Personal responsibility is a big theme in my coaching practice. Many of us have somehow lost the thread that we are the CEO’s of our own life and health. Instead, we’ve allowed ourselves to become somewhat passive observers, allowing diet book authors, Internet ‘experts’, and doctors to dictate our actions.
Over the past 5 years, I’ve woken up. The good news is it’s never too late to take the initiative with our health and I am living proof of that! I now get to spend my days teaching others that reclaiming their health is something they have a great deal of control over.
Having said that, I’m going to be honest: Within the conventional medical paradigm, taking ownership isn’t always a smooth process.
I encourage many of my female clients to get a full thyroid panel with antibodies, particularly those on thyroid hormone replacement. At least ½ dozen of these women were shocked to discover their hypothyroid condition was caused by Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, an autoimmune condition.
When they presented their test results to their prescribing doctor and asked why they hadn’t been told they had an autoimmune condition, they were each met with some version of a shrug and “We don’t discuss Hashimoto’s because it doesn’t change our treatment protocol”.
To discover you’ve been suffering from a condition no one told you about is seriously frustrating. On top of that, to be told ‘There’s nothing you can do anyway so don’t worry about it’ – only to find there is a LOT you can do – is mind boggling.
We know from research, and thousands of anecdotal cases, that removing gluten, correcting micronutrient deficiencies such as Vitamin D status, and reducing stress can dramatically improve autoimmune conditions and, in some cases, even put them into remission.
Most conventional doctors understand that having one autoimmune disease predisposes you to developing other autoimmune conditions (it’s an immune system issue!).
What most doctors haven’t been trained in, and therefore don’t discuss with patients, is how diet and lifestyle can improve, and even reverse, chronic health conditions such as Type II diabetes, hypothyroidism, PCOS, high blood pressure, and uterine fibroids. Instead, patients are told that these conditions are only responsive to prescription drugs and/or surgical interventions.
Why wouldn’t doctors talk to patients about healthy lifestyle changes before recommending prescription drugs or surgery? I have several theories:
- Most doctors aren’t adequately trained in nutrition and biochemistry;
- There is no money to be made from diet and lifestyle changes;
- Doctors are often jaded into thinking people won’t implement meaningful changes so there is little point in offering recommendations.
My point here is not to beat up on conventional doctors. In terms of crisis care, we have the best medical system in the world and I am deeply grateful!
I wrote this post as a call to action and a reminder:
- We deserve to know as much as our doctor knows so we can be empowered to choose the approach that’s right for us.
- We deserve to know the range of treatment options available for addressing chronic conditions.
- We deserve to have the option of seeking alternative care should we decide to.
- We deserve to make empowered decisions about our own health care.
The women I’ve worked with took immediate ownership and made meaningful diet and lifestyle changes when they learned about their health condition. The result for all of them has been drastic improvements in cognitive function, elevated energy levels, and improved skin health. The majority of them have also seen marked improvements in body composition.
Am I saying we shouldn’t listen to our doctors? Of course not! I’m saying that we must be bold enough to insist that we be active partners in our care. This isn’t comfortable for many of us who have been raised to believe that anyone in a white coat is all-knowing and should never be questioned.
Remember: A confident doctor respects a well-informed patient.
My recommendation is this: Step out of your comfort zone enough to ask your doctor to provide you with all of the information about your health status (test results, options, etc.).
From there, it is your responsibility to seek high quality information about all of the treatment options, mainstream and otherwise, so you can choose the course of action that is right for you.
Knowledge is power. Start reclaiming yours.