A flicker of annoyance creased my brows.Yes, there was no denying it..as they say, the mirror never lies....there was a little bit more weight around the midriff than I should carry. Didn't like what I was seeing in the mirror and annoyance certainly was the over riding emotion.
And believe you me,I try my best to ensure I don't put on weight, with good enough cause too. Just crossed 40, family history of diabetes and hypertension, Asian heritage..would tick the box on all counts as a high risk to having problems. But you know what, it's darned hard to make sure the healthy diet and exercise happens on a regular basis...not because I am lazy but mainly because life, work, kids, travelling takes away time from your hands.The health evangelists would tout that as excuses but when most days you leave the house before 7 am to fit everything in and then come back home sometimes around 9 pm, the desire or even energy to exercise somehow seems to be lower down the priority list..I would rather spend the 20 minutes discussing Spider-Man with my son enthusiastically explaining the importance of webs..or trying to tease my daughter about the increasing "noise" from her room which she claims to be music.
And that's reality. And that's life..and in a nutshell why most people find it so difficult...its not that there isn't necessarily the desire but life has a different perspective on it. When the "present" needs sorting, who has time to protect oneself from the ravages of "future"? I have never ever berated or even criticised anyone coming to my clinic , whether type 1 or type 2 diabetes, for inability to lose or even putting on weight....simply because I struggle to do so myself. Recently due to personal ailments, I couldn't exercise...it was frustrating but at least it was temporary...but it certainly put into perspective what pain can do to you and your daily life.
We all seem to have an amazing ability to preach, amazing innate sense to lecture..but tell you what, behind that desk,its always easy to give a lecture on the importance of healthy food, the relevance of exercise...but after that,we go back to our own lives... don't live the lives of those who go through their daily travails...so an easy way out is always to lecture and then move on to the next patient. if we all knew so much, how come we don't have lithe, toned athletic looking HCPs all over the NHS? I will tell you why...they all have lives and their daily grind where it isn't that simple.
And that is why when I read articles on "how easy it is"...it makes me annoyed. Yes, indeed diet and exercise is all paramount but lets be a bit more realistic about it, shall we? We have issues with food pricing, issues with accessibility, cultural issues....all of which does not help. There is no denying the importance of what a Mediterranean diet provides but don't make it all sound so simple and more importantly, don't make others feel guilty or bad for not doing something "so simple". Life isn't the same for everyone so using glib terms such as "you should make time for such important interventions" isn't the way ahead.
You want to tackle this..do so properly. We have a long way to go when the biggest event held in the UK over last 10 years- the Olympics- is sponsored by CocaCola and McDonalds...that plastering of their logos make it more acceptable, not less. Food industry is where the battle is..so lets do so properly..and while that's happening, a bit less of the "Oh, Mrs Bloggs, you have put on some weight" followed by a pause. We must,as healthcare professionals, have a better approach towards the whole weight loss angle..an overarching policy at a public health level, start at schools,,colleges, explain the importance of knowing how to prepare food yourself and perhaps even consider leading the way as regards being fitter individuals. And more importantly, try and appreciate why diet and exercise may not be so easy to do, rather than be judgemental about it.
Life has a funny way of stacking your priorities.As a healthcare professional, your focus maybe to make Mrs Bloggs use 20 minutes each day for brisk walking and help her reduce her future risk of heart attacks. Her priority maybe to use the only spare 20 minutes in her day to sit with her grandchildren and read them a storybook.
Lesson to self? Don't judge others by your own life or barometers..we are all different...so are our priorities. A bit more realism, a bit more understanding will probably take us further more than walking ourselves into a state where we view the world only through the prism of our own lives. One can only hope.