Congratulations, you survived the holidays! The get-togethers, the running around in preparation, and the temptations of Christmas goodies are behind us and now you’re here in 2024. You can still remember just a few days or weeks ago promising yourself that this year would be different. The gym membership, sticking to healthier living, going to the chiropractor on a regular basis — all the things you know will help you regain some of the energy you seem to be slowly losing. It is time for that fresh start!
It seems so easy right now. You’re not yet tired of the new lifestyle changes like eating healthier and going to the gym. Those things still seem doable. You made appointments at the massage therapist and the chiropractor (what a great combo for increased energy!) and you still feel motivated. But how long will that last? What will it take to keep you going? The answer: mindset. The ability to persevere when it starts to get old or when you’re not seeing the same results you did when you started.
Let’s start with one aspect of this mindset, and that is calling your food choices a “diet.” When you begin to change the way you eat, it is really hard to maintain a diet. Most diets are started with a goal in mind — to lose twenty pounds, or fit into certain clothes, or look good for a wedding. Once that goal is hit or that event passes, do you maintain that motivation? A longer-term goal may help. One of my patients who was successful in curing his type 2 diabetes shared his great long-term motivation with me: he wanted to be able to dance at his granddaughter’s wedding and not just show up in a wheelchair. The best part? His granddaughter was only 2 years old! But even bigger than achieving long-term goals is changing your mindset. Don’t think of it as “going on a diet” to achieve a goal. Think of it as making lifestyle improvements and healthier choices. People who successfully quit smoking often see themselves not as smokers trying to quit, but as a non-smoker or an ex-smoker.
What about exercise? Don’t just go to the gym to get your “summer body” back. Go to the gym because your identity has changed. You’re not just a middle-aged guy who is trying to get back in shape. You’re a weightlifter. You’re a runner. You’re an athlete! Chances are you’ll feel so good about your routine at that point that you won’t want to quit exercising even after your summer clothes fit again.
Another thing I want to encourage you to do is to take a fresh start with your medications. I am often surprised when patients come in for a functional medicine consultation and they show me a long list of medications without knowing what half those medications are for. An example I’ll share that I see often is people who have been on acid reflux medication for years with no results — especially since the medication box says do not take it for more than 14 days. Another one is thyroid medications that give you good numbers but don’t fix your weight or energy issues. If you have a list of several medications you take regularly, I’d urge you to schedule a medication review with your doctor. You likely don’t need to continue some of the meds that you’re on.
This applies to your vitamins and supplements as well. Many people will come in to our office with a bag of supplements — mostly from places like Walmart and Walgreens — and they’re not sure why they are taking them. They are taking too much, or the wrong kind, but they heard on the internet from some guy that B12 is good for you. It can be, but it can also make certain conditions worse as well. Fairmont has a functional medicine expert right here in town (hint: it’s me!). You do not have to go to Mankato or Sioux Falls for these services and you shouldn’t trust some influencer on the internet who has a million followers but doesn’t know your specific situation.
Good luck with your fresh start. You have the motivation; I know you can do it. The new year is young. Here’s to your new lifestyle!
Dr. Burtis, D.C., M.S., CFMP, has been providing natural healthcare to the Fairmont area at Burtis Chiropractic Center for over 30 years. He uses a combination of chiropractic, nutrition, and functional medicine to help individuals restore and maintain health and healing through individualized care plans. The mission of Burtis Chiropractic Center is to provide transformational healthcare that takes an individual’s life to the next level. We strive to be a solution for families to experience transformational healthcare and help create vibrant and resilient lifestyles that can be passed to future generations.