Wednesday, October 3, 2012
It's Not My Fault!
I was talking with a close friend today about weight. I have to emphasize the “close” part because it isn’t just anybody that I can walk up to and say, “You and your honey have gotten a little pudgy lately.” Her reply involved several things including “vacation eating,” an increase in processed foods, and possible food intolerances. She, like many other people, was looking outside of herself for a reason for being overweight and lethargic.
I am not poking fun at, or making snarky comments about my friend. However, this is just another example of how people become side tracked on the pursuit of health. I’ll use the collective “we” since I was there not that long ago. We try to find something outside of our control to blame for our being overweight and unhealthy. If I am retaining fluids because of all the sodium and chemicals in processed foods, and I am unable to afford organically grown fruits and vegetables and grass feed meat then it is not my fault that I am overweight. If I am employed in a profession that requires long hours of sedentary labor, or I can’t afford a gym membership then I can’t be expected to exercise. The excuses are endless, but that’s all they are.
We deflect our personal responsibility. We shift the blame to something (and sometimes someone) else. But, let’s look at some of the excuses… I mean “reasons” that we aren’t healthy. Take my friend’s husband for example. He works long hours in a job that requires a lot of sitting. He has no exercise plan, and his off time is generally spent in sedentary activities. He doesn’t gorge himself with food, but the food he does eat is generally high calorie. The solution in this case is not eliminating gluten, carbs, dairy, and so on. It is the ratio between the fuel taken in and energy expended!
If calories are a measure of fuel, and unused calories are stored as fat, which increases weight, then he is taking in more calories per day than he is using. It either is true or it is not. I have another friend who thinks her obesity is due to processed foods. Again, she has no exercise plan and leads a sedentary lifestyle. Processed foods do probably play a part in her weight, but only a small part at best. She is an example of someone who jumps from one fad to another when she doesn’t get the results that were promised. At that point it is not her fault, it is that the program was faulty in some way.
Again, I am not picking on these friends. They are just examples of how we deflect responsibility. The bottom line is that we need a certain amount of calories to survive. Any calories over that baseline need to be worked off, or they become excess weight. No matter if you eat processed/whole foods, gluten/gluten-free, all carbs, or all protein… it has calories! If we want to weigh less and be healthier then we have to eat less and exercise more. No one can do it for us. No fad will make a lasting impact. Stop shifting the blame, and take on the responsibility!