Are You Fooling Yourself?

Written by Keith Carlson, RN, BSN, NC-BC

In honor of April Fool's Day, I would like to post this question: Are you fooling yourself about your health or your practices related to your health? 

You see, humans are very good at denial and bargaining. We can deny anything that we set our minds to deny, and we can bargain like there's no tomorrow---with ourselves, with our partners, with our doctor, and even with God. 

Denial is Not a River in Egypt

When you choose to do things that are contradictory to your own wellness, who are you really fooling? When you deny that you have symptoms that need immediate attention, or you choose to "forget" the advice that your nurse practitioner gave at your last office visit, is there anyone else who will truly suffer for your denial? Well, perhaps your loved ones will eventually suffer when your health goes down the tubes, but for the moment, the only one you're really hurting is you. 

When you're eyeing that piece of birthday cake and you're in denial about the number of carbs you already ate today, you can fool yourself for just so long, but once that cake hits your lips, your pancreas will know the truth of the matter. 

There's no denying when your blood sugar spikes, and while there are things you can do to ameliorate the symptoms and try to bring it back down, some of the damage has already been done. Sure, doing this once a week or so won't destroy your perfect A1c; but do it enough, and that denial will begin to have some real impact. 

Bargain Like a Pro

Have you ever gone to a flea market and observed the real professionals bargain someone down to a price that you would never have thought the seller would ever possibly accept? Well, skilled bargainers can talk almost anyone out of anything, and we can be pretty savvy bargainers, even when it concerns our own health. 

Like the scenario with the aforementioned birthday cake, we can bargain our way into (or out of) anything if we really set our minds to it, and we can fool ourselves pretty well in the process. 

If you're going to bargain with yourself (or God, or what have you), bargain for good things. Instead of saying, "OK, I'll have no sweets for two months if I can eat this slice of birthday cake right now," you can instead say, "If I don't eat this slice of birthday cake, I'll reward myself with a movie and a hot tub on Friday!" Now, that's a bargain that could be worth striking (especially if you like movies and hot tubs!) 

We Won't Get Fooled Again

If you're tired of bargaining with yourself and fooling yourself about your health and self-care, think in a different way. Like Roger Daltrey of The Who once sang back in the '70's---"we won't get fooled again,"---think how you can change your inner paradigm, striking bargains that are healthy, worthwhile, and truly in your favor. 

April Fool's Day may indeed be behind us, but we can indeed fool ourselves year-round. Make good choices, be honest with yourself, and you won't ever be fooled (by yourself) again.