A Lesson on Michael Jackson, Trunk Monkeys, and -oh yeah – some Health Stuff

I would like to make an additional addendum to one of my earlier posts in which I reference the fact that the only things for certain in life are Death, Taxes, and Work.

There’s a new player in the Game: The Propensity Towards Convenience. Let’s call her PTC for short. Not to be confused with P.Y.T by Michael Jackson circa 1983

 

Although… let’s take a look at those lyrics:

You know you, you make me feel so good inside
I always wanted a girl just like you
Such a P.Y.T., pretty young thing, ooh!

Where did you come from lady?
And ooh won’t you take me there?
Right away, won’t you baby

Don’t you know now is the perfect time
We can make it right, hit the city lights
Then tonight ease the lovin’ pain
Let me take you to the max!

Now that it’s out there – there is striking similarity between PTC and PYT… Can you see it?

The hints of “gimme, gimme”, doing what feels good, and a since of desire and mystery for why we might feel this way… that only gives way to more lust for it?

Yes – Michael Jackson [may you rest in peace], not only were you a powerful force in HipHop, but, evidently [likely unbeknownst to you] your lyrics are going to act as a meaningful metaphor on a fitness blog.

Shocking I know.

But a writer never knows when inspiration will strike. And well, perhaps I too have a PTC…

 

Ok, enough tangential philosophizing – what does all of this have to do with your health?

Allow me to explain:

 A while back I put some feelers out there to gauge from friends, family, co-workers, clients, random people I met, just what exactly they felt the biggest barrier to achieving their health and fitness goals was.

I got several very specific answers [such as certain bodily pains or malfunctions that need not be noted here…oddly enough these were from the strangers…] but as a general consensus, there were three main BUZZ words that seemed to keep creeping into the conversation:

 

  1. Time
  2. Expense
  3. Convenience

 

Although, if you really boil it down – things that are too time-consuming or expensive are clearly not convenient.

In which case I present to you my Thesis for this article:

 That we all have a luscious, dirty little secret crush on our PTC and, while there are oh –so-many reasons to love her endlessly [i.e. She’s a cheap date and, always available, and ready right when we need her to be – no waiting hours while she primps…] she is in fact getting in the way of our health and fitness goals.

Now, before you get all bent out of shape or calling your counselor to admit to your mistress… Let’s be realistic for a second –

 

  • We live in a fast-paced environment.
  • We do need some things to be as convenient as possible.
  • There are people in our life who just don’t see our time as valuable as their own.
  • It really DOES feel like there just is not enough time in the day. Most days. Ok. Every day. Especially weekends. Can I get a scientist in here… I swear Saturday is only half as long as Tuesday… what is that about?
  • Going through a drive through and getting enough food for the whole family for $11 is pretty awesome.
  • Gyms are petri dishes for germs
  • 90% of the year it is either too hot or too cold to be active outside. Comfortably, anyways.
  • There are some expenses that are just “musts” [i.e. Cell phone, Netflix, Cable/Internet, and happy hour tabs] so the fund to buy Lycra spandex capable of turning normal, attractive XX an XY creatures into androgynous amoebas did NOT MAKE the cut.
  • It’s a successful day if you make it home in rush hour traffic without releasing your trunk monkey more than once…

SO, all of this being said, it makes good sense why so many continue to have their health and fitness goals thwarted time and time again, yes?

What if I told you that you could learn to understand this human PTC and how to make it work in your favor instead of against you?

 Consider the Following:

 I recently read a series of articles discussing health care costs.  I know, I know, the media has been inundated with these sorts of articles lately. If we aren’t hearing about Justin Bieber making his parents oh so proud or yet another wedding for one [or possibly two?] of the Kardashian’s we are most certainly hearing something about ObamaCare aka The Affordable Care Act.

Breathe.

I am not going to discuss any of that.

Unless of course you email me directly and want to chat about some traditionally taboo topics like religion, politics, and the death penalty, oddly enough I am open to that.

These articles were not discussing the ongoing battle of costs struck up between pharmaceutical companies, the FDA, and the government [over which we as “lay persons” like to think we have control over but in fact do not…]

NO, no, these articles were actually discussing health care costs that you and I have control over… sort of.

There are three types of Cost often reviewed when looking at Health Care [1] Preventative Care [2] Direct Medical Costs and [3] Reduced Productivity.

