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Wellness Begets Wellness: Living A Preventative Lifestyle

Tomorrow night, I’m so pleased to introduce you to my friend and colleague, Dr. Jacqueline Romero, at the Fundamental Foods and Friends Dinner. If you’ve never heard her speak, you’re in for a treat. In a little bit, I’ll give you the link to RSVP to secure your seat.

If you were to stop by Dr. Romero’s practice (it’s on the north side of Immokalee Road, next to the new NCH Hospital, or as I like to say, behind Sweet Caroline’s), you would think it was like any other medical practice in town:

  • White lab coats? Check.
  • Stethoscopes? Check.
  • Blood pressure cuffs? Check.

(If you want to impress your friends at your next bridge game, it’s called a sphygmomanometer. It sounds just like it looks.)

What makes her practice so different from most of the others is her treatment mindset. You see, while some doctors diagnose a patient’s health problem and choose a chemical to fight it off, Dr. Romero goes deeper. She identifies the root issues behind the symptoms and corrects those.

There’s A Cliff!

I want to say this as gingerly as I can, but if I can see that someone is about to step off a cliff, I don’t have time to drop hints. If you’ve been following my blog for any length of time, you know I love you and want to see you be healthy and successful.

Very often, the root issue behind disease is a destructive lifestyle choice that needs to be addressed. All of the top 10 most common chronic diseases are related to lifestyle choices, and all but one of the ten leading causes of death in America can be prevented with some simple lifestyle changes.

The Root of Most Disease

I know people will take issue with this, but I still stand by the fact that the leading cause of death and chronic disease in America is the Standard American Diet. When you consider that the incidence of cancer, stroke, heart disease, depression, suicide, arthritis, ADHD, hypertension, kidney disease, COPD, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Chron’s Disease, Asthma, Psoriasis, and dozens of other diseases have spiked since the adoption of high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet, it’s crazy to point the finger anywhere else.

Someone will probably want to point out smoking here. Yes, smoking is a major cause of cancer, emphysema, and COPD. That’s why I said “lifestyle choices” and not just “eating habits.” But my guess is that most people who read health and wellness blogs have already recognized the enormous dangers of smoking and left it behind. I could be wrong. If you still smoke, stop.

Difficult Choices Really Aren’t That Difficult

Here in Naples, people love to eat out. There are hundreds of restaurants here, and they are almost always busy. It’s part of the culture here in this vacation town. There are some great choices here for healthy eating, but they are the exception. Many restaurants have embraced a model where, to increase their sales, they load their foods up with sugar, salt, vegetable oils, and additives that are known to be addictive, like MSG, all of which are known to contribute to obesity and all of the diseases that go with it. Then there’s the matter of portion sizes, which have exploded in size over the past twenty years. It’s basically the Standard American Diet on steroids.

I like to enjoy a meal with friends at a restaurant from time to time, but not every week, let alone every day. To operate my life and my practice at peak performance, I can’t afford to feed my body the wrong fuel. I have to be selective about everything I eat.

Is it a big sacrifice? Not really, when you think about it. I guess it depends on your priorities – short-term pleasure or long-term health. But people don’t understand how this works, so they don’t make the connection.

I said all that to say this: wellness is a choice, and it’s not a difficult choice. You don’t have to be sick, tired, stiff, sore, or depressed. You don’t have to have difficulties in the restroom. It might mean that you have to separate yourself from some things that your body craves (sugar, salt, oil, etc.), but when you weigh the temptation for junk food against the misery of spending your golden years in a hospital bed with an oxygen tank, suddenly that decision isn’t as difficult.

Here Comes The Cop Out

This is usually the place where people roll their eyes and complain, “Dr. Steve wants me to live on rice cakes and grass smoothies.” That’s a cop-out. It’s an excuse for not wanting to make the simple changes that will improve your health. I hear it from people all the time. I don’t even let my kids talk like that.

You should be able to enjoy your life and your food, but just because a food makes you feel good for a few minutes doesn’t mean your body needs it…or even wants it. Many of my patients have discovered that, once they cleansed their palette of sugar and addictive additives, they loved the clean, sparkling flavors of fresh, raw vegetables. You trained your body to love junk, you can train it to love good things.

You don’t want to be led around by your feelings anyway. At the end of every article, I post a quote from Eric Thomas that summarizes my view of wellness coaching: “At the end of your FEELINGS is NOTHING. At the end of your PRINCIPLES is a PROMISE.” If you will make lifestyle choices that promote wellness, instead of choosing to follow your feelings, I promise you that you will enjoy it just as much as enjoyed satisfying your cravings, and you will enjoy the health results much more.

A Better Model of Healthcare

It would be really easy for Dr. Romero to move all of her patients to a model where they are dependent on expensive prescription drugs to live. It would certainly provide her with a nice, fat cash flow, and her patients could go on punishing their bodies with their favorite junk cravings and chemical medicines with a laundry list of side effects. But she would rather see you live a life of wellness, where you live to be 100 and enjoy every minute in good health. That’s why she works so hard to help you identify and implement a lifestyle of wellness.

It’s like credit card debt, where you are stealing tomorrow’s wealth to enjoy today’s fleeting pleasures. Eating junk food now is stealing your opportunity to play with your grandkids, travel to exotic places with your spouse, and live life on your terms. You don’t want to have to work at Publix in your 80s to make ends meet, or spend your 80s in a hospital bed. It’s really that simple. The choices you make today are setting you on a path that will determine how you spend your 80s.

Come Meet Dr. Romero Tomorrow

If you don’t know what a wellness lifestyle looks like, or what path your current lifestyle is leading you down, join us tomorrow night (April 12) at 6:15 p.m. at my office behind the YMCA on Pine Ridge Road. Our Fundamental Foods and Friends Dinner with Dr. Romero might be the moment you look back on in 20 years and say, “that was the breakthrough when things began to change for me.” I think you’ll be shocked at how simple and rewarding wellness can be. Don’t let your seat be taken. Space is limited, so RSVP now to secure your seat.

“At the end of your FEELINGS is NOTHING. At the end of your PRINCIPLES is a PROMISE.” — Eric Thomas

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