I live in Victoria – by all accounts a pretty fit city. We have access to fresh air, local food, and 3000 fitness and yoga studios. I’ve read many times that the North American obesity rate is hovering at 70%, but I have not seen that percentage represented here.
Last month, our family took our kids to Disneyland and we saw first hand the reality behind the stats we hear about. The vast majority of people we saw were carrying at least an extra 20 pounds and many were carrying an extra 100 lbs or more. Everyday we saw a dozen people so fat that they couldn’t move – they used motorized scooters to get around. I saw a very obese middle-aged woman reaching out her hands to her teenage son so he could pull her off the bench. I’m middle-aged. I have a teenage son. I tried to imagine that life for myself.
And I tried to understand what I was seeing from a place of compassion.
If 70% of the population is obese we’ve got a problem on a societal level. This is not a simple issue of self-control. We didn’t have this problem 100 years ago.
If we take access away from healthy living – cram people behind office desks and feed them MSG in the form of “natural ingredients” – they’re gonna get fat. Our society is proof of that. Based on my experience, I know that a great many of us are trying to do the right thing by our health and are being misled. We are bring sidetracked by the all the corporate interests involved in the production and monetization of food.
I believe that the vast majority of us are a trusting sort. Most of us are wired that way. Everyday we have a great many interactions and most of them are built on trust. When someone breeches our trust, it’s a really big deal and it confuses us. Sadly, every day our trust is being breached by companies saying they are providing us with nutritious food when in fact they are providing us with addictive chemicals in food-like substances.
So here’s a thought: We’re not fat because we’re stupid. We’re fat because we’re trusting.
And here’s a question: Can we look at this from a critical place while maintaining our general trust of humanity or does choosing a healthy life doom you to cynicism?