Having only recently watched for the first time the documentary ‘Super Size Me’, I am truly shocked to witness the severity of the obesity epidemic sweeping not only America, but also a huge number of very surprising countries (Syria is number three; who’d have thought?!) Of course it’s something we hear about on the news all the time; child obesity, healthy eating, dieting and weight loss, indeed some of the most popular programmes on television nowadays are based around cooking, baking and weight loss.
It seems the general public are fascinated by people’s size. It makes the front covers of magazines, the headlines of national newspapers, and is something that occupies the minds of so many of us. People are constantly watching what they eat, feeling guilty for overeating, buying yet another diet book, and throwing their money down the drain purchasing pointless detox plans and pills which have no beneficial effect whatsoever. I am genuinely intrigued at the way in which reality television has evolved so that we now take sheer delight in watching overweight people attempt to shed those pounds by being forced to eat less, under the watchful eye of a so called ‘dietician’.
Yes indeed, size and weight have become a first world obsession. Everyone wants to be thinner, and many will claim that they have ‘tried everything’, but still can’t lose weight. But what strikes me is that there is a common theme running through all these weight loss books, diet programmes, and food advice forums. What should we eat? What should we cut back on, what important food group should we avoid? But how many of them tell you to go and do some exercise?
Surely as a child at school we were all taught that we should eat healthily and take regular exercise? But why as adults do so many of us forget this? It’s hard to stomach just how much money is spent each year on faddy diets, detoxes, miracle pills, and weight loss programmes, but has it never crossed anyone’s mind to perhaps walk to work, or cycle instead or drive? Or to go out for a jog in the evening instead of watching television? Or perhaps get out and explore their local area on foot rather than going shopping at the weekend?
Of course many people wouldn’t consider themselves ‘sporty’, and the thought of donning a tracksuit and going running is distinctly horrifying. But what people don’t realise is that even the smallest change to their daily routine can make a huge difference to both their waistline, and their mental state. Exercise releases endorphins which make you feel happy, healthy and energised. I have yet to come across one diet book or television programme which encourages people to simply do more and eat less. It seems like such a simple solution. But to so many it is much more pro-active to have a shelf full of expensive books, and take those important pills every morning. Surely people must realise that they are kidding themselves, isn’t this just the easy option, which simply requires as little effort as possible? Every one of these programmes tells you to think carefully about what you eat, calorie count, and be ashamed of eating the wrong things, but do any of them mention the benefit of exercise? Not that I’m aware of.
It was truly shocking watching the effect that MacDonalds had on Morgan Spurlock, star of ‘Super Size Me’, but what I found even more disturbing was the tale he told of a pair of girls who tried to sue the afore mentioned fast food chain, blaming them for their obesity. Of course no one can deny that eating fast food every day is bound to have a negative impact on your size and overall health, but are we not the ones responsible for what goes in to our own mouths?
I felt genuinely speechless that this case had actually made it in to court, and a lawsuit had been filed against the food chain. It should have of course been immediately dismissed as total rubbish, and thank goodness in the end it was, but surely this is no different to suing a clothes chain for your overflowing wardrobe, or blaming the ocean for making you wet? Have we genuinely created a world where people are no longer accountable for their own actions, and are so affected by marketing ploys that they are coerced in to doing things they don’t want to do, and can no longer make their own choices?
I sincerely hope not, and I intend to continue to surround myself with others who see the benefit of being fit and healthy and can thankfully still make their own decisions as to what they might eat for their evening meal…