How to make a healthy lifestyle work for you and your family

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I love this quote I read recently, "make a healthy lifestyle a hobby until it becomes a habit." As a naturopathic doctor, I am constantly doing just this with my patients, helping them integrate small changes into their life, things that are sustainable for them, to help bring their body, mind and spirit into a state of balance and health. As we all know too well, shocking or forcing the body into something (as we see with many weight loss programs) can only be maintained for so long before we tend to revert to old habits. Why does this always seem to happen? Even with our best intentions?

We don't need to read all the research and be a psychologist to know that making vast changes to our lives, turning everything upside down in the name of a healthy lifestyle doesn't work. It is human nature. We just can't keep it up. As Dr. McNiven wrote last week: "Making little changes in your health is so powerful. It's those little things that cause big things to happen." What small changes will work for you?

Here are some simple and easy ideas (and remember, pick just one for now): add more water into your daily routine. If you don't drink ANY, start with one glass three times a day. If you drink enough water already, try adding fresh lemon to your water to help support your liver and digestive function.

Have you always wondered what that funny looking veggie called kale or arugula tastes like? Try adding a new dark leafy green to your grocery order each week and experiment with them. Dark leafy greens are packed with nutrients and antioxidants that will support your immune system, digestive system and hormones.

I attended a lecture recently presented by a naturopathic doctor who has been practising for over 25 years. He uses the following analogy with his patients to address just this: how to bring health and healing into our lives, and make it last. He does the following exercise with his patients: visualize a dark room, with no windows, door or lamp and then poses the question, "how would you bring light into this room?" There are many correct answers: make a window? Light a candle or install a light? Build a door? The point being, we cannot take the dark out of the room, we cannot suppress or eliminate it. What we can do is add light in. How are you going to add light into "your room" – into your life?

In the weeks to come, I look forward to discussing more ideas on naturopathic medicine and how to add health and balance into your life, how to make a healthy lifestyle a hobby until it becomes a habit and a way of life that you can't imagine living without.

I would like to thank Dr. Lisa McNiven for all her support and mentoring and wish her the best of luck in her future endeavours.


Dr. Amy Punké, ND, has a naturopathic practice at Whole Self Wellness Centre, 106 Stellarton Rd., New Glasgow (above Healthy Selection). Visit or call 902-755-1210. 

Organizations: Whole Self Wellness Centre

Geographic location: Stellarton, New Glasgow

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