Saturday, February 11, 2012

What You Could Learn From Eating a Cheeseburger

Somewhere between the physical inactivity that comprised my internal medicine rotation and the animalistic gluttony that comprised my holiday vacation, I acquired a sneaky 7 or 8 pounds.  I hadn’t even realized what new travelers were stowed away beneath my belt until out of curiosity I stepped on a scale five weeks ago.  All of a sudden, I found myself standing in a spot that was not so familiar or comfortable—but one shared perhaps by a good many of us.  From my view up above, the blinking digital numbers beneath my feet were flashing a disappointing message over… and over… and again.
So I started something that I’ve never tried before.  Something that I’ve asked many patients to take a stab at, but had no previous experience with.  I decided to change my diet.  I didn’t tackle a heart healthy diet, or a weight loss diet, or even a low fat diet.  I knew I wasn’t going to be one to count calories or weigh my celery sticks.  Instead, I tried something that a friend of mine in college had suggested to me years ago.  I elected to cut out meat and non-whole grains from breakfast and lunch.  I liked this idea, first of all, because it sounded doable.  Secondly, by cutting back on my carnivorous blood thirst, I felt like I could do my small part to help out the environment.  And finally, I figured that since I had been skipping breakfast for most of my adult life, anyway, all I had to do was make it to dinner, and then all bets would be off.
I do not greatly exaggerate when I say I almost starved to death on the first day of my new diet.  Per usual, I skipped The Most Important Meal of the Day, and found myself stuck with a salad and some yogurt for lunch.  Driven by the memory of how my stomach raged on that fateful initiation, I swore to myself that I would start eating breakfast and I did.  And that, kids, is the story of how I rekindled my old love for Quaker Oatmeal Squares.
Aside from a newfound appreciation for a meal once relegated to middle-child status, my experience has also given me a bit more insight into how difficult it is to make bona fide lifestyle changes.  I’ve never been one to write off patients who continue to smoke despite croaky, gurgling lung disease; or those who have difficulty taking two, three, or three dozen pills on schedule.  I’ve always believed that people possess a unique set of strengths and weaknesses, and live under unique pressures and circumstances.  What I may view as a simple task could be undeniably difficult for someone else.  But that was exactly it.  I considered non-compliance—medical speak for patients not listening to divine orders handed down by MDs—a problem of those other people.  I felt I had appropriate pity for all the portly parents and their now puffing-up-so-fast pediatric population.  But honestly, I’ve always figured that if I ever had diabetes, I would check my blood sugars, eat healthy, lose weight, and give myself insulin injections without fail.  And it wouldn’t be that hard.  You know, for me.  
But surely enough, even on my self-proclaimed “easy” diet, I realized that my touted compliance sometimes didn’t have the balls to stand and defend the paint when a McDonald’s craving was driving down the lane to slam home a juicy cheeseburger (March Madness is around the corner, sorry).  There was a day last week when my tomato basil soup and hard-boiled eggs just weren’t making the cut.  I remember listening to the radio during my lunch break and dreading the next 4 hours because it was an especially slow day at the clinic.  So I justified my rendezvous with the drive-thru by telling myself it would be cruel and unusual to have to spend the second half of my day succumbing to boredom AND hunger.  Thus, I welcomed the delicious melt-in-your-mouth taste of non-compliance.  And I asked for extra ketchup.
I guess in truth, we are all non-compliant.  Ask my college roommate.  I am non-compliant with putting my socks in the laundry bin.  Ask my classmates.  I am non-compliant with staying awake in class.  And God forbid you ask my girlfriend, who will tell you I am non-compliant with taking out the trash, doing the dishes, and remembering who has the parking spot tonight.  But fortunately for me, I don’t have to check in monthly with an expert to provide updates on all my worst habits.  If I did, though, I would hope my expert wasn’t so out-of-touch and condescending as to think she was beyond an occasional misplaced sock or dirty dish.  Yes, we are all non-compliant and it is part of this broken humanity that we get to share with one another.  For me, I just find it funny that reminders can sometimes come in the form of a cheeseburger.

1 comment:

  1. Nice healthy point you have shared on eating a Cheeseburger. In this you have taken great healthy factors to discuss here. Thank you.

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