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Guest Blog: Optimal Health Defined

It’s a pleasure to introduce our guest blogger, Dr. Wayne Andersen. He is a board certifiedwayne andersen critical care physician, the Medical Director of Medifast and the chief architect of Take Shape for Life. His book, Habits of Health (releasing this summer), provides the knowledge and support needed to achieve optimal health. Through his book and accompanying workbook, Dr. Andersen provides a road map for people to choose a better life. You can see Dr. Andersen here at every Tuesday during July!

I have spent the last few years determining the definition of optimal health. Optimal health is defined as: “Being the best you can be with what you got.” Optimal health is different for everyone. About 5% of the population has achieved optimal health, and the rest of us are in between being sick and obtaining optimal health. Sleep, weight, eating right and stress are just a few of the components to optimal health, and Habits of Health offers a great assessment to determine where you are.

Most of us are born optimally healthy and then we let life attack us. We fall into a pattern of putting other things before health, which leads to less movement, less sleep and a little extra weight gain. Then we find ourselves saying, “I’m doing okay,” but we really are not healthy.

There is no such thing as a straight line. If you are not actively creating health, then you are heading toward a path of sickness and disease. Just as life is about choices, so is optimal health. It is a path we can choose to embark upon, and it’s all about making daily choices that support optimal health. Sure, we may not be able to do the same things at 80 years old compared to when we were 20, but we are able; you are able.

So many people who are in their 40s-70s are taking medications and think they need to be on them for the rest of their lives. When I ask doctors the last time they lowered or eliminated a medication for a patient, I often received a blank stare. An increase in dosages or adding medications is not always the answer to taking care of symptoms and treating disease. People want to live longer, and there is no pill to make you live longer.

Weight loss is just the first step on the journey towards optimal health. Recreate health in your life. Start having fun, enjoy life and make good daily decisions. There has never been a better time to thrive in this country than now.

July 1st, 2008