In the last blog, I mentioned that obesity shouldn’t be considered a disorder, and that it’s merely a reaction to social norms. Understanding this concept is the real first step to controlling the obesity problem. So let’s look at the three factors I said cause this reactive society to react negatively every day and stay obese: sex, food, and exercise. The ways our society treats these things is what mostly effects how we handle our weights. People with the proper views on these three things are usually quite fit and quite comfortable with their bodies.
Sex in America is a funny thing. It ruins good relationships and masks problems in bad ones, boosts and batters self-esteem, indirectly drives the actions of many people we see and know, and it controls fashion. It’s also one of the ambiguous things hanging over us that is always present. Little boys know that wearing cologne to smell good is a good thing, and little girls know that shorter skirts and higher heels look better. Boys are told to respect girls privacy and girls are told to cross their legs when they sit. Why? Everyone is thinking about sex, and those who say they aren’t are trying to protect the innocent world from it, so they are thinking about it more. Most smart people have a healthy fear of sex because it can ruin lives, and many who aren’t smart are trying to explore sex in ways that will ruin their lives. Two things are constant though, people will still keep having children, and people will still want other people to desire them sexually, never thinking that the need for the two are related deep within our minds.
With sex though, all people aren’t desirable. That’s just the plain truth of it. So in a society where procreation and vanity are at the forefront, some people might be left out, and even worse, some might be settling. Chances are that most of us will never have sex with a person with an absolutely flawless body, face, or who turns us on in just that special way every minute of our lives, but people will still try their best to create the illusion that things are perfect with material things. So to create certain illusions, women will shop at Victoria’s Secret, not because they all look the way the models wearing the undergarments look, but because certain clothes will build an air of sexuality around them with men, and hence, make them look and feel sexier, even if they aren’t too special naked.
I’m not saying that women shouldn’t try to be sexy for men, I’m just saying that seeing lean models wearing lingerie you’re about to wear and do no justice to should be disheartening. There should be less of a need to look sexy and more of a need to be sexy, so that clothes make us look sexier. Looking sexy is not only fake, cheap, and disappointing, it’s also ephemeral. Looking sexy lasts just about until your carriage turns back to a pumpkin, so let’s find a real reason for the prince to marry you, and a real reason to lose weight.
What if that reason was death? I can guarantee even that doesn’t scare Americans much. We’re conditioned to do a lot of terrible things, but eating insane portions of artificial foods is this society’s embarrassing specialty. Anyone with an adult body will tell you that we can’t all look like Victoria’s Secret models and professional athletes and eat the ways we do. In a week, most people eat about fifteen times the number of meals as times they do real exercise. Not only does the common person disconnect themselves from people with great bodies, they take solace in the notion that they are enjoying food and that fit people aren’t. No statement could be more untrue. Taking the time to understand that eating certain things prevents you from not only losing weight but exercising to your full potential is a powerful thing. So while fat people think fit people are missing out on great tasting things, fit people think that fat people are missing out on using the body they were blessed with.
We simply don’t need to put certain things in our bodies. This isn’t because we need to look perfect, it’s because the wrong foods do real damage to our bodies, and sometimes the right foods, when not used for energy, can take the same negative effect. The concept of using food for fuel is lost on us though. Food is another thing with ambiguous stigmas that hover over us. Food is included in every outing we have. Many times, food is the outing, making it seem as though families and friends couldn’t meet without meeting to fill their bellies. Americans, especially those both deeply rooted in the capitalist system and an old-world culture that their family might have, see food as a luxury item, or something that most often should be purchased, rather than something that is the first source of all activity. Food should be less important to us as a society and more important to us as individuals, then there would be less unhealthy eating in groups, fueling negative reactions by some that lead to obesity, and there would be more healthy-eating individuals, showing more people how much better a healthy body feels than the short pleasure of overeating.
Since we want to be sexy, and we can’t handle food, we try to exercise, try to diet, and quit, because the sex and eating parts are already so overwhelming. We all want to look a certain way, we’re envious of the ways people with sexy bodies are viewed and perceived, and the more people we see looking the ways we’d like to, the faster we want our processes to go. Even worse, we think that fixing certain body parts and not others will make us look just right, not realizing that bodies don’t work that way. We can’t, in theory, lose weight directly. The body sculpts and loses weight, but a belly just can’t get more narrow by itself, and flabby triceps don’t get lean without real weight loss in the chest, upper back and shoulders. You should simply exercise and lose weight until you stop losing weight, and see how your body looks and feels there-where you’re supposed to be. Because the house-cleaning analogy works so well, imagine feeling like only sweeping your kitchen floor was enough for you to feel like the kitchen was clean? You’d have piles of dishes and dirty counters to remind you and every visitor that it wasn’t.
Everyone seems to be looking for a series of impossibilities: they’d like to be the one person who eats like a maniac, is incredibly sexy, and does little to no strenuous exercise. Truthfully, only the opposites will work to their goals. Controlling food and eating less for pleasure and more for sustenance, being comfortable with your appearance, and pushing the limits of exercise are what will cause us to look that way we’ve always wanted to look. It’s no coincidence that the people who stress about sexuality, make food ultra important, and exercise the wrong ways and for the wrong reasons usually consider themselves out-of-shape and those who are most extreme with these practices are usually obese. To combat obesity we’d first have to stop craving this lifestyle, which seems to be all we are about.