When you are responsible for someone else…

While I don’t think of this often, there are many cases in our lives where we take care of others and are taken care of.  Sometimes this is an informal situation, such as helping out a friend or stranger in need.  Other times this is a formal arrangement, such as doctor/patient, lawyer/client, and even someone in the service industry and a customer. In each of these situations, someone’s health, future, safety, or experience is in another persons’ hands.  If the doctor misdiagnosed the patient, it is the doctor’s responsibility to heal the patient.  If you enable a friend’s bad habits (alcoholism, gambling, etc.), then you have failed in your duties as a friend.  In the past couple weeks, I’ve come across two situations where someone had accepted responsibility for another and wasn’t encouraging them toward healthy living.  My brief glimpses into these people’s lives may be based on completely abnormal occurrences, but these instances can be applied to normal, life-long circumstances.

Recently it was “bachelorette party weekend”!  We spent the weekend in a tourist trap town and had fun shopping and eating.  I do believe that the occasional indulgence is a nice break from a normally healthy pattern of eating.  Here’s what happened.

Following a day of knockwurst and fries, I started my breakfast off with an apple and a banana while figuring out what else I wanted.  Most of the items in the hotel breakfast nook were of the pastry, bagel, sausage/biscuit/gravy, etc. sort and there were only a few healthy choices hidden among the options.  Shortly after sitting down, a mom/dad/toddler family sat down at a neighboring table.  The little girl was not quite at the “whole words” stage, and so was asking for things in single syllable, shortened words.  She saw me eating this bright red apple and so asked her dad for one while pointing at them.  Now, the apples and bananas are not the best looking.  The apples were probably the red delicious variety, very red but not so delicious in my opinion, each have a bruise or two and the bananas are very spotty and my have been kept too chilled.  However, they were still more than edible and healthier than most of the other breakfast items offered.

The dad grabs an apple and the mom immediately starts in on how it’s bruised and to peel off the skin cause she won’t like it.  He cuts off a big chunk of the apple and hands it to the kid who chews on it a bit and loses interest.  He takes the chunk of apple back and a minute or so later she asks for the apple again.  He hands her the rest of the apple which is about the size of her head.  She’s actually doing pretty well, and not complaining about the skin at all, when she drops it.  Her mom says “Oh, it’s gone now! No more!” in a bit of a tired, “saw that coming” manner.  She asks for another apple, dad grabs a banana instead, at the direction of the mom, and then tosses it in the trash claiming mold on the bottom.

Here is a child, asking for fruit and they don’t want to give it to her.  They had a plate with a waffle and some french toast sticks cut up in small pieces, drenched in syrup in front of her and were also feeding her some yogurt (which I have mixed feelings on).  They cut the waffle and french toast into pieces that were easy for her to eat, but when she asked for the apple, they gave her the whole apple.

Later, as we were getting ready to leave, the toddler was standing on the chair her dad had been in and there was a whole waffle in front of her with a more-than-healthy amount of syrup.  Her dad said “dig in with both hands!”  Way to teach your kid healthy habits from an early age…

The second instance I observed was at the gym.  I went early in the morning to sneak in some strength training and it was almost empty.  About 30 minutes after I arrived, an overweight woman came in for some sort of training session with one of the employees.  The entire time she was there, as she left before I did, I did not once hear/see her breathe hard, grunt, sweat, or show any sign of exertion.  She carried on a casual conversation with the trainer the entire time about town gossip and never paused even while doing reps.  Carrying on conversation while exercising isn’t an issue at all, it’s that the trainer wasn’t encouraging her to push herself.

This woman is PAYING the trainer to help her achieve some sort of health or fitness goal, and, in my observers opinion, the trainer is not living up to her end of the bargain.  Yes, the client is getting some sort of exercise that she may not if she had not hired a trainer.  However, it is the trainer’s obligation to try to get their client to give as close to 100% each session as possible.  This woman wasn’t even close to that.

Both of those situations irk me.  The child and the client are both relying on someone else to help them make good decisions with their life.  The child certainly has limited options as to her situation and is dependent on her parents and other to choose to feed her healthy food.  The client, being a mature woman, has more control over the person she has come to rely on.  There is always an element of personal responsibility and one should always do some basic research on issues concerning your health, finance, future, and anything else that comes up.  The client could look up how to properly workout and the different exercises which are best for her goals.  You can talk to or fire your trainer, but a two-year-old can’t fire her parents.

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Filed under Exercise, Fitness, Food

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