Exercise and find the perfect diet, but if you don't utilize stress, it might be for naught.
Dr. Terry Lyles knows all about stress.
"I teach people how to utilize stress, not to manage it," he says. "I've been doing it about 15 years."
Known as "The Stress Doctor," Lyles will do two presentations Sept. 7 as part of "Live Well, Be Well with Dr. Oz & Lisa Oz," an event sponsored by Gulfstream.
The headliner will be Dr. Mehmet Oz, who shows viewers of his talk show how to avoid high-fat, high-sugar, sedentary lives and better understand the mind-body connection to health and happiness.
"The Dr. Oz Show" has received two Emmy Awards. In addition to hosting the show, Oz is vice-chair and professor of surgery at Columbia University, and he directs the cardiovascular unit and complementary medical program at New York Presbyterian Hospital.
Joining him will be his wife, Lisa Oz, a writer, producer and entrepreneur who has her own radio show. She is the co-author of five New York Times best-selling books.
In addition to the presentations, the event will offer free health screenings by Memorial University Medical Center from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Ozes will speak at 9:30 a.m. and Lyles will speak at 12:15 p.m. and 1:30 p.m.
As part of a wellness initiative sponsored by Gulfstream, the program is open to the public. Like Oz, Lyles is well known to television audiences, having appeared on NBC, ABC, USA Today, CNN, Headline News, "The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch" and several other programs.
An educator, author and speaker with a Ph.D. in psychology, Lyles has appeared at universities and schools and worked with Fortune 500 companies, world-class athletes and public audiences.
Through life balance training, Lyles has worked with groups of all ages and occupations, including debriefing fire rescue workers in and around Ground Zero, international forensic medical teams who responded to the Japanese tsunami, and fighter pilots with the United States Air Force Space Command.
A resident of South Florida, Lyles has done training at major corporations, including Gulfstream.
"I do a lot of disaster relief," he says. "I go and help people deal with tragedy and stress."
After suffering stress-related problems himself, Lyles found solutions.
"I'm as screwed up as anybody else," he says. "I found ways that worked.
"I had a sports science training background that's helped me. Part of dealing with athletes is dealing with adversity.
"I have a son in a wheelchair who doesn't speak or walk," Lyles says. "That was tough. I figured if that didn't kill me, I could help others."
When asked about the effects of untreated stress, Lyles is blunt.
"It will kill you," he says. "Unprocessed stress can cause migraines, digestive problems, anxiety disorders, panic attacks, confusion, forgetfulness, obesity - you can go on and on."
But Lyles doesn't say stress is necessarily a bad thing.
"Stress is neutral," he says. "We have to define how we react to it.
"Good stress is responsible for living younger and stronger," Lyles says.
"Good stress empowers us. Exercise, hydrating, eating, sleeping, learning, promoting and getting promoted - all those things are potentially good stress.
"It's how we perceive it, how we respond to it."
But most people only see as stress as bad, Lyles says.
"Bad stress is anything we perceive as a stressor - it can be perceived or real," he says. "When we feel threatened, the body secretes stress hormones, which are harmful. On the flip side is good stress, which happens when you view life as a challenge versus a threat.
"You're not omitting the threat, but converting it," Lyles says.
"That's what pro athletes do. They love to compete, and good stress gives them the ability to perform."
Good stress causes the body to secrete endorphins, which explains the runner's high.
But it's a process that has to be learned.
"There's no question; people literally kill themselves by stressing out over things," Lyles says. "And 95 percent of those are things we have no control over.
"I share with people the way to challenge this bad stress by stilling our minds and body in short spurts throughout the day," he says "Stress isn't the problem, it's that we don't recover correctly.
"We don't recharge our batteries often enough. How many people meditate?"
Transforming stress means transforming worry.
"Worry is negative meditation," Lyles says.
In Savannah, Lyles will do some breakout sessions around the Ozes' presentation.
"I'll be teaching Gulfstream employees, but I also wanted to reach out to the community, as well," he says.
"I'll do the same thing in two one-hour sessions. It will shorten it a bit, but the audience will still get the same message."
Lyles even works with children.
"We're getting ready to do programs within the Savannah school system," he says.
"Everyone has pressure. Three-year-old kids have pressure. It's all about transitioning. I can teach children the very same thing. I taught my children how to breathe correction and transition stress in 30 seconds."
After all, Lyles has trained race car drivers how to stay calm under pressure at 200 miles per hour.
"It's fascinating to me," he says. "I've studied stress my whole life.
"My method works. It's bullet-proof. We're all wired in similar ways - heart, soul, skeletal, muscle, blood. It's all about understanding how our owner's manual is written up."
Stress has been around as long as there have been human beings, Lyles says.
"Stress to the caveman was trying to hunt and not be hunted," he says. "It's anything that can be a threat.
"Like gravity, stress has always been there. And it's not going to slow down, it's going to increase.
"I would almost guarantee people will want to do this when they understand what is," Lyles says.
"I pack the room every time. Sometimes people come back two, three, even four times to hear it again. People know they're stressed, they just don't know what to do about it."
IF YOU GO
What: Live Well, Be Well with Dr. Oz and Lisa Oz
When: 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.Sept. 7; Dr. Oz and Lisa Oz at 9:30 a.m. and Dr. Lyles at 12:15 p.m. and 1:30 p.m.
Where: Savannah International Trade & Convention Center
Info: www.scadboxoffice.com, 912-525-5050