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When Will The World Make Being Fit “Cool”

By December 12, 2012 3 Comments

A couple days ago I posted the follow status update on facebook along with a story from one of my clients about how her family abused her verbally for becoming healthier and fitter.  I wanted to share part of my message below, and then some of the 40 plus response I received.  Very interesting dialogue and I want to thank you all so much for it, I have learned a lot and I know many others have too.

Ironically (or maybe not) as I was putting this blog post together, front page of CNN had the following article that talked about the fact that obesity is now a bigger problem in the world then is hunger.  If that doesn’t scare you or open your eyes up, I am not sure what will.  Click here to read this article and watch a short video.

Before I share with you the discussion, it was asked what are my opinions on how to handle unsupportive family or friends.  I speak about it in much greater detail in my book Fit Moms For Life, but here are a few suggestions.

-Try to not make a big deal about what you are doing if you know they won’t react well, just go along with your business

-Explain to them WHY you are wanting to be healthier

-Let them know that how they are treating you is hurting you (tell them how it is hurting you)

-Just lead by example, don’t tell them how they should live their lives.  In time when they see you change they might reach out to you for help

-Find yourself a friend or accountability partner that WILL support and encourage you and lean on them

Ok here was the post I sent and some of the responses below…

“I have been asking myself and many of my friends in the fitness world the question: When do you think it will be cool to be fit and healthy. Another way of putting it, when will it become socially unacceptable to be unfit and unhealthy?

I believe there is a shift coming, where eating healthy and exercising is accepted as the norm, rather than something only crazy people do. I have been in cities like LA, San Diego, Boulder/Denver, Vancouver, and Miami where I would say generally speaking it is the norm, but much of the rest of the country (and much of the world) it isn’t.

Think back just 20 years when it came to smoking. Smoking was cool back then and socially acceptable. Now smoking isn’t socially acceptable. How do I know that? Because most who smoke themselves say it is absolutely stupid and they wish they could stop and most everyone finds it gross, nasty, and just stupid to pay money to slowly kill yourself.

Everyday I have to support my clients as they battle their family and friends to help them realize that just because their loved one (my client) is saying no to certain foods and beverages, and saying yes to weight training and burst training, doesn’t mean that they have joined a cult or are dying of cancer.”

 

Bonnie: my 2 cents from my families’ perspective: proud German background….food = love, hospitality, kindness, celebration, etc. Thinness (aka being fit and healthy) is equated to being poor and overeating & drinking is equated to being rich because when they were in Germany, when they had money, they had food. More expensive food had fats, sugar and all the unhealthy things. low fat meat and veggies meant you didn’t have $. Then, because they looked at food as an expression of love, if you didn’t partake when you went to their house, it was considered a rejection of their love. In the midwest, I think people have become very lazy–rarely walk anywhere, there are escalators and elevators, relatively flat landscape, it’s cold so you use it as an excuse to stay inside and watch football with beer and gooey dips with chips…some people are “frugal” and look for a good deal so all you can stuff into your face buffets are considered a “good deal” when they pay for a meal at a restaurant, they want gigantic portions and feel gyped if they get a normal portion.

 

Terri: You compared it to smoking. The tipping point there I believe was when Phillips Morris (big tobacco company) got sued and lost for people dying from smoking. That sent a message. It also helped that non smokers started standing up and demanding their right to breathe clean air everywhere – work, at restaurants, etc. It’s made a big difference. For eating, it’s hard. The Government is run by big food companies who will never admit their food is crap. Maybe when the companies get sued? Each person has to make their own decision. When relatives are getting sick and seeing that eating healthy makes a difference, maybe then? My advice for anyone who gets ridiculed for eating healthy, just make 1 comment back to them about why it makes such a difference and that comment will plant a seed in their minds that might take root and grow. It might take time but it could make all the difference – and in the meantime limit your exposure to their negativity and be proud of what you are doing for yourself!

 

Sara: I think the tide I turning, but workout take time and it’s more comfortable to be lazy. I love the energy burst I get from a good workout. I feel better when I don’t eat wheat mixed with yeast. People give me a hard time, but at some point you have to make a decision about what your standards and boundaries are. Surrounding yourself with people that get it makes it easier.

