The Hardest Thing to Change is Ourselves….

Change is hard and scary and sometimes downright daunting as it means we have to take a look at our lives and be willing to change. We know, need and want to live healthier. Maybe some of the changes you’re thinking of are to make some healthy changes to eating habits, start exercising again regularly, get more rest, or learn to use natural remedies instead of turning to over the counter medications for simple illnesses.

Lifestyle behavior changes are difficult because for many reasons. Some include emotions that motivate us. Usually, negative emotions spur us into action out of fear or prevention of the results. However, the results are temporary at best. However, positive emotional motivation for change is seen to have longer lasting results. At times we get trapped by our false believes about the change and it’s process that leads to becoming overwhelmed. It traps us into no-win situations where it becomes difficult to see the forest through the trees.

Behavioral change is a big thing, no matter the behavior; and it’s almost impossible for most people to make a huge change all at one. Our behaviors are rooted in our environments of influence (family, work, school, peers, communities, etc.).  This means that your change often affects those around you in some way (good or bad).  

Often we forget about the resources to help us and try to wing it based on what we think, know or feel about getting started and following through. This leads to an underestimation of the change process’s requirements of time, energy, or money.  And even though failure is usually a given, even for the most successful people making a change; it is these failures, no matter how small that leads to a full lack of commitment to the process (DiSalvo, D., 2017,

Figuring out what the first steps are and then taking them can seem really overwhelming. This is when our brains come up with objections and resistance to explain why we can’t start or follow through on the changes. As humans we are uncomfortable with change and prefer familiar routines to feel safe.

As a healthcare provider and a woman trying to live a healthy life, I’ve heard and have shared many of the common objections and resistances to healthy living changes. I’m here to tell you they don’t have to be true!

In order to overcome these objections requires a shift in thinking, a shift in your goals for your life and happiness, and a shift in your beliefs in yourself… and then the practical steps to healthy living can begin!

Some of the Common Objections to Healthy Living

How Do I Choose or Know What Is Right For Me?

There are tons of websites and experts out there that will tell you information that sometimes makes sense, sometimes goes against what you know or believe or what another respected health expert might say. This goes to the endless list of the best diet, the best exercise routine, the best supplements, the best essential oils, the best whatever… the list never ends!

However, remember that there is no way to know all of it AND what is best for one person is not best for everyone! Not one of us will ever be able to learn all there is to know about healthy living. The healthcare community is always learning new facts and figuring out what seems to work best for our patients, our communities, and our families. Your task is to know that you don’t have to know everything to make healthy changes! You start with what you know, doing the best you can, and then you grow from there, just like the rest of us are doing.

It’s Too Expensive

This can be true, I won’t lie. Some healthy habits do cost more initially. But this doesn’t always have to be the case. Some simple, healthy, nutritious foods are also cheap. Think lentils and rice or carrots and potatoes. Using green cleaning products can be as simple as baking soda and vinegar. Getting more exercise can be a simple as walking a pattern inside your house for an hour. Changing your mindset from thinking that healthy living requires special products, brands, and foods to realizing that healthy can actually be more simple is a great way to get past the price-point mental block.

Organic is Unaffordable

Well, if you shop at Wholefoods, this might be the case. Many patients and their families I know can’t afford to go all or mostly organic. In fact, we are one of those families!

Focusing on healthy, whole foods, such as fruits and vegetables, should be primary. Organic is great when possible, but when it’s not? You do the best you can with what you have available!  Remember, all items labeled as organic doesn’t equate to healthy. You can buy organic chips and cookies!

My Life is Very Busy… I Don’t Have Time

Initially, healthy habits do take time due to learning about and how to implement the healthy habit, readjusting your daily routine, and getting the habit to become easy. Any change requires time and adjustment, even the bad ones! But what is the alternative? Disease.

