I knew a guy who weighed over five hundred pounds. He said that being overweight was common in his family. Of course, he said “heavy” and not “morbidly obese” which was the cold hard truth. Of course, being obese runs in his family the same way that inactivity and eating high fat, high salt food runs in his family. Being morbidly obese wasn’t something that had to happen. He thought that because everyone in his family was immense, that was his destiny. If they all exercised and ate well and were still obese, then yes, there’s a problem there. But that wasn’t the case. Family history doesn’t have to be your future.
He had a free YMCA membership because he was considered disabled due to his obesity. He didn’t use it to exercise. He didn’t use it to get healthy. He drank the free coffee, hung out and used the free Wi-Fi, and then floated in the pool. He didn’t swim in the pool. He didn’t take the exercise classes in the pool – or anywhere else. He used the pool the same way that Baron Harkonnen in “Dune” used his suspensor belt. He floated in it to get relief from the crushing weight of his body.
Being in the pool is the best place if you are morbidly obese. It is easy on your joints and makes it possible to move. But then it is up to you as to what you do with your time there. I tried to show him exercises I’d learned in water aerobics classes. He could have moved while in the pool and gotten stronger and healthier. He ignored me and told me his tale of woe, that he was essentially doomed to be huge.
I could have used the fact that heart problems and lung cancer run in my family as an excuse to not exercise, eat poorly, and to continue smoking. I could have said that it is going to happen anyway, so why fight it? This is so common in America. It is as if blaming others for our own self-imposed problems has become the new “American way”.
We all have to start thinking differently. The level of obesity in America is off the charts. Children are developing “adult” diseases are shockingly young ages. The fact that there are at least five different diabetes magazines available is disturbing. It isn’t a lifestyle. It is a disease. We don’t have to worry about another country invading us. We are doing it to ourselves. We have met the enemy – and he is us.
This isn’t about crash diets and fitting into skinny jeans. This is about being healthy and strong. This is about being able to walk around the block without getting out of breath (for starters). This is about having enough energy to really enjoy life, rather than just endure it.
It isn’t to be found in “five hour energy” drinks and an extra large mocha latte. It isn’t natural to have to put stimulants in your body just to live a normal life. If you have to have caffeine and sugar just to get through your day then you are doing something wrong. It is a sign that you are shortchanging yourself somewhere.
Every time we whine about having to take on or give up something for our health, we are acting like children. Every time we think we’ll “cheat” and not do something that we know is good for us, the only person we are screwing over is ourselves. How dumb is that?
The bad part is that when we get older, we don’t have parents to tell us how to live in a good way and to make us fly right. The really bad part is that many of us didn’t have good parents to start off with, and we have to parent ourselves. Your life is your choice. Choose wisely.