Getting caught speeding by the doctor

Published 10:14 pm Thursday, October 20, 2011

My doctor knows when I haven’t been doing what I should do. She always knows why I can’t look her in the eye during those morning appointments. Clearly, I’ve done very bad things since our last visit. Like eating too much souse and deep-fried everything-under-the-sun.

But my recent doctor’s appointment caught me off guard. It’s a lot like getting caught speeding when you simply didn’t see the state trooper sitting there. That’s pretty much what happened. I lost my appointment card and, in the hustle of being an overachieving foodie, I also lost track of when I was supposed to start cleaning out the system.

Usually, about two weeks before an appointment, I’ll start “doing the right thing.” You know, eating things that aren’t covered in grease, things that begin with phrases like “bacon double,” or “super triple,” and anything with the term “mega.”

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It’s not so much that I tend to pig out or anything. It just seems that I slowly lose track of my healthy eating after I leave my last doctor’s appointment. Call it a short-term memory problem or denial of the concept of healthy diet and exercise as a viable solution to my medical problems, but it’s so very easy to forget that I’m supposed to make the healthy choices in life.

It’s supposed to be the fresh fruit, not onion rings. Garden salad, not fried mozzarella sticks. And for goodness’ sake, no souse.

That all rings clear the day after a doctor’s visit. But around the 50th or 60th day, deep-fried pork with pork sausage gravy on a bed of bacon-y macaroni and cheese, with a side of cheesy potatoes and sour cream somehow seems like the best option for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And the thought of leafy greens and vegetables high in fiber seems ridiculous.

But when I try to explain this to my lovingly cruel doctor, I am reduced to gentle sobbing and promises to do better in the future. Then there’s the usual poking and prodding on her part, and I am returned to the world to begin the cycle all over again.

But my doctor’s onto me, and she’s made it clear that I will be the loser in the end. Her most recent advice was simple: “You just have to make a change.”

We all find reasons in life to put off making ourselves healthier. Too much work to do, not enough time in the day, and a whole other world of excuses help make getting healthy seem like a nuisance. But as my critical numbers rise — weight, blood sugar and blood pressure — and each day passes, the possibility of getting to it later gets more and more unlikely.

So while we may all feel like we’re doing OK and slip under the radar at our doctor’s office sometimes, we should realize we’re only cheating ourselves by doing so.

I will make a better effort to not just slip by. Either that, or I’ll start programming appointment reminders into my phone.