“I used to think that as long as I had athletic ability, low body fat, and a ‘six pack’, everything was good —- I was “healthy”. In other words, in my mind, my health was intimately tied to how my body looked and the fact that I was good at sports. Unfortunately, higher education did not help me resolve this way of thinking.” -Dr Russell Schierling from Health Pharisees.
So; you think you’re healthy. That’s great. Just understand that the way we view ourselves can be a funny thing. For instance, a recent study showed how most people tend to view themselves as being of “normal” weight, when the truth is, a large percentage was anything but. The way we judge our own health can be quite similar in that one of our common human traits is that we often tend to think of ourselves much healthier than we really are. What are some of the more common signs that you might not be as healthy as you think? That’s what we are going to cover today.
Firstly, I am not going to discuss things that are in-your-face obvious. In other words, if every time you use the bathroom the bowl looks like it’s full of blood, you had better be getting to a doctor rather immediately. If you leg is gangrenous and “cheesy” you should not spend any time reading this column. However, many of the symptoms that I am talking about today are in gray areas. Not always too blatant, but potentially quite serious. Rarely exhibiting pathology, but revealing incredible functional loss (HERE). These are in no particular order.
- YOU HAVE SLEEP ISSUES: This could mean almost anything. Insomnia is often a sign of SYMPATHETIC DOMINANCE. Then there’s SLEEP APNEA. Or you could be one of those people who sleeps all the time but always feels exhausted. No matter how you slice it, problems with your ability to sleep will take a toll on your health.
- YOU EAT A CRAPPY DIET AND KNOW IT: I run into numerous people who have no idea that their diet is as bad as it is. I also run into a lot of people who almost take pride in the fact that they can live on Skittles and Coca Cola, and still remain thin and athletic. Mostly these are young people. Not only will a cruddy diet catch up with you sooner or later, but just because you are “SKINNY” does not mean you are healthy (HERE).
- YOU NO LONGER WANT OR ENJOY SEX: Study after study shows that one’s sex life is strongly correlated to quality of life. There are numerous reasons you might not be having or enjoying sex (HERE). Regardless of what these are, this is a strong indicator of underlying physical problems (even though your doctor might tell you it’s all in your head — an emotional or mental issue).
- YOU ARE DEPRESSED: I have written extensively about DEPRESSION and the fact that it is strongly related to GUT HEALTH (very specifically IBS) as well as INFLAMMATION (HERE is the specific article). If you deal with any degree of Depression, I would suggest that you spend some time reading these links or you are likely to be duped. One of the ways you’re likely to be duped is that there is nothing you can do for this problem other than take drugs.
- YOU’RE NOT MOVING YOUR BOWELS AT LEAST ONCE A DAY: I realize that in a perfect world, you move your bowels after every meal. I am not so concerned about this as long as you are having at least one really good bowel movement per day — key word here is “good“. HERE is an article on constipation. And while we are talking about elimination, be aware that dark-colored urine is often a sign of chronic dehydration — or something worse (HERE).
- YOU ARE CONSTANTLY SICK: Although there are about a million things that could be causing this, none of them could be characterized as signs of great health. Rats and flies are attracted to garbage. Likewise, diseases are attracted to unhealthy bodies and tissues (HERE). Sure; germs are the convenient scapegoat for all sorts of health problems, but if you still believe this is how things work, you might want to take a few moments to read THIS POST.
- YOU THINK YOUR “MILD” IBS SYMPTOMS ARE NORMAL: The key sign I am talking about here is gas. Back when I was BRAIN-WASHED, I had a serious problem with gas. As long as I stick to a LOW CARB / PALEO DIET, I have virtually none.
- YOU CAN’T PERFORM EVERYDAY ACTIVITIES WITHOUT MAJOR EXERTION: The elevator is broken and you panic at the thought of climbing a flight or two of stairs. You were forced to park in the back corner of the mall and are exhausted by the time you make it to the front door. I could go on, but you get the point. If you can’t perform daily activities without breaking a sweat, there could be a problem.
- YOU HAVE ALLERGIES / SENSITIVITIES: , to Eczema, to Hives, to rashes, to you name it. Not only is your skin technically your biggest organ, it is an organ of elimination. Whether your problem is GLUTEN, DAIRY, FODMAP’S, Nightshades, BLACK MOLD, etc, etc, etc, these have the potential to sabotage your best efforts to get healthy.
- YOU HAVE BAD SKIN: Be aware that chronic itching is often a sign of CANDIDA. ACNE is often a sign of Gluten Intolerance. In other words, skin problems are often a sign that you are Inflamed or building up toxicity due to a lack of being able to effectively eliminate toxins.
