When I was young I had this naïve fantasy that my best friend and my cousins who I was very close with would all get houses on the same street when we grew up so we’d always be close to each other.
We all know how that worked out.
It’s delightful to enjoy our fun little fictions at times in life.
There’s been another one developing around obesity.
That it’s just an alternative lifestyle choice. That living how you want without regard for weight or health brings you closer to enlightenment and inner truth. It’s not an alternative lifestyle, it’s an alternative to living.
There should be no shame of course, but neither should we pretend it is a viable way to live, or even worse, something to be celebrated.
Now comes even more proof (not that we needed any) of just how harmful it is. Of 74 genes related to Alzheimer’s disease, 21 of them are also linked to obesity.
Genes aren’t deterministic for either Alzheimer’s or obesity, but they do play a role. Lifestyle, however, matters more. Our behaviors nudge some genes on and others off. The more behaviors we follow that turn off protective genes or turn on damaging ones, the more we increase our odds of getting disease.
Obesity, and especially midlife obesity, promotes Alzheimer’s. It would be bad enough if it didn’t, but this just makes something that reality-accepting people already know. Obesity is best avoided.
We are meant to live a life celebrating movement, healthy food, social fitness and having a body that works well enough that it gives us the freedom to do what we would like to do, feel good while we do it, and to do it in the presence of the people we love. Obesity provides the opposite of that.
It’s not a big fight, but a little one.
It’s a lot of little choices each day. A little more movement. A little healthier food. Plus time. Engage in healthful behavior for long enough over time and that’s how you make the u-turn on Obesity Highway. And it doesn’t require perfection.
It just requires participation. In your own life. Make each day a little better than the one before with a little more connection to others, a little more movement (even better if you mix it with fun), and enough self-respect to look after the only body you have.
Obesity is a choice to be passive. After it wrecks your body and brain, it is no longer a choice.