If we think of natural selection as the crux of the theory of evolution, that means we expect those who are least fit for survival to be weeded out of the population. In the case of obesity, we are seeing early deaths and rampant disease. These render those who would generate new life unable to do so, either due to poor health or by dying before having done so. (OR by not being able to attract a mate!) In the case of those who are able to reproduce, they are unable to adequately care for their young. The young cannot survive without that care and, so, will eventually die off themselves. The extinction of a bloodline is an evolutionary consequence of obesity. It is only our welfare system (and advanced medicine, as previously discussed) that has deterred this natural selection.
In addition, science is now indicating that predispositions for certain illnesses are being passed along to the children of obese individuals. The fact that I had gestational diabetes while pregnant with my daughter means we are both at risk for developing full blown diabetes at some point in life. This could mean she will be subject to the same circumstances an obese individual with diabetes would encounter, including inability to reproduce and/or care for her young OR early death, due to no fault of her own.
Obesity is also being pegged as a precipitating factor in certain types of cancer. Genetically speaking, this can create a predisposition in the offspring of that individual. I would say that is also an evolutionary consequence.
I feel impatient toward those folks who self perpetuate their bad health. I can, since I was one of them not too long ago. Thanks to Brand X, I’m not anymore.
BBOJ has pegged the bottom line in the public degeneration of health. If there were an immediate consequence, one that could not be consistently circumvented through medicine and social systems, we would be witnessing fund raisers and telethons for the advancement of nutrition and fitness. Elizabeth Taylor would be volunteering to make speeches. George Clooney would be creating conspiracy films about the government’s role in keeping us fat. And Brangelina would be donating their riches to fund memberships to CrossFit gyms around the world.
Alas, we will have to continue to convince them one person at a time. I checked the penal code. Causing people to explode is illegal in the United States. DARN!
Our culture definately does not celebrate and encourage the right things ( another thread really)
But it is up to us to prioritize.
As individuals we cannot blame a culture for our personal choices.
Ding Dongs or apples ?
Walk ride or run ?
Zumba or CrossFit ?
Even within the schedule you describe there are many choices still available erring on the side of health or
a disturbing lack of it. It becomes self rewarding or self punishing, the question now is who will be responsible for these choices
the individual who makes them or all of us… uh oh- I feel another anti collectivism Ayn Rand rant coming on.
I really wish that was the case - we need stuff like that to happen. Our economy and culture makes it extremely difficult for people to do what they need to do to stay healthy. This thread has not - but I’ve seen cases where a discussion such as this - becomes arrogant. I agree there is a good percentage of people who make the bad choices as far as food and (lack of) exercise goes. But I think there’s a far greater percentage for whom staying healthy is extremely difficult. I see my co-workers, siblings, and neighbors as examples. I think this is a pretty typical scenario in congested middle- or low-income urban areas:
I can’t put all the blame on individuals. We’ve created a world where we reward unhealthy behaviors (work more hours = pay raise, for example) and made our lifestyle so that one has to be extremely determined, creative, and knowledgeable in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Maybe if people really did start “exploding”, we would start making changes to our world.
Yes, there are many who just make bad choices; on the other hand, this is just another perspective ....
I am sympathetic to the scenarios you have drawn. Yet, I think (at the risk of sounding arrogant) we need to dissect the argument.
You have described the area in which you live as creating road blocks to healthy behaviors. Yet, you find a way to work toward health.
You have said our society rewards unhealthy behaviors. I cannot deny many among us have become part of the machine, and that machine is largely necessary to survive in our economy and culture. However, that doesn’t mean we should throw in the towel. We’re talking about health, not just CrossFit, and that does come down to choices. (Though I would argue that since CrossFit is all about functional human movement, it is not difficult to address some aspect of it during the day, even if it means taking the stairs instead of the elevator or doing a few private pushups and squats in your cubicle after lunch.) If we don’t have the time or resources to get to the gym, there are plenty of other good choices to be made on a daily basis. Determination, creativity and the quest for knowledge are part of the human fabric and are accessible at some level in any socioeconomic situation. That some have opted to live stagnant and unhealthy existences, lacking ambition and self governance is not a commentary on possibilities but rather a conviction of choices. Obesity isn’t about a lack of free time. It’s about what we put in our mouths and whether we choose to move our bodies. Unfortunately, the same society that is failing to put a premium on overall human health is offering an unlimited number of excuses for failing to address one’s own health. I will accept that not everyone has the ability to work out like others among us. Their inability to do so is clearly a detriment to their optimal health. However, we are talking about obesity, which is not a symptom of busy-ness or lack of resources. That level of “unfit” requires choices-bad choices, complacent choices, defeated choices-all of which can be overcome and laid to rest by good choices.
