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Check with a Doctor Before You Make Major Changes to Your Diet or Fitness

Updated on August 27, 2016
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Workouts and Diets All Mention Seeing a Doctor

We have all seen the warning. The words are something along the lines of "Before you begin this or any other diet/exersize regimen, consult with your doctor". Have you ever wondered about the statement? Have you ever thought it was full of bunk? Did you ever really take a diet or fitness plan into the doctor and ask them about it?

Anytime that you are going to make a major change to your life, by changing what you put into your body (diet) or what movements you do to your body (fitness) you really should talk to your doctor. Especially if it is something drastic or dramatic.

But I Know My Body Better than the Doctor.

You probably do know your body better than anyone else. After all, you are the one living in it!

Before you make changes, it is best to get a baseline of your fitness. You might be checked for blood pressure issues, or other body functions. When I mentioned to my doctor years ago that I wanted to start running, he also told me that he would like me to get my eyes checked, to make sure that I would see details as I ran, and to not run into things. Sounded funny until he told me that he saw loads of patients for stumbling over small stones and rocks when he was a resident who worked in an ER along a running trail. I got my eyes checked.

By making sure that you are in reasonable condition before you start working out, you can avoid a lot of problems and a lot of needless worry. A friend of mine was walking every evening after supper for about an hour to get rid of her pregnancy weight. She noticed that soon after, it would be time to go to the restroom to have a bowel movement. During her next physical, she mentioned it, and her doctor explained that she was doing great for her body and avoiding constipation. She now has regular bowel movements and she looks wonderful.

Even if you cannot make it in for a full workup, do call the doctor and ask if you can do certain activities.

About diet changes. What you put into your body can have a huge impact on how your body functions. What you give your body as energy is all that your body has to rely on. Too many bad calories, you can be overweight, but malnourished. Too few calories, and you can die of many different maladies.

If a diet promises dramatic weight loss, seems strange, focuses on one type of food or food group, then you should contact your doctor before you put your body through something potentially dangerous.


Oh Really, Now, What is the Worst that Could Happen?

Let me give you an excellent example. A friend of mine decided to go biking up and down some hills on the East Coast of the US. Pumping up the hills was a great work out, and she could feel her legs straining to push the pedal down.

Going along the steep hills was fun, with the wind pushing against her face as she would go downhill, applying the brakes as she went down, she was really relishing the moment.

Until she could not catch her breath. Feeling as though she had been punched in the chest, the sensation that she experienced was terrifying. She toppled off the bike onto the hard road, where a passerby rescued her. The diagnosis? Asthma. If she had gone to a doctor first and had a physical, she could have taken preventative measures as well as a rescue inhaler. There are so many things that can happen when our bodies fail us.

A different dear friend longed to have the body that was once hers before having a few children. Desperate for results, she selected a magazine at the grocery store that promised fast results. The food choices seemed nutritious, and even tasty. The article boasted that a person could lose nearly 60 pounds in one month by sticking strictly to the regimen, not any deviation allowed. In one week, she noticed that only 5 pounds had fallen from her frame. Discouraged, my dear friend cut the portions for the meals in half, eliminated snacks, and would drink glass after glass of water. Her husband came home from lunch one day to find her in the bathroom, retching into the commode. She was not suffering from an eating disorder, instead she was nauseous from hunger. He insisted she go to the hospital where she was diagnosed with an irregular heart beat. She was consuming less than 250 calories per day.

Luckily, both of my dear friends survived, and they are both well, and very healthy today. The friend who has asthma now is on medication, and carries a rescue breather. The friend who went on the crash diet now is healthy and well, but has never crash dieted since then.


Other Advantages to Seeing a Doctor Before New Fitness and Diet Changes

One of the best reasons to see a doctor before you make changes to your diet or fitness routine is to get a baseline of your health and well being. To know that you are not on a dangerous path, and to make sure that you are doing the best for your body is noble enough, however, it is quite motivating to see the changes reflected on your doctor's scale or in your lab results.

Consulting with a doctor is the first step in the gift of good health that you give to yourself.

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