As coach for the AARP Fat 2 Fit online community, I ask experts to share their insight on issues involving fitness. One such expert is Dr. Maxine Barish-Wreden, the comedical director of the Sutter Downtown Integrative Health program in Sacramento, California.
I asked Dr. Max (as her patients call her), “What is the relationship between lifestyle and the medical problems your patients come to you for?” Her answer follows:
As a practicing internist, I see
many patients in my office who are dealing with medical symptoms and diseases
that are the result of unhealthy lifestyle choices—poor
nutritional intake, excessive caloric intake, sedentary lifestyles, tobacco
abuse, chronic stress, ongoing unhappiness and social isolation.
Over time, these choices have led to a costly epidemic of many chronic medical conditions, including obesity, heart and vascular disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, dementia, arthritis and cancer. The good news is that the human body has a phenomenal capacity to heal, even after many years of poor self-care.
When we clean up our diets by eating less meat and more plant-based foods; when we exercise, cut calories and lose weight; and when we slow down and savor our lives more, we give ourselves the opportunity to heal, and our bodies often respond miraculously. It's never too late to begin. Healing is yours when you focus your intention, attention and action on what you want for yourself.
As her comments convey, Dr. Max strongly believes in the capacity of the human body, psyche and spirit to heal, given the appropriate environment. Through treatment of her patients and through her writing, Dr. Max guides and informs individuals on the positive effects of lifestyle choices—including nutrition and exercise—on health and wellness.
Maxine Barish-Wreden, MD
Dr. Maxine Barish-Wreden is the coauthor of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Secrets of Longevity and also coauthors a syndicated newspaper column with her medical partner, Dr. Kay Judge. Dr. Max holds a bachelor’s degree in nutrition from the University of Maryland and graduated from the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine. She has a long-term interest in complementary medicine, particularly the mind-body-spirit connection.