“My doctor says all of my health indicators are normal.” This is a claim I hear a lot, almost exclusively as justification for staying the course and rejecting any call for change. And it makes me want to slam my head against the wall until I pass out.
This statement usually comes in the context of someone telling me why they don’t need to change their lifestyle behaviors: diet, activity, use of pharmaceuticals, or any combination of the above. The fact that the person doesn’t want to change their lifestyle is not a big surprise; human nature dictates most of that, physical addictions take care of the rest.
What makes me crazy is the fact that this statement comes from a doctor, and that the medical profession knows how the patient will translate that bit of sketchy data. None of this is good for the patient.
Before you cling too tightly to any proclamation of your ‘normalcy’ from the medical profession as an excuse to stay the course, it is really helpful to understand what your doctor means when he uses the word “normal”. When your doctor uses the word normal, you hear “optimal”. What your doctor really means when he says normal is “average.” Trust me, the last thing you want to be in the modern world is average. If more people understood that I wouldn’t hear it used so often to defend an obviously toxic lifestyle.
It has escaped exactly nobody’s notice that the average state of health of modern humans is dropping—far and fast. Therefore, what your doctor means when he says you are normal is that you are dropping right along with them. To be normal in the modern world is to be fat, incapable, sickly, and dependent on pharmaceuticals and/or other medical gimmickry to get through your day. If you want to use “normal” to justify your current lifestyle, that is where you’re headed…. if you’re not already there.
One serious flaw in our thinking is that we keep wanting to make health an absolute: “I’m healthy”, “he/she’s really healthy”, “this is what you need to be healthy”, etc. In your translation of any declaration from the medical community about your current state, please consider that optimal health is never an absolute, and none of us are where we need to be in practically any area of lifestyle.
Our current environment has become so polluted and corrupted that the human body is under constant daily assault from health-compromising influences. These must be actively neutralized through conscious lifestyle choices; any passivity on your part makes you a victim of this artificial world. And we will never be completely successful. That makes a bit of a sham out of any absolute proclamation of “healthy”, and of any defense of current behaviors. They all fall short of the perfection we want to claim for ourselves… always.
Since it is well-documented that there is no definition of the word “health”, we are all pretty much free to proclaim ourselves “healthy” whenever we don’t want to change what we’re doing. And, we’ll always find some friend or scientist to support our self-proclamation.
Meanwhile, in the midst of all this defending and in every real way that affects your quality of life, your actual health declines. Not a pretty picture. And you don’t have to accept it. But if that’s ok with you, then your doctor is happy to play along. I am not.