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It's not genetics. We need to help | Mission Blog

By Ev Eric

This is a very difficult and sensitive subject to approach, but my views on obesity are based on several factors including my own family history and how I've had to combat that (my dad was very heavy at one point. He lost the weight after heart surgery and contracting type II diabetes) and some serious research into obesity causes and effects over the past 50 years in the US. I've dedicated myself to this subject insomuch that I've become a certified fitness instructor and coach so that I can help those who want to work towards a change.

"Fat shaming" is a new thing and only in the US and Canada (https://goo.gl/K64eHp), and it's a new thing because people who have become larger have also become larger in numbers, so there are enough people now to rally around each other and make each other feel good about themselves. The fact is, very few people are out to make obese people feel bad about themselves, but the few that do so get the greatest reaction so that it seems like it's a more prevalent attitude than it really is.

Image: CDC.gov. Click to zoom.

I've seen comments around saying that that people don't choose to be large, it's just that they have a medical or genetic tendency to have such a disposition. This idea is backed by no actual science or evidence. If it were, then obesity rates would not have been on a drastic increase for the past 20 years (see image). There have been changes in habit, food marketing, and consumption which have led to this steady, and seemingly irreversible increase. It's simply inconceivable that over 100 million people have contracted a rapidly propagating genetic mutation in this short amount of time, or that nature would create such a mutation which makes us weaker, slower, and less apt to survive naturally.

The facts are that people are eating more and moving less than they ever have in the history of this country. The CDC considers complications from obesity to be the 2nd leading cause of PREVENTABLE death and illness in the US (smoking being #1, but smoke-shaming is OK). A very small percentage of people possess medical conditions which significantly contribute to obesity. Genetics is only a factor if you don't do anything about it; again, I point to myself as an example.

I don't have a problem with people being happy with who they are, or even who they think they are. There's an argument that if you're not hurting anyone, and it's your body, then it's nobody's business. However, the drastic increase in obesity rates have directly contributed to issues that do have an effect on the whole population. For instance, medical and insurance costs have skyrocketed as a direct result of the trend. Regardless of how anyone feels about a strong military, fewer people than ever meet eligibility requirements for acceptance which weakens our ability to defend ourselves (in the event that we ever actually have to do that as opposed to going elsewhere to find a fight).

There are many people who DO want to do something about being "overweight" or unfit, and I'm having an increasing challenge finding those people who want help partly because of the growing, misguided attitude that being unhealthy is just "who you are" and that it's "OK." I've been accused of "fat-shaming" just because I want to help. Should I consider this "fit shaming?"

"Eat a salad and go for a walk" is horrible advice. It's condescending and wretched, and unfortunately people think it's the same thing as "let me help you develop a nutrition and fitness plan so that you can achieve your goals," which is actually an indication of someone who actively wants to help people visualize and realize their potential. Obesity, in an overwhelmingly number of cases, is reversible. Those people that you see on P90X and Insanity infomercials? I know some of them. They're not paid for having "before" and "after" pictures. They're not Photoshopped. They are people who simply wanted a change in their lives badly enough to do something about it. These are real people, and they are proof that being overweight is not "who they are": http://www.beachbodysuccessstories.com/tag/weight-loss/

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