 6 miles, 4 times a week. I thought that if I looked healthy on the outside then I must be healthy on the inside and no one, not even my doctor, ever made me think otherwise. However, after receiving my results, it was clear I NEEDED to make some major CHANGES. My cholesterol and HDL’s were not optimal, my blood pressure was through the roof and I was walking the pre-diabetic line. I thought, “I’m screwed!!!” I’m only 32-years old! I want to have kids one day and not worry about diabetes, cancers and strokes, which I just found out runs on both sides of my family. So I decided to take charge of my life and created a “prevention plan” which started with hiring and consulting a trainer once a week for 60 minutes.
I NOW truly believe a well educated trainer, like Doug, is an untapped resource for how to live a long, healthy and happy life. I’m not saying his workout prescriptions or diet advice has been a walk in the park, but neither are insulin injections, strokes or death. Just think about how many times you see your doctor? For me, I would see my general practitioner once a year for less than 15 to 20 minutes, my OBGYN for 20 to 30 minutes and 10 minutes with the nurses. I think I have spent more time in the waiting/examining room than I have actually spent interacting with any of them. I’ve only been to a Physical Therapist twice in my life; once after I hurt myself on the soccer field and another time after I hurt my back in a car accident. If I added all these interactions together, I will have spent only a total of 2.5 hours with a medical professional this year.
Under Obama-care I will receive less than 1/3 of those hours with a health care provider and it’s not just because some physicians are choosing to leave their practices. According to Money Magazine, an additional “32 Million Americans” will now have insurance for doctor appointments. While I think this is great, can you imagine how difficult it will be to get an appointment and how rushed the doctors will be to get through their flooded waiting rooms? How many questions might go unanswered or symptoms unnoticed or unaddressed? But, I will have ACCESS to my trainer and due to the frequency in which I see Doug (now twice a week for 60 min.); we can discuss tweaks and changes in my diet, exercise and sleep. I can honestly say that Doug has made the biggest impact on my life more than any other member in the health care industry combined. I’m not saying replace a medical professional with a trainer; but definitely add one to your prevention plan if you haven’t already.
I think most people hire trainers because they are unhappy with their physical appearance. Not realizing that by exercising and eating right they are also reducing their risk for diseases and many other health hazards. Most importantly, taking care of one’s health reduces the risk of heart disease, cancer and strokes, which are the three leading causes of death in America. Just think about how many people and how much money we would save if everyone exercised regularly.
Plus, a well-educated trainer like Doug can have a profound effect on your diet and stress levels. After going over my diet, it didn’t take Doug very long to give me the cold hard facts about the damage I was doing to my body. He plainly stated, “No amount of exercise can undo a bad diet!” First, he had me tackle my addiction to sugar. He started by expressing the importance of vegetables, protein and fruit in that order and how it would help reduced my cravings, increase my energy and keep my blood-glucose at an optimal level. He sent me tons of articles about sugar and how it can ruin your metabolism and life expectancy. He also provided healthy snack options like frozen fruit, veggies with nut butter or hummus, raw nuts, Larabar’s and beef jerky. It took me about a month to wean myself off of sugar completely and then I went three more months before I could add it back into my diet in moderation. To tell you the truth, I don’t miss sugar as much as I thought I would.
As a reward Doug gave me “150 Healthiest Food on Earth” by Jonny Bowden. This book has literally changed my life and I lend it to everyone because I want everyone to know the TRUTH about food. Besides switching to organic produce and milk, free-range chicken and eggs, grass feed beef and wild fish, I use real butter, eat the yoke of eggs, and limit processed foods. Never will I buy “low fat” anything again and I’m no longer afraid of saturated fat! I also thought I was lactose intolerant, but the process in which some milk is pasteurized kills some of the enzymes necessary for digestion. So now I drink whole organic vitamin D milk with no problem. My whole life I thought I had a mild case of IBS. “Yes, I said it!” But besides milk being an issue so were certain types of meats and eggs. But after going o-natural I don’t have emergencies anymore! I honestly believe it is because my body could not process the excess hormones and pesticides that are being pumped into our food supply.
Doug also suggested reading the ingredients on food labels rather than trusting all the hype printed on the box. Not just the calories etc, but to look for word substations; like Hydrogenated anything really means Trans Fat, anything ending in “cose” (sucrose) really means sugar. Also if there are too many ingredients, it’s over processed and probably not good for you. He also taught me how to slow cook everything and replace vegetable oil with organic coconut and extra virgin olive oil. I never realized the damage I was doing and the discomfort I’ve felt was because of the type of food I was eating.
I’m proud to say that after 11 months, all my screening numbers are at their optimal levels, in some cases I’m off the charts, in a good way! Besides feeling great, I’ve lost 2.5% body fat and increased my muscle mass by adding strength training. I never changed the amount of time I devoted to working out; Doug just changed my training style. I have to admit; I was extremely concerned about my cholesterol levels because I started to consume so much more saturated fat (coconut oil, yokes) than ever before. However because I increased my HDL levels by 36%, my total cholesterol level at 202 (which sounds high on its own) puts my cholesterol ratio at 2.2, which is above optimal. Above all, my biggest concern being my blood-glucose level went from a pre-diabetic number of 142 to 71, which is ideal!
This definitely didn’t happen over night and it was really hard. THANKS to Doug I’m not only in the best shape of my life but I’m healthy inside and out! I still struggle with my diet everyday and I definitely have to remind myself how good I feel after a workout before I start every work out. But I believe if you show commitment and dedication, your trainer will reward you with a wealth of information and you will feel and look better than you have in your teens or your LIFE.
Its time people took control of their lives and stopped relying on drugs as a miracle cure. “It’s Time To Wake Up America!” Don’t be a burden on society if you don’t have to be. Take it from me, getting healthy is hard work. It’s an investment in yourself, but I think you’re worth it. I know I am!
Special thanks to Jonny Bowden! Your book has inspired me to make healthy choices everyday!
SPECIAL NOTE – HOW TO CHOOSE A TRAINER?
Not all trainers are created equal! In fact I was a long time member of a chain gym that offered 3 free training sessions when you sign up. I never took advantage of this offer because none of the trainers looked like they practiced what they preached. Your trainer has got to “talk-the-talk and walk-the-walk”! If you don’t think your trainer is the epitome of health or a BAD ASS, how are they going to help you become one!!!! I’ll get back to this topic later.