Sunday, 29 March 2009

The Immunity Crunch - are You Treating Your Health like a Credit Card?

Forget the credit crunch – a more pressing matter afflicting the world today is the health crunch. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather be poor and healthy and than rich and sick. That’s no reason not to aim to be both rich and healthy, of course.

But most people treat their health like a credit card instead of a bank account.

Our immune system is our health account. We can make withdrawals - perhaps by drinking heavily and eating junk food for a weekend… or deposits – perhaps by eating a healthy diet and exercising for a week.

With a bank account, when you spend more money than you have, you receive a letter from the bank, informing you that you are overdrawn. In the UK, we are usually charged around £30 for this – about $50.

When you make excessive withdrawals from your immunity, this letter comes in the form of illness.
Financially Vulnerable
If you regularly go overdrawn with the bank, the accumulated cost of those letters starts to mount up, and, of course, you never accumulate any savings. The older you get, the more financially disadvantaged this lack of savings makes you. Once you reach old age, your ability to earn diminishes and you become even more financially vulnerable.

You wouldn’t run your finances like this, so why would you do it with your health? The parallel is clear – if you keep getting ill, it means your immunity is never building up beyond baseline – and the older you get, the less you can rely upon your body to ‘earn’ back its strength after illness.

Sure, this is simplistic – sometimes an illness comes along that’s just gonna get you. But as a general rule, how often you get ill and how ill you get is an index of the strength of your immune system.
Irresponsible Borrowing
I have watched Mrs M build up her immunity in recent months after years of irresponsible borrowing from her health. There was a time when she was ill so often that it was more common to find her ill or recovering from illness, than well. Since March last year, she has been ill only once, and that was manifestly induced by the Christmas junk-fest.
Saving Like Scrooge
My own Christmas junk-fest did not make me ill. I attribute this to having a vastly greater savings account than she. I have been saving like Scrooge for years, squirreling away my health for a rainy day.

You don’t have to be like me. Just don’t be like Mrs M was.

And remember – some people’s banks give more warning than others. Don’t keep squandering your funds without thinking because one day there might be men at the door who have come to take your house.

See Also:
When it Comes to Nutrition, the Glass is Half Empty

6 comments:

Asclepius said...

Nice post. Dare I extend this analogy to the diet, health and fitness industries (and indeed several 'health' charities)?

I suggest that several of them are like LOAN SHARKS, appearing to help you, but which, any way you cut it, exacts an exorbitant interest.

Methuselah said...

Asclepius - nice extension, so to speak. I think the supplement industry in particular falls into this category.

Rayn said...

Awesome. Funny, I find a lot of people I know who are careless about their bodies are also careless about their money.

I see a trend here...

MikeB said...

Amen brother!

Judith B said...

Good post! This is a very relevant post to me. I was definitely treaing my health like a credit card. I had been working all my life to "provide for my old age" and about a year ago I realised that unless I did something about my health there wasn't going to be any old age for me. So I cashed up all my assets, gave up my job, and devoted my time and energies to regaining my health. Now I am poor financially, but healthier and a lot happier. I don't regret my decision for a moment.

Methuselah said...

Judith - I'd love to do what you have done and I can't think of anywhere better than New Zealand to live that kind of life. Although I am using money as a metaphor for health in my post, there is a tie-in here, since one is often sacrificed at the altar of the other. And since one's very existence depends on health, I think you got it the right way round!

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