Have you ever seen an overweight person? Right. Quite a stupid question these days. But still – a small reminder won’t hurt. These people are suffering. Suffering by having extra pounds of inactive substance which burdens the joints. Suffering by increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease. Suffering by poor physical condition. Or social prestige. Wait, you don’t believe that?
A few hundred years ago, the round, fat body shape was the synonym of wealth and prosperity. And no wonder – wealthy people had enough money to buy all the food they want. The former (mainly meat-eating) cuisine complemented by heaps of selected sweets and a comfortable way of life without enough movement couldn’t logically result in the formation of athletic bodies.
And today? Today, the cards are reversed. The body shape of a fat man is an antonym of wealth. This means that overweight people today come mainly from financially less secured society layers. Statistics based on global studies confirm this.
There has been a huge change during the last fifty or sixty years which resulted in three essential things.
First, it was the development of the food industry. It began to produce more processed foods containing more fat, simple sugars and seasonings. These substances improve the taste of food and we tend to eat more and more of it. Even though we are not hungry, we still eat. Producers are smart. They are paying even smarter scientists to invent ever new chemicals that manipulate our taste in the “proper” direction. In addition, these substances are used in foods that we don’t even need to live – biscuits, crisps, chips, muesli bars.
Second, a method of sale has changed. During the time, an increasingly aggressive advertising of food products took place. At first, companies were trying to persuade us that their product is tastier. Today, we are being persuaded that it is healthier. These ads are of highly manipulative character. You don’t believe that? Sit a child in front of a TV for a moment. Generic television programs may not interest it, but once an advertising “jumps” on, it’s attention sharpens. I am talking about children who can’t speak yet – they can’t therefore understand the message and content of the advertising. Nevertheless, a skillfully shot advertising still draws their attention. The largest volume of sales is now being made in emerging markets. They are called supermarkets, hypermarkets, big shopping malls etc. Fifty or sixty years ago, there was no such thing. Sit in the car and go to one place where you buy everything. And you can even get a “good” food in there.
The third change was not to be seen at first. And it couln’t either. It was the change in people’s minds. Gradually, in a creeping pace, the modern civilization “wrapped” us with all the modern amenities. And we have become lazy. We have very quickly accepted that everything is easily accessible. We don’t have to bother. We have limited movement, we stopped to think. In this concept, there was a double death – both physical and mental. Why go anywhere on food, when cars are affordable as well? Why think about what I eat when the manufacturers are shoving it right under my nose (and at discount)? A new age in all its glory.
Examples? Why not – there is a lot of them. We know that the number of obese is growing. Unstoppably and with increasing speed. We know that overweight goes hand in hand with many diseases: insulin resistance, diabetes, high blood pressure, increased risk of malignant disease, metabolic syndrome, lower overall age. Everything is confirmed and sealed with serious studies.
So what can we do?
There is an answer for all that. And strangely, it doesn’t hide anything miraculous.
1. We need more movement.
2. We need to think about what we are eating.
This information is easily accessible anywhere. But we can say, “If it is so simple, why does it not work?”
Wrong. It does work.
The fault is within us. It lies in the fact that we just don’t do these things. Let’s look at the whole thing from the following perspective: The vast majority of overweight people want to lose weight. And most of that majority decides to do something about it…
They hire a nutrition expert.
They start a diet.
They read a mountain of books.
They ask a neighbor who accidentaly managed to lose weight.
They begin to do sports.
They pay for liposuction or any other method of removing fat pads
But unfortunately, most of this effort is futile. Even though these people are trying to do something, they encounter the fact that they are not willing to look directly at the truth. They will not stop for a moment a ask themselves: “What actually is the secret of weight loss?”
More about that in the next chapter.