Posted by: coachingparents | March 23, 2009


By Lloyd J. Thomas, Ph.D.

The old proverb, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,”
is more true today than ever before, especially when it comes to your
health, the cost of treatment, the health-care crisis and the number
of people without healthcare insurance.

Each year we spend billions and billions of dollars (the pound) on
research for causes and cures for illnesses.  We spend almost nothing
(the ounce) on preventing disease in the first place.  Think what
would evolve if we were to reverse that ratio….spend billions on
prevention and little or none on cure.  Therein lays one key to why,
when it comes to our health, we don’t spend money on prevention. 
Think of the people and companies involved in research, treatment, and
curing, who would go broke without all those pounds of money.

The past 9 Surgeons General of the United States, have all reported
that over 85 percent of the disorders for which we seek medical
treatment, are “lifestyle driven.”  No matter how much money we throw
into research, no one but you can treat your lifestyle.

Do we want to prevent lifestyles?  Of course not.  We need to
prevent the illnesses created by disease-causing lifestyles.  If we
were to modify our lifestyles to create maximum health in our lives,
prevention of illness would occur at least 85 percent of the time. 
For most of us, clearly what is required to prevent (perhaps cure)
illnesses, is a significant lifestyle change.

Who or what governs our lifestyle?  Certainly, the choices we make
and the habits we have.  However, the greatest force governing our
lifestyle is not logic, not desire, not emotion, not rationality, but

Inertia is that force that drives us to spend 6-9 hours a day in
front of a television eating salty snacks, drinking high-caloric
beverages and somehow seducing us into believing that cheering for our
favorite hero, if done at regular intervals, is an aerobic activity. 
Inertia is the primary enemy of a healthy lifestyle.

Probably the most powerful inertia that freezes our lifestyles into
illness-provoking habits, is the inertia around eating and moving. 
Eating habits pretty much define the state of our physical and
psychological health.  Moving habits are equally powerful in that
definition.  If we don’t eat or move the way we were designed, we
disrupt the balance in our lifestyle.  Illness results.

Dr. Dean Ornish, author of four best-selling books on health,
including “Dr. Dean Ornish’s Program for Reversing Heart Disease,”
indicates that the human impulse to disobey direct orders about eating
remains as strong as ever, particularly since the advent of pizza.  In
the biblical story of the garden called Eden, we read of Adam and Eve
given a direct order from none other than God, to not eat an apple. 
What did they do?  They ate it, of course.  So I’m not about to tell
you what not to eat.  What I would suggest is that you do eat more
dietary fiber…at least 40 grams per day, found in vegetables, fruit,
grains, legumes, and supplements.

We all know the health benefits of regular moderate exercise and
periodic strenuous aerobic exercise.  I am not aware of any direct
orders from God to overcome personal inertia and move.  However, I am
aware that any muscle, when held perfectly still for a week, loses a
third of its size.

Eight out of the ten leading causes of premature death in the U.S.
are completely preventable.  And what is the ounce of prevention which
is so powerful?  Modification of your eating and exercise habits. 
That’s it!  That is the ounce of prevention we can control.

Physically we were designed to move.  Psychologically we were
designed to love.  Why not love yourself enough to prevent yourself
from becoming sick?  Learn about healthy and disease-preventing foods.
 Learn about how to best move your body.  Learn how to treat yourself
in ways that provide that ounce of illness prevention.  Overcome your
inertia and start treating yourself as you would a loved child, and
maximum health will be yours.
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