 

Paula: I have faith that my family is the greatest support group God has blessed my life with. Second to seeking His pleasing face is facing the love of those we’re bound to for life (family). When you confront the love (which often looks like judgement) of family and let it draw you to your deepest truth, you are making the best choices and willfully honoring your potential.

 

Curt: It feels mean but until you are in control of your eating habits you might need to avoid people that want you to overeat. I think teaching our kids this mind set is the best way to change the norms.

 

Lisa: I think living a healthier lifestyle is becoming the norm, especially in the Madison area. There are so many running, tri, exercise groups, in addition to the lakes, parks, and trails to facilitate being active. I am sad, however, when I see healthy people judge their heavier counterparts, or feel that something they are doing is making them intrinsically “better” than others. If you are improving yourself because it makes you feel better, that is wonderful. But to put others down because they do not think they can, or do not realize how life changing it can be, is just as bad as someone putting another down for being healthy. Negativity will never improve a situation, no matter what it is.

I am extremely lucky that I have the support in my family that I do. My father had a heart attack 5 years ago, so we know what can happen if you do not take care of yourself. I try to lead by example, and not tell them no to do something – they need to come to their own conclusions. My family has always been supportive of me, even when I am doing something “crazy” (like Ironman). I started becoming active about 5 years ago, and they can see how much happier and more positive I am. I’d like to think I’ve helped them, too, whether it’s putting more vegetables on the holiday table, or suggesting we do the local run / walk together as a family like we did Thanksgiving morning.

 

Dawn: All good comments so far … The emails you shared from that woman blew my mind. I can not believe what her family was saying to her about her eating habits. Dustin Maher, you have known me a long time. I completely stuggle with all of this. Eating, exercise. My motivation goes in waves. I realize that I am allot like my mom, I have lots of great ideas and know what I need to do but I am a starter and not a finisher. I can never seem to commit to what needs to be done for the long haul. I do not really enjoy cooking, am intimidated by recipes and how much time things can take. The support system at home simply is not there (although I think my husband is intrigued by “The Whole 30” I told him a friend is doing) — I am sure allot of the world is like me; not happy with the way things are and wants to change but still feels like there is a big roadblock to making change. The world now is all about fast and easy and cheap. Unfortunately, making the changes you are talking about are one of those things. It takes time to make big changes, it is not easy and we have to spend more money on healthy food choices and exercise etc. etc. I think things will change, but it will take time and breaking lots of mental barriers.

 

Anonymous: I feel like it is socially unacceptable to be unfit. I think in the examples of the emails below the unfit and unhealthy eaters are just trying to justify themselves and make themselves feel better by putting others down. Basically they are just being bullies. I’ve had the opposite influences on my health. My Mom put me on a diet when I was in 6th grade and I wasn’t overweight by any means. When shopping for my wedding dress she made me order a size smaller than what fit and told me I should lose weight. I am 5’8″ and was at 140lbs before having my two girls. I got down to 150 after my first. My youngest is 15 months and I am back down to 140 and actually wearing a smaller size than I was when I was 140 before having kids. People keep asking me how I lost the weight and what diets did I use so that they could do the same thing. I tell them that I don’t diet. I work out 5 days/week and eat healthy meals. I don’t watch any tv anymore. I work full time and then at night I make dinner, get kids ready for bed, workout, clean up house and get anything prepared for the next night’s dinner that can be done in advance, then I shower and go to bed. Then they say ‘Oh I can’t do that.’ Everyone expects some miracle that will make them lose weight. They are just lazy and don’t want to put in the work. We need to make it socially unacceptable to be lazy!”

 

Laura: So glad that while many in my family do not eat well &/or exercise, they totally have no problem with the way I eat & live. I am saddened that they do not take care of themselves better, but glad they do not sabotage me.

 

Patty: Although in a perfect world you would like everyone to eat healthy and be fit but as mentioned above the food industry is the main problem with putting all the garbage in food they do. I totally understand your point about spending the extra dollars to buy good food because it will save you money in the end on medical bills and your overall health but not everyone has the means to buy the better groceries and some families in this struggling economy cant always buy whats right and best. I know a few people who struggle and buy frozen pizzas and other junk staples because its cheap and it provides a meal for their families. Its not the right alternative but its financially what they can afford.

