Becoming a Highly Healthy Person

Becoming a Highly Healthy Person


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780310262794
Publisher: Zondervan
Publication date: 12/15/2004
Series: Christian Medical Association Resources Series
Pages: 304
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Walt Larimore, MD, is one of America's best-known family physicians and has been listed in the Guide to America's Top Family Doctors and the Best Doctors in America. He has been a family physician for nearly thirty years, has written or cowritten over twenty books (including three Gold Medallion nominees), and has hosted nationally syndicated health features for radio and TV. He and his wife, Barb, have two grown children and live in Colorado Springs, Colorado. His website is Walt Larimore, MD es uno de los medicos mas conocidos de America y se enumera en la Guide to America's Top Family Doctors, el Best Doctors in America y Who's Who in Medicine and Healthcare. Como un periodista medico, el Dr. Larimore es un vistante frequente sobre asuntos de la salud de la familia en muchas programas de television y radio, y ha aparecido en The Today Show, CBS This Morning, Fox News y CNN. Dr. Larimore ha publicado mas de 12 libros y mas de 500 articulos en muchos publicaciones medicos. El Web Site del Dr. Larimore es y el vive en Monument, Colorado.

Traci Mullins is the editor of 'Breakfast with the Angels' and coauthor of 'Vitamins for your Soul'. President of Eclipse Editorial Services, she was formerly senior editor at Pinon Press and acquisitions editor at NavPress.

Read an Excerpt

God's Design for the Highly Healthy Person

By Walt Larimore Traci Mullins


Copyright © 2003 Walt Larimore
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-310-26279-8

Chapter One

What Is a Highly Healthy Person?

As I hung up the phone, I groaned.

"Dr. Larimore," she had said sweetly, "this is Miss Bingingham. I teach the second grade at Bryson City Elementary School over here on School House Hill."

(I was learning that every hill in Bryson City, North Carolina, was named in this manner. My office was at the foot of Hospital Hill. Guess what was on top of that one?)

It was November 1981. My wife, Barb (seven months pregnant), and I, along with our three-year-old daughter, Kate, had just moved to this tiny town of about a thousand souls at the southern entrance to Great Smoky Mountains National Park to begin my chosen profession as a family physician.

Miss Bingingham said, "Every Thursday we try to have someone give a brief talk to our class. Would you be able to come and talk to the students about health? You know, tell the kids what health is and what they can do to keep their health."

She caught me off guard. I immediately thought of a thousand excuses. However, before I could verbalize even one, she said, almost in a whisper, "Doc [the folks in Bryson City liked to call health care professionals "Doc"-even the senior pharmacist at Swain County Drug Store was "Doc John"], some of the kids I teacharen't the brightest. But I think they'd really like to meet you, and I know they could learn a lot from you. Will you consider coming?"

I was sunk. What excuse could be good enough?

"Yes," I gulped. "I'd be delighted."

My mind started reeling. How could I explain to a bunch of second graders what health is when I wasn't sure what it was in my own mind? During medical school, I had been taught to recognize and treat diseases. I had had very little training in keeping people healthy and even less on how to motivate people to become healthy.

I've never forgotten that day, although I don't have a clue what I said in my little talk. I do remember that the kids listened politely. They even clapped. They asked lots of questions. I think I knew the answers. But even now, more than twenty years later, I wonder what they heard. Are they healthier because of their brief interaction with me? I doubt it. But I am. On that day I began to think more about ways I could promote health, not just treat sickness. I realized I needed to learn more, so I could help people gain health and satisfaction in their lives.


Many people who came to me for medical care were highly unhealthy. One of my favorite examples of "unhealthy" comes from the movie City Slickers, in the scene where Mitch Robbins (played by Billy Crystal) is asked to make a presentation to his son's class about his occupation. Instead, he gives a brief oration that describes his view of life (and of his health):

Value this time in your life, kids, because this is the time in your life when you still have your choices, and it goes by so quickly. When you're a teenager, you think you can do anything, and you do. Your twenties are a blur. Thirties? You raise your family, you make a little money, and you think to yourself, "What happened to my twenties?" Forties? You grow a little potbelly, you grow another chin, the music starts to get too loud, one of your old girlfriends from high school becomes a grandmother. Fifties? You have a minor surgery. You'll call it a procedure, but it's a surgery. Sixties? You'll have a major surgery, the music is still loud, but it doesn't matter because you can't hear it anyway. Seventies? You and the wife retire to Fort Lauderdale, start eating dinner at two o'clock in the afternoon, you have lunch around ten, breakfast the night before. You spend most of your time wandering around malls looking for the ultimate soft yogurt and muttering, "How come the kids don't call? How come the kids don't call?" The eighties? You'll have a major stroke. You end up babbling to some Jamaican nurse who your wife can't stand but who you call mama. Any questions?

Can you imagine such a cynical view of life-of health? Yet over the last two decades I've encountered many patients who seem to think pretty much this way. By contrast, the patients who have expanded my understanding of health are those who are vivacious and full of life-and who want to become or stay highly healthy. They seem to live their lives with purpose, drive, and meaning, regardless of their circumstances.

