A recent study presented at the American Society of Breast Surgeons 10th Annual Meeting, held in San Diego, California established that breast self-examination (BSE) is as accurate as mammography and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) at detecting new breast cancers in high-risk women. This is excellent news as a simple monthly breast exam, done at no cost with minimal time and invasiveness, will help detect cancer in high risk women.
This is yet another example that you are responsible for your health. Health is a process, not an event. When you change your thinking from “I am NOW healthy” or “I need to GET healthy” to “I am in the PROCESS of health,” a number of things occur:
1. Time and Effort.
First and foremost is the fact that you realize that time and effort is involved. Health does not just happen. You are inescapably responsible for your own health.
2. Freedom and Choices.
Secondly, it allows you to live life! When the lifestyle is in place for ultimate health, extremes are only visited for a short while – never lived at. What I mean by this is; you may go on a week long, 2 hour a day exercise kick.
Or you may go on a daylong binge eating session that puts one of the Krispy Kream donut facilities out of business for the day. Both are OK (though not recommended). The process allows you to get out of the extreme and back to the lifestyle that allows ultimate health! When the big picture is looked at, the forest through the trees if you will, health is a daily objective.
3. “Stuff” Happens.
The third thing that tends to happen when the process is understood is the “I blew it, and that’s OK” realization. Especially for us ‘all or nothing’ types. If you continue to look at health as an event and you have a slip up, let’s say you miss a meal during the day and on the drive home are so hungry that after you get a ticket from a police officer for reckless driving and road rage, you stop at a fast food hamburger establishment and eat twelve super sized double cheeseburgers. The all or nothing types would then say ‘what the hell’ and go home and binge some more, eventually turning our one time full bore effort toward health into a full bore effort to get sick. The process of health lets an occasional slip up go by – practically unnoticed, and definitely without any adverse effect on the body.
4. Understanding multiple factors involved in health.
The fourth thing that happens when the process of health is understood is a realization that the process has a large number of variables. There is not a pill for it, nor is there a magic exercise device, or a screening exam, or a hormone, or a specialist. The process is multifaceted and involves a number of variables. These range from the obvious nutritional and exercise variables, to family issues, emotional well being, spiritual concerns, history and day-to-day events.
Understanding health as a process allows individuals more acuity in all that is involved, and gives us power over the variables we can control (diet , exercise, and so forth) as well as a better understanding of the variables over which we have less control (world events ¸recession, and the like). The health process occurs when we realize the control we have over it. Do not relinquish this control to anyone or any mechanism. As more and more studies have shown, we have the power to prevent, detect, and treat disease – it starts and ends with us, individually.
Dr. Warren Willey is the medical director of the nationally recognized, physician directed, Walk In Weight Loss program and author of What Does Your Doctor Look Like Naked: Your Guide to Optimum Health (Tate Publishing).