 

Sylvia: First, I want to say that the cities you cited are no different than Madison. You have tons of folks that take advantage of the opportunities that are available to them for exercise. L.A has the best (in my California native opinion) bike trail that just travels down the beaches. They also have mountains to climb, surfing, beach volleyball and Muscle Beach, etc. Yet when you go more inland there are fewer and fewer outdoor opportunities. Denver has the stair climb place (forget what it’s called) as does L.A. San Diego is just beautiful and has wonderful bike trails, better beaches, more surfing. Yet there are unhealthy folks in abundance. On appearance there it may seem like they embrace exercise more but in reality it’s probably as much as Madisonians.

With all that said I think the shift is coming with the new reports you see on TV every day. Really last night I was watching the news and there was a report that fish are eating pieces of plastic that have invaded their food chain. Researchers were shown ‘gutting’ fish and albatross finding their bellies full of plastic. Then they put up a FDA quote saying that the plastic filled bellies are not harmful to human health. Really?

For me the shift is coming as I view these reports: Cattle eating ground up meat, fish eating plastic, GMO foods. I’m smart enough to read between the lines. BUT I’m also dumb enough to really not care that there is NO milk or chocolate in a Milky Way or that there is no REAL lemon in that Hostess Lemon Pie. The shift for me is coming as I get smarter, read labels, and adjust my taste buds.

My family and friends totally support me. They don’t try to feed me crap nor do they ridicule my eating. Most of the time I don’t point out that what they are eating is crap. On occasion I’ve gone off the deep end when folks readily give their kids apple juice to drink. Yeah, it might list APPLES as the only ingredient BUT if you look at the sugar content you are really feeding them like 5 teaspoons of sugar per serving (yup that’s my pet peeve).

Now when I go home to California my family might ask, “Can you go to In and Out Burger while on your diet?” or they say “You can eat homemade tortillas?” and my favorite reaction is, “OMG you bought a whole box of See’s Butterscotch squares?” They watch me. They watch me! Sometimes I get bothered when my sister says, “Sylvia, don’t eat any more of those candies today!” Dude, I bought them because I wanted to binge on them.

I am usually the food pusher in my family when we get together. Why? Our happiest memories are gathered around the table fixing tamales while gossiping.

Last June my cousins and I met at an Italian restaurant. We each ordered our own entry. We got the small serving. One dish would have stuffed all 10 of us. My cousin’s college age son took all the leftovers home for his weekly dinners. Oh but the conversations we had, the memories we shared, the genealogical pieces we put together were priceless. Did we eat too much? Yes, we did but we did not clean our plates! Which we all laughed at because my uncle would have had a fit that we left food on the table! I miss my family. I miss California. When I go home I try to fill that void during the week that I am there. (Usually only one week a year)

We come from a family of BIG people! My grandmother lived to be 90. My mother lived until 84. They led hard lives and suffered much in the end. I don’t want that. I don’t care if I am a size two or not. I want to be able to move and get around and live on my own. My cousins do too.

Now here is the real kicker. My family is in awe of me! They laugh with and at me and all the things I do! My sister even trained for and beat me in a 5K! She was there the next day cheering me on as I tried to complete my half marathon! My family cheers on everything I do! My sister just asked me what a burpee was. I bet by her 60th birthday in February she’ll be posting that she did 101 burpees (she always has to beat me!)

For me the changes come slowly through education. Like my staff telling me that most buttercream frosting is made with Crisco lard rather than butter. Yuck! I have not conquered the food YET but the list of unhealthy foods that I will eat is becoming shorter and shorter.

I don’t want to look like a fitness model (although I am beautiful enough to be one). I think that is what struck me on your video. Not one of you looked like some ripped, protein powdered fortified dude. I think I saw a muffin top or two and that was cool! Ya’ll are FIT!

