Look­ing for an­swers in all the right places

The Covington News - - HEALTH - REGI­NALD FRANKLIN news@cov­news.com

Here is the ques­tion I faced about six months ago: How does a per­son truly change their life­style?

Com­ing out of a di­vorce, strug­gling with be­ing a care­giver to my ag­ing par­ents and be­ing a part-time fa­ther to my chil­dren, I was, in a word, “de­pressed.”

Look­ing for change in your life is some­thing of a con­stant strug­gle, while mak­ing change, on the other hand, is some­thing most people find al­most im­pos­si­ble.

Oh, and I should men­tion, I was over 50, over-weight, and at risk for all man­ner of ail­ments in­clud­ing hy­per­ten­sion and di­a­betes.

I had tried di­ets of al­most all va­ri­eties with lit­tle suc­cess and tried to ex­er­cise on a reg­u­lar sched­ule with mixed re­sults. I could never make those two things hap­pen on a reg­u­lar ba­sis, at least as far as mak­ing a real change in my life­style.

Re­al­iz­ing I would not get the re­sults I wanted in the time I wanted them, I would quit. Wait­ing to give me com­fort from the fail­ure was my con­stant com­pan­ion: food. Fast food, choco­late cake, fried chicken and all the rest.

How was I go­ing to break this cy­cle and make some real change?

In Novem­ber of 2013, I heard that a new pro­gram was com­ing to Sa­van­nah called the Canyon Ranch In­sti­tute Life En­hance­ment Pro­gram (CRI LEP). Now that’s a long ti­tle for a very sim­ple con­cept: a holis­tic ap­proach to well­ness. It’s teach­ing people how to adopt a healthy life­style and to avoid a va­ri­ety of ill­nesses.

What is a ‘holis­tic’ ap­proach? Sim­ply, it is com­bin­ing nu­tri­tious eat­ing, with an ac­tive life­style, and at­tend­ing to both psy­cho­log­i­cal and spir­i­tual well-be­ing.

In other words it’s treat­ing, teach­ing and train­ing the per­son as a “whole.” It’s un­der­stand­ing that all the parts of a per­son’s life af­fect ev­ery other part.

Af­ter hear­ing about the new ap­proach this pro­gram was tak­ing, I was ea­ger to sign up. I talked with Linda Davis, RN, at Cur­tis V. Cooper Pri­mary Health Care and ex­pressed my in­ter­est in the pro­gram. I learned that as a pa­tient of the health cen­ter, I was el­i­gi­ble for the pro­gram.

The CRI LEP be­gan with 20 par­tic­i­pants signed up. We met ev­ery Wed­nes­day from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Each of us was given an eval­u­a­tion at the be­gin­ning of the pro­gram so that our progress could be tracked — and not just weight loss.

Each of us had our to­tal fit­ness eval­u­ated — phys­i­cal, emo­tional and spir­i­tual health. That’s the holis­tic ap­proach I men­tioned ear­lier. To­tal mind, to­tal body and to­tal spirit have to be con­sid­ered if the to­tal per­son is go­ing to have their life “en­hanced.”

Now, 12 weeks later, I can say I have learned so much. Since start­ing the pro­gram, I have taken up yoga. CRI LEP Core Team mem­ber and yoga in­struc­tor Rita Teel started me out slow. I did not go into this ac­tiv­ity think­ing I would like it, but I was will­ing to try any­thing once. Her pa­tience, skill and com­pas­sion won me over. My kids no­ticed how much I was tak­ing to it and bought me a yoga mat for Fa­ther’s Day.

I have started jog­ging again, and I am watch­ing my caloric in­take. Be­ing in the CRI LEP gave me a mem­ber­ship with Fit­ness on Broughton, and my ac­cess to phys­i­cal trainer Palmer Steven­son, who is a mem­ber of the CRI LEP Core Team, was a tremen­dous bless­ing. He pushed me to and be­yond what I thought were my lim­its, and that has made my work-outs even more ef­fec­tive.

I have started to ex­am­ine more closely the things that I am putting in this en­gine — my body. Is this food go­ing to clog the ma­chi­neor help it run more smoothly? Think­ing about what I am eat­ing is be­gin­ning to pay off. The more I think about what I’m eat­ing, the more care­ful I am about what food I choose to eat. I found that no words are truer than these: “It’s ALL in your head.”

Our group toured a gro­cery store with cer­ti­fied nu­tri­tion­ists to help us be­come bet­ter ed­u­cated about the na­ture of food and our body’s re­ac­tion to dif­fer­ent foods. I’m learn­ing to deal with the dif­fer­ent kinds of stress in my life and ways to be more pro­duc­tive both men­tally and spir­i­tu­ally, de­spite my stress lev­els.

We started a walk­ing group on Satur­day morn­ings, walk­ing down­town for an hour to­gether, pro­mot­ing the psy­cho­log­i­cal ad­van­tage of be­ing in a “shared strug­gle.”

This was the most pow­er­ful part of the pro­gram for me — know­ing I wasn’t alone. The in­di­vid­u­als in this pro­gram be­came my fam­ily — my Canyon Ranch In­sti­tute Fam­ily, and that has made all the dif­fer­ence.

I’m learn­ing so much more than I thought I would about so many things — the ways I can en­hance my life, start­ing with small choices that lead to big changes, and be­com­ing a health­ier per­son in the long run. At grad­u­a­tion, I learned that I lost a to­tal of 20 pounds over the 12 weeks of the pro­gram.

Now that may sound like good news, but you have to un­der­stand why it doesn’t ex­cite me. You see, this is just the be­gin­ning. I am look­ing for­ward to greater suc­cess.

“No U Turns” is my new motto. My life­style has changed. I know when I look back on this pro­gram and all I have ex­pe­ri­enced, I know there will be one thing I’ll say with­out fear of con­tra­dic­tion: Thank God for the Canyon Ranch In­sti­tute’s truth in ad­ver­tis­ing: “The Life En­hance­ment Pro­gram.”

Regi­nald Franklin is As­so­ciate Pro­fes­sor of Mass Com­mu­ni­ca­tions at Sa­van­nah State Univer­sity. For more info call 912- 4433264 or email cri@canyon­ranchin­sti­tute.org.

Sub­mit­ted photo /The Cov­ing­ton News

Canyon Ranch In­sti­tute En­hance­ment Core Team mem­ber Palmer Sev­er­son (right) pre­sents Regi­nald Franklin with his pro­gram grad­u­a­tion cer­tifi­cate at the end of the 12-week pro­gram.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.