healthy

7 Sure Ways to Stay Young(er)

Yes, you are only as old as you feel! But none of us enjoys having to face grey hair, skin wrinkles, loss of strength, or “senior moments.” People have been searching for the fountain of youth for centuries.
There are many things you can do that either speed up or slow down the aging process. No, none of them will make you live forever. But they will make a big difference in how your body, mind, and soul look and feel. Here are seven ways:

7 Things I Would Say To You As My Patient

You’re tired, you don’t feel well, and you want some help. You come to see me in my office, hoping I will have an answer.
How I wish I could fulfill your hopes! I wish I could fix you. That would make your life, and mine, so much easier. Most of the time it’s a matter of you and me figuring things out together. Here are a few things I’d like to tell you:

Baby and father alseep

Sleep – Good for Your Body, Mind, and Soul

I’ve never especially liked going to bed. There’s so much to do.
We all know that our human bodies need sleep and rest. But that’s not all. Your mind, emotions, ability to handle stress, and how you relate to your children, spouse, God, and others are all affected.

Your God May Damage Your Mental Health

Or to put it more academically correctly, your view of God as either benevolent or vindictive is correlated with your risk of psychiatric symptoms. At least that’s what recent research published in the Journal of Religion and Health seems to indicate.
For a person of faith, examining religion, spirituality, or Christianity from a scientific viewpoint may at first seem a like denial of that faith. But if our faith cannot stand up to scrutiny perhaps it’s not faith in the right thing!

Growing Up Without Regrets

Growing up has never been easy. But in today’s culture young people have more challenges to face than ever before, especially in the area of sexuality. The basic issues may be no different, but the speed of life and the multiple pressures teens face make the risks even greater.
A few sobering statistics:

How I Got My Husband to Change

I got my husband to change. When we first met Al was a smoker, and had been for 45 years. He was seriously overweight, and had been much of his life. He ate – and loved – the typical unhea
lthy American diet.
Today things are completely different. He hasn’t smoked since we got married: that was a huge accomplishment, and made a big difference in his health right away.
How did I get him to change?

7 Benefits of Healthy Living Beyond Being Healthy

For many people, lessening the risk of disease or living longer is a rather boring, un-spectacular motivation for maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Understanding more of the “other” benefits of healthy living can help us find more of the motivation necessary to actually make those healthy lifestyle choices. Here are some of those benefits.

What Your Lifestyle Can – and Can’t – Accomplish

Going to extremes is only human, but it’s not healthy. Many people have a difficult time finding a healthy balance in lifestyle choices.
On one extreme are those who throw caution to the wind. On the other extreme are those who wouldn’t eat a piece of bacon or a candy bar if they were starving. And then there are those who jump between those two extremes – with no better results.

Nature or Nurture: Managing Your Genes

The more than 3 billion base pairs that make up the DNA in each of your body’s cells provide a blueprint for everything about you. But are you doomed to live out the results of whatever your parents passed on to you – good or bad?
The genetic package we are each left with simply means we have to work harder in some areas than others.

Lifestyle

10 Tips for Losing Weight

Losing weight is one of the top resolutions people make every year, and yet one that people find hard to follow through on. The emotional, physical, and relationship cost of being overweight is heavy!
Here are some tips that I give to my patients when they want help to lose weight. I believe a lifestyle change is the safest, healthiest, and wisest way for most people to lose weight, but you may need some help along the way. Here are some tips to provide some of that help.

The Supplements I Recommend, and Why

Americans love supplements! Roughly half of us use them. We spent $11.5 billion on supplements last year, and that number is consistently climbing.
Here are the criteria I use in choosing whether to recommend a given product or supplement.
And here are the supplements I take, and those I recommend to my patients.

Nobody Wants to be Healthy

I have assumed everyone wants to be healthy. But that’s not true!
The most powerful lifestyle changes come from the inside out. For most of us a desire to “be healthy” is too nebulous, too temporary, too easy to compromise. It takes something deeper.

Being REAL or Being Helpful

Do I share my feelings completely? ALL the time? Will it hurt other people if I do? If I don’t, will keeping secrets hurt me – or them? If I know this, shouldn’t I share the information?
So how can you know if this is a “secret” you should keep or not? Maturity, wisdom, counsel, and prayer are all very necessary for some of these tough decisions.

5 Tips for Getting Past the Drama

Just coming through the holidays, you may have experienced some family drama – as a couple I saw in my office had just been through. These tips may help you keep your sanity in crazy-making situations.

Run – or Pray?

As a physician and a minister I see both extremes: I see those who live an unhealthy lifestyle become frustrated, angry, or depressed when they experience the physical or emotional consequences of those behaviors, but they often seem empty spiritually.
I sometimes see others who try to live a wholesome lifestyle – natural foods, exercise, manage their stress, etc.,

7 Things to Do Intentionally Every Day

Do you remember learning the classic laws of thermodynamics, perhaps in seventh grade science class? The basic idea goes something like this: any system will seek equilibrium where the least amount of energy is expended.
Doing something on purpose makes the difference. So, for myself, here are some things I must do intentionally:

Happy Anniversary! Five Steps to a Happy Marriage

First a disclaimer: I’m not sure there are ANY five steps that guarantee happiness in any area of life, let alone something as long-term and complicated as marriage. But I DO know that there are some things that can make or break the union of two people.
Four years ago today (as I write this) I married Al Tanksley, and I’m more in love now than on the day I said, “I do!”
Here are a few things I believe have made a critical difference in our marriage,

Doctor, Doctor: Your Family of Origin

You can’t choose your parents. Or your brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, and cousins. If your family of origin was reasonably healthy you probably don’t think much about how you choose to relate to them.
But not all families are so healthy. It seems some significant measure of dysfunction is the norm in most families. Where you come from affects you.

