Staying Healthy

“Doc, I am worried about 1999. I will be 41 and I want to stay healthy. How can I do it?”

Although Dave likes to plan ahead, he has difficulty remembering the five commandments of good health. He has been busy travelling and has no control over where he eats, what he eats, and how often he eats.

Dave has no time for regular exercise. His business lunches and dinners are not without good wine and alcohol. He forgets that alcohol is heavy in calories and devoid of nutrition

Dave has been working hard to quit smoking and get his weight under control. He finds this stressful. There are two other sources of stress in his life: dealing with difficult people and time management.

Dave feels trapped. He feels helpless. He wants to get control of his life.

“Doc, when I was growing up, my father used to say: son, your health comes first, your family comes second and your work comes third. Doc, in my case it is in reverse order!”

Dave cannot afford to give up his present job. The money is good. His wife, Susan, has a good salary as a legal secretary. They need two incomes to raise children, have a decent lifestyle and save money for holidays and retirement. Unfortunately, Dave’s lifestyle is anything but decent.

It is time to get tough. Dave, the first commandment of good health is to quit smoking. If you are unable to do so then get help. There are many programs to chose from. Pick one and stick to it.

Dave, the second commandment is to exercise daily. In your travels, pick hotels with swimming pool and health club. Get up early and start your day with 30 to 60 minutes of exercise. This will make you feel good, boost your morale and encourage you to follow healthy habits rest of the day. Regular exercise is the ultimate feel-good pill.

The third commandment is to control your weight by healthy eating. Eat diet with high fiber and low fat. Dave, do not forget that fruits and vegetables are good for you! Healthy eating, along with regular exercise, should make you a winner.

Dave smiles. I am serious. He should know, the pressure is on!

“Go on doc,” says Dave, looking little relaxed than when we started.

Dave, the fourth commandment is to have a regular physical checkup with your family doctor. Your doctor will recommend to you screening tests which may help detect conditions in early stage when it can be cured or controlled.

Finally, the fifth commandment is to control your alcohol intake. Besides being devoid of nutrition, it plays an adverse role in your weight control. Excessive alcohol intake leads to health and social problems which destroys your hard work and all your dreams.

“Doc, I promise you, next year things are going to be different. I know the odds are against me but I have to do it, for my family and me.”

Good luck, Dave. May peace be with you.

(This series of articles explore the health problems of Dave and his family. They are composite characters of a typical family with health problems)

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