I’m often asked what makes my kidney stone students so successful in their lifestyle change and stone prevention journey. There are many reasons, but here are 10 practices I know, for certain, lead to success.
- Be your best advocate. Don’t take the “let’s wait for a second stone” approach. When you have any medical condition, you must be your own advocate, especially in today’s healthcare environment. And don’t wait for another bout of illness to make that happen.
- Find an expert to help guide you along the way. I recognize that this can be difficult, depending on where you live, and you might not have easy access to expert advice or counseling. If that’s the case, look for credible experts on the web—there are many who have tons of experience in exactly what you want to know.
- Manage your expectations. Lifestyle change takes time. You didn’t make a stone or gain weight in one week—it usually takes years—and you will not make meaningful change in that short amount of time either. Think in terms of months, not weeks, when instituting significant lifestyle change. This way, you can be much kinder to yourself when you don’t get where you want to be in three days.
- Be flexible AND consistent. This may seem like an oxymoron, but it’s what makes for success. Consistency is essential when making any lifestyle change. But, one must also be flexible. Sometimes, you’re going to want to enjoy your favorite foods, and you should. Life gets dull if we don’t indulge once in a while. The key is to get back on track with your very next meal and not continue the indulgence. Keeping old favorite foods in the meal rotation keeps your mind happy rather than feeling deprived. The diet industry often tells us to cut all sugar without giving us any chance to enjoy treats here and there—this is why people hop from diet to diet. They are typically unsustainable for the average person.
- Pay mind to what you eat. It’s not that we don’t know what food is healthy or what food isn’t. It’s that we often overeat without realizing it. Have you ever cleared the leftover food from your kid’s plates? Have you ever skipped dessert only to eat the extra spoonfuls from your partner’s plate? Those calories all count.
- Make your lifestyle your passion. I know this lifestyle is demanding because I follow it. BUT, when it truly becomes your passion, it’s no longer hard. I make it my hobby. And I can’t think of a better place to put my energy. Without our health, not one other thing matters. Not one.
- Prepare yourself. My patients and students plan—they meal plan and prep, cook simple foods that adhere to all the kidney stone diet goals, and they don’t complain about it because they’ve built it into their lives. The students who don’t plan always suffer more anxiety, more stones, and more hospital bills, but this is unusual. People who pay for my services are motivated. When we invest money in something, we tend to commit! When I want to reach my goal fast, I invest in help.
- Fill your belt with the necessary tools. Education is number one. Research the best doctors in your area who will be proactive in your care.
- Get Support. Surround yourself with people who understand what you are going through. Having a place to vent and ask questions is a great way to stay on track. My Kidney Stone Prevention Course comes with a free month of group support calls for just that reason. Support and understanding go a long way in staying motivated on your path to prevention. It’s available now for $40 off.
- Practice with patience. Be kind to yourself. There is so much to learn on this journey. You will make great strides and also falter. It matters zero. The practice is being kind to yourself when you have a less-than-stellar day and continuing to pick yourself up and get right back on track. Changing old habits is a lifelong practice, not something you do for three months. Like yoga or anything else you want to be excellent at, it will require practice, practice, and patience. All well worth it. And so are you!
Your friend and advocate