Here’s How to Work Through the “Now What” Phase

It really only takes five simple steps to get back on track.

Photo Credit:  Bartosz Tomaszewski / EyeEm/Getty Images

Perhaps you have bruises and scars as permanent badges of honor for all you have gone through in combating disease or some other chronic health issue. But how about the mental scars? Replaying in your head all that you have gone through, you may wonder what you need to do now to restore your health and prevent your disease or health issue from returning.

Maybe, as part of your treatment, you find yourself walking out of the hospital or a doctor’s office holding a bag of pills and pages of warnings and side effects.

Maybe you just finished your last day of chemo, and after saying goodbye to your supportive oncology team, you find yourself standing outside the doors wondering, “Now what?”

Maybe you’re asking yourself, “How did this happen? How did I get so far off track?”Maybe you wish you could go back in time to alter your path. You wish you had been more mindful about your eating habits, exercise, stress management, and the onslaught of toxins you were inhaling and ingesting daily.

It’s time to rebuild. Unfortunately, most practitioners have very limited time to spend with you, and many are not trained or equipped to provide you with the resources and support you need to rebuild your- self back to health. As a result, you are left to your own devices— but in my experience, patients who receive the necessary support are much more likely to adhere to their treatment regimens and their rebuild protocols and practice self- care than those who have to go it on their own. So today, you and I become partners, a team. Like you, I have been through the battle and come out victorious. I’m sure we have gone through the same or similar procedures and experienced similar emotions along the way. As a clinician and a patient, I realize it’s much easier to get through the crisis and restore your health when you have support and the right protocols— what I call supportocols. Rebuild has the supportocols you need to restore your health, prevent recurrence, and maintain your good health long after your health crisis is over. The supportocols in Rebuild will be baked into your new pattern of choices and habits. They will become your new standards of being and your new daily rituals.

Rebuilding is not only about restoring your health from your diagnosed condition, but also rebuilding your mistreated internal terrain in which the disease developed.

By following the supportocols provided in this book, you will recalibrate the communication between your genes and your internal terrain to create a state of normal function and health.

The supportocols outlined in this section are also designed for those actively going through treatment for a current health crisis. In addition to helping you through your crisis, they will simultaneously improve your overall health and body composition, eliminating excess fat and leaving you lean. This is your chance to come back better than you were before.

Where do you start? You must take five necessary Rebuild Actions— what I call Re-actions— to rebuild yourself and restore your health.


Since eating is the biggest constant in life, the most effective re-action is to make sure you eat the best foods to help you rebuild your health. Think of food as information that talks to your genes and tells them what to do. Poor nutrition can tell normal genes to create disease. To send the right message to your genes, you must eliminate high- calorie, nutrient- deficient foods from your diet and instead eat a variety of tasty nutrient- dense whole foods. These include healthful proteins, fats, and plant- based foods of all colors. Chapter 3, which covers Re-action #1, is the most information- dense chapter in Rebuild, so take your time going through it. I have also outlined how to create a personal food plan, a diet unique to your specific needs and metabolism.


High-intensity interval training (HIIT), an all-out burst of full-effort physical activity followed by a short period of rest, is hands-down the best way to rebuild yourself through exercise. HIIT triggers a chain re-action of beneficial genetic and biochemical events that regulate blood sugar, burn fat, reduce inflammation, and increase immune function. This begins the process of reversing disease and restoring normal function to the body. HIIT is easier than you think and requires a lot less time than the traditional modes of exercising you may be familiar with.


The stress reaction and the release of stress hormones (cortisol, adrenaline, and norepinephrine) drive disease, including cancer, heart disease, and autoimmune diseases, among others. Chronic and unmanaged stress sets off toxic chemical reactions in the body, which can ignite and promote the formation of disease. When your body’s stress hormone levels are elevated for prolonged periods, it can suppress your immune system, reducing your ability to fight bacteria, viruses, and chronic illness. It is crucial that you control your stressors to lessen the harm an extended stress reaction may cause. You also need to carve out time in each day to unplug.


You need to get your zzz’s. Sleep is a period of inactivity, a suspension of consciousness, that occurs every day. It is an anabolic state, building up the nervous, immune, and muscular systems. Sleep is a complex process of internal rebuilding and recuperation, which are essential to your health and well- being. Lack of sleep has been linked to the most serious diseases, including heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Sleep deprivation can severely impair your immune system and create inflammation— the driving force behind all chronic health issues and disease.


Many people unwittingly expose themselves to toxins that create internal conditions favorable to the development of cancer and other chronic diseases. Rebuilding and allowing your body to heal after a disease requires you to stop using tobacco, eliminate environmental toxins such as pesticides and household chemicals— and yes, cut back on alcohol. “Drink in moderation” is too vague, too open to interpretation. I think the word moderation itself should be used in moderation. It’s much clearer to say, “Drink alcohol sparingly as you rebuild yourself.” Listen, I get it: we all want an easy life full of delicious food, good company, and joy. Buying into the belief that you have no control over your life and health (or that you do have control but “Man, it’s going to be a boring journey”) is a sure way to set yourself up to develop or prolong disease. The good news— and I hope you begin to see it this way— is that you do have control. In the following chapters, I explain how to modify your personal habits and make the best choices as you begin your personal rebuild.

From the book REBUILD: Five Proven Steps to Move from Diagnosis to Recovery and Be Healthier Than Before by Dr. Robert Zembroski. Copyright © 2018 by Dr. Robert Zembroski. Published on June 1, 2018 by Harper Wave, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. Reprinted by permission.

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