Not long ago, I was watching a television program about adult diabetes. The hosts were talking about how sugar and other chemicals have affected our society in a very harmful manner. The three different medical doctors and nutritionists who were on the program talked about the dangers of harmful foods that are put into the human body.
One of the medical doctors made a statement that really intrigued me. He said, “It does not matter how much information I give my patients about their diet or exercise program. Just simply having the information will not cause them to change a thing. The only thing that makes a difference is when they begin to experience pain. That is the only time real change will occur!” I wondered if that could possibly be true. After all, there have been some decisions that I have made in my life simply because I had received some good information. I do not have to touch a hot stove to discover that it causes pain. I am willing to accept the fact that a hot stove will burn me! For me, just having that knowledge is enough to do the job.
However, when I began to think about the topic of food and what we eat, I began to realize that is a whole different ballgame. It is one thing to know the immediate pain of touching a hot stove, but it is another issue to realize and experience the delayed effects of eating harmful foods. I think the reason for that is because of the amount of time that it takes for the damage to be realized. The medical doctors pointed out that if there was immediate pain, there would be an immediate change. But, because the pain is so slow in arriving, it is virtually impossible to get anyone to change their lifestyle simply because of the additional information or knowledge. The physicians also pointed out that when a person begins to feel the pain or the damage that has been done to their own body, then real change will actually begin to occur.
I think the reason that affected me so much is because I do not want to be a foolish person. It simply makes no sense to wait until there is a crisis to make a change! Unfortunately, I believe that is the way many of us live.
I once heard a preacher make an interesting statement. He said, “We would be much better off to pray preventative prayers instead of crisis prayers!” In light of our subject, that means that it is much wiser to pray for strength and wisdom to make the right food choices up front (preventative maintenance before the problems occur) rather than to wait until we are diagnosed with some severe ailment and then try to function at the crises level.
Life certainly is an interesting teacher and has a way of getting our attention one way or another. I know that knowledge and information are great, but feelings and pain also have their place. They can also get our attention when needed. Although I have not yet completely stopped eating sugar, I definitely do not want to wait until my body is in pain to realize that it is just not a good idea for my health. I am doing everything I can to move from a pain-based philosophy of life to a knowledge-based philosophy of life, and it is even painful to do that!
I remember our family pediatrician, Dr. Leila Denmark, who passed away at 114 years old. At one time, she was oldest living physician in American. Dr. Denmark once told me that she had eliminated sugar from her diet a long time ago and that was one of the key reasons that she was always in good health. “The proof was in the pudding” – as they say!
This Tip is not an “anti-sugar” attack. It is simply the result of my observations from watching the medical doctors talk about the power of our feelings over the power of our mind.
I trust that this will give you something to “chew” on this week as you ask yourself whether you want to function on the basis of what you know or how you feel. Both are important, but I do not want to wait until I am in pain to decide I need to modify some of the habits in my life. I’m sure that you don’t either!
Tip: People don’t change their life because of what they know; they change their life because of what they feel!
Have a great week! God bless you!
Dr. Robert A. Rohm