We live in a world where two of the most widely recognised brands are McDonalds and Coca-Cola and where 40% of the world's population account for 5% percent of global income. One of our most prominent characteristics as a species is greed (at the vast expense of others).
We should live in a world free of judgement.
We also know that an open mind allows you to “be the change that you wish to see in the world” (Gandhi), approaching every situation with no predisposition.
“The measure of intelligence is the ability to change” - Einstein.
In this ‘developed’ western society, it is considered polite to judge your audience before remarking on something, to tell ‘white lies’ so as not to expose someone to the reality of their own existence. Convinced that this will please our acquaintance, we are happy to go on lying almost indefinitely. It has become a social ‘taboo’ to talk about any facts that may not please the considered.
Little do we realise, that we have become the cause of the self-induced problems seen in others.
According to the World Health Organisation, obesity levels have doubled in the last quarter of a century with 1.9 billion adults overweight. They state that “the fundamental cause of obesity and overweight is an energy imbalance between calories consumed and calories expended”, which essentially means if you eat more than you use, you put on weight.
Your weight is a product of your physical and psychological conditioning. There have been many studies done by scientists, nutritionists and psychologists to clarify that obesity is not a 'default setting' for almost any of us.
At this point we must point out that there are a couple of medical conditions which affect metabolism and therefore are exempt from this, the most common of which is Hypothyroidism. However, this accounts for less than 1% of overweight people.
So the 99% are able to relieve themselves of the stresses that obesity puts on their lives. What great news!
But this is not the case. We see obesity rates increasing every day, as people do less exercise and eat a poorer quality of food (rich in animal fats).
This is due to 2 things:
1. Human laziness
An unfortunate characteristic of the human race, to increasingly do less and get away with it. This attitude is applied by those who have lost the motivation for improvement and to those who have never been health-consciously motivated.
2. The ‘kind’ words of friends and family
The unfortunately destructive approach of focusing only on the happiness of others or avoiding the issue altogether.
The philosopher de Botton talks about how suffering is closely connected to finishing the tasks which offer the greatest satisfaction. If we only search for happiness, we will panic at the faintest idea of a challenge.
Happiness is still key to personal development, but key alongside ambition and the rewards of the end goal.
So how do we solve this?
1. Challenge social norms (who said the majority are always right?)
Is this not what breeds corrupted motives and twisted perceptions, judgement and secrecy? Kurt Cobain once said “the duty of youth is to challenge corruption”, referring to the lies and secrecy that lay within.
So too, you should #challengethetaboo. Start helping people and not ignoring these problems!
2. Don't avoid the problem
Why should we hide the truth from people? Ignorance may be bliss for you, but only makes it worse for those who you want help.
Tell it as it is, Gandhi (again!) knew this when he said that “silence becomes cowardice when occasion demands speaking out the whole truth and acting accordingly.”
3. Take your chubby friend out for a run
Having the confidence to face the fear of struggling is a difficult task. When we fail to meet targets and expectations, our self-esteem takes a hit. By encouraging those around you to maintain a healthy lifestyle, people will open their minds and listen. By breaking down the barrier of fear, anything is possible.
4. Set a good example
“Be the change you wish to see in the world”. If you have no weight issues, then you should be educating those around you. It is seriously easy to enjoy a healthy lifestyle!
JUST TO BE CLEAR, we are NOT supporting size zero models, we believe this is much worse.
In a world where starvation and poverty are rife, one-third of our food gets wasted and we still have 30% of the global population overweight. It seems ridiculous that more fatalities are a consequence of being overweight than underweight.
If you are overweight...
There are solutions. Before anything, make sure you are getting enough exercise. 150 minutes per week is recommended for a healthy adult and that is not a lot (30 mins a day Monday – Friday!). Follow the link to discover more about specific exercise requirements (from brisk walks and swimming to runs and strength training).
For a change of diet check out Peta’s ‘2-week vegan meal plan’. Veganism allows you to consume all the key elements of a healthy diet, missing out animal fats (which we could all do without!). Follow this link to read more about Veganism.
For more information on how you can change the way you live, head to our lifestyle page.