This morning, as I was making my two eggs sunny-side up and three slices of bacon (no salt or sugar added), I came to a realization that made me very sad and shook me. It’s one that I think I’ve thought of before but refused to truly believe: Some people just really don’t care about their health or mortality and will not lift a finger to change their lifestyle, even if it means a higher quality life or longer life. There are likely many reasons for this.
First, it takes effort. It’s not easy. We want everything fast, easy, and cheap. It’s ingrained into our culture at every level. Losing weight takes determination, motivation, and perseverance. Most people just don’t want to put in the effort to lose weight.
Second, people are working off of incomplete nutritional information based on outright lies and misinformation perpetuated by our government through its health education in schools as well as our media. “Coconut oil is bad for you!” “Eggs are bad for you!” “Fat is bad for you!” “Whole wheat is good for you!” All of those statements are patently false, yet the media and our government repeat those lies time and time again. So much, in fact, that there are millions of people who actually believe it.
Third, due to the bad information and the lack of prior success, people have diet fatigue. They just can’t go through another diet, another transition. They tried and failed time and time again, and each time, they gained back even more weight than they lost. It’s demoralizing.
Fourth, there’s plain old apathy. Some people really just don’t care for no sake other than not caring. They see their lives as pre-destined, or they feel they have no control over their weight, diet, health, and fitness. “It is what it is,” is a mantra these people live by. Sadly, nothing could be further from the truth.
Fifth, nobody likes being told what to do, or that they are going to die early or that they aren’t getting the most out of life due to their poor health and unhealthy lifestyle. People infer any comments or suggestions as personal attacks or insults and completely shut down before any of the words can make a positive impact.
I have experienced all of these at some point. As much as I hate to admit it, the reason I can identify those reasons for not changing my lifestyle earlier and regaining control of my health and fitness is because I’ve lived through each of those reasons. The challenge for people like me now is to find ways to get past those reasons, to break through the walls people put up, and to do what it takes to get through to them.
Usually, a photo that has fat me next to thin me helps. Some people have outright denied the fat pictures were me. They think I’m trying to fool them somehow, or that the photo is of a relative, friend, or other person who happens to look similar to me. I usually break out additional photos with me and my kids or me and other people they know to build trust. I try to explain that I’m not lecturing them, and honestly, I only discuss health with anyone once. After that, they have to come to me for advice or information because I don’t want anyone to feel uncomfortable around me. Worse, I don’t want to scare anyone away.
Being patient helps, but for some people, time is running out. With certain family members, especially when they are advanced in age, a more direct approach may be necessary. With others, I will discuss it when they ask, and then I’ll leave it at that until they approach me again.
It’s sad that so few people really care about their own health. It makes me angry that our government takes so much money from certain food industry lobbyists and then dumps money right back into industries that feed us this bad information and worse, bad nutrition. Think of all the corn and wheat subsidies the government pays out. All that corn and wheat has to be sold somewhere. It’s in the government’s best interest to foster a market that buys up all this product. I know it seems cynical, and even a bit paranoid, but it all fits together too nicely: like puzzle pieces.
I will continue to try to do what I can to get through to people, but I will not force the issue. I will continue to talk to anyone who wants to seek out information, but I will not volunteer that information without invitation. You’re here reading this on your own volition: neither I nor anyone else forced you to come here (I hope!). Thanks for caring about your health and for being interested enough to find out more. Let me help you. If you need help, let me know. It’s free and with no strings attached.