I was shopping the other day when I overheard two co-workers talking. One of the women mentioned that she didn’t feel well and was getting rundown. The other woman immediately snapped, “you need to take care of yourself.” I couldn’t help but cringe at that proclammation.
It struck a nerve because in spite of taking excellent care of myself – eating well, exercising, getting plenty of sleep – earlier this year I became very ill with nausea, fatigue, anxiety etc.. As a dietitian, I get a lot of flack from people when I am ill. People seem to assume that my nutrition education gives me superhuman powers. Truth is, I don’t eat perfectly all of the time, but I do eat very well most of the time, and unfortunately I still get sick. In fact, due to autoimmune disease, I actually get sick more than the people I know who smoke, drink and otherwise abuse their bodies. It is just a tough break.
Unfortunately controlling health, just like most things in life, is really not possible. You can do your best to practice healthy habits, but that does not give you any guarantees. I think this is an especially pertinent point for people who are blessed with good health to remember. It truly is a blessing to be thankful for. After all, there are many examples of health problems that shouldn’t logically have occurred – people who are diagnosed with lung cancer in spite of never smoking a cigarette, or those who get cancer years after they’ve struggled so hard to quit.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not advocating we all give up and discard all things healthy. On the contrary, I believe it is important to practice healthy habits in order to stack the deck in your favor. It is just important to remember that there is an element of fate and chance in everything, and rather than assuming illness is the victim’s fault, I think we should think twice before jumping to that conclusion.