“Never Too Late for Fitness (Volume One)” is a collaborative book series featuring leading health and fitness professionals from across the country who are passionate and committed to helping people over 50 get fit, stay fit and live longer, healthier and happier lives.
In this edition, Phil Faris has conversations with the fitness trendsetter, Thomas M. Mitchell, D.C.,CCSP.
Phil Faris: Perhaps you could give an example of how you use specific areas of a test, or results of a test, that may have identified something that allows you to be proactive in heading off a disease or potential disease.
Dr. Mitchell: I have a great example. A gentleman in his mid-fifties came to me as a diabetic. He’s 58 with a hemoglobin A1c of an 8.8, which is high. Typically, 6.5 is diabetes. He was 310 pounds, and we ran all his blood work, and we did a typical workup. What we found was that his kidneys were starting to slow down and weren’t working great. Along with that came high blood pressure, and he had high cholesterol. I saw him in my office on Wednesday, and this is now five months later…he’d started in October. His goal was to be below 270 pounds by Christmas. The day before Christmas, he was at 268 pounds. He is now at 249, off all his medication, and his last A1c was a 5.5, which is better than mine!
His kidney function was hampering a lot of the process. Once we fixed that or helped him fix that, then he could work on the other things so aggressively that he’s no longer a diabetic. I mean, I guess technically he’s a diabetic, but he doesn’t have any medication, and his numbers are better than mine, so I can’t really call him a diabetic anymore.
Phil Faris: That’s great. You referred how you’re different than a typical doctor. Most Baby Boomers, myself included, are used to going to the doctor’s office and leaving with a prescription and a card saying, “please check back with me in 6 months.” That’s not necessarily the case with your office. Your patients, who are looking to have a program to improve their health and fitness, leave with what you call an Individualized Structural Health Care Program. Can you talk about the specifics that go into that and how you use it to help patients accomplish their goals?
Dr. Mitchell: I guess what I would say is everyone that I see gets a program structured for them. That’s based off all the objective data that we have, which is the exam, the blood work, the hormone panels, the bio-impedance analysis, whatever’s necessary for them. It could be x-rays, could be an MRI, could be anything. We do a consultation, we collect all the objective data, and then we just lay out a plan that we think fits them best. Then we coach them through it.
I call what I do health coaching. We sit down, and we re-run the objective data. Since you can’t run blood work once a week or once every couple of weeks, we use the bio-impedance analysis a lot. We start working through that objective data so that, again, we can hold each other accountable, but if you can get the objective data to go in the right direction, the person doesn’t get a choice but to get healthier. Their bodies are just getting healthier. They’re losing weight; they’re feeling better; things are just going better. Everything is individualized because there’s no one-size-fits-all program out there that works. There are tons of those types programs out there, but if any one of them worked for everybody, that would be the last one we needed, right? That’s just not the case.