The Fastest Way to Health

Imagine, if you will, getting in to your car in the morning. You start the engine, let it warm up slightly, and then you put the car into gear. It doesn’t move. What’s your response? Do you just step on the gas to see if it’ll go or do you look at the dash to see if there’s a warning light? It turns out that the parking brake is on. Do you take the brake off, or do you just push harder on the gas? It seems like a silly idea, right? But we do the equivalent of stepping on the gas with our health ALL THE TIME. Unfortunately, the dashboard for our health can seem more like the control panel on a Klingon ship instead of the familiar warning lights on our cars. Without understanding the warning lights, we usually keep going until something breaks. It’s what I did.

If you struggle with a chronic health complaint, whether that is a knee that just won’t get better, or an autoimmune disease, you know that there is something wrong. However, the disease or the pain is not the same thing as the problem. It is fairly safe to say that there isn’t just one thing that you did, that you do, or that happened, that caused this problem. Sometimes you can point to a single event, but that does not happen in most cases. If there was a single problem or event, it should be pretty simple right? Just don’t do that again. But too often we act like the old joke: the man tells his doctor, it hurts when I touch my arm; the doctor responds, then don’t do that. But avoiding the symptoms is not the same as solving the problem, just like stepping on the gas is not the same as releasing the parking brake.

Let me explain that. If you tear your ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) in your knee, you end up with severe knee pain. The pain, however, is not the actual problem. The pain is the outcome of the torn ligament, which is the problem. If your only goal was to get rid of the pain, then you could choose options such as constant pain relievers, or even going in and killing the nerve. That would get rid of the pain, but it doesn’t solve the problem of the torn ligament. Your knee would still be damaged, and would not work correctly. The same concept applies to chronic disease, such as diabetes. The focus for years was on controlling blood sugar levels, however, the understanding of diabetes has improved and now we know that it is the RESULT of a metabolic disregulation.

So then, if you truly want to heal yourself, it becomes evident that you have to first identify the actual problem behind the symptoms. Of course, there are two approaches to this. First, the pseudo-scientific approach of identifying diseases, disorders, and syndromes and then identify all the contributing causes. The second approach, which is the one I follow, is to take what I know about what actions contribute or lead to health, and identify where someone is going against that. This is based on the idea that disease cannot inhabit a healthy body, so if you work to make the body healthy, the disease will go away.

Most of us, though, are doing multiple things that actively work against health, myself included. So knowing that, where do you start?

The key is to identify the greatest limiting factors, and then to address those. This usually isn’t exciting, and is frankly usually a blind spot. For me, it has either been something I didn’t recognize that I was doing, or I didn’t understand the effects of my actions. And sometimes I didn’t understand the warning signs I was receiving. There are a few ways to identify and address the limiting factors, but they mostly fall under three umbrellas:

You can go the DIY method, which I’ve tried, and try to figure out what’s the key driver for you. With this route, you will likely experience uncertainty and overwhelm as there are so many competing ideas out there. Do you go paleo, vegan, or carnivore? HIIT, cardio, or Crossfit? Exercise, meditation, journaling, psychiatry? Medicine, supplements, or essential oils? Each of them has a place and a use, but not all of them will take you where you want to go. And most of them won’t be specific to your situation.

You can find someone who will treat you. To me, this is a more medical approach. This often goes with the approach of identifying the disease and having a “cookbook” solution. I went to a holistic doctor, and this was their approach. They used alternative diagnostic methods, and they used supplements, but I was still obviously a patient, and not really being empowered. There is a time and a place for certain treatments, but it is not the final solution.

Finally, you can find someone who will coach you. They may use a different term. Maybe they are your partner, or guide, but it is less a doctor-patient, or parent-child relationship, and more of an advisor. This is the approach I take with clients. I look at you, through biomechanical evaluation, conversation, and extensive health questionnaires, then I identify what I see as your greatest limiting factors, and then you decide which ones you are interested and willing to work on. Through the whole process, my goal is to work myself out of a job. My dream is to provide for my family while helping others get more out of life – it is not to make money off people by keeping them dependent on me. The longer I keep a client tied to me, the less time I have to help other people. I became an integrated wellness coach because I wanted to help others avoid or overcome the effects of losing your health.

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