Fear mongering tactics have patients believing that if they don't take prescribed medications for osteoporosis (Fosamax, Boniva, Actonel, Forteo, etc.), they will soon break their hips and end up on a wheel chair. However, there is a far better and more empowering message that people with osteoporosis need to hear in order to take back control of their lives.
After publishing my video lecture on osteoporosis, I began to receive lots of feedback from around the world. People were looking for a better alternative to bone medications. Their instincts and search for the truth had led them to my video, and they were ready to receive new information that could empower them to improve their condition. However, while responding to literally hundreds (if not more) of their emails and calls, it became alarmingly apparent that all of these individuals shared a common and very difficult obstacle to overcome: fear.
Getting Over The Fear Mongering
I don't know the specific wording their doctors had used when delivering news of their diagnosis, but the destructive message that resonated within all of these patients was quite clear: “My bones will break if I don’t take the proper medications, I am very fragile and there is not much more I can do”.
It was uncanny how individuals calling from different continents, with different lives and accents, were all sounding very much the same when expressing their fears over their recent diagnosis. It was almost as if they had all been flown in from around the world, put into the same room and told the exact same message about their health. I could hear and feel their anxiety through their voices and emails, and I knew this could block their path to success.
I had to begin by reassuring them that they did not suffer from a bone medication deficiency, but from a weight training and diet deficiency. It was important to remind them that in decades of scientific research on osteoporosis, nothing had ever shown to be as conclusive and important as the benefits of strength training and proper nutrition. Slowly they began to realize that there was no pill that could do for them what they could do for themselves, and that this was not the moment in their lives to be paralyzed by fear. In fact, I convinced some of them that their recent osteoporosis scare could be a moment of great opportunity, a turning point that could mark the beginning of greater health and a better life.
Now it was time to turn positive thinking into action. The first step was for them to become better educated about exercise and especially nutrition. Over the weeks and months that followed, I worked closely with each client as they began to exercise efficiently while also learning to transition to a healthy plant-based diet. As part of our agreement, they were required to send me short videos of themselves performing some of the exercises I had prescribed. This allowed me to evaluate their form and to make appropriate adjustments, but it also reminded me of the commitment and strength each of them possessed. I was witnessing the true meaning of courage, and it was coming in loud and clear from all over the world.
From Anxious Patient to Fitness Enthusiast
Soon enough, what I had promised they were capable of achieving was becoming a strong reality. Success stories began to pour in. One client even took a 600 mile drive with her husband to surprise me in person at our facility. Others kept me posted on their wonderful improvements via telephone and email. Below is an email I received from my client Marianne who gave me permission to share it with all of you:
I wanted to provide you with an update, as we have not connected for some time. The good news is that I am doing well and have remained very committed to both my diet and exercise regime. In all honesty, I can't believe the difference, especially when it comes to muscle development in my back, my legs, my arms and core. While weight loss was not my primary focus, I have lost about 10 pounds in a healthy and productive way...and I feel great.
I am truly grateful for all of your guidance and encouragement, and I just can't thank you enough. You were right! I can actually do 20 pushups, and to think I couldn't even do one six months ago. With each passing day, I do try to improve both my diet and exercise regime. I can't say that I have perfected either, but I am still very much committed to doing what it takes to lead a healthy life.
I can say, that I am most definitely feeling the rewards of all my efforts. On our recent mediterranean vacation, I felt incredibly strong and was able to easily climb the 326 narrow steps to the top of St. Peter's Basilica, and the Spanish steps in Rome were no problem at all. We walked several kilometers each day, up and down steps and hills, and I never really felt exhausted.
I will continue with my exercises with an aim to increasing the overall intensity of the program, but I do plan on reconnecting with you in the new year to solicit your continued advice and to discuss next steps in my exercise regime.
Thank you for helping me to gain the confidence that I needed to take full control of my health, and to examine and question the vast amounts of health/diet information that is out there, with a much more critical eye.
Wishing you and your family a very happy and healthy holiday season.
Turning anxiety into action and empowering people to take back control of their health is half the battle. The other half is all about guiding them with a step by step detailed approach. I’m always honest about the amount of work that is required, and the fact that they have to make significant changes to their lifestyle. There is no sugar coating, and I let each person know that it won’t be easy but it will surely be worth it. Most importantly, I remind them that it is their choice - whether to rise to the opportunity to improve their health, or to negotiate a way out of it.
Our health is still our responsibility, and we should never get scared into forgetting that we can achieve great results through proper exercise and nutrition. For Marianne it wasn’t just about overcoming her diagnosis, but about having the opportunity to continue living a wonderful and full life.
My videos, including the one on osteoporosis, are all available here.
Naturopath, Health Educator
Nutrition & Exercise Specialist