What is Lifestyle Medicine?
Shifting the focus from a disease care system to a true health care system.
Lifestyle medicine is the evidence-based practice of helping individuals and families adopt and sustain healthy behaviors that affect health and quality of life. Examples include eliminating tobacco use, improving diet, increasing physical activity, and moderating alcohol consumption. The emphasis shifts dramatically – from medications and procedures to treating the root causes with lifestyle changes proven to arrest, prevent and even reverse disease.
Changing unhealthy behaviors is at the core of the most effective medical care, prevention of disease and promotion of health. At North Cypress Internal Medicine & Wellness, we are dedicated to incorporating the vital tenets of lifestyle medicine into individual plans for each patient’s optimal wellness.
We believe in following the Six Core Principles, as developed by the True Health Initiative, the leading global authority on lifestyle as medicine:
- A diet comprised mostly of minimally processed, predominantly plant-based foods in time-honored balanced combinations
- Routine physical activity at moderate intensity, frequency and duration
- Avoidance of toxins, particularly tobacco and excess alcohol
- Sleep adequate in both quantity and quality
- The effective mitigation of psychological stress
- The cultivation of meaningful, supportive relationships and strong social bonds
Why is this so important?
Consider that the majority of premature deaths can be attributed to three factors:
- Tobacco use
- Poor diet
- Lack of physical activity
Also of note: three out of four visits to a primary care physician are the result of a lifestyle-related disease.
Lifestyle medicine can decrease the risk of chronic disease by 80% or more, resulting in:
- Less heart disease
- Less cancer
- Fewer strokes
- Less diabetes
- Less dementia
- Less obesity
Focus on the Factors You Can Control
- Healthy Eating. Eliminate fast, junk and processed food, added sugars and sodium, sodas, fried food, excess fats. Choose whole grains and legumes, fat-free and low fat dairy products, fruits and vegetables five times daily, lean proteins…and no supersizing!
- Be Physically Active. Try for 30 minutes of activity five times a week. Remember, some physical activity is better than none!
- Maintain a Healthy Weight. The benefits go far beyond the aesthetic, including lower blood pressure, reduced LDL [“bad”] cholesterol, improved glucose tolerance, and increased overall life expectancy.
- Don’t smoke. An overwhelming amount of damage to your health can be reversed by quitting, and even those who stop smoking at age 60 or older live longer than those who continue to smoke.
- Focus on getting good quality sleep and enough hours of sleep – aim for 7-8 hours per night.
- Manage stress. Learn strategies. Incorporate mindfulness and other stress reduction techniques.
- Connect! Take time to cultivate your relationships — with those around you, with your family, friends, and community.
Our Genes are Not our Destiny.
While our genes give us a basic start, the way we care for ourselves and the environment we create can make a tremendous difference. Evidence continues to mount showing that environmental and lifestyle factors influence gene “expression.” Diet, obesity, physical activity, tobacco exposure, alcohol consumption, environmental pollutants and stress all play a role…and can be controlled by embracing a healthy lifestyle.