Health & Wellness
Listen up, guys!

Listen up, guys!

Consumer guru Clark Howard speaks the language of logic
By India Powell

Though he has always enjoyed exercising as a way of relieving stress, Clark Howard never considered himself a health nut. It wasn’t until he reached his 50s that he decided to kick his self-proclaimed awful eating habits and start seriously thinking about nutrition as a preemptive strike in the impending battle of the bulge. And while he still doesn’t think of himself as a wellness fanatic, Clark is a realist—he doesn’t do denial.

Just as he has encouraged listeners for more than 20 years to take control of their finances, consumer guru Clark, 54, now encourages men to take charge of their health and get screened, particularly for prostate cancer.

“There are logical consequences to not getting tested. You have to hit guys with logic, because we’re really good at ignoring things,” he says.

Clark was diagnosed with prostate cancer in January 2009. He has been following a European protocol of treatment called “watchful waiting.” Through his research and extensive testing, Clark has learned that he has a nearly 50-percent chance that he could go 5 years or longer without needing treatment, and his expectation is that by the time he needs to take action, new, more advanced treatment options will be available to him.

Just as he has encouraged listeners for more than 20 years to take control of their finances, consumer guru Clark Howard, 54, now encourages men to take charge of their health and get screened, particularly for prostate cancer.

Clark stresses that the success of the watchful-waiting method depends fully on regular 90-day checks by a doctor, and that regular screenings for men who haven’t been diagnosed are a must.

“A lot of men think they would rather not know because they don’t want to have to deal with the uncertainty,” he says. “But uncertainty doesn’t phase me, so I’m the right personality type to be able to deal with the knowledge that I have cancer without feeling like the only action I can do is an operation or something right now.”

Any dietary changes Clark might have made as a result of his diagnosis had already been made as part of his decision 2 years earlier to get healthier in general. “The changes I’d made were modest—I subtracted snacks between meals, dessert and fries and I added fruits, veggies and water.” Clark lost 30 pounds as a result of the subtle adjustments.

According to Clark, success with a healthy diet—as with a healthy budget—requires one secret ingredient: treat days. “Every Sunday I have all the things I don’t allow myself to have otherwise: candy, fries, ice cream. You have to have some immediate pleasure or all you feel is the sacrifice.” And it’s the same with money, he says. “If somebody gets an inheritance, for example, I tell them to take 10 percent and be as crazy as they want to be and save the other 90 percent.”

Because he knows many men will remain in denial about the importance of screening for prostate cancer, Clark says it’s crucial that the women in their lives take charge of the situation. “If you have a guy in your life who just will not get screened, you need to make the appointment for him and drive him to the appointment. Taking him to lunch afterwards is a great idea. You have to be the ‘turbo nag’ where this is concerned.”

For more information on Clark’s journey with prostate cancer, visit www.clarkhoward.com.