“Walk the walk”, I said this to about three dozen medical students just last Tuesday as I was on a panel of medical professionals who were all going over case studies. The main theme of much of our “medical advice” had a lot to do with lifestyle, especially diet and exercise as treatment. The challenge that I saw was that many of the students, very similar to when I was a student, may or may not have been able to represent this proper diet and exercise example. You see, when I was in chiropractic school I had a terrible diet and I didn’t exercise. I was not living the kind of lifestyle that I would be able to recommend to my patients.
A little over a year ago, I made the conscious decision that I needed to make a change for myself. First of all, that was a huge personal decision and revelation. But shortly after that, I realized it was my duty as a health professional to help others by setting an example. All of a sudden because of my newly found active lifestyle, I can relate to so many of the athletes that come in the practice and to so many patients who didn’t have an exercise program. You see, I’ve been there, I weighed 265 pounds, I had high blood pressure, I had bad cholesterol, I had high triglycerides, I had elevated A1 C. Fortunately, because of a lot of my hard work and a lot of the help and support from other community leaders, professionals, and of course my family, I was able to “walk the walk”.
The challenge I laid out to the USC Keck Medical School students was to make sure that when you are recommending diet and exercise, you also exemplify the healthy lifestyle yourself. It’s too many times I’ve seen fat doctors who smoke cigarettes tell people to have a healthy lifestyle. Getting on an exercise program 3 to 5 times a week, making sure that your food is in support of your ultimate goal of a healthy body and mind, and that you exemplify health to those around you whether you’re a healthcare professional trying to set a good example or simply a parent. You never know who you influence around you and I hope that I influence all of you in a positive way.
Dr. Kevin Cressey