When you become interested in a change!
My regular frustration is that so many people won’t pay attention to their health. Sure, they are willing to go to the doctor and most do. But that certainly doesn’t mean they are paying attention to their health; it more likely means they have turned their health over to their doctor.
As I suggested in my last column, doctors consider themselves to be healers and rightfully so. You get sick, come see me, I give you some medicine (or maybe surgery), and you are healed. If that sickness is bacterial, viral, or a broken bone you might well be healed. But otherwise your medication resolves symptoms (makes you feel better) but the resolution is only temporary. Feeling better is a wonderful thing but “permanently fixed” ought to be the goal. Medication forever is not a fix.
Most of us seem to think that avoiding chronic illness is either impossible or too inconvenient. And, unfortunately, many of our doctors agree. Makes for a very lucrative medical practice.
What motivates change?
I recently had this very conversation with a good friend who happens to be a nurse. Her medical knowledge, extensive experience, and practical wisdom have proven most valuable to me as I write (and write and write) about how to avoid various health conditions. Here is what she said.
“I read something one time that said creating things that entice well-fed people to eat differently for benefits they won’t immediately feel will be more difficult than creating things that help people eat. Creating things that get people to manage their own health and wellness when they do not feel sick will be more difficult than creating things that heal wounds and kill disease.”
That, in turn, reminded me of this quote from page 205 in my book, It’s All about the Food. Said by Max Planck, Nobel Prize winner in Physics in 1918.
“A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and make them see the light, but rather because its opponents die and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.”
Allow me to summarize from people smarter than me. If you don’t feel bad you aren’t likely to want to change anything you have done all your life. The majority of us are very fond of doing what we have always done. If a change can’t be immediately noticed in how you feel, you aren’t likely to stick to it. And a new “truth” when it comes to diet may take a new generation of people, including doctors, for it to be common knowledge.
What to do when change needs to happen?
Almost daily I hear a success story from or about someone who has finally grasped the bull by the horns and taken dietary steps to fix themselves. I frequently write about them in my newspaper column and on my website. Someone tells me regularly how much they look forward to my column and occasionally asks me to write about some specific thing. I have even been stopped on the street by someone asking where they can get my book.
About 15% of the population will be “early adopters,” Throw out a new idea or product and they are on it. If you are old enough you may remember how unenthusiastic the majority were about ATMs. The rest of us were dragging behind the early adopters as a matter of course. Today ATMs are the norm.
Some people are motivated to change because they are dissatisfied with how they feel or how they look. Some people are listening, sort of interested but haven’t yet found a reason to change that makes the inconvenience worth the investment.
The trick is to have a clue what to do once you decide something simply has to change for whatever reason. That might be tomorrow, next year, or as they call the ambulance. My job is to provide the knowledge and momentum once you make that decision.
Have you decided that maybe something needs to be different? Read my book, It’s All about the Food, and follow my articles and this website. Something is going to hit you in the right place at the right time and when it does, you will know what to do first.
If you need to know more there are mountains of books and reference material to help. I’ve read many of them and will be glad to provide direction. Send me a comment or an email.
Pat Smith is the author of “It’s All About the Food,” a book that guides nutritious food choices as the way to avoid illness and maintain a healthy weight. Pat is a resident of Montgomery County, AR, president of Ouachita Village, Inc. board of directors (Montgomery County Food Pantry), and president of the Mount Ida Area Chamber of Commerce board of directors. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org; phone number is 870-490-1836; visit her website at allaboutthefood.org