© Jacquelyn Johnston, M.Ed.
Ever attended a panel discussion? You get a panel of experts sitting in a row, and the audience asks them questions. I attend a number of these each year, and stay to the end when I think the experts have some good research to back up their opinions. They’re supposed to be “Walk-the-Talk” sessions; so—when you want to know how to solve the financial crisis you get the people who have a track record of sound investments to sit on a panel. When you want to know the difference between a very good dish and a prizewinning one, you listen to the epicures who adjudicate on the Food Channel; they’ve tasted every cuisine round the globe, they’ve made it themselves, and they can tell within a toothpick’s breadth which dish reigns supreme. And when you want to know what the next President should do in the first 100 days you get a panel of former Secretaries of State to answer questions on the intricacies of global diplomacy. You get my drift.
So…I was wondering, when you want to know how to improve the health of the community, wouldn’t you get healthy-looking people who know something about the workings of the human body to speak, then field questions? People who work in the health care professions come to mind, somehow.
I attend a number of such gatherings, and find it quite interesting to observe that on such panels, assembled to promote the health of diabetics, seniors, heart and stroke, cancer and liver disease survivors, for example, members of the panel frequently have rather impressive waistlines. Now, I vaguely remember reading somewhere that, if the waistline measures more than half your height, you’re in trouble, courting all the problems mentioned above. Hmmm…
In a previous blog I mentioned something about people-watching in the mall. Have you ever done that in a hospital? I was at a large hospital downtown, waiting for my Mom to be called for an X-Ray, when I saw a substantial number of the staff expertly going about their daily tasks. Kind, dedicated professionals, too many of whom were carrying around more weight than their frames were made for. How could they weather the stress of their jobs AND carry all that extra weight? What was life going to be like for them five, ten years down the road when diabetes, heart disease, fatty liver the like overtook them? How would they care for those with similar afflictions? Would they have to drop out of the precious workforce? Didn’t they know what was in store?
That’s the point. Even those who know are often carrying around substantial amounts of extra weight. Those who know are all too often not making the changes needed to stay in optimal health. Those who know are, unwittingly, walking panels. They are teaching us something by their appearance. Is that what we are supposed to learn?
They are living proof that knowing does not necessarily ignite change. Everyone who realizes that some lifestyle changes need to be made needs the support and the laser-focused attention that keeps us on track. This is what a health coach does for you, one on one, till you reach your chosen destination.