No Change Is No Good

Photo from the Daily Mail
Photo from the Daily Mail

I started a little fitness blog in 2013.  (I knew very little about attracting followers and only a little bit more today.)  Recently, I went back to that site to review some of the posts I wrote.  This one spoke to me.  Why?  Because not much seems to have changed in four years.  However, maybe more people will read this post, …eventually.  😉  I know it’s a bit long.  But, please bear with me and take the time to read it.  Maybe you can help?

I did not figure out how to embed the infographic in my post.  However, here is the link to the old article.  Really.  Go look at it.  You will be appalled.  And, remember that this is four years ago.  Obesity is worse today.

Infographic

Done?  Good.  Read on.

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September 23, 2014

I sincerely wanted, and still do want, to help improve the overall fitness levels, not just in the U.S., but worldwide.  Education, eclectic input for new ideas, cooperation, and motivation are key tools for winning an improved mindset for owning your fitness.

Nerio Alessandri, Founder & CEO of Technogym, a very innovative fitness equipment production and manufacturing company based in Italy, posted this (link below) article on Facebook earlier today.  I have much respect for Mr. Alessandri.  He is working hard to promote wellness not only in Italy but throughout the world.  He practices what he preaches and is a very smart businessman.  His innovative equipment has been used around the world — from home gyms to elite athletic teams, including Olympic Villages & World Cup training centers.

Mr. Alessandri is also pushing to educate people about wellness.  So, when he posted this article (infographic, really), I looked at it, … and was appalled.  I knew that the majority of Americans are overweight, and the percentage of obese Americans continues to increase.  But, some of the other statistics were hard to look at.

Here is what I posted in response on Facebook.  If you would like to follow me and/or join the conversation, I would really appreciate it.  Maybe this could be the start of a more productive conversation about the topic of fat Americans?  Look up: Karen – Personal Trainer (@PFitKaren)

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“This article was posted by the CEO of an Italian-based company. It is not new for foreigners to comment on this. The whole world (rightly) sees how fat the majority of Americans are. The cost of health care is skyrocketing. But, what can be done to encourage people to take steps to prevent some of the ailments directly linked to being overweight & obese?


When I travel, I can pick out Americans without hearing them speak or looking at their clothing labels. I look at size first. I believe we need a national ‘push’ to get in better shape & take responsibility for our health. A President’s initiative would be great. But, I don’t see that happening anytime soon.


Another national move that would make a difference is to encourage states to mandate physical education & recess for all grade levels, every single day of the school year. Research has proven time & time again how much physical activity is good for the learning, not just fitness. This will at least be positive for the next generation.

So, higher health care costs for those who choose not to take care of themselves? I’m okay with that. I maintain individual health insurance & have for decades as a self-employed person. I have seen my costs go up & up.

But, how can we boost responsibility for one’s health? How can we get across to people the dramatic increase of self-esteem which comes from being in better physical shape? Realistically.

The one thing that I see people (& companies) respond to is money. When something hurts the wallet, people start to act. Without a moral push, to me, money is the answer.

I would love to see more ideas at least being written about, and also talked about, by people who can influence a large percentage of our population.”

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Do you have any ideas?  I have thought about this so many times throughout the years.  I have come up with many ideas — none which I can implement on a large scale.  The whole subject is very sad.  How did the mighty United States get here?

I have come to realize that it will take either a Presidential Fitness Campaign, not unlike JFK’s, or a hit to peoples’ (and businesses’) wallets to start a fitness revolution in the United States.  It won’t be easy.  And, there will be ‘haters’ at every turn.  And, just guess what shape most of those haters will be in.  Just look at the US Congress on CSPAN.  The leaders of the United States seem to be a reflection of our national fat statistics.  Maybe even worse.

And, no, I don’t believe shutting down the fast food industry is the answer.  When I grew up, McDonald’s was a special treat.  We ate there maybe 4 to 6 times per year, usually when traveling.  No, the food is not the problem.  The choices people make about when, what, how much and how often to eat fast food are the problem.