Folks will start thinking it is cool when WE start LEADING by example. I rarely comment on anyone’s weight. My sister, niece and I went shopping. We were all in the same dressing room. My sister and niece both commented on how I don’t have their cellulite issues. I laughed and pointed out that I do! I told them that exercise has made my legs look nice (my legs have always been my vanity). I have very few varicose-veins popping out and little cellulite. I lead by example.

When we stop criticizing then others will follow. When we show without mocking or condemning then things will be cool. Tony Horton was one of the first trainers I saw (and I have tons of fitness dvds) that actually said, “If you need more time to complete a move hit PAUSE then join us on the next exercise.” Wow, you mean I can take more time to finish this workout? Cool! Pretty soon I was able to complete the WHOLE workout at his pace.

Cool happens when we start showing what we can do. I love that Margaret (and Connie) showed me yesterday that I could hang with the burpees! I loved it. In fact I was teary-eyed all day! I felt like one of those Olympians crying on the medal stand! I conquered those burpees. I pushed past my fears. BUT Margaret and Connie did not say, “Sylvia, get over it. Why can’t you just do one? OMG you are going to die early if you don’t do one.” No instead they cheered me on! That’s when it will be cool. When we cheer on the small steps!

Now that I am on a rant let me just say this. I would never, ever, ever (my Taylor Swift moment) tell my sister (or anyone) that she is overweight and unhealthy. OMG how freaking pompus! Really? That’s exactly what overweight people want to hear! That’s going to totally motivate them to exercise! NOT!

When she says she is fat and unhealthy (and we both say this on occasion) I show her what I can do. Not right then and there but by DOING! My sister ran a 5K without any formal training and did so in 35 minutes! That is faster than most first-time runners I have ever known! She thought she was slow! I let her believe that for a few hours until the race results came out. (yes, I’m the baby sister) She was thrilled! Is she consistent? No, but now she has the eye-of-the-tiger feeling! She signed up for a local bootcamp near her California home! She called and said she threw up. I told her that happens. When she said she can’t keep up. I told her that they don’t expect you to on Day 1. I told her it would take her all 6 weeks to feel comfortable.

When you make it cool, it will be cool. Let the media tout the consequences of an unhealthy life-style. Coolness comes when folks start asking you HOW TO! You can’t make a horse (notice I did not say cow) drink!

 

Patty: Also I would hate to think we live in a world where if someone is obese or unfit that they would not be “socially exceptable” I dont put labels on people and I wish the best health to all and see exactly the point your making but it would never be in my realm of my world to judge people on their looks or financial or whatever.. Its sad to see someone who is overweight or whatever the case may be but it doesnt mean they dont count and are not exceptable. Just saying.

 

Anonymous: I don’t know if it because I am now in my 40s, an age where I used to think women were supposed to be heavy and out-of-shape, and here I am in the best shape of my life, but I am finding myself becoming increasingly disturbed by the health of those around me. For example, I recently had a health scare. I entered the office of the neurologist not knowing what if anything was wrong with me, but I was scared. There at the reception desk sat the three women in charge of checking in the patients. All three of them were beyond overweight. They easily would qualify for being labelled grossly obese. It made me angry. There I was, committed to exercising and eating right (most of the time) and I was the one waiting to see the doctor. My neurologist was an older and very fit woman. And thankfully, she was unable to find anything seriously wrong with me. The point is, seeing those very unhealthy women working in a doctor’s office really upset me. Obviously the office cannot be discriminatory, but it didn’t feel right either. It seems as though employers, especially in the health care industry, need to educate their own employees and lead by example. We and our children need more visible examples of healthy living.

 

Adina: congress called pizza a vegetable!!?!?!?! We’re in trouble folks….It IS important that the healthy/excersize is NOT just a trend. trends come and go, but that is a substantial change in the MINDS. Change someone’s mind and you can change the world!

