I have 4 Pillars of Successful Living that I believe directly lead someone to success/goal achievement or to failure/mediocrity. One of those Pillars is living a healthy lifestyle and it also gets me some of the nastiest email responses due to my opinion that every human being owes it to themselves to eat healthy enough to not be obese.
To clearly state my opinion: it is my opinion that it is irresponsible for someone without a medical condition to be obese. It is my opinion that if you can do better, you should be trying to be better.
Does that mean that I hate obese people? Does that mean I discriminate against obese people? Absolutely not. Every individual has to make their own decisions about their life. They must also live with the consequences of their life decisions.
So why do I hold this opinion?
I have conducted extensive research over the last year on this topic and I have found that being obese is one area of life that can impede ones ability to live a fairly joyful life. Here is the information I gathered from conducting over 37 interviews that helped me form a more educated opinion:
- Every interviewee believed that being obese will cause serious and deadly health conditions and could lead to an early death. (37 of 37) 25 of the 37 doubted they would live to see 50 years of age.
- Every person interviewed stated that being obese greatly limited them physically which kept them from experiencing life to the fullest. (37 of 37)
- Many (34 of 37) of the obese people I interviewed admitted to being generally unhappy/unfulfilled and were carrying with them a heavy burden of self-doubt, low self-esteem and depression.
- Many of those interviewed had general body pain which disrupted their ability to enjoy life on the simplest of levels. (31 of 37) Simple activities listed: playing with their kids, walks in the park/neighborhood and climbing stairs.
- Being obese can cause some serious emotional and mental issues (33 of 37). Number one mentioned: depression.
- For the obese people I interviewed, their physical health limited their social life which limited their ability to network professionally, but also limited them making new friends. (31 of 37)
- Being obese due to overeating is financially costly. I interviewed a girl earlier this year that spent 200% more on groceries and eating out than the average grocery bill in the U.S. in 2014. (27 of 37)
- And lastly, when asked if they participated in any type of physical exercise of any kind, 32 of 37 answered no. When asked why, they cited several reasons: lack of motivation, fear of more body pain, fear of ridicule and generally disinterested.
My opinion is based on talking to obese people and asking them honest questions about their life. Does this mean I am “body shaming?” Absolutely not. If I had conducted these interviews and they had expressed being, healthy, happy, fulfilled individuals then I would have a much different opinion. But this is not the case. All I want are the facts so I can try my best to help. Skinny people are not good because they are skinny and obese people are not bad because they are obese; or vice versa.
Associating one’s identity with their weight is a problem in itself. The body we live in is not the person we are, so let’s be very clear about that fact. The body is simply the vessel in which the “true” you or me lives. And we need to take care of our house.
When I asked each individual if they could magically snap their fingers and drop to half their current weight, every one said they would do it without hesitation. So, if these people are not happy with themselves why should I not encourage and support and try to inspire them to make healthier life choices? It would be irresponsible and uncaring on my part to not do so.
Does that mean one cannot be happy or fulfilled while being obese? No, not at all. But for the majority of my experience the latter is not the case.
And I witnessed the “body shaming” was actually perpetrated by these individuals against themselves as much as it occurred from outside people. This came up in every interview I conducted.
If someone is obese and they are fine with who they are I say more power to you. I am not going to shame you nor am I going to preach to you. You are free to live your life the way you want.
My biggest issue with obesity is the serious healthy issues associated with the fat surrounding vital organs and a general indifference to the seriousness of this epidemic. I don’t want people to die an early death when it could be avoided. I have this opinion in the same way that I encourage people to quit smoking. Life is dangerous enough these days. There is no need for us to make things worse by our own poor habits and general body neglect.
Ultimately, I believe every human being owes it to themselves to do whatever they can to be the best human being they can be. Live within your means, eat healthy, exercise, volunteer with a charity, commit random acts of kindness, strive to expand your experiences, read to educate, be compassionate, meditate or pray, think of others before you think of yourself and, lastly, be the best example to your children, family and friends that you can possibly be.
In short, always be working to be the best “you” that you can be. If you can say that with 100% conviction then you are good in my book regardless of your faults.