Obesity is no respecter of persons. Any person can become overweight regardless of their race, their gender, their background, their socioeconomic status, or the country they live in.
Sure, obesity rates are higher in certain countries and among certain groups, but the truth is that any person can become overweight. And any person can lose weight.
However, not everyone can keep the weight off. I read an interesting article last year that I kept meaning to write about. The article interviewed Traci Mann, director of an eating lab at the University of Minnesota. Mann indicated that research studies overwhelming indicate that although almost anyone can lose weight, a very small minority keep the weight off.
Mann indicated that although many researchers know this, they do not want to talk about it. A colleague of Mann, Tim Caulfield says,
. . .fellow obesity academics tend to tiptoe around the truth. “You go to these meetings and you talk to researchers, you get a sense there is almost a political correctness around it, that we don’t want this message to get out there,” he said.
In part, that’s because it’s such a harsh message. “You have to be careful about the stigmatizing nature of that kind of image,” Caulfield says. “That’s one of the reasons why this myth of weight loss lives on.”
Political correctness may dictate that the difficulties of weight maintenance not be addressed but I have never been one to not speak my mind whether it be letting parents know not to feed their kids junk or telling the truth about exercise not equaling weight loss.
Weight maintenance is difficult, but it is not impossible. Weight loss is difficult, but neither is it impossible.
We should never be afraid to spread the message that although it is difficult, the war is winnable. Research studies may show that few people keep their weight off after a year but there are some people who do and it is not just people who have gastric bypass surgery.
Political correctness can stand in the way of progress. However, instead of not talking about the problem, let’s discuss why weight loss/maintenance is so difficult and how our lifestyle contributes to the difficulty.
1) Foods have become chemicalized.
The proportion of food to non-food in standard grocery stories is at least 50/50, and probably tilts higher toward the non-food category. Processed foods, unless organics, are almost always full of ingredients you cannot pronounce, have GMO’s, and contain excessive sodium and/or sugar. Food labels should not read like a high school chemistry experiment gone wrong. Let’s be unpolitically correct and add our voice to organizations who are fighting for fair labeling and a cessation of chemicalizing our foods.
2) Our lifestyles are sedentary.
It’s the elephant in the room. Our modern lives are full of conveniences. Phones that no longer hang on the wall and require us to get up and answer them, computers that allow us to experience the world without moving off the couch, televisions that inform and entertain, and jobs that require us to drive long distances only to sit down all day once we get there. Conveniences are great, but they do contribute to our sedentary lifestyle, which in turn contributes to our obesity.
3) Acceptance is rising.
Acceptance of obesity is rising. As more than 60 percent of Americans are either overweight or obese, it becomes the new normal. The way the majority of Americans look is what people will start to expect as normal and good. The more acceptance there is, the less incentive for some people to make a change.
4) Pharmaceuticals and surgery are available.
Pharmaceutical companies do not just have pills for diabetes, heart disease, or other conditions. They also have, and are continually trying to develop, pills for weight loss. The problem is that those pills have been riddled with side effects causing many weight loss pills to be pulled from the market.
Additionally, surgery to correct obesity is relatively common. I don’t know about you, but I can think of at least ten people in real life that I know who had some type of weight loss surgery. It’s not an easy path, but it is an option that was not common years ago.
5) We want a quick fix.
We all tend to want a quick fix. I wanted to magically be 100 pounds lighter when I was over 300 pounds but that’s not reality. It is not politically correct to tell the truth about the slow, often laborious process of weight loss because no one wants to hear it.
Political correctness when it comes to weight loss gets us nowhere. We all need to acknowledge the role that our food companies, our medical professionals, our complacency, and even our desire to have it magically fixed play in the difficulty of weight loss and weight maintenance.
We cannot live in a world with blinders on, so instead of not acknowledging the problem, let’s put the problem out in the light and think how each one of us can overcome and be victorious. It may not be easy, but you can lose weight and keep it off in spite of modern day issues.
Does political correctness play a role in obesity and the difficulty in weight loss? Should we take a look at all the root causes of obesity? Diane