Wednesday, November 26, 2008

It's a Big World?

Rumor has it that the Small World ride at Disneyland is being revamped to increase its weight capacity due to boats bottoming out and getting stuck. Back in 1963, the ride was designed with the average male and female weights in mind (175 and 135 pounds, respectively). Today, the average weights of males and females have skyrocketed well above that, and with that there are consequences, even at The Happiest Place on Earth.

Now, I’m not really sure if this rumor is true. In fact, Disney has not confirmed it. However, the point is that the weight of Americans is rising steadily over the decades and it is a function of how we live. Hundreds of years ago, people consumed less sugar in one year than we now consume in a single day! This is scary------and when we combine this with our unhealthy fat intake, we are setting ourselves up to get bigger and bigger in the future. With the rate of obesity increasing so rapidly, theoretically every American will be obese in the next couple decades. Ok, so this won’t actually happen because there will always be people who eat healthy foods and exercise.

Have you ever heard of the concept of social change? Social change is what happens when the trends of what is accepted and “normal” in society change. This can be anything from the acceptance of gay marriage to the reduction in cigarette smoking (Read the book, The Sticking Point---it’s really interesting and a quick read!).

Have you ever heard the saying, “Rome wasn’t built in a day”? This is a common response to the American way of wanting instant results and gratification---if a diet doesn’t work in 3 days, chuck it and try something new. Pretty soon, you can just conclude that NOTHING WORKS. (This tells me there’s something wrong with the WAY we diet, not just that the diet is flawed)

Put these two phenomena together---

We want to down-size Americans, and we know we can’t do it overnight….and the same thing won’t work for everyone.

So how do we do it?
1. We start with baby steps, one person at a time. You. Me. Your kids.
2. We learn how to love ourselves independent of how we eat or exercise. This includes not pressuring ourselves to meet unrealistic goals, and giving ourselves credit for what we do well.
3. Learn what the real issues are and then deal with them. Weight is a symptom not an issue!
4. Deal effectively with physical addictions. This includes food, inactivity, cigarettes, depression, mental patterns, etc.
5. Make a plan.
6. Adjust the plan.

I’ll end on that for now, but there is a lot more to talk about. Think about it. In addition to your gratitude list, try making a list of all the things you like about yourself. Then give yourself credit and be thankful for those things too!

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