A friend of mine recently lost more than two-hundred pounds by making some important, yet simple, lifestyle changes.
And yet, he told me that certain family and friends — a number of whom are obese or unhealthy and one of whom has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) — either make fun of his nutrition and lifestyle or tell him how unhealthy it is.
I’ve had a similar experience.
After years of being on statin drugs and doing “what the doctor told me” — only to be chronically inflamed, overweight, and otherwise a physically a mess — I changed things dramatically and adopted a primal lifestyle.
Ever since I made that change eleven years ago, I’ve gotten used to the jokes (real men drink beer/they don’t drink red wine at a baseball game) and the bad science (all that cholesterol is going to kill you) and the lectures (but, Curt, you need more grains and fiber.)
You guessed it — most of these jokes, bad science remarks, and lectures come from … unhealthy people.
People who fill their bodies with sugar. People who have trouble walking because of the damage done to joints and cartilage through chronic cardio. People who are drug addicts. Obese. People who have any number of physical maladies.
It reminds me of Chapter 41 of the ancient Tao Te Ching:
“Lower people hear of the Tao; They laugh loudly at it. If they do not laugh, it would not be the Tao.”
Or, as Derek Lin explains in his translation of the Tao:
“Lack of comprehension often expresses itself as mockery. Such individuals laugh … because they feel the need to belittle that which is too unfamiliar to grasp easily. In their case, laughing is not a sign of happiness, but an attempt to disguise ignorance as a superior attitude.”
In fact, it’s ignorance mixed with the programming that’s been embedded in their brains since they were children.
Programming by whom?
Pharmaceutical companies. Doctors who have little or no nutritional education. Parents and news media who repeat claims from studies funded by the sugar or food industries. Fake news articles shared by your crazy uncle.
You see, nobody (except people who sell and produce vegetables, fruits, and “clean” proteins) makes money off your healthy lifestyle choices. Because when you make those choices, you become a free agent; no longer dependent on their “care” or products.
Now, you may vehemently disagree with the way I nourish my body and exercise. That’s totally fine.
One question: Are your “beliefs” based upon critical thinking and research you’ve done? Or talking points you saw in an article shared by Aunt Betty on Facebook?
And, even if you’re not willing to go “all the way” into a drastic lifestyle change, are you ready to admit that all the sugar-laden foods you eat and the 8 hours of sitting you do each day is detrimental to your health?
So, while society spends much time talking about “fat shaming” (which, to be clear, I’m not endorsing) perhaps we should also be more conscious of “healthy-shaming.”
Notice I said “conscious” of it. We healthy people don’t need trigger warnings. We don’t need protection from it.
In fact, we the healthy people don’t really care about it. We can handle it because we feel awesome.
But it does make us feel bad for those doing the “healthy-shaming” because those people are doing damage to themselves by repeating the harmful programming which empowers them to whistle through the graveyard.