What is the value of a person's health? Can it be quantified at all? And what can be done to support it?
I have been working as a coach in the areas of sport and health for over twelve years now. In concrete terms, this means that I help people to achieve their goals, both those of a sporting nature as well as those of a health-related one. I have often been asked: why do you need coaching for health? Well... why do you need coaching at all?
I have learned two things:
All people are healthy and in top shape.
All people lie.
Sounds provocative? Maybe. Let me explain.
These days, I am quite convinced that many people are prevented from changing things in their lives that might need changing, mainly because of their ego. The much praised freedom of expression has led to everyone having an opinion, which is fine. However, the fact that this often has nothing to do with facts whatsoever is another matter altogether. I think one reason for this is that many opinions are no longer formed today, but rather consumed. And why not?
There are countless, quickly and conveniently available video clips on YouTube and consortia on any topic today. There, supposed doctors, experts and gurus explain all kinds of things to you. Often it even sounds plausible, but above all it is one thing: practical.
Unfortunately, it doesn't stop there: the opinions thus formed often become "personal truths". Oh, you think so? Well, MY truth looks different.... And so discourse no longer takes place. Only opinions that have degenerated into principles are ridden until they go lame and urgently need new shoeing.
Health is no exception. However, it clearly stands out from the whole jungle of expert opinions, because everyone thinks they know what is "healthy", what is best for, well, everyone else... and so on. Here's a little list of "facts" that have been fed to me over the years:
- Carbohydrates are unhealthy.
- Meat is unhealthy.
- Fat is unhealthy.
- Milk is healthy.
- Vegan is healthy.
- Vegan is unhealthy.
- Meat is healthy.
- Carbohydrates are healthy.
- Vegetarian is healthy.
- Keto is healthy.
- Keto is harmful.
- And so on...
In short: no matter which diet trend is "in" at the moment, there are a multitude of opinions on it and against it. What doesn't change, however, is that the corresponding views are held with a vehemence that often not only borders on aggression, but performs a frantic tap dance on the edge of it. And this brings us to coaching.
My job is NOT to tell people how to eat, behave, sleep, educate or exercise. Rather, my job is to work with my clients to identify potential problems and then work on them, always within their capabilities and readiness. These processes can sometimes take a long time and are often characterised by a rather wavy learning curve. And in the vast majority of cases the following statement is made:
"I am in good health and in top shape".
Sooner or later I have to ask the question why we are talking at all, and it always comes down to the fact that we eventually admit that we are, perhaps, not as fit as we would like to be, that we often get ill, that we have a weak immune system...
But there is still a lot of resistance, which is why we immediately go to step number two: we lie. And the first thing we do is lie to ourselves. The top 5 health-related lies on my list:
- I eat well.
- I don't need supplements.
- I sleep enough.
- I exercise enough.
- I eat enough fruits and vegetables.
What I take from this is that probably subconsciously a lot of people are fully aware that diet in particular plays a really essential role in their health. Exercise and sleep should also be included in the equation, but before you admit that you have a horrible nutrition strategy - none at all - sleep a maximum of 5 hours a night, are glued to your mobile phone or TV until late in the evening, maybe even have the latter set up in your bedroom, and confuse going to the supermarket with exercise ... you'd rather talk about it. ... so you'd rather tell yourself that everything isn't so bad and that the last hamburger you bought through the car window at McDollar with money-saving points just before midnight at least had some salad in it...
What am I getting at?
Health is a valuable good, perhaps the most valuable of them all. And we, as a society, invest almost nothing in it. I don't want to use the gavel of moral here. But maybe you should ask yourselves: what is health worth to you?
It's worth a lot to me.