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Highway to Health (December)

(if you wish to be removed from the mailing list...please accept my apologies and hit "reply "and type "remove."   The mailing list grows daily; but the info here is not for everyone and I understand an overloaded "inbox.")


1.  Do you know what works better than a new year's resolution?

2.  The best scoop on Attention Deficit Disorder

3.  Loose weight and cure asthma?

4.  Hysterectomy for better sex?

Do you know what works better than a new-year's resolution?

Watch out for this deadly trap if you wish to climb to any significant height: The new-year’s resolution. Consider never making one of these again--never again. Consider using another tool, which I will describe, that work’s much better.

If you’ve spent any time around the health clubs, you know that during January the exercise machines see long lines of people in new workout suits waiting for their turns to fulfill the solemn new-year’s resolution. But, the new-year’s resolution acts as both an alibi and a discouragement. By March, most of the people in the new workout suits are not to be found and business goes back to normal with mostly the same regular customers going about their workout routines.

I bumped into my friend Jimmy at the desert table while at a neighborhood Christmas party.

Jimmy said, "I’m eating all of the cake and pie I want today. My new-year’s resolution is to eat no sugar for all of next year. The doctor says I need to loose 45 pounds."

Please examine Jimmy’s reasoning.

1. I need to loose 45 pounds.

2.    To loose this weight, I need to quit eating sweets.

3.    I’ll do something today! I’ll resolve to quit eating sweets after January 1st.

4.      Today, I’ll pile on the desert at this Christmas party.

Here's a little prophecy....When January 1st arrives, Jimmy faces January with more weight and less self discipline than when he made his resolution. He faces a promise to himself that binds him for a whole year--365 days! The first day’s difficulties discourage Jimmy but he determines to make it for the year without sugar. By the second day or perhaps the second week, those 365 days start to seem like a long time. He becomes more heavily weighed down by the idea of sacrificing for such a long time. One day he cheats a little and eats a piece of pie.

Now that the resolution has been broken with one piece of pie, the promise no longer binds him; even if he doesn’t eat sweets for the rest of the year, he failed at the resolution. So, with some relief, he goes back to his usual eating pattern, thinking that he just can’t loose weight and so he should just be satisfied with his genetics. After all, his father battled hypertension for years before having his heart attack.

Please forgive this simplistic example. But, the above fairly describes the trap of the "new-year's resolution" whether it be for health or any other purpose.

Now let me describe for you a better way by replaying the above example using the different strategy:

1. I need to loose 45 pounds.

2. I will make the goal to loose 45 pounds by the end of the year (at less than one pound per week, he’s making a realistic goal).

3. What daily resolutions could I make that would lead me to loose 45 pounds by the end of the year? What if I didn’t eat sugar today?

4. I resolve to not eat sugar today.

Now, Jimmy should live today with no worry about tomorrow. He has a daily resolution that will lead to his goal of loosing 45 pounds in one year. No worry that he must do this for 365 days because he will not be the same Jimmy tomorrow that he is today. Tomorrow, he will have the discipline gained from living today well. The difference is that if he does make a mistake today, then he will only blow today’s resolution. Tonight, when he reviews his day, he can make a plan that increases his chance of success tomorrow. Maybe, he needs to ask his coworkers to not leave the cake they bring from home out in the break room where he can see it. Maybe, he needs to resolve to avoid the break room. But, after failing at one day’s resolution, the goal still exists and if he stops to plan his strategy he will be wiser and better able to execute his daily resolution tomorrow.

So rather than make a resolution to do or not do a certain thing for a year, a better plan is to make a goal for the year. Then break that goal down into monthly and weekly goals. Decide what must be done daily to achieve the goal. Then resolve every morning to do the thing that must be done. If you do not do the daily task, then ask yourself these questions:

1. Do you really desire this goal? What benefits will come to you and what pain will be avoided if you reach this goal?

2. Is the task you’ve determined to do to reach the goal too much of a sacrifice for the desired results?

3. Are there other strategies you could use to help you accomplish the desired daily task? Is there someone more knowledgeable than me about how to obtain this goal that could help me plan my daily strategy?

4. Am I paying attention to my behavior each evening and making well planned resolutions each morning?

Instead of a new year's resolution...this year consider spending a day in fasting and prayer. Make some yearly goals. Think what you could do daily to reach those goals. And just make a daily resolution to do the best you can do each day to do the day's work (If you want an excellent essay on living in "day-tight compartments"...see William Osler's essay taken from his speech "A Way of Life.").

Attention Deficit Disorder

For those who have family with attention deficit disorder, I would like for you to know about the best link for a good summary of diagnosis and treatment of this disease (read this and you'll now tips that your doctor probably doesn't know).  The NIH put out this statement which answers all the questions in the best way that they can be answered for now.

Loose weight and cure asthma?

Body mass index (BMI) is strongly and positively associated with the risk
of adult-onset asthma, according to an article in the November 22 issue of
the Archives of Internal Medicine. The researchers used data from the
Nurses' Health Study II to study the association between BMI and the risk
of developing asthma. From 1991 to 1995, the researchers identified 1596
incident cases of asthma out of 85,911 participants.
"this large, prospective cohort study demonstrated that high BMI and
weight gain since age 18 are associated with increased risk of developing
adult-onset asthma," the researchers write. "These data add to existing
evidence that excess body fat is a major cause of human disease and
suggest a new avenue for asthma management and prevention.... The
increasing prevalence of obesity in developed nations may help explain
concomitant increases in asthma prevalence."
Arch Intern Med. 1999;159:2513-2514,2582-2588

I suspect that the weight does not directly affect breathing but that the prostaglandin balance (optimized by exercise) will be unbalanced by a lack of exercise...but this is an unproven speculation by me.  Of course there are many people with asthma who would not benefit by loosing weight...but there are many who would.

Hysterectomy for better sex?

The bottom line for this article is that if you have the need for a hysterectomy, your sex life should improve afterwards (there is an unspoken fear by some women that after a hysterectomy their sex life will be damaged beyond repair).  The most important factor for having an excellent sex life (post menopausal) assuming a trustworthy mate and wholesome HORMONAL NORMALIZATION.  Find a physician who is expert in normalization of both estrogen, testosterone, and growth hormone if you can.  If you want to read the details please click here.

Happy Holidays!!  Hope the year 2000 finds you healthier and closer to God.

Charles E. runels Jr., MD

call if I can be of help