Prescription: One Bicycle; use three times a week.
When I was thirty-three I was overweight and at just over 250 pounds had developed unseen heart disease. My life pump was weak and plugged with plaque. Once my doctor had figured out what was wrong he gave me two choices. One was for open heart surgery using a medical form of roto-rooter and then pills for the rest of my life, which he predicted would be shorten greatly by my condition or get a bike and start riding.
I took the second suggestion, lost the weight and never looked back. My body healed itself once I gave it a chance with regular exercise and a better diet. Now I am sixty two and still ride three times a week or more. I operate a bike rental shop when I am not with a client as a counsellor. Now cycling and therapy have merged in my blog www.cycle-therapy.ca. I have gotten hundreds of clients cycling over the years as their first step towards physical and mental health. Along with cognitive behavior therapy and sometimes even medications my clients have seen amazing improvements in both their physical and mental health as they have taken control of their personal lives through exercise and diet. Counselling helps and sometimes even meds are needed by without exercise and diet all the counselling and meds in the world would not have helped them.
We live in bodies that have evolved over the last few million years with systems that we have developed to keep us alive so we could get our genes into the next generation. If we were eaten by lions or starved to death our contribution to future generations could be limited. Those who survived passed on their genes to us and made us who we are today. So don’t be in denial, you are an advanced highly evolved animal, so get over it and move on with this knowledge. Your fight or flight mechanism is a fine tuned system that evolved over the eons to keep you alive. Your gene pool could never have predicted modern society which has developed over the last few hundred years. You probably haven’t been chased by a lion for a few days and you also have not had to search for food lately either. But you have been stressed out by your boss, wife, children, traffic and bank lineups which your body interprets no differently than been harassed by lions and your fridge, full of calories, is always waiting only a few steps away. This has resulted in most of us having our systems flooded with the go fast hormones our body creates from stress combined with an endless supply of calories. This unique combination has given us diabetes, obesity, heart disease, arthritis, immune disorders as well as anxiety, depression and sleep disorders.
You can do something about this and it’s never too late. I recommend cycling or power walking for exercise as running is tough unless you are already into it. Start slow and expect it to be uncomfortable until you form the habit and become addicted to it. Your lying cheating body will try to get out of it with sudden aches and pains but ignore this, unless it is chest pains, and get on with it.
When you exercise regularly (anaerobically) you will not only burn off excess calories but also the go fast hormones you created through stress. When you eat what you need versus what you want you will find your tastes will change. Avoid red meats, eat more chicken and fish, and base your food intake around nuts, fruits and vegetables. Once you get these two areas under control you may still need to see a cognitive behavior therapist to help extinguish negative behaviors and thinking. Some may even need to use SSRIs or other prescription drugs but if you do what you can with exercise and diet you may need far less interventions from therapists or doctors. It’s up to you, deal with these issues by handing control over to doctors and therapists or take control over your life and then you may only need them to tweak your new found improvements.
You can do this! I have and hundreds of my clients have. I have watched this process in myself and others for almost thirty years and I plan on doing it for awhile yet.