I see this nearly every day in practice, the “over analysis paralysis” I call it. Never in recorded history has society had access to more information about health and wellness as we do today. At our finger tips in an instant, we have access to Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, Blogs, books, magazines, multi level marketing products, internet guru’s like Dr. Joseph Mercola and Dr. Josh Axe, television programs from Dr. Mehmet Oz and Dr. Phil McGraw, and much more. Most of these resources offer sincere health information at no cost; but be warned not everyone gives true healthy information (I have had many patients tell me their dietitian/nutritionist suggested they drink soda!) and not everyone is sincere (some just want to sell books, multi level marketing, or gimmicks). Additionally, some of this health information is passed along from other sources, and much like the childhood game of telephone, the ideas and thoughts are passed along and often in the end there is little left of the original message and people are left confused. This is when the problems arise. I find many people will read something from one source which may be similar but yet different to the recommendations of another source, which in turn is similar but yet different from yet a third source and on and on; you get the idea. The more many Americans read, and learn, about health the more confused most get. And this, my friends, results in the paralysis.
First lets define these terms for our discussion. Paralysis is defined as the loss of muscle function of one or more muscles. For our discussion lets define paralysis as a “lack of action”. Analysis means to break a complex topic (like the health of the human body) into smaller parts to gain a better understanding. So what I find is that many Americans over study health and wellness so much that they do not know what is best for them, where to start, and how to implement a healthy lifestyle. The result is no action, no lifestyle modifications, and no increased level of health. I mean, lets face it, Americans have access to all these resources, and yet the obesity and over weight population makes up nearly 70% of the US and has been steadily increasing over the recent years; and with increased weight comes decreased health, decreased quality of life, increased disability, and increased risk of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, arthritis, diabetes and more.
Enter what I predict as the solution. There is a growing profession of people passionate for health that are being labeled as “Health Coaches”. A health coach does for your health, what a personal trainer does for your workouts. A certified health coach is a wellness authority, and supportive mentor, to help you cultivate a healthier lifestyle through eating, exercise, and managing stress and other behavior barriers. It is necessary to learn how to implement wellness goals to live a sustainable healthy lifestyle without deprivation. That way these healthy habits will become a natural part of life rather than being forced. Like we have discussed multiple times through this column you don’t have to go this journey on your own, there is a “we” in “wellness”.
Now I must admit my bias here. My wife and I decided to become certified health coaches because we saw the need to bridge the gap between health information and those who need it. At the end of the day many Americans would benefit from someone who is passionate about health, who is proactive in gaining the latest health and wellness information through seminars/training/education in order to simplify it, or boil it down, to achievable health goals and hold you accountable. Our nation is in a health crisis that is currently not being addressed and is out of control. Costs are sky rocketing at alarming rates; which in turn costs us all through government/taxes and through insurance premiums. In summary, don’t suffer from the “over analysis paralysis”, don’t go the journey alone, consider consulting with a certified health coach to help you remove the barriers to your success (like an unhealthy lifestyle). Remember, when we travel the road to success barrier free, the road becomes a much smother ride.