- OVER-THE-TOP PMS: Do you feel like one or two weeks a month you could murder a village? This, along with any number of female issues, is symptomatic of ESTROGEN DOMINANCE. You might look healthy, but Estrogen Dominance can lead to all sorts of ugly problems, including BREAST CANCER.
- YOU HAVE ONE OR MORE OF THE TELL-TALE SIGNS OF SYSTEMIC INFLAMMATION: Rather than me go over them, HERE is a list. And odds are that if you have one of these, you’ll have more than one — maybe several. Figure out what INFLAMMATION really is and deal with it.
- YOU STRUGGLE WITH BOUNCING BLOOD SUGAR: You’re not healthy because you have LOW BLOOD SUGAR — the very opposite of DIABETES. Follow the links to see why these are two sides of the same coin.
- YOU HAVE A SUGAR / CARB ADDICTION: The same could be said of most addictions (exercise, social media, porn, etc, etc). The thing that makes SUGAR ADDICTION different is that most health problems are being tied back to Blood Sugar Dysregulation issues in the scientific medical literature.
- YOU ARE CHRONICALLY BORED: Our society seems to require constant stimulation. TV’s, video games, computers, cell phones, social media, etc, etc, etc. And that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Far too many people (especially kids) have no concept of making their own fun or finding something constructive to do. They want to be “entertained” every waking hour. If you want to see just how severe the consequences of this are for your health, Google “Boredom Bad for Health” and see what pops up.
- YOU HAVE SYSTEMIC PAIN: When you have pain in multiple areas of the body, on both sides (bilateral), your odds of having something other than multiple local problems increases dramatically. To see what I mean, you can read THIS POST. By the way, CHRONIC PAIN can leave one with a brain that is indistinguishable on a scan from a person with ALZHEIMER’S.
- YOU THINK YOU LOOK OK —- UNTIL YOU SEE YOURSELF IN A PHOTOGRAPH: I’ve said it over and over again; pictures don’t lie like mirrors do. Photos tend to ‘reveal’ to us better than scales whether we are putting on more weight than is healthy. And no form of excess weight is more unhealthy than BELLY FAT. I will warn you, however, that this does not work for people with the sort of “body image” issues that lead to Anorexia or Bulimia. These people will see themselves a “fat” no matter how rail-thin they are.
- YOUR MOUTH IS A WRECK: Hopefully you have seen the research linking dental issues to all sorts of health problems, including heart disease (HERE and HERE). And that’s just for starters. And if your lips are chronically cracked and chapped, you are probably the same person passing the orange urine I mentioned earlier. Yet another sign of Chronic Dehydration.
- YOU SIT TOO MUCH: I’ve heard it said that, “sitting is the new smoking“. Sitting is another one of those things that’s being tied back to a wide array of health problems.
- YOU DON’T EXERCISE: I don’t care how good you look (or think you look). If you aren’t engaging in some sort of regular exercise or physical activity / exertion, you are not as healthy as you think. By the way, I am a big fan of various forms of resistance training and HIIT (HERE).
- YOU HAVE CHRONIC HEADACHES, NECK PAIN, AND / OR AN INABILITY TO PROPERLY MOVE YOUR NECK: This is true even in many people who have a seemingly “NORMAL” Range of Motion in their neck. If you are struggling with CHRONIC NECK PAIN, you are literally taking years off your life.
- YOU ARE AGING TOO RAPIDLY: Have you ever not seen someone you know for a few years, and then when you see them again they look like they’ve aged twenty? Not a good sign. It always amazes me that in the office I see people in their 60’s who looks more like their 40’s. Not to mention those who are in their 40’s who could pass for 70. Although some studies say that the appearance of rapid aging is no big deal, many studies have linked it to a wide variety of health-related problems, including heart problems.
- YOUR POSTURE STINKS: Posture is a big deal. You can read about it HERE. An almost 100 year old medical study correlated the effects of postural distortions on organic disease / pathology, and you can read about it HERE.
- YOU TAKE OR HAVE TAKEN LOTS OF MEDICATION — PARTICULARLY ANTIBIOTICS: Many people are convinced that the more medicine they take, the healthier they will be. Fortunately that group of people is shrinking. And when it comes to ANTIBIOTICS, they are one more of these bullet points that are being linked to a wide array of serious health problems, including AUTOIMMUNITY.
Believe me when I tell you that this list could have been longer — much longer. In fact, I doubt that it’s possible to make an exhaustive list. The really cool thing is that you don’t have to. The starting point for solving these and numerous other health-related issues is UNIVERSAL for almost everyone. No, that does not mean that every single health problem can be “cured” (or will even respond) to the ideas listed in the previous link. But most people that get serious about making these changes will see positive results; usually relatively quickly. Oh, and if you are enjoying these posts, you can help us reach more people by liking us on FACEBOOK.