Dr. Amen: Success For A Brain Healthy Family, Church, Community

The Daniel Plan - Healthier CommunityEver look around and wonder if it is possible to engage your family, your church, your community in a positive effort to get healthy? Dr. Daniel Amen may have an answer. As an award-winning psychiatrist, best-selling author and brain imaging expert, Dr. Amen focuses on how our lifestyle effects our brain health and how we can prevent Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia related illness in his PBS special Use Your Brain to Change Your Age, airing on Public Broadcast Stations. He gives us Seven Steps to Boost our Brain, to live longer, look younger and dramatically decrease our risk for Alzheimer’s.  Number 6, about “doing a health program with a partner” may be one solution as he shares his alliance with Dr. Mehmet Oz and Dr. Mark Hyman in helping to make healthy changes at Pastor Rick Warren’s  Saddleback Church.
Dr. Amen says that to be the most successful, do your health program with a partner.

  • Research shows that when you make a commitment to work out with someone else you’re more likely to show up and stick with it.
  • Your relationships with people have a dramatic impact on your health.
  • Associating with other healthy people is usually the strongest and most direct path to change.
  • Teach someone else how to do it. Don’t give up your friends that are struggling with their health. Share what you know and offer to do it with them.
  • People learn by example. If one family member is successful, the others will follow.
  • Are you a friend or an accomplice? A friend supports the health of loved ones. An accomplice supports their bad habits.

So, what led Dr. Amen to team up with Dr. Oz and Dr. Hyman?
Dr. Amen shared a story that was very disturbing to him. He said he went to church and watched them serve such bad food to the congregation. Cookies and doughnuts, sausage, bacon, hot dogs.  He wondered if the church was trying to send people to heaven…early!
He was so upset that day, that he prayed that God would somehow lead him to make churches healthier places. Two weeks later the Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church called and asked if he, Dr. Amen could help make the church healthier. Saddleback Church is one of the largest churches in America, with 10 campuses across Southern California and with Pastor Warren the best-selling author of “The Purpose Driven Life”, Dr Amen said he felt “now that was an answer to pray!”
Pastor Warren had heard Dr. Amen say at one time that “when your weight goes up, the size of your brain goes down”. That convinced him that as pastor, he and his congregation had better get healthy. Together with Dr. Mehmet Oz and Dr. Mark Hyman, the three doctors developed a 52 week program called “The Daniel Plan”.  After the first six months the church had lost 200,000 pounds. Today they have over 15,000 participants.
The secret to the program is a small group format where 5 to 8 people meet weekly to support each other and walk and workout together.

Click to learn more about The Daniel Plan.

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