One such patient was Terrie, an elementary school librarian. I was her physician for almost sixteen years-from her midlife, through menopause, and on into retirement. During that time she developed symptoms of diabetes and heart disease. Crippling arthritis slowed her down. Yet she always seemed to be on top of her game. She had a joie de vivre-an enjoyment of life. If you were to focus only on her list of physical problems, you'd say she had lost her health. Yet I came to realize that Terrie was one of my healthiest patients. Although her body was not operating as efficiently as it had earlier in her life, she learned how to manage her diseases and even improve her overall health. She was one of my first teachers of what it means to be highly healthy-not just disease- and symptom-free but whole in the most important ways.

Is physical health all there is to health? If you're in great physical shape, does that make you highly healthy? I don't think so. By the time you finish this book, I'm convinced you won't think so either.


If you had been asked to speak to Miss Bingingham's class about health, what would you have said? How would you explain what health is? Are people healthy if they don't feel sick? How healthy are you?

Here is a note from the wife of a man who "felt fine" and seemed to be in great emotional, spiritual, and relational health. But after a checkup, he got some bad news from his doctor. This is what his wife wrote:

My husband has been feeling great for years-and hadn't seen a doctor for almost a decade. In my usual tactful way, I told him last summer, "Hon, someone will have to sign your death certificate someday, and we need to get your name in someplace. You're coming up on seventy, so let's just both go and get physicals for 'baseline info.'"

Turns out, while I'm fine, the doctor found that my husband has high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high glucose, and signs of possible colon problems. In mid-July he had to get two hearing aids. In mid-August he was operated on for Stage III colon cancer and is facing chemotherapy later. And just ten days ago (after further tests), he learned he has Type II diabetes and had to go on an oral diabetes medication. He's also on cholesterol and high blood pressure medications! Poor guy-he feels like he's falling apart, even though he still feels okay physically (to our amazement). Emotionally we've both been through the wringer!

Three months later, this man was dead-from diseases that could have been prevented or controlled if only he had committed at an earlier age to become highly healthy.

Or consider Cameron. Cameron focused on physical health. In fact he recently completed the Ironman triathlon, an amazing physical accomplishment. He is in top physical condition, physically disease-free yet struggling with severe depression. He focused so completely on physical fitness that essentially he had no friends and no social life. His wife and kids left him, and his business collapsed. Was it healthy for him to be at his physical prime yet unable to care about much of anything emotionally?

For a time, I provided medical care for prisoners in the county jail. Many had bodies that were healthy, yet a few described the sick pleasure they had experienced while raping or robbing or murdering someone. Some were totally unrepentant, and I was convinced that if they ever got out, they'd commit another crime. They had disease-free bodies, but were they highly healthy?

My training in conventional medicine initially led me to emphasize the physical side of health, particularly the treatment of trauma and illness. I viewed patients as healthy if they were free from diseases and injuries. But the more experience I gained, the more I could see that having a physically functioning body is not all-important. It isn't even the main factor in being a highly healthy individual. What, then, is the connection between physical well-being and total health?


What motivated you to pick up this book? What results are you hoping for? Obviously, you want to be highly healthy. Before you can take some steps to achieve this goal, you need to be sure you've defined the goal. Whom do you trust to define health?

Let's take a look at three sources and compare their opinions: first, the conclusions of current health care providers around the world; second, a few definitions from throughout history; and third, the definition provided by the World Health Organization, a group that has influenced health care around the world since 1948.


Excerpted from God's Design for the Highly Healthy Person by Walt Larimore Traci Mullins Copyright © 2003 by Walt Larimore. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Contents Foreword . . . . .9
Acknowledgments . . . . .11
Meet Dr. Larimore . . . . .15
Getting the Most Out of This Book . . . . .19
1. What Is a Highly Healthy Person?. . . . .23
2. Testing Your Four Wheels of Health . . . . .33
3. Set a Wise Balance in Your Life . . . . 53 The Essential of Balance
4. Be Proactive in Preventing Disease .....63 The Essential of Self-Care
5. Practice Acceptance and Letting Go ....91 The Essential of Forgiveness
6. Lighten Your Load .....111 The Essential of Reducing SADness ....................... (Stress, Anxiety, and Depression)
7. Avoid Loneliness .....135 The Essential of Relationships
8. Cultivate a True Spirituality ....157 The Essential of Spiritual Well-Being
9. See Yourself as Your Creator Sees You ....175 The Essential of a Positive Self-Image
10. Nurture Your Hopes and Dreams .....195 The Essential of Discovering Your Destiny
11. Be Your Own Health Care Quarterback ....211 The Essential of Personal Responsibility ................. and Empowerment 12. Team Up with Winning Health Care Providers ....235 The Essential of Teamwork Appendix 1: The Relationships Questionnaire . . . . .261
Appendix 2: The Spiritual Life Profile . . . . . 272
Notes . . . . .279
Subject Index. . . . .295

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