Society Prevents People From Escaping Obesity In Many Ways
When you are obese, it is hard enough as it is to lose weight and escape obesity as you are already using a ton of willpower to just move around and commit to fulfilling your daily activities. Because so much of your willpower is being used to just get from one location to the next, it can then be incredibly difficult to find the inner strength within yourself to withstand the urges to consume unhealthy food, let alone go to a gym and workout. Not only does society seem to have it out for those who are obese and encourage bad habits in them, but society also has a bias against those who are obese, which makes it extra hard for those people to lose weight and develop healthier habits. I know this not only because of personal experiences I’ve had talking with people, but I also have a Google+ page called Fitness Oriented with over 300,000 followers where I constantly see people posting pictures and writing things bashing obese people.
You only have yourself to blame!
There’s no room for excuses!
There’s no time for laziness!
Just pull your $h#t together and stop whining!
The above quotes and derivatives of them are things I see quite frequently on Google+ and also hear coming out of other people’s mouths. Although personal responsibility cannot be discounted, it isn’t fair to place the blame for obesity entirely on an individual, as the factors that lead to obesity are complicated. Indeed, many things contribute to being obese, such as a poor upbringing, poverty, not living in a location that promotes exercise, as well as what you do for a living.
From what I see on Google+, it is as if a constant war cry is being blasted at those who are overweight and obese, with the blame being placed solely on them with the implicit, sometimes explicit message that it is all their fault, that they are lazy, stupid and pathetic. Of course, this message is not only callous and unfair, but it also leads to many other issues that prevents those who are obese from escaping obesity, such as mental health problems.
Society causes Mental Health Problems in Those with Obesity
When you think of someone who is obese, what adjectives come to your mind to describe that person? Often it is words like undisciplined, simpleminded and lazy. Even those who should know better such as those in the healthcare field hold these biases. For example, in a TIME article talking about medical students being biased against patients who are obese, it found that a rather large percentage of students (40%) had biases against obese patients that impacted their quality of care. Because these medical students did not believe their obese patient would follow through with advice for a healthier lifestyle, this advice was withheld from them.
Because those who are obese are judged so harshly by society, it is no wonder they develop mental health problems! Obese people have higher levels of anxiety and depression, greater feelings of suicidal thoughts, as well as lower self-esteem. Because society sends so many negative messages to those who are obese and contributes to them having mental health problems, it is no wonder why so many people have trouble escaping obesity.
Society places extreme emphasis on Losing Weight at the expense of living a Healthier Lifestyle
Often times in life, we want to take the easiest path. In terms of being obese and unhealthy, it is very clear why one would want to escape out of that as fast as possible. Focusing solely on losing weight though is not the path you want to follow. You may gain short term successes following a path focusing solely on losing weight, but those paths can be dangerous and they won’t develop long term habits that promote good health. The best route to take in terms of losing weight and maintaining that weight loss is to focus on developing habits that go along with living a healthy lifestyle, such as eating right and exercising. Unfortunately, not only is focusing on the long term not in our nature, but society definitely steers us in a short term direction as well!
Bad Advice Reality TV Shows
Have you ever seen the reality TV show The Biggest Loser? Well, the contestants on the show aren’t exactly super star athletes ready to workout like hell. Besides having an obesity problem, they have often been sedentary for a long time and haven’t had a serious workout in ages. However, despite this, the show will throw them into serious workouts, which is asking for an injury and is putting the contestant’s health at risk. So if you are overweight or obese and are planning to begin exercising, you must slowly work your way up to give your body time to adjust! Don’t just throw yourself into a serious workout like what they show on TV. If you do, your body could pay the price and then escaping obesity and losing weight will become even harder!
Besides reality TV shows encouraging you to fling yourself into hardcore exercise, there are also a myriad of diets out there being promoted to make an extra buck off of you. The problem with diets is that you are going into something that isn’t meant to last over the long term. Although diets can be effective in making you lose weight fast, they can at the same time have many side effects.
Look at the Atkins Diet for example. This diet is about consuming small amounts of carbs, while loading yourself up with fat and protein. The whole gist of the diet is that by consuming less carbs, your body will burn its own fat stores. There are many side effects associated with the Atkins diet though, such as feelings of weakness and fatigue, as well as being at risk for liver damage, kidney damage, osteoporosis and heart disease. These fad diets aren’t aren’t all that is being blasted at you though and leading you down wrong paths as you seek to address your obesity problem.
Like I said, we as people prefer to take the path of least resistance to accomplish our goals, which is why diet pills and ‘miracle’ drugs can be so appealing. Many people fell for Dr. Oz promoting ‘miracle pills’ despite their effects not being backed up by scientific evidence. In fact, diet pills can be dangerous as they act as stimulants, which increases your body’s metabolism and heart rate, which gives you an elevated chance of developing an arrhythmia, or abnormal heart beat. So not only can these ‘miracle pills’ be potentially dangerous, but they are oftentimes ineffective and are just draining your wallet. If society promoted more of a message of eating healthy and exercising, perhaps these quick fix schemes would be less prevalent.
Society discourages Those with Obesity from Seeking Health Care and Exercising
This point ties in with how society causes mental health problems in those who are obese. Because many who work in the healthcare realm are prejudiced towards those who are obese, such as feeling they are lazy and unintelligent, those who are overweight or obese are often not given the best advice, or they are given signs of disapproval from others. This discourages them from going to the doctor or exercising in a gym.
For example, can you imagine you were a 300 lb 5 foot 8 man? How would you feel going to the doctor and stepping on the scale seeing the scale weigh you at 300 lbs with your doctor looking on disapprovingly due to your obesity? You wouldn’t feel so good and you wouldn’t want to go to the doctor.
So not only do obese people have a difficult time going to the doctor in the first place, but they also have issues being treated with respect and receiving proper advice from their doctor. Then once they know they have to exercise more and live a healthier lifestyle, they are met with further challenges in the gym where many people once again are prejudiced towards them. It’s no wonder so many people have trouble escaping their obesity!
In Summary of How Society Prevents You from Escaping Obesity
So it is very clear now just why obese people have such a difficult time losing weight with all of the societal pressures and prejudices placed on them. From society’s prejudices causing mental health problems in obese people, to society promoting losing weight over improving overall health, to obese people feeling like second class citizens when they go to the gym or doctor, it is obvious that things are stacked against them.
Hopefully in the future, the overall attitude towards those who are overweight or obese will change so that it may be easier for them to escape their obesity and live a happier, healthier life.