You are lovely, and I hope you will take this in the spirit in which is given. I see you as evidence that your theories are flawed.
Wow. Where to start. Used to be a chubbie. Thank you Jeff, for helping me before I exploded. I made poor choices and got fat and unfit. I was educated, and made better choices and got fit. I know time constraints and have been short enough on money to not eat well. This society enables people to eat poorly because it’s really cheap to do so. However, even when strapped for cash, it was easy for me to choose turkey and fruit rather than McDonalds. Because I had been taught how important it was. It made a difference to me. You know you can get turkey, an apple and some nuts for $3? Even if I had to eat “unfavorable foods”, I continued to workout which kept me healthy. By the way, you’re not allowed to discriminate against “plus sized” people. They have special rights. And they get really angry if they have to pay for 2 seats on an airplane. Even though the weight on a plane is vitally important! A lot of people just don’t want to be responsible for their actions. No one controls what goes in your mouth except you. And no one is stopping you from moving. The news talks about obesity and diabetes, ad nauseum. I will jump for joy on the day that twinkies and ding dongs are outlawed. They serve no purpose.
Anita. Cyndi’s right. You make a good argument, but you have no problem doing what’s good for you. You set an example for everyone around you. And we’re proud to know you for it.
I think I focused on (lack of) movement more so than poor eating choices solely out of personal disposition - for some reason, I mentally cannot wrap my mind around that good nutrition plays a greater role in maintaining weight than exercise. I realize all the research points to it; it’s just a mental block on my part - lol! For some reason, I have it ingrained in my thinking that a body needs x number of calories in order to get all the healthy nutrients it needs. And the body is designed to move at a certain level of activity each day. In a perfect world, the two would balance out. So in my thinking, it would still be mathematically correct that even if you ate the correct level of calories and nutrients that your body needs to function well, you could still be obese if you didn’t move enough. Therefore, making good eating choices, while still not finding time for activity, isn’t always the answer. (Unless you eat less calories than the body is using for activity, but then that circles back to my ingrained thought that a body needs x number of calories/nutrients to function well.) So that’s how I came up with my emphasis on movement.
I did overlook personal responsibility (oddly, since it’s a personal favorite). I find it sad / annoying / irritating [insert word of the day], how individuals will just sit back and blame their circumstances on what the world has done to them. With no acknowledgement on their part that they have choices and could’ve done something to change an outcome. I agree, and had overlooked, that personal responsibility (and our society’s relinquishment of such) is a big factor in obesity.
edited: as example of a “poor” (?) choice - instead of composing this answer, I could’ve been doing the daily sit-up challenge!
As I sit here in my CrossFit Baltimore t-shirt, I am chuckling at the final line of your post.
About diet, here is my anecdotal offering. I started doing CrossFit workouts in January of 2005. I was very overweight and unfit. Through the exercise, I managed to lose about 15-20 pounds, fluctuating within that range. In June or July of that year, I complained to Jeff that I couldn’t seem to lose any more weight, despite the fact that I had added another workout to my schedule and had upped the anti on all of my workouts.
Okay, so you’ve spent some time with him now. You must have figured out, don’t ask him a question if you don’t want the answer.
It wasn’t a long conversation. He said, ” Weight isn’t about exercise. It’s about diet.”
The next day, Mikki shoved a copy of Enter the Zone into my hands.
I fixed my diet, which is Zonish, and I immediately began to lose weight. By October of 2006, I was staying right around 40 pounds lighter.
