I have spent much of the last 25 years researching, teaching and writing about weight management and health, partially motivated by my own challenges but also because I sincerely believe that prevention is the best treatment for chronic disease. But after observing our societal preoccupation with careful diet and dedicated exercise, while our chronic health issues, particularly type 2 diabetes, continue to worsen, I finally faced the fact that we still don’t completely understand how to reduce or prevent chronic illness.
I’ve long postulated that there is some “X-factor” that we have yet to figure out, at the root of our unhealthy culture.
I believe the key may be authenticity. My research comes primarily from my own experiences, as well as those of my patients and health coaching clients.
Many of us take years or even a lifetime trying to figure out who we are and why we are here on this planet. The answer can only come when we figure out the nature of our essential self, and live that self authentically. Why? I suggest that it may be that living an inauthentic life may be the single most important contributor to chronic illness and even life threatening diseases - including the top three killers of Americans - heart disease, cancer, diabetes.
Understand that living inauthentically leads to stress, because it requires compromising one’s basic nature, and dishonesty.
This leads to immunologic dysfunction, cardiac stress and damage, and disregulation of one’s fundamental metabolism.
What can we do to find our authentic self and live honestly and less stressfully?
We can face our own essential “identity crisis” in one of two ways. As I experienced, we my face a life threatening medical or trauma emergency which causes us to step back and realize we have not been living in line with our true selves. If we accept this truth, then we can take steps to get back on track. This first requires accepting that we have been “faking it” all along, trying to conform with other’s expectations rather than identifying our own essential needs and satisfying those. This may take a while, but I’m here to tell you, you can do it. Find out who you are and live your reality. I’ve heard it said that self realization only happens when you prioritize your own needs and no longer worry about making everyone around you comfortable.
Another way to achieve self realization is through dedication to study, contemplation, meditation, therapy, and even prayer. This requires facing yourself with honesty, compassion, intelligence and love. This can be a lifelong process, but it is worth the effort, isn’t it? There is no reason that one cannot Iive in harmony with one’s essential self, and celebrate the physical and mental health that results! Find your true nature and live in harmony with it, and you will find joy, peace and health.
Dr. John Monaco