Saturday, August 29, 2015

Loyola physician calls Lent perfect time to start healthy habits

Lent even better than New Year's for making changes since it's 40 days long

Are you already giving up meat for Lent? You could use it as a time to make a lot of more healthy diet decisions.

MAYWOOD, Ill. – For many people the season of Lent is a time to take a step back, evaluate what is important and think about sacrifice. People of the Catholic faith refrain from eating meat on Fridays. In addition, Catholics and members of other Christian faiths also “give up” something such as eating high-calorie desserts or a bad habit such as smoking. According to Michael Koller, MD, internal medicine physician at Loyola University Health System, Lent can play an important role in creating a healthy lifestyle.

“Lent is a great opportunity to get started on a track to better health. Since it’s only 40 days, that’s a goal people feel they can attain,” Koller said. “Since it’s Lent, there will be lots of people around to support you and not tempt you to fall off track.”

Often people think of the start of the new year as the time to make resolutions for a healthier life, but according to Koller, Lent is a better time since it’s a focused 40-day period.

“Whenever making a lifestyle change, the first few weeks are always the hardest. The 40 days of Lent give a reasonable timeframe to make and maintain a successful lifestyle change,” Koller said.

For instance, if you are already giving up meat for Lent, Koller suggests using it as a time to make healthier decisions such as eating baked or broiled seafood and staying away from fried or sautéed items.

Easter is coming, but Koller warns against using the celebratory holiday as an excuse to go back to old habits.

“Going back to your old ways when Easter comes around is one of the worst things you can do. You should celebrate, but don’t slide back into old routines. Try to stick with moderation as you go beyond the Easter season,” Koller said.
He also encourages laypeople to keep their priests’ and ministers’ health in mind when considering bringing them an Easter gift.

“Think twice before bringing your priest or minister a high-calorie dessert as a gift. We need to have healthy priests and ministers and it’s hard for them to refuse a gift from a well-meaning parishioner. Bringing gifts is a wonderful idea, just try to make sure it’s a healthy gift,” Koller said.

About Loyola University Health System

Loyola University Health System (LUHS) is part of Trinity Health. Based in the western suburbs of Chicago, LUHS is a quaternary care system with a 61-acre main medical center campus, the 36-acre Gottlieb Memorial Hospital campus and more than 30 primary and specialty care facilities in Cook, Will and DuPage counties. Loyola University Medical Center’s campus is conveniently located in Maywood, 13 miles west of Chicago’s Loop and 8 miles east of Oak Brook, Ill. At the heart of the medical center campus is a 559-licensed-bed hospital that houses a Level 1 Trauma Center, a Burn Center and the Ronald McDonald® Children's Hospital of Loyola University Medical Center. Also on campus are the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, Loyola Outpatient Center, Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine and Loyola Oral Health Center as well as Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, Loyola University Chicago Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and the Loyola Center for Fitness. Loyola's Gottlieb campus in Melrose Park includes the 255-licensed-bed community hospital, the Professional Office Building housing 150 private practice clinics, the Adult Day Care, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park.

Trinity Health is a national Catholic health system with an enduring legacy and a steadfast mission to be a transforming and healing presence within the communities we serve. Trinity is committed to being a people-centered health care system that enables better health, better care and lower costs. Trinity Health has 88 hospitals and hundreds of continuing care facilities, home care agencies and outpatient centers in 21 states and 119,000 employees.