If spending some extra time every day on healthy habits gives you the opportunity to reduce your risk of disease AND be present in your life currently, it seems like a no brainer! And honestly, you the time you use to do healthy things now will save you years of struggle and suffering later!

The healthy change makes my choices restricted and life more difficult so that I can’t enjoy the simple pleasures   

While this may feel true initially, it’s not forever and there is always the option of allowing indulgences in moderation. I might say no to plenty of things while trying to live healthy, such as desserts, processed foods, sodas, and partying. Restrictive and difficult lives are definitely more related to chronic illnesses and pain syndromes, than being as healthy as you can. For instance, diabetes and poor diet leading to possible kidney failure/dialysis; or low chronic low back pain leading to a loss of movement freedom and life participation.

So How Do We Prepare For Change?

Many think that setting the goals in life is easy, but it is not.  Beginning a new habit to improve your health is a worthy goal, but it can be a bit overwhelming. There are bound to be challenges whenever you start something new, especially when it involves something you do several times each day — like eating and drinking. Still, as long as you don’t try to change everything all at once.

1. Develop and Follow a Plan

By figuring out the what, when, where and how’s of your goal(s), you can begin to implement baby steps. Once you have your plan developed, set a date for starting the change.  Be specific about your plan of the what, when, where and how’s and write it down.  Then be willing to figure out what kind of timeframe daily your plan of action requires. It may be difficult to immediately carve out several hours a day, rather than starting out with 30-minutes per day.

2. Take Baby Steps

Change is hard. You change may only start with the baby steps, but as you meet these smaller goals, you’ll be able to begin working toward your bigger goal. Some experts suggest making just one change each week, to give you time to get used to the new behavior. Your goal is to establish new habits that can be sustained for a lifetime. Daily activities go from conscious routine to habit in 6 weeks and then becomes unconscious habit in 12 weeks.

3. Set Realistic Goals

Set goals that are attainable for your abilities. Slow and steady wins this race. It takes time to learn new habits that will last for the rest of your life. Don’t be afraid to be realistic about your current abilities and start small. Remember every step forward is still a step in the right direction!

4. Reward, Don’t Punish

To keep motivation high, reward yourself after reaching baby steps. On the other hand, don’t be too hard on yourself when you fall off the wagon — everyone does, sooner or later. Anticipate that slipups will happen, and when they do, just brush yourself off and get right back on track. Use your slipup to learn where you are vulnerable and decide how you will handle the situation the next time without abandoning your goal all together.  

5. Get a Buddy

Support is an essential part of any successful change. Recruit a family member, a friend, or get involved in an online community. These people will become a source of inspiration, support, accountability, and encouragement on a regular basis — and especially when the going gets tough.

6. Track Your Progress

Successful people know how important it is to document what and how much of the goal(s) they’ve accomplished. Even the small success are still successes!  The simple act of writing it down is a powerful tool that can help keep you in control.

7. Have Faith in Yourself!

If you don’t believe in yourself or your abilities to accomplish goals, then you set yourself up for letting things get in the way. “Humans are inherently lazy” (Yuri Elkaim, 2020), and we can think and talk ourselves out of anything with self-doubt. Even successful people second guess themselves, but they also have faith and belief in themselves, even during difficult times.  

Taking control of your life and making healthy changes will be the best thing you ever do for yourself!

Pain Relieving Essential Oils

Courtesy of FOX News

Essential oils have been used for centuries to relieve a variety of conditions, pain and inflammation. Many essential oils have similar, and sometimes more effective, pain-relieving properties than many prescription or over-the-counter analgesics.

There are many benefits to using essential oils to get relief from pain and inflammation. For example, essential oils have fewer side effects than many modern drugs and they also help to soothe your mind and make you feel more relaxed. So, essential oils play an important role in pain management and in treating many inflammatory conditions.

If you suffer from chronic pain associated with arthritis, lower back pain, migraines, fibromyalgia, nerve pain or sciatica, then essential oils are excellent home remedies to treat the pain.

