When most people ask a question they are seeking a black and white answer. Nothing can be more frustrating to hear than those words “well it depends”, however they are extremely valuable words to hear and understand. Let’s explore why.
As curious humans we want the definitive answer to our problems. This applies to most aspects of our lives and in particular to health. What is the best way to lose weight? What’s the best exercise to tone up my arms?
Of course the answer to these questions (and more) involves those two little words “it depends”. You see we are all inherently different. What is the solution for one person may not work for someone else and in fact may create a problem for someone different. As convenient as the one size fits all approach would be, unfortunately it couldn’t be further any from reality. Consider how many different types of “diets” there are. We all have different genetics, different lifestyles and different habits that all affect how we respond.
These differences are vital to acknowledge when looking for answers. While our differences may be obvious when considering the types of music and artwork that we like, for some reason we expect that there should be one answer for all things health related. Perhaps it stems from our research methods. Many studies involve a group of people with the same condition who are given a modality aimed at improving it. We use statistical analysis to determine the effects of the modality, but on face value the data from all research studies consistently shows that each person responds differently.
While hearing “it depends” may create some frustration at first, it is important to consider their impact. Someone who answers your question with “it depends” is taking your individual circumstances into account and realises that you need a unique approach. Because of this, they are likely to be someone who truly listens to you and your needs, which is exactly what good health professionals should do. They follow up your initial question with a series of questions to help themselves sort through the possible answers and solutions and find the one that best applies to you.
So while the grey area in which “it depends” falls into may not be as simple or concise as the black and white that we all crave, be assured that those words are used with the best of intentions and serve to help you more than you probably realise.