It’s tough to bring these subjects out in the open as we try to coax
people along the path to health, but we’re here to share our secrets for
offering gee-whiz information that has wow-bang results.
First, the ground rules for talking medicine in social circles:
1. No insults. People won’t remember anything useful if they’re still
stinging from a barb that insinuates that their waistline looks like a
big bag full of gelatin.
2. No scolding. Nagging is about as effective as a two-legged table.
3. Have fun. People love imps, so use humor—perhaps directed at
yourself—to initiate a touchy topic.
What now? Pick your spots for adding insight, information, inspiration—
and a little body awareness—into the lives of others.
At the bar
Your insight: Women lack the enzyme that enables men to metabolize half
of their ingested alcohol in their stomachs before it can enter the bloodstream. As a result, most women cannot withstand alcohol as effectively as
men and become intoxicated more quickly or suffer such effects as constipation. The fix: A glass of water between drinks will help avoid intoxication
and the constipation associated with dehydration.
At the water cooler
Your information: The canker sore he’s trying to hide? It has nothing
to do with being filthier than a corn-scarfing hog. His immune cells are overreacting to a virus (or even to his own cells), and the resulting collateral injury
manifests as a canker sore oozing with the dead cells. The treatment: Zinc,
vitamin C and stress reduction.
In the fast-food line
Your inspiration: A bulging waistline is made up of fat in the omentum (a
fatty layer deep in the abdomen) that compresses the kidneys (causing hypertension) and paralyzes insulin production (causing diabetes). Mention that the
omentum is like a fish net hanging off the stomach that catches digesting
French fries, especially if they careen down on a stream of high-fructose corn syrup. The awareness: Hopefully, this appetizing metaphor will
sour your friend on junk food forever.
In the end, inspiring health lessons resonate with everyone. When
you find a defensible reason to educate a friend about health, you enter a
no-embarrassment zone that could be life altering. Go ahead, try a little body
talk and make a difference. A