This video is about role modelling for unhealthy LIFESTYLES, not necessarily appearances. If people are healthy but a tad overweight – then that is not what I am referring to here. It is about the way we live which can correlate with weight but does NOT always.
I encourage you now just to sit for a few moments and remember some of the times you have been strong in your life, strong for yourself or strong for others. I mean mentally strong, endured discomfort, made sacrifices, acted kind, tolerated embarrassment, held your tongue, demonstrated a more mature way, put others before yourself, been courageous and so on. There is a common but often untrue point about being overweight that it is laziness or weakness. So often I have found the opposite true. There is a great strength in you I am sure, it just needs to be harnessed.
Sometimes I ask people this and they say “I can’t remember” or “I have never been strong”… I just don’t believe that. Every time I have ever probe someone we could found many examples. Those examples may not always be big or dramatic but they are no less admirable, perhaps tiny acts of kindness, of service, of endurance, of perseverance. Maybe labour in childbirth, or helping a loved one, holding your tongue when someone is being immature or perhaps sacrificing time for someone else.
You have strength, and like all strength, it can be strengthened further with training and support. Remember your strength, and when needed bring it into the present. This can take time to become better at, so don’t worry if it doesn’t come immediately or is not enough to help straight away. Just practice. Feed your mind and body the emotions and experiences it needs to thrive.
Weight loss is about more than just you. By this I mean it may challenge you, and I hope you appreciate this is being said not to upset you but to raise the awareness of your decisions. It can be hard to hear this because it means we have to take responsibility for our actions and for the impact of our actions. But whilst it may be hard, it is good for us to have an opportunity to step up. But here it goes.
Whether you like it or not, what you do and how you live has impacts far beyond you.
First, let’s talk about your social circles. Whether it be your children, your siblings, parents, friends or even strangers – by living an unhealthy life, whether it be drinking lots of soft drink, or moving very little, or getting angry or whatever – we are setting an example to others that this way of life is acceptable. If we take children, for example, a common thing patients tell me is they say “o the kids know they shouldn’t smoke, and I smoke outside”… as if this will protect their children. The truth is, and we all know it, is that kids do what they see us as parents do. Even if you tell them to eat well, not smoke, move well and so on, but we don’t do it, then they are much less likely to live healthily. They are more likely to do what they see us do.
To expand this further we have to look at the impact of our decisions on society at large. The truth is that 85% of disease burden is now chronic disease like obesity, diabetes, heart disease and so which is largely preventable and reversible with healthy lifestyles. Health system costs are going up every year, in Australia in the 1980s healthcare expenditure was $10 billion a year and about 30 years late it is $160 billion a year. The difficulty here is that if we, the people, don’t look after ourselves we cost the health system more, which means there is less for other services and may drive debt.
Finally is the impact on our environment. The vast majority of modern food is from either monoculture farming or industrialized meat and livestock. These industries can have a very negative impact on the land, water supplies, deforestation, loss of wildlife, the creation of waste and pollution which affects us all. But there are farming practices that are beneficial to the environment as well like regenerative agriculture which can be both plant-based and using livestock. So through the choices we make with our lifestyles it can either have a beneficial effect on the environment around us, or a negative one.
So please – seriously consider the impact your choices and life are having on those around you. It’s a pretty simple formula = how we live has flow-on effects far beyond us and as far as our personal choices go that is something we can be responsible for. Therefore it is up to us to live a lifestyle that is beneficial to us and beyond us.