Then I hit a wall. New complaint to Jeff. It was then that I began to have weekly private lessons with him, and he began to program for me. Within a few months, I had lost 20 more pounds. These days (almost two years later), I stay pretty much within a 3 pound range, unless I stop watching what I’m eating.
So the story goes, what you put in your mouth does matter. The workouts matter too. We humans are multi-faceted and require an approach that addresses all aspects of our health. You can’t exclude any one thing from the picture, or you cheat yourself out of some pretty great rewards.
I am a current chubby (not obese though). I was formerly a fit athlete up to my early 20’s then was “blessed” with cancer. Everything’s been stable in my health for almost 2 years now so I decided it was time to get back to being a fit athlete again. I’m also starting med school in a week and I find it hypocritical that in a few years I’ll be telling my patients to better their health by losing weight, yet I obviously carry extra baggage myself. (I’ve only lost a few pounds so far but the inches are coming off!)
My husband is a former rugby player (now coaches HS rugby and fit) and we have discussions on fitness and diet quite a bit. Bottom line, the way kids are and turn out to be is a product of the parenting. There has been this air of entitlement that has developed over the last 20 years and I see it in more than health. Kids are rude, and people don’t want to work. Yet they demand everything as if it’s their “right”.
An obese country is a scary future to look forward too. Death rates will increase with people dying younger and younger. Our military will shrink because fewer will qualify. People will be sick with all sorts of diseases: diabetes, heart disease, breathing problems, joint problems, and so on, and this lifestyle will be passed on to their kids.
I plan to work on my own fitness and be an advocate for expecting my patients to take an active role in their health care (thru diet and lifestyle changes) - even if I go into radiology!
And, when we have kids, I think I may give Xfit kids a shot
In the past, I have often wondered how I will be able to raise healthy children in our society. But I don’t think that it will be as big an issue as I thought if I am making all the proper efforts to be healthy myself. When I was growing up, we had education about both nutrition and physical exercise, but in my family those things were still just kind of taken for granted, not something that you had to work at. We had well balanced meals (although our portion sizes were probably a little big) and we were all involved in plenty of sports.
These days I have to work to try and make my diet something representing a healthy one and fitting activity into our lives is more challenging than it once was. It took sort of an awakening for me to realize the emphasis you must put on your own health to take care of your body. Now when I have children, living in a much more toxic world in terms of nutrition, I think it will be much more of a concerted effort to instill the value of proper nutrition and activity so they can skip straight to the good part of life and avoid the pitfalls I found.
Just like on SuperSize Me when the guy says he is gonna try to counteract the feeling of fun associated with McDonald’s by their ad campaigns…. by giving his kids a quick slap every time they drive by a fast food store.
Snuglet. Congratulations on good health! And for deciding to make good choices for yourself. I think a lot of us have noticed the “entitlement” factor going on right now in this country. The kids are bad enough, (gee, where do they learn it?) but the adults are worse. One of my favorite parts of the CFKids Cert, is when Jeff talks about how our kids are learning different lessons than other kids, because of CrossFit. Especially delayed gratification. Nichole wrote a great article about this. They learn to work hard, fail, keep working, and eventually achieve a goal. Society teaches instant gratification. “I want A, B or C, and I want it now. I deserve it.” Thank goodness for this community. The adults know the satisfaction of working hard and accomplishing something, and we pass this lesson on to our kids. CrossFit is growing by leaps and bounds, and hopefully will help make a difference in the way society views health and fitness.
snuglet, My admiration and best wishes go your way. One thing I’ve learned is, we don’t have to be perfect to be good examples. That we are willing to turn the lens toward ourselves and identify those areas that require our attention counts for quite a lot. You will make a difference, because you are willing to put yourself out there for scrutiny in the interest of helping others. Superiority is not required, I would argue it is detrimental, in trying to help others. Chubby or not, we can help change people’s lives-as long as they see we are fervently trying to do the right thing.
Fat person exploding? Watch “Meaning of Life” by Monty Python.
I saw it as a 5-6 year old.. that guy exploded.. I never forgot it… well I forgot it at the conscious level and I was always skinny the idea just kinda floating back there. It wasn’t until college when I saw the movie again that I recognized it as a pivotal meme in my head, it was quite the A-HA moment.