I have an assignment for you…
Go to the following website:
And do this.
Try to count up the number of articles talking about:
- Fat loss
- And Dieting/Caolories
(I grew too A-D-D to keep counting).
Weight loss, “healthy eating” and the pursuit of the perfect body are messages we’ve been trained to believe SHOULD be on our minds on the daily.
In a culture bombarded by the looming fear of becoming a victim of the obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer, we know “the rules” like the back of our hand for a heart-healthy lifestyle (and we abide by them out of fear):
- Carbs after noon are bad
- Do cardio on a fasted stomach
- Don’t eat after 8 p..m.
- Slash calories by chewing gum, eating air-popped popcorn and a big bowl of veggies
- Add hot sauce or drink caffeine to boost metabolism
- Avoid butter, red meat and whole eggs
- Aim to burn more calories than you eat with exercise
- Do more cardio
Most of these messages are aimed at the 70% of adults deemed as “overweight” or “obese.”
However, the majority of readers and abiders of such messages and rules?
Those of us who are already in the health and fitness industry.
Who do you think is more likely to Google search or pick up a glossy magazine with the conflict to “Carbs: Good or Bad?” or cover article on “Getting arms like Kate Hudson”?
Probably not the overweight 41-year-old with Diabetes, working 2-3 jobs as a single mom, just trying to get by. Or the 30+ year smoker, going through 2-3 packs per day, and calling Whataburger “dinner.”
Instead it’s those of us who are already moderately to highly conscious of nutrition, diets, body image, fitness—and everything in between.
In society’s eyes it may seem that this 30% have NO PROBLEMS…Nothing to worry about…
However, there’s an unspoken epidemic of obsession AND UN-HEALTHY LIVING—Masked in “discipline”, egg-whites-only and — that no one is talking about.
Many of the people who are already pursuing a “healthier” lifestyle are the same same people who continue to read and hear these messages—fearing the “obesity epidemic” or diabetes plague or heart disease scare most of these tactics claim to avoid.
And, consequently, it is these same people who are becoming more and more obsessed, body conscious ad continuing to feed into the diet and magazine culture.
Exhibit A: My 23-year-old self, enslaved to my StairMaster and treadmill and calorie-counting app.
Every day, I climbed on my machine to do my time and distracted myself with stacks of health and fitness magazines with the same ol’ stories, just different cover model and month.
I sought advice on “whittling my middle” and “ridding of cellulite.”
I obsessed over the articles detailing a cover girl’s daily diet and workout routine.
And I sought out information on the consensus of eating fats, carbs, pre and post workout nutrition and artificial sweeteners—good or bad?
Ironically, the MORE health information I consumed, the more unhealthy I became. And the MORE obsessed and self-conscious I became.
Reality check: What messages and media do you consume on a daily basis?
And how have seeing and reading and hearing these messages—day in and day out impacted you (for the better or worse?).
When I went through eating disorder recovery treatment, I had to face the music with this Thrive project, you should try:
It’s time to get crafty. Collect some popular fashion and health magazines (I like to get these at Half-Priced books for super cheap or a doctors’ office in town). Whip out your scissors, and begin making a collage of all the messages you come across in these magazines that define the “ideal” you may have been wanting to be (or wanted at one time). Fill up a blank posterboard or page and glue them down.
Reflection: What comes up for you looking at this? How does our culture influence us (even subliminally) to believe what is healthy—and what we should worry about?
Chances are, over the years, the messages of our culture have fallen on deaf ears and blind eyes—because these messages are the “norm.”
Do YOU really need to be concerned about the latest breaking news over whether fats are good or bad…carbohydrate timing…or “How 9 women lost 20 lbs.”…?
What would it be like to embrace your body and challenge cultural norms?
If you haven’t heard or seen the new documentary “Embrace” yet…there is a Thrive project for you. The coolest part? You can petition for the film to have a screening in your backyard. I reached out to the film’s team a couple months ago and “won the bid” for them to come show it in Austin.
If you rally enough folks in your community to come out for it, the movie is yours.
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