One change can go a long way. I just read Domestic Man’s post about Easing into a Paleo Diet and he has some great advice on how to make some small changes to get yourself eating better. Reading his post got me thinking about how even one change can really improve a person’s health.
Back in the days of yore, I had a classmate in college who between freshman and sophomore year lost a good amount of weight. When someone asked her how she did it, she said that she cut out soda completely along with some other dietary changes. She remarked that just by cutting out soda, including diet soda, she lost 10 pounds. That was before she made the other dietary changes. I remember thinking one simple change could make a big different. I also remember thinking, “Soda really is evil!”
Fast forward to the present day. I had a patient that I was seeing and I asked him about his diet and he said that ate a lot of meat and drank a lot. He had already quit smoking, so I decided to ask him to make two changes – stop drinking and eat more vegetables. He readily agreed to try it. I think that instead of asking him to stop eating meat, which appeared to be a huge part of his culture, I just asked him to add something to what he was already doing. Stopping alcohol might be a bit harder, but I figured I had a window of opportunity and asking for two changes didn’t seem like a whole lot.
Contrast giving that kind of advice to giving the kind of advice that I’ve heard most people give other people. You need to eat better. Well, I think most people know that, but when you give advice in general terms, people become overwhelmed. Those people start to feel guilt that they aren’t eating better and they can’t seem to ever get to the point where they are eating better.
Writing this gives me an idea for creating a hierarchy or a list of nutritional advice that’s focused on getting people to actually make a positive change that could be used in the medical setting. I don’t agree with a lot of the nutrition advice that’s being doled out in physicians’ offices, but I think that things like eat more vegetables is something that we can all agree on.
Lots to think about.
I’m interested in other people’s experiences with nutritional advice and interactions with the healthcare system, so leave me comments.