Working as a community pharmacist, we often see many patients who are in extremely poor health due to their diet and lifestyle choices. 9 times out of 10, these lifestyle choices have contributed to the medication they’re now taking daily.
We are constantly missing opportunities to encourage good lifestyle choices such as diet and exercise, and we watch them as they continue down this unhealthy path. Follow these tips to add some useful lifestyle counselling into your patients day:
Keep it simple.
There are so many diets out there that are impossible to keep up with, whether that’s the Mediterranean, paleo or slimming world. None of these diets are necessarily better than the other. However, healthy diets include a “base” of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and healthy proteins such as beans, chicken, fish or meat substitutes.
Instead of stating the obvious like “eat more fruits and vegetables,” try something more specific like “this week, why don’t you pick up a loaf of whole-grain bread instead of white bread?”. Doing this will make your patients feel like they’re not on a diet, but they’re making small changes over time.
Encourage new foods.
It may take a little encouragement to get your patients to try something new. If you focus on things that are both affordable and not that different to products they already might be using, you will convince them to experiment more. For example, instead of their usual pizza take away, they could buy wholemeal pittas and add their own pizza style fresh ingredients as a topping.
Fun, cost-effective exercise.
Exercise does not necessarily mean going to the gym, as many people struggle to find the time, money or motivation. Fun activities such as hiking, swimming or biking can help get your patient out of the house and is extremely cost-effective. You can also suggest home workouts, as there are thousands of exercise videos on YouTube that are completely free of charge.
One of our personal favourites has got to be Joe Wicks (The Body Coach).
Lead by example.
If you can, make your pharmacy the example. Eliminate any sugary drinks/snacks from your store; it makes no sense for us as pharmacists to tell patients not to eat certain foods and sell it to them on their way out.
You can also get involved with community activities and promote this on your social media. For example, our store “Wesham Pharmacy” recently taken part in a charity 5k run. We used this to get our patients more involved by posting content such as:
“Wesham Pharmacy doesn’t just promote healthy lifestyles to their community; they lead by example! Why not take part in your own run? Running is a great way to get fit and has many benefits such as preventing obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and much more!”
If you would like more information on promoting healthy lifestyles to your patients, contact us today!