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It’s mid-February already. Stereotypically, January is the time when a lot of people decide they need to make some healthy changes – whether or not they call them resolutions. Eating healthier is usually one of them. If you decided this, how have you done so far? Still at it? Everyone knows it’s important to eat healthily. One of my favorite analogies to spur you on is to think of your stomach as your body’s gas tank and think of what you put in your mouth as fuel. Would you put gas in your car if you knew there was sand or dirt in it? Would you continually choose Fuel Type B if you knew that your car got double the gas mileage running on Fuel Type A?

This new year, several Advantage Rehab employees decided to try the Whole 30 Diet, which allows only natural foods. It is only for a 30-day period of time, but, according to those brave souls who have all stuck with it, they can already tell a difference. Said one employee, “I don’t feel so sluggish.” Said another, “I feel like a have a lot more energy.” This exemplifies the idea that food is fuel, and when you fuel your body with healthy eats, you get cleaner-burning energy. A concern to us as physical therapists is the growing rate of diagnosed diabetes in the USA. There are several musculoskeletal conditions of higher incidence in those diagnosed with diabetes, which can include muscle cramps, impaired blood flow to muscles, loss of deep tendon reflexes, neuropathy (loss of sensation), frozen shoulder and carpal tunnel syndrome¹. We encounter these commonly at the clinic. They can be significant limitations to the treatments we design.

Another alarming statistic is that nearly 80% of all heart attacks can be avoided with healthy lifestyle choices. This does not strictly rely on diet, but also other negative factors such as sedentary lifestyle and smoking. Perhaps the most encouraging fact is that you don’t need to absolutely cut out all of the junk in your diet, but taking small steps here and there is a move in the right direction. You don’t need to make wild, extreme changes to be healthier. And there are all sorts of diets out there that work for some and not others. Just find whatever works for you. It might be just consciously adding one more serving of vegetables to your daily intake, or replacing 1 soda and 1 cup of coffee with 2 cups of water. Anything to move you in the right direction.

Your body will thank you!