Americans love being being sick, fat and miserable. We like the idea of good health but we prefer having someone else to blame for our inability to be healthy. We spend $68 Billion dollars a year on weight loss activities that statistically have a 10% success rate, Congress enacted the Affordable Care Act to ensure all people have access to health care yet 28 million people are uninsured and a vast number of those who have it can’t afford to use it, 45% of all Americans suffer from at least one form of chronic disease and the number is growing. 37.7% of Americans are classified as clinically obese. 100 million people have diabetes. BUT less than 5% of adults participate in 30 minutes of physical activity every day. Soda is the #1 item purchased at the grocery store and to make us even less accountable, being fat is now officially as of 2012 formally classified as a disease. Why do we love being sick fat and miserable when it couldn’t be easier to be healthy?
Health is easy thanks to the wonders of the digital age! Incredible mission driven millennials, smart devises like Fitbit, MyFitnessPal, Pinterest as well as countless instagram and Youtube fitness stars guarantee it if as the consumer we are ready to take responsibility for our health. Do we as the consumer even realize we own our own health? News Flash: YOUR BODY YOUR BUSINESS! We drive the bus regardless of what our doctors might say or think.
As of yesterday I officially ended a three year journey to resolve chronic pain. Finally I can bend over and touch my toes with out pain shooting up my back no thanks to three different insurance plans, three physicians, two physical therapists, two chiropractors and an acupuncturist. For three solid years I sought medical support-traditional and alternative to treat pain in my hip and lower back. And prior to February 2018 all my medical providers said I had to accept pain as a part of aging, that it was in my head, that I needed to further develop core strength and lose weight. None and I repeat NONE ordered an X-ray or an MRI or blood work. As a nutritionist and personal trainer, my diet and core were just fine, what wasn’t fine was my hip and lower back. I am by no means slamming the medical field but spending 10 minutes with me one time doesn’t make my doctor an expert on me but living 40+ years in my body does. I am now pain free thanks in no short order to an awesome app that helped me pinpoint my pain, new insurance, a new doctor, hip surgery and a cross country move. I didn’t give up. Pain was not an option, anything short of great health was a total fail.
I mentioned previously Obesity was officially labeled a disease in the 2012 DSM 5, the Diagnostic and Statistical Classification for Mental Disorders by the Psychiatric Annals. As a nutritionist and the daughter of two psychiatrists, I can assure you being fat isn’t a psychiatric disorder its the outcome or side-effect of the underlying issue such as depression or obsessive compulsive disorders or any number of other equally serious mental health issues. If you’re clinically morbidly obese or obese you are fat not because you’re mentally unwell but because you like it. Because it serves you in some way. No one made you fat but you and if inclined to do the work you can unmake it too. Not everyone needs to be a size zero- I sure as shit am not but our bodies don’t naturally gravitate toward obesity less a serious metabolic or endocrine issue so let’s stop pretending they do. Aside from the huge biological and financial toll all that excess adipose tissue takes on your body like producing excess estrogen, guaranteeing multiple chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease, increased health care costs for all of us, lost productivity at work and let’s not forget the social stigma, you get something out of “being” fat or obese. There can’t be any other answer because there is so much support in the world, weight loss is inevitable.
Why as Americans to do we actively choose to be unhealthy when health is so easy?
Enter the digital health platform. The more I research this, the more I believe it is the answer to improving population health, better health care, and lower costs. Sure we fear Russian hackers, reprisals from insurance companies and the idea the Big Brother is always watching but the benefits far outweigh the minus’s. A former client of mine has just recently launched a new consumer health platform called propelhealth.net Her platform is AMAZING! It allows a person to monitor and track key biometrics and share that data with family members or care givers far and wide to monitor for changes in health and well being. This is genius! Although I live in CA, I can monitor my parents health in Pennsylvania and check in accordingly or encourage they seek medical attention when appropriate or intercede when necessary. Tele health is my new favorite form of health care. I can speak to a doctor from my bed for $5 at 6am and avoid a $75 co-pay, parking expense and fighting for an appointment. The Calm App can be downloaded to my smart phone and support stress reduction, sleep and meditation. Thank God for the IPhone, because the iPhone makes health quick and easy! As Americans, we love a good quick fix!
We live in an amazing society where things can be obtained very easily. But anything great and worth having takes effort and sometimes a lot of it. If we gain weight we can take a pill, have the fat sucked out or frozen and subsequently pee it out (yes really for a few grand you can too). By taking these steps, we think we are being proactive if we can just live with the side effects. Western Medicine tells us they work and we believe they will. When they don’t we give up. The truth is, as awesome as western medicine is, the health system isn’t really equipped to eliminate the root cause or heal a problem, it just puts a band aid on it.
The human body is an AMAZING machine capable of endless miracles given the opportunity to thrive. Yet too many of us purposefully deprive ourselves of this opportunity. The solution is not in any one of a number of diets or pills or surgeries which only perpetuates the problem but rather lies within our understanding our individual health and what is driving our choices. Are people truly so hopeless or so completely disconnected from their core self? I find myself asking these very questions as I sit glued to the TV watching My 600lb life on TLC. Maybe so but I am an eternal optimist and believe otherwise. No one wakes up one day and is like today I want to be morbidly obese and be confined to my bed.
Health is sexy, Health is sustainable, Health lets you eat what you want when you want, Health doesn’t require a co-pay or exorbitant deductibles or even a strict organic nonGMO diet filled with wheat grass and kale (though they are delicious.) At what point will poor health become too expensive? When will we choose to stop being complicit? I would argue that good health is only one app away for just $1.99. We as consumers need to change the story, We need to use our power for good. It’s time to choose you, It’s time we own our health.