Lifestyle As Medicine

Lifestyle As Medicine

Lifestyle Medicine (LM) can be defined as a therapeutic use of evidence-based lifestyle interventions to treat and prevent lifestyle related diseases. This type of approach empowers individuals with the knowledge and life skills to make effective behavior changes that address the underlying causes of their condition (American College of Lifestyle Medicine).

Basic Lifestyle Medicine Intervention Guidelines

LM is based on scientific evidence that the body will heal itself when the factors which cause disease are removed. Diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, Crohn’s disease that were once thought to be irreversible have all been completely reversed by comprehensive lifestyle changes. The goal of a LM approach is to replace unhealthy behaviors with behaviors that promote and sustain health. Most lifestyle-related diseases benefit from simple lifestyle behavior changes such as optimum nutrition, physical activity, stress management, tobacco cessation, and improved interpersonal relationships.

In order to help you understand the difference between Lifestyle Medicine and today’s conventional approach to treating disease and all of the unexplained conditions so many people are experiencing today, let’s look at the contrasts.

The Lifestyle Medicine approach

  • Emphasis is placed on promoting behavioral changes that allow for the body to heal itself.
  • There is a stronger focus daily on evidence-based optimal nutrition, stress management and physical movement.
  • Patients are active partners in their care and management.
  • LM treats the underlying causes of disease.
  • LM experts educate, guide and supports individuals to make positive behavior changes.
  • The individual’s home and community environment are assessed as contributing factors to their health.
  • Medications are used as an adjunct to therapeutic lifestyle changes.

Conventional Medicine

  • Emphasis is on making a diagnosis and pharmaceuticals or surgery are used.
  • The individual is a passive recipient of care.
  • The primary focus is on symptoms or signs of disease, not on the underlying lifestyle causes.
  • Individual is typically not expected to make behavioral changes.
  • The Physician/Provider directs care (medical model).
  • Medications are the primary therapeutic interventions used.
  • The individual’s home and community environment are typically not considered as part of their treatment plan.

As you can clearly see, there is a big difference between the two approaches to health. Currently the typical patient spends 15-30 minutes with a doctor/health provider during an appointment. That’s not enough time to finish conveying concerns, causing them to feel discouraged and confused. They leave the appointment with little explanation or understanding of the problem or the medications prescribed.

But the atmosphere is quite different when you partner with a someone who uses lifestyle as medicine. An appointment can last anywhere between 90 minutes to 2 hours. This gives both the coach and the individual time to learn more about the conditions being experienced so together they can map out a plan to make healthy changes in a supportive environment.


Information for this post was obtained from the American College of Lifestyle Medicine’s, Lifestyle Medicine Standards Taskforce, updated Feb, 2018..

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Cathy is a certified Wellness Educator and Coach with a strong passion to help her clients in their journey to improve their overall health and vitality by searching for the sources of their illness and imbalance.  As a Healthy Lifestyle Planner, Cathy shares all of the practical ways people can reduce stress, recover their lost energy, restore their immune system function and manage and maintain their health goals over the years.  She empowers people to hit the pause button in life and become more in tune with their bodies by using evidence-based lifestyle interventions to prevent lifestyle related diseases. This type of approach empowers individuals with the knowledge and life skills to make effective behavioral changes that address the underlying causes of their condition.  

Cathy is also the creator and director of the Holistic Wellness Academy; an online training platform. The site offers clients and practitioners step-by-step courses that are short and actionable.  Each course is loaded with scientifically-backed information, ideas and practical, time-saving tips that empower and motivate people to successfully navigate through all the distractions life throws at us. Participants can also converse with fellow students for extra encouragement. She is finalizing her newest program, “RESTORE Your Immune System.”  This program explains why people are struggling to stay healthy and the steps they can take to balance and restore the body back to its natural homeostasis. Today it is so important for people to take back control of their health in order to reverse dis-ease.

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