What expertise does the average family practitioner have when it comes to making health recommendations regarding exercise and nutrition? The answer is usually NONE! Now some will argue, it is important to determine whether it is safe to begin exercising or changing a dietary pattern. I would respond, if it is necessary to ask your doctor, it is likely your health has already been compromised. What’s worse, this means your doctor wasn’t responsible enough to PROACTIVELY make the necessary recommendations BEFORE you came to him or her for advice.
Let’s pretend a health history does provide risk factors requiring modifications to dietary and exercise regimens. What specific recommendations have you EVER heard a doctor offer to custom tailor a plan to maximize patient potential? I’m used to hearing exercise recommendations like:
starting an exercise routine would be good for you, but don’t over do it.
walking would be good for you
you need to be less sedentary
you should really consider exercising
I’m used to hearing nutritional recommendations like:
eat more vegetables and fruits
eat more chicken and fish
eat less salt
eat less fast food
eat less fried foods
These types of answers proving the need to “always ask your doctor first” seems to lack merit. Doctors (trained in “doctoring”) are NOT EXPERTS in the fields of EXERCISE and NUTRITION and should refer their patients to professionals who are. For example,when a family doctor determines their patient has complicated hormonal issues, they refer them to an endocrinologist (a specialist dealing with hormones.) Why do family physicians without any formal training in nutrition and exercise feel qualified providing answers to these IMPORTANT categories that GREATLY affect one’s quality of health?
It’s time that doctors begin recognizing their limitations and provide REFERRALS for their patients to improve outcomes. In my opinion this will add to the credibility of the doctor and help the patient understand (in specific terms) what action steps are needed. Exercise recommendations by professionals in the industry will customize plans to target specific results the patient is looking to attain. Patients will be given resistive and cardio plans rather than instructions to “start an exercise program.” Patients will be given nutritional education by professionals so the patient understands their body’s needs and requirements. Number of meals, size of portions, types of foods, etc… will be based on individual needs. This will replace the recommendation to “eat more vegetables and fruits.”
We are not robots. We have good capable minds and we should be using them before following habitual patterns in life. Just because we have followed a certain pattern of behavior for decades, doesn’t mean this pattern is in our best interest. I suggest we LISTEN and THINK before taking ANY ACTION. Ask yourself, “ARE THESE GENERIC RECOMMENDATIONS OR DO THEY APPLY TO MY SPECIFIC NEEDS?” “HAVE I BEEN PROVIDED A CLEAR PLAN OF ACTION?” If the answer is NO, keep asking questions until your needs are met.
This advice will help place you in the driver’s seat giving you more control of your life and health.
But remember, before following any of these suggestions that will likely produce better results:
“ALWAYS CHECK WITH YOUR DOCTOR FIRST!”