What is your lifestyle score?: Wellness class explores choices

February, 2012 Posted in Your Health

By Brenna WiegandDr. Harvey Heidinger

Forget New Year’s resolutions about working out every day or never eating sugar or fat again. We all know they end up abandoned because they prove next to impossible in our unpredictable lives.

The desire behind most of those resolutions is to make life healthier and happier – right?

“Rather than a resolution, we provide a solution – guidelines for an overall lifestyle that can prevent disease, add years to your life – and just make life more enjoyable,” said Harvey Heidinger, M.D., M.P.H. a retired physician and former faculty member of the School of Public Health of Loma Linda University.

Heidinger is part of a group of local people who can vouch for such a lifestyle and want to share it with others. They say balance, not rigidity; awareness rather than rules are what make the difference between a fuller life and a bedraggled one. Of course, such a lifestyle involves choices, such as moderation.

“Eight Weeks to Wellness” is a workshop geared to wellness in general and entails the whole person. It is a program developed by Dr. Don Hall, who has devoted his life to wellness. Wellsource, founded by Hall (www.wellsource.com), takes the message all over the world. Clients include corporations, health professionals, hospitals and health plans, universities, and local, state, and federal governments – and now Stayton.

Eight Weeks to Wellness
Sundays, Feb. 19 – April 8, 6 p.m.
Seventh-day Adventist Church,
610 Fern Ridge Road, Stayton
Fee: $25 Scholarships available.
To register: 503-991-9853

Although not required of its members, diet is part of the overall healthy lifestyle recommended for members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, who, according to medical studies, are among the healthiest people in North America.

“In the workshop, we don’t emphasize our faith but we also don’t hide it,” said Heidinger, who is coordinating the event. “Anyone can benefit from the concepts presented here; it’s for all people, sick and well.”

The workshop explains the lacto-ovo vegetarian diet, which entails dairy but no meat; whole grains and beans and healthy servings of fruit and vegetables. Food, though important to health and well-being, is just part of the picture.

The workshop topics, through a number of presenters, include developing a healthy lifestyle; becoming more physically active; choosing good fats and carbohydrates; achieving and maintaining a healthy body weight; enhancing the mind-body connection; getting sufficient rest and sleep; coping with stress and the importance of preventive health checkups.

“We can save ourselves lots of years of misery just by getting regular checkups,” Heidinger said. These include colonoscopies, mammograms, prostate examinations and regular dental checkups.”

Heidinger says just choosing to integrate one or two of the concepts can make a difference in one’s well being and ability to handle whatever life may dish out. He encourages people to take charge of their health.

“Keep your own medical records and know what your lab values are,” he said. “Monitor your weight and your blood pressure. You should know your laboratory results such as cholesterol, blood sugar, PSA tests, etc. Keep a record ofimmunizations you have had.”

The workshop, which includes a 42-page manual, begins with a lifestyle assessment. As they become aware of the choices before them, participants begin setting goals.

“Our hope is to enable people to enjoy the life they have,” Heidinger said, “to sleep better, feel better, have less stress and be happier.”

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