Thursday, January 1, 2015

The conundrum of creating perfect bodies in an imperfect world

As a healthcare expert who gives advice to people with asthma and COPD on a regular basis, I highly recommend that you eat healthy and exercise.

I don't mandate that you do this, but I highly recommend it.  And you don't have to be perfect either, as Lord knows an occasional day of fun is also recommended.

So it's quite clear that I don't have a problem with people recommending a healthy diet and exercise, so long as they don't make it a rule, or mandatory.  I don't think people should have to be healthy, it should only be a recommendation.  It should be taught, but not forced.

Physicians thousands of years ago recognized the benefits of a healthy diet and exercise without ever having done a study, and modern studies have proved these benefits.  So it makes sense that people should be encouraged to create and maintain healthy lifestyles.

That said, our society seems to have gotten away from making recommendations in favor of making rules.  Instead of insurance companies recommending that we live healthy, they tell us they are creating the "incentive" that if we "promise to live healthy" our healthcare premiums "will be lowered."

But if knowing that I do not follow their "rules" means that I have to pay higher premiums that I cannot afford, then this is not so much a "recommendation" as it is a rule or mandate.  They say it's a choice, but Lord knows there's no choice involved.  They try to fool us, you see.

As a parent we do this often with our kids.  We offer them two choices, both healthy, and then we tell them that they get to choose what they eat.  Well, really we are choosing and making them think they chose.

My wife does this with me too, giving me two choices both leading to what she wants.  In the case of my wife "tricking me" I'm fine with it because I chose my wife and like her choices.

Experts in Washington now use this same tactic to entice (force) us to comply with their euphoric agenda.  They say they are doing it for our own good.  They are trying to take away the hard choices by deciding for us for our own good. The ultimate goal here is to attempt to turn us into perfect people in their perfect society.

The problem with this, I think, is that most of us are flawed people.  Unlike the elites who live in Washington, those folks who live sheltered lives with plenty of time and money for eating healthy and exercising, most of us live in the real world with limited and flawed resources.

Most of us have jobs that don't pay ideal wages, and so we are forced to live in a stressful world where we have to sacrifice A to get B.  For instance, we have to pay $300 a month for healthcare premiums instead of putting that same $300 down on a car payment or vacation.  For instance, we have to pay thousands of dollars in taxes rather than using that money to pay off loans.

So while the experts who make these rules may live sheltered lives whereby they can easily live by their rules (and in most cases they don't, although they expect us to), stress from the real world causes the rest of us to fail at our New Year's goal of losing weight and getting in shape this year.

Look at it this way, if I won the lotto and had plenty of money to spend on stuff, I could buy that expensive membership at the health club next to my house without flinching.  I'd have plenty of time to run on treadmills and lift weights.  I'd have the perfect body.

But, be it the way it is, while the ultimate body is always on the agenda, the trials and trivializations of life, many of which come up at the most unexpected times, generally make it so at the end of the year not much changes.

This is the year, though, that it does change. Yeah!  Yeah!  This is the year.  It's gonna happen.  Yep!