It is not about saving money either.  Fast food prices add up quickly with the amount of food ordered per person.  Couple this with no physical activity to counteract the high calorie, fat, and sugar content of so many fast foods, and the only possible outcome will be to become overweight and eventually obese.

It takes both eating healthy and exercising to combat the ‘fat’ problem.  It is a lifelong way of living, a healthy lifestyle.  One that can include a ‘Bad Day’ and a ‘Rest Day’ once a week.  There will still be enough people to frequent the fast food industry even if 90 % of the population would follow this lifestyle.

Maybe they would have to cut down on the number of locations they have now.  But, the industry will survive.  And, those of us who want to have a fast food cheeseburger or a fancy ice cream shake with candy blended in, will be able to go out and have someone make us one, quickly.

Educating, instilling a sense of self-respect for one’s fitness and health, and in some way, or ways, making unhealthy people pay a dollar amount for their choices, all will play a part if we want to change the mindset of people of the United States.  It’s a hard line.  But, look where the freedom to choose to be an overweight, obese, person and in turn, make others pay for your care when you get sick has gotten us.

The rest of the world (rightly) sees us as fat Americans.  I’ve heard it many times while traveling to other countries.  Is it embarrassing to you?  Does it make you angry?  Do you find it ridiculous that a big part of your health care premium is paying for those people who do not take care of themselves?

We, the minority of people, who exercise and eat right, do our best to stay in good, and even great shape.  I am still optimistic that the population of the United States, can turn these horrible statistics of fat Americans around.  We can become a fit, healthy, self-respectable, nation.

Overweight and obese people typically have no idea how much better they would feel if they would only lose the weight, eat healthily, and get stronger.  I know.  I have trained perhaps over a thousand people during my career.

Even before visible changes are noticed, almost every client will tell me, “Wow!  I feel so much better!”  How can people be happy feeling sick most of the time?  How can overweight and obese people be happy not being able to move freely, struggling to simply climb stairs?

Genetic diseases, and unlucky illness like cancer, notwithstanding, we can do so much better.  I know about this, too.  My dad, formerly very active, has Parkinson’s.  He sees some of the best doctors at the Cleveland Clinic.  He is still as physically active as he can be.  He takes care of himself to the best of his ability.  He follows a healthy diet.  He is not overweight at all.

I have insulin resistance.  Not from any lifestyle choices I made.  It’s a genetic thing handed down to me.  Unlucky roulette.  But, I am as active as ever.  I exercise, eat a healthy, slow-carb diet, take less medicine than in years past, and educate myself to make sure I am doing all that I can to remain healthy, …and to not ever get full-blown diabetes.  I feel great most days.  There are always minor issues which pop up, like pulled muscles & sore runner’s heel.  But, overall, I feel great.

I would love to travel to other countries in the future and hear foreigners say, “Those Americans are so healthy, so fit.”  I would love to look around the United States and see only 20 % of our citizens overweight and no more than 10 % obese.
I will keep brainstorming about ways to achieve this.  And, maybe some day, one of these ideas, or a brilliant idea from someone else, with a really big influence on the people of the United States, will come up with a way and be able to implement it.  Will you help?

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That was four years ago.  And, unfortunately, obesity levels have risen.  There is a different president in the United States. One who I don’t believe is concerned about fitness.  And, unfortunately, it will be up to us to try to do something about this.  Without good initiative and leadership from the top, it will be an even more difficult challenge.

What kind of grassroots campaign can we start?  Hopefully, my blog will continue to grow, and ideas will turn into reality, and we will finally start to see an improvement in the health and fitness of people worldwide.

Thanks for reading.  Please sign up to follow SimplyFitness.blog.  This will help me to continue to provide fitness information to everyone and maybe help in the drive to improve fitness and health.  Thanks!  Karen

 

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