Men are usually dismissive of health issues, and rarely visit a doctor until they are very sick. When we do visit the doctor, we’re usually given the same advice: “You’ve got to lose 30 pounds.” Wanting to please him or her, we dutifully ask, “How?” If we’re lucky we get a brochure with some tips. Sometimes the doctor will recommend seeing a nutritionist, or that we scare walking or working out. And maybe we give it a passing try for a few days, but we don’t stick with it, because we haven’t understood that it’s not a temporary effort. You can’t lose weight and then go back to old habits. Losing weight permanently demands a life change. Unfortunately, to make this kind of turn around, we need more advice and support than a doctor can provide in that short time. What usually happens is that we go back to the status quo, and we continue to gain weight and lose our health. At the next medical exam, the doctor again identifies one or more of the following symptoms: high blood sugar levels, high cholesterol levels, and high blood pressure-warning signs of diseases associated with being overweight. This time your doctor’s response is stronger: “You’ve got to lose weight, or your life will be at risk!” Now if we were sane, this message would motivate us. We’re not, and it doesn’t.
On the next visit, if things have continued to get worse and your life is now seriously at risk, your doctor is forced to prescribe drugs to control the various problems that are arising from your eating habits. If you’re religious about taking your drugs, they slow the onslaught of health problems. But you’re drug-dependent now, you’re not healthy, and you’re still gaining weight. Inevitably, you’re going to need more drugs, and you’re going to be risking those nasty side effects that form the last 20 seconds of every drug advertisement. Worse yet, you have no idea how the various drugs that you’re taking will react with each other. You’re certainly not solving your problem.
We recently asked a new client if he had any health issues. His answer was that he was in “great health.” His only problem was that he was overweight. I decided to press him, and he went on to tell me that he had diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol, but “they’re all being managed by medication.” It’s amazing how we can delude ourselves. Clearly, it’s the medications that are keeping him alive. How foolish and delusional we men can be!