Solutions vs. Resolutions:
Simplifying Health & Wellness
By Dr. Benedict Christopher A. Austria
As human beings, we all want healthy bodies. And as the year ends, we revisit the eternity of health-related resolutions that we all manage to kick off at the onset of every year. "I want to lose weight", "Exercise more often"; "Get radiant skin"; "Reduce stress." These are just some of the typical items in the long list of our yearly resolutions. But in a world where busy is the norm, the burning question is, "How do I keep my resolution?"
To keep your focus on your health goals, it’s important to know what makes the difference between success and failure: Solutions! Getting the right solutions requires knowledge and its application, so pay close attention to the following tips. It can be as easy as ABC.
ACQUIRE KNOWLEDGE. Now, more than ever, information is readily available at our fingertips; this vast amount of data can be quite overwhelming. In fact, myth-busting is now an incorporated role of the modern physician. Relatives and friends usually come up to me and ask, "What do you think of ketogenic diet and intermittent fasting?" Most of the time, I say that what works for others may not necessarily work for everyone. That said, it’s now the best time to visit your doctors; nitpick with them any information regarding medicine, supplements, diet, or exercise regimen. Armed with the new medically sound information that you’ve acquired, it’s time to set your goals.
BASELINE. To set achievable goals, they must be measurable, so it really helps to know where to start. For example, weight loss used to be the standard measure for a health goal. But from the viewpoint of precision and functional medicine, a better measure would be bringing down the percentage of body fat and increasing muscle mass. Both these factors have been associated with decreased risk of mortality (i.e., diseases which can kill you—heart attack, cancer, etc.). Worry not as this measure can easily be done with a body composition analysis. This serves as the perfect guide for any exercise program and dietary modification. Through this, you’ll be able to find out why it’s so easy to put on weight with just a couple of glasses of wine or a small piece of that delicious dessert. If you wish to get into the nitty-gritty about yourself and how your own body functions and responds to these changes, get a blood examination done. Hormone assays and blood chemistry results can further help you and your doctor tackle your weight management more effectively.
Unusual symptoms of frequent anxiety, sleep problems, asthenia (lack of energy), and difficulty concentrating can also be explained by alterations of your hormones and should not be ignored. If you choose to do a baseline body composition with blood tests, this will be a snapshot of your current health status—use it to promote your health and longevity.
COAX YOURSELF SLOWLY. Rome was not built in a day, so putting in more work during the start can cause a lot of undue stress and burn you out easily. A little bit of exercise is better than nothing at all; 30 minutes per day on most days of the week will suffice. If you plan on exercising more often or regularly, I advise that you see a sports physiologist or a certified trainer. They will guide you on your ideal exercise pace by evaluating your current strength and abilities. The ultimate goal is to increase your cardiorespiratory (aerobic) fitness and improve muscle mass, because both of these factors are significant to your overall health.
Some of the clients I see are in great shape in March and April but by October, they will have gained back their weight. Yoyo-ing of weight is very common if the diet is not sustainable. For dramatic results, one should engage in an effort to correct one’s eating and drinking habits. Calorie counting and portion control are musts if you want to follow a sustainable diet. A quick discussion with our nutritionists, Yna and Bea, surprises my clients when they are coached regarding portioning. Eating either to gain muscle and/or lose body fat will be easier if you eat with a purpose. Getting the ideal amount of protein per day with correct macronutrient proportioning has been life-changing for most of my clients.
Very low-carbohydrate diets or no-meat diets can put you at risk of certain micronutrient deficiencies. If you decide to follow these diets, consider supplementation of vitamins and minerals so that you will be in a balanced state. Remember, always ask your physicians and nutritionist first if you want to change your diet.
BE CONSISTENT WITH YOUR ABCS. Consistency is essential to any endeavour, and that of course includes our precious health. When you have your goals set, make sure to stick to them—I repeat, stick to them! And do regular follow-ups; monitor your progress to keep yourself motivated. You should know that muscle-building requires at least 2 to 3 weeks and safe weight loss is 1 to 2 pounds per week. All of these are attainable if you remain consistent. You will always have stressful days or sometimes lack the will to move on, but encouraging yourself to keep the ball rolling will give you the most benefit in the end. Those challenging days, as some may call them, will be a distant memory when you practice consistency and remain true to yourself.
Adding value to your profession, family, and community can be easier achieved if you reach your optimum health and wellness. Stress will be a lot more manageable and your mood will be lighter and better. As writer and historian Will Durant once said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.” So prepare yourself for an outstanding year!
This article was originally published on Alphaland Atmospheres Issue No. 6