My father always said: "What a person has done is the best indicator of what they will do."
As a practicing cardiologist, I should be the first to serve as cheerleader for the new AHA dietary guidelines published by the American Heart Association and splashing all over the newswires recently, as journalists try to tell people that they now have to limit their "trans fat" intake to less than 1 percent of their diet. But I ask you (and my other three readers), how will you change your personal habits tonight? Do you even know what a trans fat is? You mean you're not going to throw away the meat in the meat drawer, the cheese, the chips and salsa? What's wrong with you?
Perhaps we should really look at people's actual behaviour - after all, outcomes is what Medicare wants with their Pay-for Performance initiative. What are the outcomes of such proclamations by out healthcare leadership? I only know what I see; the proof is in the pudding, so to speak. I tell people, er, sometime plead with people, to stop smoking, diet, exercise and rarely if ever see a significant change in their behaviour. Only after they have "The Big One" and end up on our cath lab table or in the operating room, well then maybe they'll see the light. I know it's the right thing to tell people when I see them in the clinic, but the increase in type II diabetes over the last 30 years says it best. We've got an epidemic that rivals bird flu and is effecting our young kids, too, perhaps more than us adults.
So here's the news. You need to take responsibility for this. Not me. Patients need to understand that we can only inform and suggest, but the rubber meets the road with the individual.
And it's damn tough to loose weight. After exercising for 10 minutes on a treadmill and seeing that I burned a whopping 195 calories, going over to Starbucks and celebrating my exercise with a 356 calorie latte might not be so wise. So don't do it alone. Tell everyone you know you're trying to loose weight. Get up and get out. Don't sit at the boob tube.
You'll be happier for it.