Thursday, February 13, 2014

Are we being conditioned to accept obesity?

As a person who has lost a lot of weight and one that has been on both sides of the fence - I feel we are being misled by the “feel good” motivators out there and society as whole.  I struggle with some of the messaging I hear and I want dive in to this a little deeper to get your thoughts.

I am a very self-motivated person and have always felt you should accept yourself for who you are; you should always have a positive attitude and reflect an air of confidence in everything that you do!  Nowadays though, as our society grows larger and gains more weight, we are being told it is "ok" to be overweight - we just need accept ourselves for who we are and not worry about it.  I think this is a very dangerous attitude because it fails to address the real challenge. 

Being overweight is not healthy!  We are not designed be fat!  I know there is that 1-2% that has a medical condition and cannot control some of their weight gain; however, for the other 60% of Americans fighting obesity I think “acceptance” may lead us to thinking being overweight is normal because we know there is nothing you can do about.  They say to accept yourself for who you are and be happy.

I also think the medical profession is not helping us either.  When I went to the doctor while overweight, they never told me I was headed for trouble or discussed my weight.  Are they afraid of losing patients because they call us out on it?  Should they simply prescribe a pill and say “good luck, see you in a few months”?  What doctors should be saying is - we must change your ways, drugs only mask the symptoms and will not cure you and they only prolong the inevitable!  Part of the challenge here is doctors know very little about nutrition and food’s effect on the body.

My two cents is this: be happy and be confident, but do not give in to this attitude that being heavy is ok!  That is like telling an alcoholic it is ok to have a drink because we know you cannot change.  You can live a full life and maintain a healthy weight if you choose to do so.  The problem is food companies are lying to us and our food supply is being corrupted.  We are being misled to eat unhealthy foods thinking we are doing our bodies a favor by eating these manipulated food.  Our government subsidizes these foods making it even worse.  Something is very wrong when you can buy three tacos or a burger for a dollar, but you can only get one or two apples for the same dollar.

As a society, if we accept being overweight as normal because everyone else is overweight, then we overlook the underlying problem.  People are dying every day because of their food and lifestyle choices.  I think we should hold the line of what it means to be healthy and everyone should strive to reach optimal health.  Why not?  If we live healthier lives we will be happier, we will live longer, and we can do more things that require some level of fitness like walking, hiking, cycling, or even playing with our kids and grandkids.

Seeing the benefits of a healthy lifestyle gives me a new perspective.  I will do all I can to fight obesity being called “normal” or “accepted”.  We should not make others feel bad about their weight, but offer encouragement to change!  Fat-shaming will never work, but people must also take personal responsibility for themselves.  That is also part of having a healthy self-image and the right attitude.  There is not a day that goes by that I do not try to help someone else.

While I was overweight for over 12 years I was still a high energy person, very motivated, and fairly positive.  I was never happy with my weight, but I was not in enough pain to do something about it.  I always said “next month”, “next year”, or “maybe in a few weeks”.  Well, the days and weeks turned into years and years.  Stop right now and take an honest assessment of where you are with your health!  

Only you can do this, only you can decide what your next ten years will look like.  At 45 I often wonder where I would be if I had kept running and not let life happen to me.  I regret the decisions I made back then but I do not dwell on them.  I am blessed to have gotten a spark to change my life.  This time will be different because I will not go back to that old self again.
 
Stop letting society dictate your health and take control and responsibility for your own well-being.

3 comments:

  1. I agree that we are, as a population, beginning to just "accept" obesity as normal. Unfortunately, it is all to difficult to change that way of thinking when a doctor will not tell a patient they are obese. It is difficult when society is trained to be non-observant.

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  2. I hear it way too much that I'm "too skinny", that I need to put on some weight, that I need to change my diet. It's difficult when everyone is trying to pull you down to their level so that they can feel comfortable with themselves. I believe a lot of this is due to the advertising that is everywhere we look. Companies are feeding into the bacon, and the deep fried craze, allowing people to think that it's okay or it's normal to add fat to everything. There are sit-down restaurants that bash fast food restaurants for it's unhealthy nature, yet they will serve you the same nutrient poor food with sometimes double the calories in it.
    I have found that when I attempt to educate people on healthy choices, it is met with skepticism, adversity or that I have offended them with a personal attack. I have started going with the lead by example route, in hopes that people take notice and maybe ask a question.
    We need more stories of the everyday man making a change so people can be inspired and start taking small steps to understanding their own health.

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