 

Anonymous: Very interesting dialogue you are starting! Being European I’m very used to people giving you static the minute you put on a COUPLE of pounds!! This is a good thing. Because society keeps you accountable, restaurants don’t feed you like a horse, and well walking down the busy streets of Vienna, Florence, Paris, etc you can SEE what the norm is! And believe me Dustin they are NOT starving themselves!!! They also don’t hit the gym every day, it’s not culture. However they DO walk everywhere and because they eat healthy they have the energy to walk, run, hike go on friend talk walks! I remember these when I moved back to Europe girls would me to go a walk with them, often wanted to hold my hand I was we’ll Americanized at this point and this was pretty uncomfortable!!!! But they would walk forever and just talk about life etc!! Culture…

I went to back to europe when I was 18 not very overweight by american standards but there was excess to pinch on me so I was overweight by european standards. Good luck trying to buy clothes!!!! I was a size 8 but could barely find my size and it was in clothes for women in their 40s!!!

To your question Dustin, I think it starts with children!!!! We feed them garbage in schools!! I used to nanny a boy who came home and one of the first questions I would ask him was what did you eat at lunch? pizza, nachos, taquitos, chicken nuggets, cheeseburger, pizza bagel (what could be worse than that??) I never heard of any COLORFUL food!!! When he would tell me the foods, the colors would pop in my mind yellow, brown, tan, and a bit of red of the tomato sauce on that gross school pizza that tastes like carboard! In France the children sit down to a set table they have forks and knives (silveware, not plastic ware) and the food is brought to their classrooms LITERALLY on platters covered by those silver domes and the food consists of fish, vegetables, fresh baked bread, sauces and you know the crazy thing?? THE KIDS EAT IT!!!!! In Italy where I spent most of my time, the children get their first course which is pasta in their plate is about 80 grams of pasta like a fist full serving, then they have salad and a protein for their second course, then it ends with fruit. And I never heard a kid ask for pizza!!! they eat it!!!!!! Because thats how mom and dad feeds them at home. It starts in the home! People from my church can’t get over how I don’t cook two meals!! one for us and for the kids. They ask me so what will the kids eat? I say THIS!!! pointing to the grilled asparagus that is drizzled with olive oil and parm cheese and to the lamb and roasted potatoes. Their favoriate snack? its cucumbers!!!

I don’t think you need to build more temple like gyms, because it won’t change anything people will still eat the crap. I believe the answer is in the FOOD! the portion, the carbs, carbs carbs!

Just to give you an example of what I’m saying. On “what would you do?” there was a scenario where a mother was in a restaurant ordering salads and veggies and telling the girl she couldn’t have the french fries etc. the commentators kept saying the girl was average!!!! She was 9, but honestly she looked like she needed to drop about 10 pounds!!! The child WAS overweight but no one wanted to admit that! I couldn’t believe it. And those standing by where on the side of the child, give her the french fries!!! she is only 9 and she looks fine! Why can’t we GENTLY help these children instead of telling ourselves that we are being harsh for making them loose weight! I think we’re being harsh by NOT helping them!

I’m going back to Italy to live at the end of March and Dustin you better believe I”m working my butt off!!! I know what its like to feel like you are the biggest person in the room when you are a size 12, in the states I can feel good to be a size 12 but not there! And quite frankly I prefer to be a size 4!!!!!! It looks better on me!!!!!! I’m getting discouraged because the progress is going so slow, like 2 pounds a week. I’m eating very well mostly vegetarian and meat protein and I’m doing your dvd every other day. Why do you think its so slow?

OK I’ve written a short book here! I thought it was an interesting question, and it brought back to my mind how different europe is on this matter as a society! By the way, don’t you think a boot camp in tuscanny is an awesome idea??? I’ll be living in those rolling hills running a retreat center, maybe something you can think about??

 

Lynn: Just wait till these family members do go through chemo. It’s like praying to the porcelain god, you start to see the light when you have 1 of 2 choices up and change your ways or death. It is when they come to you for answers on how to change their lives around if you are able to forgive them of all their wrong talk. I tell you there are a couple of relatives I would like to take out insurance on and pass them more pizza and smile.  My Mom did go through chemo and brother in-law had heart attack they are now on my side.  And I’m guessing your not allowed to say “and how is that fat roll working for you that you are trying to hide under that sweater parked on top of your also fat but?” No that sweater doesn’t make you look fat , but that pc of pie does help.

