The Diet and Exercise Prescription


Pharmacists can play a role in treating patients that goes beyond dispensing pills, and sometimes the best prescription is to change one's behavior.

Pharmacy has undergone an evolution like virtually no other profession. From the grinding of herbs to clinical pharmacy, it has sent off branches in every direction. Now, I am in the process of building a new limb.

As I'm sure you all know, obesity, especially pediatric obesity, is a serious national problem. What you may not know is that pharmacists can play a role in treating it that goes beyond dispensing amphetamines. The best first-line treatment for diabetes and hypertension is one that is seldom used and in desperate need of increasing—diet and exercise (DE). When that prescription is written by a doctor, who should be there to fill it? It would be a crime if it wasn't a preventive medicine trained pharmacist.

"What is a preventive medicine pharmacist?" you may ask. I am, and I believe I am the first of my kind. I use DE to lower blood pressure and glucose numbers and to produce positive patient outcomes. Now, all I have to do is get the third parties to cover it.

In reality, it shouldn't be that hard of a sell. A good pre-transplant, Dick Cheney bypass will run you an easy $150K. For just $30K, I can transform an obesity case over a 2-year span into a person of ideal body weight, equipped with a lifetime’s worth of positive reinforcement and good habits. In some cases, these former couch potatoes will even end up running marathons.

I'm sure that you are wondering where I got my education in this area. The answer: I am self-taught. As of December 1999, I weighed 306 pounds. I decided enough was enough and made weight loss a central goal in my life. In just over a year, I dropped down to 188 pounds. I used DE to transform from a Santa Claus-like stature to a finisher of the October 2001 Steamtown Marathon, in 3:24.38. I eventually became accomplished enough to qualify for and run the Boston Marathon. I even ran 2,000 miles in one year, including a 4-day jaunt from Scranton to Philadelphia, which raised money for Children's Miracle Network. I never had a coach.

I now weigh 220 pounds. I realize that I am also 12 years older and on Geodon, Lamictal, and Wellbutrin (classic manic bipolar), which makes the weight really hard to lose. I'd be thrilled to get back down to a nice even 200.

Since I have now explained my situation to everyone with an Internet connection, I imagine that this will make me more accountable. It is a shame that I require that amount of motivation, but since I am 20 pounds heavier than I want to be, I must need it. I want to get back into marathon shape even though my beloved speed of my early and mid-30s has vanished. I'll let you know how this is going every other post or so.

Thanks for reading. Peace.

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