The modern health epidemic that is obsesity.

We aren’t the same size anymore.

Five years ago I was living in the US. I remember crossing the border and ordering my first meal in a restaurant. My partner and I realized very quickly that we would be ordering one meal for the both of us and sharing. We did that for the entire year we spent down there working on our start-up company.

The portions were shocking and I felt saddened by the food waste and the over-consumption. I watched many-a-time, young children finishing the mound of french fries on their plates and pushing to the side anything that remotely resembled a vegetable. I am a tiny person to begin with, but every where I went, I was almost always the only one my size. It’s almost impossible for me to shop in the US and I’m finding it harder and harder to find my size of clothing in my native land too.

A new size.

We are adjusting to a new size in North America and the “plus” size category is becoming obsolete because the larger sizes are now standard sizes. We cannot deny that some people are born with the “fat gene” and their genetics make them more sensitive than others to gaining weight. But no one gains weight by eating protein, vegetables and healthy carbs in the right quantities.

It’s not all our fault either. Almost every food advertisement anywhere is promoting bad fats and bad carbs and even promoting the mix of carbs and fats – which by the way, is a great formula for fat storing (very simply put: fat+carb=fat cell, insulin is in there too!). It’s a modern epidemic for many reasons; addiction, health, disease issues, economic cost (despite the mass profit of the “corporation’), mental and emotional issues involved around food, cost to our environment (our planet) and if we haven’t admitted it yet, it certainly threatens our future generations.

Food for thought.

Here are some of the collective questions to consider from the books I’ve read and from the experts who write them:

  1. Are the corporations responsible for causing a mass population to be addicted to the foods they are manufacturing? (Of course, many deny that their foods are addictive but science and experts know better and have proven time and time again that they very much are. Watch the Canadian documentary The Corporation for a brilliant take on this subject.)
  2. What is the role of the individual? Where does our personal responsibility lie? Can we really exercise will power and avoid these foods? (There are so many ways to consider these questions and it would vary depending on the individual. For example, my neighbours feed their children McDonald’s every few days. What chance do those children have to exercise any will power when they grow up? It saddens me to even think about it.)
  3. How do the laws of supply and demand apply? Back to point #2, how can the individual impact the issue by choosing more carefully what they are buying?
  4. What are the cultural aspects to be considered? Why are we an over-consuming society? What are we covering up with food? Are we truly happier because we have more? (A wonderful book to read on this topic is Blue Zones, about the areas in the world with the highest numbers of centenarians.)

A shift in mind.

One of the most fulfilling things about what we do at Vital Body Weight Loss Centre is that we witness people, usually very skeptical when they first come in, shift their mind set and their physical state within 1 week of starting our program. If it’s hard at all, it’s because they are fighting themselves about something (usually related to feeling guilty, like: “why do I have to be here?” and “how did I let myself get this way?”). Even this hardship shifts after a while and they begin to return to themselves, to a whole and healthy person. They start a shift in mind because they are taking care of themselves and a shift in body because they feel physically healthy as they lose weight and eat well. It’s an incredible thing to see in another person.

I’ve always been a deep thinker and it may not be that profound for you, but in my experience of seeing hundreds of people come through our doors, even when the reason for losing weight is for vanity and a woman who is about to be a bride wants to fit into her wedding dress, the journey still proves to be somewhat deeper than pure vanity on some level.

What about accepting myself?

There is a lot of talk today about accepting ourselves as we are. This is absolutely important and many of the ‘masters’ talk about accepting things as they are. The founder of our weight loss program at Ideal Protein, Dr. Tran Tien, notes in his book Because You Deserve It, that the journey to losing weight begins as an act of self-love. It means truly accepting oneself enough to do something about your health and your weight. How beautiful!

It’s really not about the size in the end. The new size is the representation of many other components and it tells a story of our modern world. Our new size is so visual and one would have to be ignoring it in order to not see the change that is happening and begin to ask, “what are we dealing with?” and “how can we make a change?”. I feel we must come at this modern problem with enormous amounts of compassion and with hugely open minds and hearts for the journey ahead of us.

Amrita Ahuja
Clinic Director
Vital Body Weight Loss Centre
Vancouver, BC