Dr. Akshat, a “lifestyle consultant” aims to unite the best of both worlds for his patients by combining the insights of science and practical experience. Since his dad is an endocrinologist too, he treats a lot of patients who are dealing with issues like diabetes, PCOS, thyroid problems, being overweight, and so on.
There are ways to treat patients and gradually wean them off of medications, even though pharmaceuticals play a vital role in the healing process. Only by keeping to a healthy, well-balanced lifestyle will this be possible. A lifestyle is a set of habits that a person consistently engages in. Your routine is the sum total of all of your habits. Repeating the same actions over and over causes them to become second nature.
Here’s all you need to know about lifestyle medicine from Dr. Akshat Chadha:
What are the challenges of practicing lifestyle medicine?
“The challenge is that the outcomes are not quick, that you must put in the effort, and that the effort must also come from the patient’s side. I know that if these individuals exercise every day, they will be able to control better their diabetes (even for 30 minutes, 5 days a week). However, it is the patients’ responsibility to go forth and begin exercising and being consistent. He or she can start for a few months and then quit, but the numbers that fell may start rising again. Everything goes back to square one.
The most difficult problem is that we rely on how receptive and cooperative the patient is. This also works on behavioral change because asking a patient to modify old patterns is difficult. It evolved into a shift in thinking.
It takes time—both for the patients and the physicians. Consultancies can last up to 30-4-minutes, but in order to see results, both sides must be patient. Then monitoring becomes crucial, such as checking sugar levels, blood tests, and maybe more finger pricks.”
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What are a few healthy habits you’d recommend?
- Exercise for at least 30 minutes. five days a week
- Avoid sitting for longer than an hour at a time.
- Get 6-8 hours of sleep every night (try to go to sleep maximum at 12 am)
- Consume a well-balanced diet that includes proteins, carbohydrates, fibre, fat (oil or ghee that you are cooking in)
- Prefer hold cooked meals, but also incorporate outside food 2-3 times a month
- 2-3 litre of water, with more in the initial half of the day and less towards the evening.
- Spend time with your thoughts. Journaling, meditation, attempting to understand your feelings, and paying attention to your thoughts are all beneficial.
- 5 deep breaths at the beginning and finish of each day
- Eat within one hour of waking up (can be soaked almonds or fruits)
- Avoid laying down and rapid walking soon after eating.
- Take care of your posture; don’t slouch and sit up straight (don’t melt away in your chair)
Is lifestyle medicine reserved for the wealthy?
“No matter what your financial situation is, you may always focus on improving your lifestyle. The sooner you begin, the sooner you will see the desired outcomes or goals. Though I believe less fortunate folks have certain challenges. Our work and occupation control our entire day, and when they do not have scheduling flexibility, their food time becomes problematic. Sometimes families cannot afford nuts and fruits. It becomes more difficult to include simple behaviors resulting in lack of sleep and overworking (and they do not have the option of saying no). Exercise is thrown out the window since they are constantly working.”
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What are some of the chronic illnesses that lifestyle medicine may treat or prevent?
“You may utilize lifestyle medicine to postpone, manage, control, or prevent any chronic condition, including type 2 diabetes. You can control type 1 diabetes as well, but you will still require insulin. Thyroid, Hashimoto, PCOS, obesity, weight loss, blood pressure (hypertension and hypotension), heart difficulties (sometimes can also postpone it), cholesterol disorders, and dislipidemia can all be managed (cholesterol or triglycerides are on the higher side). All of these can be readily treated or prevented, depending on the individual or family history. I guarantee that if you live a balanced lifestyle, you will be able to manage any chronic condition.”
“You are what you eat.” – What do you consider to be the “ideal” or “balanced” diet?
“You are what you eat, drink, smoke, sleep, exercise, and think,” tweaked it a little bit, as the old adage goes. The saying has evolved significantly. However, I believe in a well-balanced diet rather than a flawless diet. You may customize your plate slightly. 40-50% of the meal should include fiber (boiled or sautéed vegetables), with equal parts protein (dal, paneer, chicken egg, etc.) and 25% carbs ( chapatis, jowar, bajra, rice, etc). If you’re cooking Indian, the fats in the cuisine, such as ghee, oil, and butter, are sufficient; you don’t need to add them separately.
All of these macros may fit on the same plate. You also include fruits, although they should not be included with cooked meals. They should be consumed first thing in the morning or as snacks in between meals.”
How important are social relationships to one’s mental and physical health?
“Yes, it includes your parents, friends, roommates, spouse, coworkers, and others. They are all a result of social connections. Covid has had a significant impact on social ties. I’m referring to the beneficial effects, not the added stress caused by fakeness. Being yourself may improve your mood, offer enjoyment, and promote a sense of safety, security, and belonging. It can assist you in controlling your emotions. It makes you feel more confident and compassionate, and it helps reduce your anxiety. It has the potential to improve the immune system and cognitive health. There are both physical and emotional benefits to being connected.
All of that being said, being alone for a bit is also therapeutic. Spending time with oneself and being joyful are both essential. There is always a delicate balance.”
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How can disrupted sleep affect physical and mental health?
“Disturbed sleep might leave you irritable or fatigued the next morning. It can put you at risk for diabetes, hypertension, and weight gain. The consequences might range from severe to minor. Sleep is when repairs are made, such as wound healing or diabetes reversal. You must comprehend that if you are mending a road while travelling above it, how will the road be built? You cannot rest unless you sleep. Your brain and body are not resting, which leads to a weakened immune system.”
What are some reversing chronic illness guidelines?
“Please avoid fads and immediate fulfilment. You may lose weight quickly, but if you cannot maintain it, you may wind up with much more problems. Everything will return, and it will return with a vengeance. After that, losing weight may become considerably more difficult, and fluctuations are bad for health.
Balance and moderation are definitely required. There are no extreme behaviors. There are no “all or nothing” laws (no sweets at all… etc.). The most essential thing is to find balance and consistency. The modification should fit into your routine. It should also be enjoyable since if you don’t enjoy it, you won’t be able to stick with it.”
Reversal necessitates 6 pillars:
Food – protein, carbohydrate restriction, and fiber (it is the most underestimated macro). Eating at the appropriate moment. Eating thoughtfully, without devices, and carefully chewing food to promote healthy gut health and digestion. Larger bites should be avoided.
Water – Drinking water with meals should be separated by at least 30 minutes. Drink at least two to three litres of water.
Exercise – Exercise for at least 30 minutes five days a week. a little cardio, such as walking, and muscular strengthening, such as asanas or weights Muscle health is something that should be addressed as soon as feasible.
Sleep – Sleeping for at least 8 hours on most days is really useful.
Stress – Stress is sometimes more essential than sleep since it might induce you to sleep less, eat less, or eat a lot.
Addictions – Stress can also lead to the development of addictions. The social and physical well-being biome has been severely impacted.
Medicines and monitoring – Taking your medicines, checking sugar levels, etc.
When these pillars come together and you understand what you’re doing, reversing any chronic condition becomes simple.