Your heart deserves some TLC

Therapeutic lifestyle changes (TLC) — the hot new phrase sweeping the nation — really is a key to health and wellness.

by Stacy Maxwell — 

Therapeutic lifestyle changes (TLC) — the hot new phrase sweeping the nation — really is a key to health and wellness. The basis of the concept is that by living a healthy lifestyle, one will actually avoid chronic disease. Seems obvious, right? Consider that a mere three percent of annual medical expenditures is spent on prevention, and it suddenly becomes clear that we haven’t yet mastered the concept of healthy living.

The National Institutes of Health recommend TLC as the first line of therapy for chronic diseases, including heart disease, but why aren’t more health practitioners prescribing this therapy to their patients? Overscheduled doctors, lack of coverage by insurance companies and poor patient compliance morph into one enormous deterrent to implementing this program that can actually help people return to health.

Basically, it is more profitable (and less frustrating) to prescribe medications, than it is to teach and motivate people about healthy living. As consumers, we also need to change our mindsets and realize there is no magic pill that can fix a lack of nutritious foods and exercise. The reality is, it comes down to how committed we are to becoming healthy.

More and more people are finding that they can profoundly impact their health by making certain lifestyle choices. It has been shown that participating in a therapeutic lifestyle changes program has a positive effect on cardiovascular health by lowering cholesterol and blood pressure, promoting weight loss and normalizing insulin levels. Success is achieved through healthful changes in diet, exercise, sleep and stress management.

A TLC program offers you a personalized plan based on your specific health needs. Since no two people are the same, no two plans are the same, though you can expect a comprehensive approach to include the following steps.

First, the provider will assess your current health, and work with you on goal-setting. It is important that the goals are realistic and achievable. An action plan is developed, along with a schedule for follow-up. Depending on your needs, follow-up can be anywhere from weekly to monthly or even longer. The key is to adjust the plan as needed — if something isn’t working, make the necessary changes.

Your heart health is up to you. Are you motivated to make therapeutic lifestyle changes? Seek out a qualified provider today and begin the journey back to health. Everyone needs a little TLC.


Stacy Maxwell is a certified lifestyle educator and a nutrition and wellness coach at Acupuncture & Integrative Medicine Center in downtown Phoenix., 602-265-1774 or

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 28, Number 1, Feb/Mar 2009.

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