 

Melissa: It’s about control. People who put down others because they chose to eat right or workout do so because they fear losing whatever control they have over a person. They are afraid that once that person loses weight, becomes more confident, they may start to actually think for themselves as opposed to letting someone else control them. I lived this. I was in a very controlling relationship and as I lost weight, gained confidence, my ex became meaner, more critical, and just overall nasty. And it was because for years, he had controlled me. My self-esteem was non exisistant and he took advantage of that. I think once society as whole becomes more accepting and more willing to relinquish the need for control over others, things health, wellness, fitness will become more socially acceptable.

Sheri: I believe as more and more people are getting sick they are going to get tired of eating the SAD(Standard American Diet) and they will be wanting to get fit and healthy. My wake up call was my Mom getting breast cancer and she died from it but she made a valiant effort to eating healthy and juicing AFTER her diagnosis which allowed her to live 12 years with breast cancer before it returned.My sister in law also got breast cancer and had a masectomy. Then my aunt also died from multiple cancers. I had never known her to exercise or care about her health but lived with lots of family stress which may have contributed to her sickness. I was told I had high cholesterol and needed statins….all this in combination spurred me on to say “I just want to be healthy. I am tired of being fat and I dont want a cancer diagnosis or take pills. Food is just not worth it!!” I have been buying lots of healthy cookbooks and try out new healthy recipes constantly. Our health is a PRECIOUS GIFT!!! Thank God I finally decided to get off my butt and make a change….thanks Dustin for inspiring this Texas mom to think I am worth making this change in my life!

Lisa: I see an improvement in people ‘trying’ to get healthier. Unfortunately they still reward themselves with unhealthy choices for doing healthy things. Ex: I can eat another cookie because I was on the treadmill for 40 minutes today. We have a long way to get our society truly changed. My biggest peeve is what is considered normal to give kids to eat. I work really really hard at choosing healthy foods for my kids and at every turn them are being offered candy, junk snacks, treats at school. The school is well meaning; after all my kids were so well behaved they deserve that treat…right? What they aren’t thinking about is that they are teaching my kids some really harmful and bad habits. Until crap food is no longer used as a reward, we’re not there.

 

Stacy: I see the shift but it is slow to happen. There is so much talk in the schools about healthier lunch programs and I know they have removed the soda machines. But taking things away still does not address the behaviors or change them. I used to work in an area that did a significant amount of gastric bypass surgery- the majority of it was being done on patients that were very committed to losing weight and becoming healthier but their weight was a deterrent to exercise. There were also those that had it done as an easy fix and were usually not successful because the behaviors did not change.For a long time I carried around the extra pounds and did not exercise often (thinking work was enough!) then a friend invited me to run a 5K with her.This has always been on my bucket list.I started working out and learned about your mission on one of my 5Ks this year:) While my asthma slows me down, my goal is to only finish the race as I really don’t care how long it takes or how much of it I can actually run. It just feels so good!

 

Susan: It is a really complicated issue; finance, big business, GMO corn government subsidies, convenience stores taking food stamps, lack of education & changing knowledge regarding nutrition and exercise: money is a HUGE limiting factor, for example white ziti on sale $.69; whole wheat pasta $2.39; many people don’t think or can’t afford to spend more for their long term health; look at all the consumers with credit card debt- we are an I want it now culture, not a patient long-term viewing culture for the most part. Any pressure re: food can be really negative leading to more overeating or eating disorders– food can be a coping strategy/ addiction. I feel our medical community needs to push more– the worst part is there is so much money for drug research- fix the disease & nutrition doesn’t have the same financial power. So much pressure to feed kids junk- I love Dr Greene’s feeding baby green & wish it were required reading for all parents! But for now really healthy is countercultural. I think nutritional pharmacology will be huge in the next 30 years. Education is another huge barrier- cuts to physical education come earlier & exercise nutrition and basic finance should be as important as reading/writing. We each can influence our small circles & our local farmers/grocers. I’ve known many people CEOs CFOs of worldwide corporations that don’t know how to balance a basic exercise program.