 Before going any further, let’s take a look at some operational definitions for these Costs:

 

  • Preventative Care: money that goes in to the education and promotion of community awareness regarding the proven or suspected lifestyle elements believed to contribute to the onset or proliferation of a specified illness [i.e. smoking, eating certain foods, maintaining high stress and low activity levels]
  • Direct Medical Costs: refers to the equipment and facilities needed on account of a specified illness such as in-patient hospital stays, physician office visits, maintenance prescriptions, prescriptions for additional complications, in-home care, and nursing home facilities
  • Reduced Productivity: a.k.a. “Indirect medical costs”; this category looks at labor that is lost on account of increased absenteeism i.e. missed work from a specified illness, routine or emergency physician appts, and lost capacity due to early mortality

For the purpose of this article, and because you can’t help but hear about the astronomical statistics lately, I am going to use Type II Diabetes [aka Diabetes Mellitus, abbreviate “DM” in hospital jargon] to illustrate a few points.

According to the American Diabetes Association [ADA], there are over 20 million Americans diagnosed with DM and over 80 million diagnosed as “prediabetic” [which is based on a score received on a blood test. I would be happy to go into more detail offline for anyone interested. Simply send me an email write.with.ms@gmail.com]

 

The way I see those stats – we basically have 100 million people in the United States alone who have DM at the forefront of their minds.

Considering there are currently 317 million people in the United Stated TOTAL…that’s roughly one in every three persons. And if you believe in the Six Degrees of Separation module – that means we all know about 2.3 persons [I would hate to be that 0.3 of a person… I hope it’s my good side…] who either already have DM or are projected to get it.

That’s pretty extraordinary… With so many people so soon to be affected, you would think the majority of health care dollars would be going to that little category I mentioned first above labeled “Preventative Care”… but alas this is not the case.

And it’s because the Direct and Indirect care costs are so elaborate and it would be morally disconcerting not to attend to them. For instance if you have $1, 000 and you have to decide if you are going to pay for a speaker to go to a few high schools and talk about Prevalence Rates and Contributing Factors for DM or if you are going to pay for the amputation of a man’s leg that became necrotic due to poor circulation [common in uncontrolled DM] the choice seems obvious – the money goes towards the immediate need.

And the Prevention tactics take a back seat.

Understandably.

But at some point, we must realize that there is a bigger picture… that this propensity for “Bandaid” solutions is not sustainable. That more of an effort needs to go into preventing the “boo-boo” from happening at all.

Perhaps you need a few more numbers to illustrate my point.

According to the ADA, in 2012, $245 Billion were incurred on account of Direct/Indirect costs associated with DM. This is up 41% since 2007.

Doing a little math, adjusting for inflation, I calculated that, presently, in 2014, the new estimated Direct and Indirect health care costs associated with DM in the United States comes in at approximately $278 Billion.

$200 Billion of that is Direct Care; and the other $78 Billion is Indirect Care.

Even with a Health Care Budget of over $1.2 Trillion dollars that is still more than $1 out of every $5 health care dollars going towards DM alone.

 Ok enough Math.

Yikes.

I know some of you are contemplating sicking that trunk monkey on me…

 

So what are these elusive Preventative Care tips and tricks we don’t seem to have enough of?

 

Where are all the pamplets???

 

They are there…they are even right at your finger tips… of all the crazy Google searches we have done, a quick “tips to prevent diabetes” actually yields some healthy results…

 

  • Get an annual check up with your Primary Care Physician
  • Cook meals at home using fresh ingredients
  • Avoid overly processed foods like boxed desserts and frozen meals
  • Read nutrition label- Be wary of ingredients you cannot pronounce
  • Drink plenty of water; avoid soda See article https://phoenixfit4life.wordpress.com/2014/02/22/hydration-houdini/
  • Include several servings of fresh fruits and vegetables in your daily meals
  • Aim for 30 mins of moderate activity daily and more as tolerated
  • Know how many calories and grams of sugar are in your favorite alcoholic beverage
  • Consider small changes before big leaps [i.e. take the stairs instead of elevator; eliminate one fast food run weekly]

So what gives?

 

Ahh…. There she is … that PTC…

 

She thought we had forgotten about her.

 

If only we could.

 

She waits for us always.

 

Ever so patiently.

 

To tempt us with her sexy, speedy ways…

 

 

 

 

 

Having trouble kicking the habit? Email me direct at write.with.ms@gmail.com and I would be happy to chat with you about some ways to reach your goals.

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