Things growing

5 Tips For Growing Up

Have you ever grown up in some significant way when everything was easy?
Probably not.
There’s the cliché that says, “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.” I don’t believe that’s always true. Sometimes trauma can stunt our growth: child abuse, rape, severe poverty, and others.
I DO know that the times when I’ve grown the most have definitely been some of the most difficult.

Dealing with Desire: Sex and Spirituality

“It” has been the vehicle for some of the best experiences human beings can have, and also some of the most traumatic and painful.
You’d think with all the downsides sex has brought, all the trauma, shame, guilt that so often have accompanied sex, that we’d shy away from it. But for the most part we keep going back for more.
If our desires are built in and divinely created, then it’s what we make the object of those desires and how we try to go about trying to get them met that can be at fault.
So what do we do with our desires? I offer these thoughts:

Doctor, Doctor: Ignoring the Symptoms

I could probably use her real name: she’s been dead over 20 years. I met her one night in the emergency room during my residency training. She had been bleeding for months, and finally became so weak that she allowed her family to bring her to the hospital. She hadn’t seen a doctor in years.
Periodically it’s a good idea to do a mental check of the different areas of your life, and see if there are symptoms you might be ignoring. Symptoms that need to be dealt with before they get worse, and before the problem becomes deadly.

Food for the Soul: Learning to Feed Yourself

We get hungry! And it starts from the day we’re born.

A newborn baby needs to be fed every 2-3 hours. They are completely dependent on others for the timing, quantity, and quality of the food they receive.
Later a child learns to feed themselves. Food preferences develop, and we have an increasing control over how much food, what kind of food, and when we eat. Eventually everything about what we eat is our own choice.
Food for the soul is just like that. When we’re immature we are dependent on others for any stimulation, human communication and connection, and spiritual nurturing we receive. Eventually we need to learn to feed ourselves.
Three things you need to consider in learning to mentally/emotionally/spiritually feed yourself:

Doctor, Doctor: Your Mental/Emotional Health

Sometimes I cry. Sometimes I get angry. Sometimes I feel strong, and sometimes I feel very small. Sometimes I get anxious and upset. Sometimes I feel so happy I can’t imagine ever having a bad day ever again. Sometimes I feel like I could change the world, and sometimes I feel like nothing I do makes any difference.
Life has emotional content, and that’s a good thing. One of the best signs of psychological health is the ability to experience the whole range of human emotions.

Doctor, Doctor: Your Physical Health

You don’t feel good, so you snap at your spouse. You’re tired, so you make a quick unwise decision you later regret. You wake up with a headache, so you try to sleep in, and skip your morning quiet time.
Our physical health impacts every other area of our lives. If you are in shape, at a healthy weight, with good nutrition, and well rested, you are a comparatively formidable force against any obstacle in your way. On the other hand, if you are sick and tired, overweight, full of junk food, and never exercise, you have no reserve to handle even the “normal” stuff life throws at you.

What is Your Body Telling You?

Our physical body takes a hit when we experience stress. Even if that stress is not especially negative or traumatic, our body takes the wear.
And if the stress involves danger or trauma, or continues over a significant period of time, our body may just “shut down” in some way.
It has been estimated that 75% or more of the time a patient visits a primary care physician the true reason is stress, psychological difficulty, or something related.

Olympic Rings

Faster, Higher, Stronger: Your Gold-Medal Run

The 2012 Olympic Games in London have just come to an end. For these two weeks every two years I spend more time watching sports on TV than probably the entire two years between them.
Names like Michael Phelps, Usian Bolt, Gabby Douglas, Missy Franklin, Oscar Pistorius, and others are now household words around the world. There’s something about the Olympic Games that draws us in.

Doctor, Doctor, Tell Me

I do it almost every day. Someone doesn’t feel well. They come to see me as a doctor and talk about their symptoms. I ask questions, do an exam, order tests, and prescribe treatment. For some “simple” medical problems, that is enough.
But more often than not there are so many more issues beyond just the physical symptoms. If I ignore these other factors, the patient may or may not get better. And I have done the patient poor service.

Did You Build Your Health?

President Obama stirred up some strong controversy last Friday when he stated in one of his speeches, “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.” While the politics of that statement have occupied a great deal of the airwaves over the past few days, I have a different take on this controversy. What about your health? Who is responsible for your health or the lack thereof?

steps to forgiveness

Steps to Forgiveness

Holding on to wrongs done to you will eat away at your soul, and eventually your body and mind. We have heard about forgiveness from preachers, and well we should. But I believe we need to hear more about forgiveness from doctors.

Staying Healthy On the Road

Keeping a healthy lifestyle is a challenge at any time. But when you’re traveling it takes special determination to keep from falling back into less healthy eating and exercise patterns. These tips for eating healthy and exercising on the road will keep you feeling better and healthier.

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