2012 Fitness & Health Conference Blogger Challenge
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I don’t suppose you have to be terribly well-read to know that there’s a battle going on in women’s health. (Actually, this war is being waged by men, women and children, too and its effect on these younger victims is more prevalent and serious than ever before.) This EPIC as well as epidemic battle is unprecedented and loaded with scandal, money-grubbing and most importantly, misinformation.
This health crisis is the epidemic of overweight. Although overweight and eating disorders pose a major threat to women, men and children aren’t far behind in the staggering and growing statistics of this now worldwide phenomenon.
Of course, being fat and unhealthy and are not new; in fact, a large, rotund body was once admired and sought-after. Kings and Queens sported large physiques and status could be instantly determined just by looking at an individual’s size and sun-exposed skin. But trends as well as the reasons for overweight have now shifted: “fat” is now equated with poor health, bad eating habits and low-income, and its numbers have skyrocketed since those days when it was considered fashionably correct.
Adding to the seriousness of an already out-of-control health issue, being fat is now big-business. Celebrities, famous doctors, and corporations all have a stake (and “take”) on just what is takes to be ‘skinny/fit/healthy/swimsuit-ready – for the summer/for your best year ever’, and on and on and on…
There is a problem with all this: yes, it IS unhealthy to be overweight; it is an epidemic; and don’t we all look better when we fit into our jeans (?). These truths are self-evident and… true, don’t get me wrong. But the day, month, or year that losing weight, being thin, being IN became the job of corporations – big business – was the beginning of the epidemic as we know it. Here’s why:
- The dieting industry (which is now the only business in the world with a 98% failure rate) promotes the belief that none of us can really be trusted with our own health and weight. We’ve been led to believe that, without their help, we are pretty much… doomed.
- Almost all the “plans” that these dieting corporations pander involve calorie restriction that is proven to lower metabolic rate; induce psychological cravings more extreme than the original problem (see the “Minnesota Starvation Experiment”); and worst of all, promote eating disorders in any and all categories. To say that overweight is the only eating disorder is both incorrect and dangerous; becoming bulimic, anorexic or a binge-eater is hardly a fix-all to being formerly fat.
- This extreme preoccupation with weight, weight loss and dieting cannot be blamed solely on us; media, big-business, and dollar signs frame the constant conversation. The well-advertised and influential in our culture are keeping the obsession alive and helping to raise its proportions to never-before seen levels of hype. This hype does nothing to remedy the serious issue of overweight and its health effects, and in fact, makes losing weight more difficult and creates an even harder psychological problem to correct down the road (after all the failed dieting attempts).
My interest and knowledge in all matters weighty didn’t come easy – or quick. I was anorexic for over nine years, but I can’t blame it on the dieting industry, Super-sized meals or from being overweight (my dive into the eating disorder pool started in the late ‘70’s, well before big business made a living out of it). I made the decision at age 14 to go on a diet with my best friend: she lost weight; I became obsessed with it. My circumstances at that point changed in a way that I can only describe as life-altering. I learned the hard way and have now come full-circle; I’m no longer food-obsessed, anorexic, exercise-bulimic or metabolically-challenged; now I’m just angry, emotional and disgusted with these pervasive, life-threatening, and psychologically/physically-altering disorders that create such a profit for some and bring so many others only misery and sickness. “Preyed-upon” comes to mind when I hear the word, new diet.
Although my migraines have taken over as my now life-altering issue, I feel it necessary to speak my mind; discover and expose the truth; and say it like it is. Although I can’t cover all that I’ve uncovered in this short post (more to come; please do your homework on this and keep an eye on my upcoming rants, I mean posts on this issue…), I want to highlight a few things I’ve learned. I still have more to learn, and I want to reiterate that I’m no professional – just a concerned activist, tired of all the hype, misinformation and money-making strategies used by anyone looking to make a living from this epidemic that is taking so many lives, literally and life-altering-ly. Here are a few facts to consider:
ü A big portion of our dependence on food, weight-issues concerning food, and other health-related issues can be blamed on the chemicals in our food, health products, and everyday items, as well as in our environment. Please familiarize yourself with these “words”: MSG, Aspartame, Xenoestrogens, Phthalates, Parabens, GMO’s, PFOA’s and more. The list goes on… Remember “Pink Slime”? There’s so much more. The effects on our weight, health, immune systems and cancer-risk are intricately woven into what we eat, slather/spray on and breathe; please arm yourself with knowledge.
ü As I stated earlier: obsession/preoccupation and constant discussion of weight, fat, weight loss and dieting creates an internal struggle that cannot easily be eliminated. Our minds and bodies are one in the same, and psychological issues such as shame/guilt, obsession/dependence, and metabolic issues are the price to pay for dieting. The metabolic is more easily remedied than the psychologic which sometimes can never be completely resolved. Read more on the 1940’s Minnesota Starvation Experiment and you’ll see why…
ü 80% of women in a People Magazine survey said that t.v. images made them feel insecure. So much for “positive image”, huh?
ü 3 of 4 women felt that they were overweight; only 1 in 4 really were…
ü 52% of girls began dieting before age 14; ½ of 4th grade girls are on a diet and 81% of 10 year-old girls are afraid of being fat. What are we allowing the dieting industry and society as a whole to do to our daughters?
ü Eating disorders have the highest mortality rates of all mental illnesses. This mortality rate is approximately 18% in 20-year studies, and 20% in 30-year follow-up studies. Overweight is an eating disorder.
We can change this. Trends as well as food additives can be eliminated from our vocabularies, foods, and products as well as from our bodies and minds. As consumers, we can access knowledge and facts about all that surrounds us. Then we can use this information to challenge the responsible, the influential, even the movie-stars and t.v. docs. This is a responsibility we can handle; they need us: without our help, they are doomed.