What Does Preventive Healthcare Look Like?

“The best defense is a good offense.” ~ Carl von Clausewitz

When it comes to health, prevention is your best defense.

Think about it this way: if you pick a weed when it is small, a finger and a thumb will get it. If you wait until it is full grown, you might need a chain saw and a back hoe. In healthcare, prevention aims at getting the “weed” when it is small.

But what does that look like?

First let me say that you should never rely on any of the following:

  • Someone’s theory. Why? Because any theory is an attempt to explain observable phenomena. But your actual experience is a much more reliable indicator.
  • The opinions of experts. If you watch TV or search the internet, you will regularly find interviews with health experts. The problem is that every one of them will present a different approach. How do you sort that out?
  • What you find in authoritative books. Do this experiment – go to a bookstore (or look online) and look at books on diet. You will find everything from vegetarian to heavy meat and fat diets. Each is written by an expert. Who’s right?
  • Popular magazine articles. The above comments apply here as well. Just because someone writes it doesn’t make it true.
  • What your friends tell you. Even though your friends have the best of intentions, what worked for them or their Aunt Millie likely won’t work for you.

Notice that each of the above has something in common. What is it? Each requires looking to someone else for guidance. The problem is, they aren’t you. They don’t live in your body.

So what do you do instead?

It’s simple, really. Instead of looking outside yourself, look inside.

No, I’m not talking about long, deep introspection. Certainly introspection is a good thing, but in this case I am talking about just listening to and observing your body’s responses. It doesn’t have to be complex.

Responses to what? A variety of things:

  • The kind of exercise you do.
  • The foods you eat.
  • Your stress level.
  • How much sleep you get.
  • Your energy level.

You get the idea. I summarize the above as “Quality of Life.” When you notice whether your quality of life improves or not, you know how something affects you. If it’s positive, continue. If it’s negative, modify.

The added advantage to this approach is that you extract yourself from being a slave to the ever-changing fads in diet and exercise. It’s a huge relief not to be blown about by the winds of change.

And since your body will never lie to you, you will always have the best feedback possible. You just have to pay attention to it.

By listening to your body, you will have the answers to the question, “What is prevention.” And you will also answer these questions:

  • What is the best diet for you?
  • What kind of exercise is ideal for you?
  • What are good and bad stresses in your life?
  • How much sleep do you need?
  • How can you increase your energy level?

It takes a shift in thinking, but I guarantee it will be worth it to you.

Look for the next article in the series next Monday.

All the best to you for your health and happiness,

Dr. Bruce Eichelberger

Dr. Bruce

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