Do you believe in fairies?

by Apr 10, 2014Health

No? Hmm….let's see.

I like to believe a Bike Fairy will come along and wash my bike, the Papa Spud’s Fairy will clean and prep all of my CSA produce or the Poo Fairy will come and scoop The Pele’s litter box.  On more than one occasion I have asked: “when will the Dishwasher Fairy put the dirty dishes from the sink into the dishwasher?”

For business travel, I can think of a few fairies I would befriend:

The Unpacking Fairy – I’m great at packing, but if I don’t unpack within minutes of getting home, that bag will take days to get unpacked.

The Security Line Fairy – no explanation needed.

The Outlet Fairy – working outlets anywhere I need them in airports. Quit teasing us with those outlets that don’t work!

It seems that a lot of people rely on fairies for their health and fitness without even realizing it. I’ll give an example using a couple of fictitious characters, Sheila and Shasta, which might put things into perspective.

Sheila doesn’t eat very well.  Her diet is mostly refined carbohydrates, lots of sugar or artificially sweetened products, low on fruit and vegetables, but eats vegetarian meals about 6-7 times per week.  She does a spinning class 3-4 times per week.  Her body fat is about 33%, so she is overweight.

Most of Sheila’s friends are also overweight, but many of them don’t exercise.  Sheila believes that because she does exercise, that the Diabetes Fairy is going to skip over her and wave the magic wand at someone else because…hey, she does more than her friends, right?

WRONG SHEILA.

Shasta’s entire family has high cholesterol, and half of them have high blood pressure. Shasta is considered normal weight but doesn’t exercise. Her diet contains a lot of fatty meat and dairy products, but fortunately, for now, it doesn’t affect her weight. Two of her three siblings are overweight as are both of her parents. Shasta believes that since she isn’t fat, she won’t get high cholesterol or hypertension. The Heart Disease Fairy will just skip right on over little Shasta.

WRONG SHASTA.

There are no fairies flying around seeing who is the ‘least bad’.  We could all look around and compare ourselves to someone who is in a worse situation to make us feel better.  We can do this with money, our jobs, and even on a global scale, our politics.  What we can’t do is find someone who looks to be worse than us and decide that the fairies will go for them first.  There are many factors that determine whether or not a person will get a chronic disease, none of which involve fairies, praying, or looking good in a bikini.

My husband calls it comparing down.  I think that explains it perfectly.  When people are comparing down, they are comparing themselves to people who have more body fat, eat worse, don’t exercise as much, etc.  This may make some people think that they are automatically healthier than those people and not take the steps necessary to move forward on their health journey. A study from Harvard showed that when you surround yourself with people who are overweight, you are more than 57% likely to be overweight and 36% more likely to smoke if your friends smoke.

Now, we could go to the other extreme and compare ourselves to people who seem to never have faults.  If we did this, then we would probably never be happy with ourselves and feel doomed that the fairies were always chasing us down.  Compare down, and you may end up diagnosed with a chronic disease due to thinking that you are healthier than you are. Compare up, and you wind up depressed and disappointed in yourself for not being better. Believe in fairies and fool yourself either way.

And really, do we want to put our lives in the hands of fairies?  The original Tink was a jealous little prankster 😉

 

 

 

 

 

Your Weekender Snapshot and Tim Ferriss’s Five Bullet Friday are my favorite emails I receive.
jim west

Principal and Managing Director, GFF Architects