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Medical Marijuana and Healthcare Providers- Part 3 of What’s all of the Fuss about this Marijuana Stuff?

Healthcare providers and legal issues of medical certification

In part 1, I reviewed a brief history of marijuana, discussed medical-grade cannabis, presented some basic information regarding the constituents in the marijuana plant, and gave an overview of the endocannabinoid system. In part 2, I discussed medical marijuana education and information regarding its uses, side effects, and dosing. In the final part of this series, I will discuss information that is specific to healthcare providers in relation to their advocacy role, ethical and legal considerations of the patient that is a healthcare provider, and a review of the current laws/regulations. This information is helpful to both patient/caregiver and medical provider(s).

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Part 2: What’s all the fuss about this marijuana stuff?

In part 1, I reviewed a brief history of marijuana, discussed medical-grade cannabis, presented some basic information regarding the constituents in the marijuana plant, and gave an overview of the endocannabinoid system. In part 2, I will present medical information regarding marijuana and its use. This information is helpful to both patient/caregiver and medical provider(s) alike. Not only is it important for patients to fully understand how to choose, dose, and utilize their medicine, but it is imperative for providers to begin to have some basic education to help patients make choices about their medications. This blog series is meant to help initiate conversations between patients, family members/caregivers, budtenders and medical providers by providing basic information. 

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What’s all the fuss about this marijuana stuff?

As a healthcare provider, a patient, a family member and loved one, I try to view all sides of how a person decides to treat, heal or cure an ailment. If the treatment is effective with minimal to no side effects, then it is hailed a success; even if the real success was more attributable to the innate healing nature of the patient’s body. Thankfully science definitely plays a role in the identification of assistive and supportive measures found in medicine of all types and philosophies. It is important to understand the majority of interventions of healthcare are really meant to be supportive of the body’s innate healing. Things like medications, healthy lifestyle choices, and stress management are meant to help support and maintain the body’s balance of homeostasis. As a healthcare provider, it is important that my decisions and recommendations of care of my patients are based in science and also driven by the patient’s beliefs and definitions of what health and wellness are.

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Is your life all work and no play?

 Is your life all work and no play?   When was the last time you did something enjoyable just for yourself?  Spent the day relaxing comfortably all alone? Or spent quality 1 on 1 time with a close friend content in just being together, talking, walking, wondering about life in general? When did you last spend time reflecting on the spiritual aspect of your life, sitting in meditation or prayer, or just looking up at the stars in wonder?

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Healthcare Provider-Patient Communication

One of the biggest complaints I continue to hear from patients and clients is the issue of lack of communication with their healthcare provider, most notably physicians and mid-level providers. Communication issues seem to be related to a few categories including: inattention to the patient (various reasons), lack of empathy and/or big picture of the patient, lack of time, unacceptance of alternative health approaches by the patient, and generational views of the healthcare provider by the patient.

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Being Your Own Patient Advocate

I was recently questioning a patient about why I’d not gotten results of tests I’d ordered. Her reply, “I’d like to get my labs done, but I’m still dealing with my insurance company to ensure all the right codes are used, the labs are covered, and to find out what my out-of-pocket costs will be?” How can I argue with a patient that is advocating for herself? I can’t and won’t – she’s doing as I’ve asked, being her own advocate.

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February Health Blog – Cholesterol

As I entered the exam room of my first patient of the day, I noticed he had some papers in his hand and didn’t look all that happy to see me. As I sat down and asked what was going on, he handed over the laboratory report received from his work physical. “I’ve been put on notice about my cholesterol” he stated flatly. “I suppose you are going to put me on medication for it?” he asked. His numbers showed triglycerides in the 600’s and total cholesterol greater than 280. Generally, we look for your cholesterol panel to be: Cholesterol less than 200, Triglycerides less than 150, LDL (L for lousy) cholesterol less than 100, and HDL (H for healthy) greater than 40.

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