Before I go any further, I want it to be clear that I will be discussing Manhattan in this episode. I am well aware of the devastation that has gone on in New Jersey, Connecticut and upstate New York to name a few places. My heart goes out to them. And, as I am writing this hundreds of thousands are still without power. Many have lost their homes. So, while I completely sympathize with their plight, New York City and specifically Manhattan is another world onto itself, so please forgive me for what I am about to say – but, hey, isn’t that what blogs are all about.
Well, this was quite a week in New York City. WE had everything but the bears and while I am happy to say that damage was minimal for most of us; the apocalyptic preparations are just too much. Shutting down the city of New York because of a little rain – we’ve had blizzards and nor’easters far worse than what just blew through; yet, we managed to keep running through all of that.
Since most of my patients cancelled on the Saturday of the storm when it didn’t even start raining or even get windy until nightfall, I thought I would use the time to go shopping for food at the farmers market, then head into Soho to look for furniture for my apartment now that the renovations are almost done; and since I would be in Soho, just in case the power went off, I thought I should have a new ipad. I told you I wasn’t going to get a new one but what would I do if the power went out? At least I would have 10 hours of battery time.
Well, the best laid plans. The farmers market wasn’t there and Soho looked like downtown Baghdad – everything was shuttered; sandbags piled high, tape across windows. Really???? What happened to the indomitable spirit of the New Yorker? Did 9/11 take it away from us? Did Bloomberg turn us into a bunch of wimps? Or are we just trying to ensure that a catastrophe like Katrina never happens again? Because if you think we have that sort of power to control external events, you have not been watching enough paranormal movies. Once one cataclysmic event occurs, it is impossible to control, prepare for, or even prevent the next one.
This whole thing reminded me of this book I was reading in Colombia last year. It is called: The Black Swan (not the movie) : The Impact of the Highly Improbable by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. It is an extremely erudite book and even I couldn’t make it past the first chapter but in that first chapter, it summed up his whole premise. His argument was that events such as Katrina and 9/11 were so improbable that there was no way we could have prepared for them. And, all of the TSA screening is never going to prevent another cataclysmic event from occurring because whatever happens next will not be what happened before and it is impossible to prepare for the improbable.
There was no way downtown Manhattan was going to turn into downtown New Orleans and given the same intensity of the storm it would be highly unlikely that the two events would have any where near resembled each other; yet, the media and our mayor were willing to cost the city billions of dollars of lost revenue to try. Yes, people should be safe, but we can not save people from everything – especially the unimagined. That is the premise of the Black Swan (the book, not the deliciously creepy movie) and I couldn’t agree more. So, what does this have to do with health you may be wondering. I just thing it’s got to do with excess – like Katy Perry’s hat or Nicky Minaj’s outfit at the VMA’s. With trying to be told what to do and expecting it to be ok. By putting responsibility into the hands of others when really it is up to us to take responsibility for our own actions.
If we want to go surfing in a hurricane, we accept the risks. If we want to ride out the storm on a barrier island, it’s our responsibility if we get swept away (the original Lina Wertmuller version not the Madonna version). It’s not up to the government to tell us what to do when it comes to our lives. They can certainly make suggestions but ultimately, it is up to us. And, I think we have given up that responsibility when it comes to food and eating. We hear a message and take it as fact. First it was the low fat, then low carb, then moderation, then fiber, then…….. When are we going to figure out that there are certain foods we need to stay away from, such as sugars and simple carbohydrates and let the rest be what they are.
When are we going to figure out what works best for our bodies? And better yet, when are we going to accept what works for us and stick to the program? I have to have this. I have to have that. Guess what, you don’t? You need food to survive; you don’t need ring-dings to survive.
Everyone has an opinion about what to do and how to be healthy and thin; yet, very few are willing to make the leap into knowing what works for them. Making educated decisions for themselves. There are very few first time dieters out there. There are many first timers trying to figure out a program to be healthy. My advice is to find your way; go with your gut (no pun intended) instincts. Don’t let hype, media, friends, family or anything else get in your way.
You will never be able to prepare for every situation; every obstacle; but if you are determined to get healthy, lose weight or just feel good and perhaps live a few years longer, then you won’t let anything get in your way. You won’t waste time on the small stuff; or even the big stuff. You will work on what works for you and the rest is for others. After all life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death.
Ok, name the movie where that line came from and who said it more importantly (the original – no remakes). And, since this blog was a bit heavy, here is my favorite television line of the week and it did not come from reality, but from a scripted show ( again, this is the tie breaker for the quiz) “Honey, those are the police. I’m a drug dealer and you’re a murderer. We can’t all play on the same team.”
PS – I still didn’t get my ipad.