Wild Wishes ...
The Great Fat Debate
As I rejoiced in leaping the stepping stones with my ten year old son on Sunday morning I felt very happy. At 52, I can still leap, and keep up with my kids.
Why? Because I had the good fortune of growing up in a family of Wellness. My mum didn’t believe in doctors and she read “Science and Health” every morning. Yes, honestly.
The recent debate about Chrissie Swan and her fat kid got me thinking. It’s heartbreaking. But who do we blame? Is bringing up fat kids one step away from child abuse? Do we blame the parents? Is normalisation of fatness the best solution?
Is it my mum’s fault I’m addicted to food? Is it Chrissie’s fault that she is?
Why are we losing the battle against obesity and sedentary death syndrome? The more money we all spend on sickness, the worse it gets. We now have over 60% obesity in Australia, we spend billions on treating sickness and morbid obesity is growing exponentially.
Last week I heard about the Adelaide morgue where the obese dead people are cut up on the floor before the autopsy because they are too enormous to lift. It’s a horror movie. But it’s happening – here – before our eyes.
Well, it‘s really hard to change the way we think about food and health, but there is a solution. And there is also a reason we’re getting fat. I found the answers to many of these questions in “The New Wellness Revolution". Economist Paul Pilzer explains that it all comes down to money. He shows how obesity is caused by economics.
To put it simply, more ‘food’ can be produced by using hormones, antibiotics, pesticides, addictive chemicals, and genetically modified ingredients. And more money can be made if we eat more. And fat people eat – a lot more. And we will do more ‘work’ if we sit still all day and don’t move.
If I stay in my office for too long I feel just like those sad, little, caged, battery hens, locked in, unable to move, and fighting the urge to eat treats - addictive sugar, fat and salt – all day.
According to Pilzer, economics perpetuates sickness and obesity; lots of money to be made with cheap food and medication. Food is the new tobacco. He predicts discrimination against fat people replacing past racial and gender discrimination. “Weight and appearance now define social and economic opportunities,” he says.
Well, the Chrissie Swan debate is just the beginning. Fat people humour is here. We are entertained by fat people on The Biggest Loser, as they battle with torturous physical challenges, then cry and lose weight, only to put it back on again later. It's really sad.
But as the obesity epidemic worsens, a new economy is developing. It’s The Wellness Economy. It is being led by science and it brings us hope. Science has proved that a nutritious diet and exercise is essential for the human body to remain healthy. And health or wellness comes from prevention rather than treatment.
Pilzer says the sickness industry provides products and services reactively to treat the symptoms of a disease. The Wellness Industry provides products and services proactively to healthy people to make them feel even better, look better, slow the effects of aging and prevent disease.
So, we go into the supermarket to get our natural, unprocessed, un-homogenised, un-pasteurised, organic, hormone and antibiotic free range meat, chicken and soy milk only to be overwhelmed by the choices. And who do we believe?
It can be expensive to be healthy, but we can spend our money on health, not sickness, on wellness, not disease. Once we understand how to stay healthy, we can choose exercise and healthy food, not doctors and drugs. We can invest in our health by spending our money on fitness, adventure, and health-giving experiences and activities.
Or we can go walking with a goal buddy, for free!
At Wild Women On Top, we see women change their lives. They go walking with the girls, work hard, learn, and after 6-12 months, they’re climbing mountains and reclaiming their health. And they share this message with their children.
It’s not easy. In fact – it’s bloody hard. But with education, discipline, hard work and a big commitment we can develop new habits to prevent sickness.
But are you prepared to go walking every day? Are you prepared to take responsibility for your health? I am lucky. Lucky I grew up in a home of Wellness. And you are lucky. Lucky you’ve just read this.
Now you can choose: sickness or wellness?
Director & Coach, Wild Women On Top