 

Anonymous: Wow, so – some of the comments made me sad (that there are people who don’t quite see the problem – really? and also that there are people out there who have same struggles)… while some other ones made me laugh (like the one about fat rolls under sweaters! ha ha). I am so jealous of those who have the family support. I think the post about Europeans was interesting to me since I am European as well, and I agree 100% with that person – when I went back to Europe to visit family I felt FAT. and back then I was “only” 10lbs overweight! As a society we do have a distorted image of eating, nutrition, or food. The change is hard and that’s why the ‘healthy living’ is met with such strong rejection in a lot of circles. That’s why at company gatherings we tend to see cookies, pastries, cheese, and soda more often than fruit, veggies, and water. Why? because this is what is expected, isn’t it?

This may be slightly off topic of family support, but it hits the spot with healthy/unhealthy society – I know a person who is anorectic and is getting treated for it. And this is something that I will never understand – if a person is underweight and eating too little, that person is getting a treatment and is EXPECTED to get treatment. This friend of mine was dragged into doctor’s office by family and is getting very strong support. BUT if you are overweight it is all of the sudden improper or insulting to even mention that maybe, just maybe, there is something wrong. I also feel like it is more acceptable to publicly state that someone is anorectic than it is to call someone fat. That also is a problem, because in some way calling people fat when they indeed are fat became a taboo topic, and people really do get offended if you point out those “rolls under sweaters”.

See, I don’t think the problem is with acknowledging that we are living in an society that is struggling with obesity and obesity-related health problems – I don’t think there is a lot of people out there that would argue against that. The problem is with doing something about it and changing the mind set from “oh, this is just the way we are, let’s keep doing what we’ve been doing, even though we know it’s not good for us, just because it is easier” to: “hey, I know this became a habit, but it’s a bad one and it’s destroying our health, let’s fix that”. It will take a while before everyone gets on the same page, but I think we will get there. It all starts with people like you, and with us following you, and with our friends and family joining us… it’s just like with working out right? Any progress is still progress even at our slowest we are still going faster that the person on the couch? LOL

 

Karen:  Now that I’m in the “biz”, it’s a real eye opener to say the least. I agree, there is a shift and it’s good to see, even if it’s slow. With all the changes in health care, we need to be our own health care change. I could go on, and on but to make a long story short, as a trainer, my goal is to help each of my clients empower their life through incorporating exercise, healthy eating and healthy thinking. Great question and lots of great answers!

 

Clarissa:  I can relate with this issue entirely. Just be glad your husband is on board! We have to move into a basement where the entire idea of “food” is eating out and pre-packaged crap! It’s been okay now, but I’m majorly stressing over how much worse my husband will be eating, with it available to him constantly! It’s a shared kitchen too, so if I do anything healthy I’m a weirdo but the worst is that they’ll try roping my kids into eating that junk too! The good news is that they want to split the grocery bill and hate to cook, so maybe I can lure them into the kitchen for healthier meals, but oh man I have my work cut out for me! The worst is that I’ll be seen as the kill-joy and control-freak for saying “no” to treats or starches for me or my kids. This is the worst time of year to be moving in too.

I have no idea when the junk-food mentality will change, but it is maddening to see how people think it’s normal and then wonder why they have all these medical and weight issues. I don’t get sick nearly as often and if I’m taking good care of myself (sleep-wise) I’m almost never sick. I exercise, and I cook all of my meals from fresh items only!! It’s not only meant to be this way, it tastes better!

 

Maggie: Hey Dustin, I know it’s a little late to respond to this post, but this is a problem relevant in my life that makes it hard on me to meet my goals. My mom is extremely supportive, but my sisters would sooner sit down with a bag of potatoe chips then eat an apple. Also, my son splits time with me and his father and while I try to feed him healthy foods when he’s with me, I know his father doesn’t. Also, I am 24 years old and only drink socially on occasion. This makes me extremely unpopular with coworkers and some family on the weekends. I think in order for being fit and eating healthy to be socially acceptable, culture’s view of what a good time is. People will have to decide that a hiking trip is more fun than a weekend at a bar. I think that a big part of the epidemic is the fact that people would sooner think that what they are doing is acceptable than take the time and energy to change their habits.