In my continuing quest for better health, I’ve decided to participate in a CHIP class (Complete Health Improvement Program). I’ve seen the advertisements for years and have several family members and friends who took the class, but because I’m already fairly healthy I always thought it would take too much time and effort for the benefits I might receive.

However, since my sister-in-law Kiley said she would go with me— and since the weather is still too cold to be outside in the garden—I convinced myself to sign up.

The first information session also helped me decide to participate because I really liked the emphasis the facilitators placed on the fact that

my health is my responsibility, and I can manage it

by making the best possible choices every day. No one is going to be telling me what I should or shouldn’t do—just giving information, sharing experiences and offering support in making good choices.

Story of the Numbers

Before the first day of class we needed to have a 12-hour fasting blood draw and record height and weight and blood pressure so we can compare our numbers when we do this again at the end of the five weeks. The CHIP organizers made that part easy. They even gave us an amazing hot breakfast afterward. At first I thought I wouldn’t try the waffles, since I’m eating gluten free, but the cook told us they were made from four ingredients: oats, cashews, water and salt. I could hardly believe it! That is the first recipe I will try at home.

The CHIP program was recently purchased by the Lifestyle Medicine Institute and their updated materials, created and published in Australia, are well organized, attractive and engaging. For me (a person without medical training) that makes it easier to digest all the scientific research presented in support of the philosophy and guiding principles of the CHIP program. Plus I love the Australian accents we hear on the movie clips!

It’s pretty sobering to see the statistics related to all our lifestyle diseases in developed countries. We eat too much of the wrong stuff and waste our lives with sedentary habits. According to Dr. Hans Diehl, one of the main video presenters, recent research shows that

approximately 75 percent of our healthcare costs are for treating lifestyle-caused ailments.

Think about that. We’re spending ¾ of our money on medications and procedures to “fix” our bad choices. However, as Dr. Diehl pointed out, the fix isn’t a cure; it’s usually just a mask or moderator of the symptoms.

There’s got to be a better way. And it seems like that’s what the CHIP program is all about.

More info about CHIP.

More from the “CHIPing It” series.