As a naturopathic doctor and author, I lecture quite frequently all across the country. Last week I was on the blue-line train from O’Hare to downtown Chicago to address a group of doctors on subclinical hypothyroidism, and decided to connect with my friend Maddy, who lives downtown.
To my surprise, Maddy was on the green-line train coming home from work, and free to meet after my lecture. We had a wonderful time catching up on all aspects of our lives. She was upbeat as she shared that her career and finances were better than ever and that she was beginning to date someone she really liked. But there was one area of her life that she was quite frustrated with — her overall health.
She looked at me and said simply, “Hol, my body is doing funny things, and I don’t like it.” It was obvious that she had gained some weight, but I asked her to be more specific and look beyond the weight gain. She told me that her annual blood work showed elevated cholesterol levels and the doctor had diagnosed her as prediabetic, with her blood sugar regularly running high and blood pressure measuring slightly high.
I then asked her a number of questions regarding her lifestyle, diet, and habits — similar questions I would ask patients in my practice.
Maddy’s responses were riddled with excuses: she had stopped exercising; she had fallen into the comfortable trap of being wined and dined by her clients, so she was drinking and eating excessively during the week and on frequent business trips; she was also using alcohol to help her fall asleep and then unsuccessfully attempted to boosting her energy when she was hungover and lethargic by drinking too much caffeine; and at times, she was even having a cigarette to relax.
Your health is like a bank account
Even though I am a health practitioner, everyday I seem to have a conversation with someone about how concerned they are about money — how to make it, how to save it, and how to stop spending so much. I think about health in the same way. Health is like a bank account, and with almost everything you do; you are either making deposits or withdrawals, affecting your bottom line.
Maddy’s actual bank account was in the black, but her health bank account was hemorrhaging. She was in “debt” and close to declaring “health bankruptcy.” She was spending more than she was saving and totally neglecting the balance.
What’s worse, besides the daily withdrawals she was admittedly making, with her dietary choices, she neglected to calculate the “automatic withdrawals” created by living in a high-paced, toxic world and the effects that this stress has on our bodies, organs, and cells. These withdrawals can really add up. She also neglected to calculate the natural aging process of a slower metabolism. Instead of respecting that and eating less, as she aged, she started to eat more.
My simple comment to her, as a friend, was a curt, “Well, if you don’t like it now and you continue to behave like this, you are really not going to like it in a couple of years, if you are even around.”
I was serious. As a 46-year-old woman, she needed to wake up and start the process of digging out of her health debt. Getting out of debt requires making more deposits than withdrawals over time, and Maddy was not making any daily “deposits” to offset her frivolous spending and her body showed signs of “recession.”
So I created a “daily savings plan” for her, which I will share with you in my next installment.
Dr. Holly Lucille, ND, RN, is a nationally recognized Naturopathic physician, author, educator, consumer advocate and natural products consultant. She is on the Worldwide Scientific Advisory Board of VivaPrime, A lifestyle company offering Holistic Nutritional Solutions for specific conditions.
Dr. Holly Lucille, ND, RN, is a nationally recognized naturopathic physician, author, educator, consumer advocate and natural-products consultant. She is on the Worldwide Scientific Advisory Board of VivaPrime, a lifestyle company offering holistic nutritional solutions for specific conditions. You can read her full biography here.