I was having a conversation the other day with a good friend of mine. We were discussing exercise, and she said that her doctor had told her to do or not do something — honestly, I forget right now what it was we were talking about.
My initial reaction was, “Doctors are idiots.”
Now, I know this is not true. Most doctors are certainly not idiots. (I say “most” because every subset of humans has got to have its share of idiots. I would guess, though, that doctors probably do have a lower than average stupid-to-intelligent ratio.)
However, I firmly believe that many, if not most, doctors only know what they’ve been taught, and because they are taught more about how to apply bandaids than to embrace a holistic approach to health, we have a high incidence of legal drug addicts in our country.
From my own experience, I can tell you that when I was severely overweight and my blood pressure and cholesterol were way too high, my doctor cursorily mentioned that I should lose weight, and then he wrote me 3 prescriptions.
Really? That was his answer?
Here I am, 65 pounds lighter with great blood pressure and cholesterol levels, but my doctor’s first fix was to give me drugs?
I suppose that after years of doctoring, he’s seen it all, and he knows that no one ever loses the weight. I am an exception to the norm — all I have to do is look around at the people my own age to know that. But, still, my doctor gave up on me without even giving me a chance!
Anyway, the point is that while my statement that “doctors are idiots” was almost certainly untrue and an over-reaction, the fact is that you and you alone are responsible for your own well-being. Your doctor can only do so much. He has become so accustomed to people who don’t care about their own health, that he will simply write a prescription and send you on your way.
And we are programmed to think this is normal: “I’m getting older, time for cholesterol and blood pressure drugs.”
Sure, that is normal. But it’s not desirable!
Once I took charge of my fitness, my doctor’s attitude changed. When he saw the weight coming off, when he saw me quitting the drugs he’d prescribed, he got a little excited by it. He’s still a little tsk-tsky when I tell him I am not getting a flu shot, but he let’s me be, because he knows that I am in control here. This is, after all, my body, not his.
So, no, my doctor is not an idiot, but he may be a bit hardened, because of most people’s lack of ability to get fit, and he may be more than a little bit brainwashed by the pharmaceutical companies who make billions from the prescriptions he writes.
But I can tell you this — my doctor sure seems to enjoy my visits more now than he did 5 years ago.
I know this post sounds self-congratulatory and maybe even a little boastful. Fine. I really mean it to be a simple chronicle of my own experience, posted in the hope that you will see that you, too, can overrule your doctor’s prescription orders, and take control of your own health and fitness.