Poll: Do You Lie to Your Doctor?
It had been awhile since I’d seen my doctor, so when I went a few weeks back for a checkup, I was struck by something I’d completely forgotten: she’s incredibly thorough. None of this 15-minute-appointment crap, where you barely have time to scratch the surface of all weird health issues you’ve diagnosed yourself with (only me?). She sets aside a full hour to talk you through a super detailed punch list of questions. It includes the typical stuff—family history, chronic issues, current meds—along with some more personal, tailored-to-you follow-ups based on your answers to the boilerplate Qs.
And then there were the lifestyle questions, the ones where she asks you, point blank, how much you drink, how much you exercise, what your diet consists of, and whether or not you wear sunscreen every single day (winter included!). This is typically the point at which I begin to break out in a bit of a sweat. I mean, I’m a pretty healthy gal (self-diagnosed conditions notwithstanding): I eat pretty well, I don’t drink too much, I exercise regularly. But suddenly, when you’re asked about your health habits by someone in a white lab coat holding a clipboard, you have the sudden uncontrollable urge to flat-out lie. Those one or two beers a night turn into one or two beers a week. That single 30-minute run you managed to squeeze in last Wednesday? It becomes a five-days-a-week marathon-training schedule that has you putting double-digit miles on your running shoes each week. No sweat!
And as for your eating habits, you find yourself going on and on about all the high-fiber servings of veggies you chow down (broccoli and cauliflower are your absolute favorites!), how you eschew red meat and fill up on fish, and how you start each and every morning with a hearty kale smoothie—you know, just for kicks.
Your doctor nods encouragingly and you almost feel like the lies were worth it. But you have to figure: She knows you’re lying through your teeth, right? I mean, this woman went to medical school—she’s not an idiot. It’s like when your dentist asks you how often you floss and you reply, “Twice a day!” he obviously knows he’s got a Pinnochio on his hands.
Today, I think we should all cop to our lies once and for all. Call it catharsis; call it therapy. I want to know: Do YOU lie to your doctor about your drinking, eating, smoking and fitness habits? Or are you totally honest with your doc, even about the stuff you’re maybe not so proud of? Take our poll below and share your little white medical lies in the comments.