(NEW YORK) — At a time of year when many are filled with fresh resolutions, a new book from a noted medical pioneer says you can reverse the damage you’ve done to your body — having a positive impact on heart disease, diabetes and even some cancers by simply implementing small lifestyle changes.
Dr. Dean Ornish and his wife Anne are out with a new book on health, and after years of research and peer-reviewed studies, they say their approach to health can be summed up in a simple mantra: “Eat well, move more, stress less, love more — boom that’s it!”
Anne Ornish added that the first few tips sound straightforward, but the most important part of the mantra lies in the the “love more” part of the health program.
“I understand eat well, I understand move more, yeah stress, but this love more thing I‘m not sure,” Anne Ornish said of most people’s perception of the program. “But it actually turns out to be the most meaningful part of the program.”
Together, the Ornishes have created an institute and program for people who want to reverse heart disease, fight prostate cancer and undo the effects of diabetes.
“When people start with our program it’s because some sort of catastrophic thing has happened or a lot of fear,” Anne Ornish said.
The couple says patients often embrace clean eating, and jump into exercise.
“Eat well means eat whole foods, plant based foods low in fat low in sugar as they come in nature,” Dean Ornish said.
Anne Ornish added, “Whatever activity you love just do that and do a little bit more of it,” when it comes to fitness.
And while fear often initially drives many of people’s behavior changes, the Ornishes say you need a positive motivator to sustain the healthy habits you pick up.
“Study after study show that people who are lonely and isolated are 3 to 10 times more likely to get sick and die prematurely from pretty much anything, compared to those who are connected with love and community and I don’t know anything in medicine that has that much of an impact,” Dean Ornish said.
Anne Ornish added that they take this approach to health and promote scheduling family time, prioritizing date nights, seeking mental health support and making meditation a part of every day.
“To the extent that we schedule in our loved ones the way we do our other appointments we’ll have a richer healthier lifestyle,” Anne Ornish said.
Dean Ornish emphasized that it is important, even when you don’t feel like you have time to meditate, to still try and find time.
“I get up 10 to 15 minutes earlier and I feel more rested than if I’d slept that extra time,” he said. “When you meditate things don’t bother you as much, your fuse gets longer … same kids same job same stresses but you are buffered against it.”
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