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Can You Shame People Into Losing Weight?

Monday, January 28, 2013

Perhaps the real question here is Would You? Could You? Should You? Why or why not? And exactly how would it be done, and who would be in charge? The question was brought up in a poll whether it would be good to "shame" people into losing weight -- the same way smoking was made unacceptable in airlines, in restaurants, in nearly all businesses. Ads blared out about it on TV, on the radio, and on our billboards. SMOKING IS BAD FOR YOUR HEALTH!

Sure, so is being obese. But in some people it is not caused because we stuff our faces with the wrong foods. It's not even because we plop ourselves down on a sofa and watch TV until it's time to go to bed. Exercise? What's that? So what is the cause of American's being obese? Much of the blame starts in childhood. A basic diet that is filled with too much fat and too many sweets. Instead of milk, the kids drink soda -- many of them drink soda for breakfast. Instead of a bowl of oatmeal and fruit, they get a sugary/fat saturated toaster treat. It's easy. And the lunches the children are served at school are not what they should be, nor are the treats offered in the vending machines. Many kids are raised on hamburgers, hot dogs, French fries & soda.

And when we grow up and get jobs (if we're lucky enough to land one) our bad eating habits follow us. At lunch time we grab something inexpensive but unhealthy at Burger King, Jack-In the-Box, or any fast food that is convenient. You have to be pretty motivated to living a healthy lifestyle to pack a healthy lunch. And you want to "fit in." Everyone else eats out, you look stupid if you don't join the crowd. And if you're lucky you might be one of those who can eat like lumberjack and never gain an ounce.

But beware! Eventually there will come a time in our lives when our unhealthy food choices will take their toll. If they don't turn you into an unattractive glob of fat, you may suffer other consequences: hardening of the arteries, sugar diabetes, indigestion, the list goes on and on.

But is it something that you want dictated to you by our government? It's enough that you are told how fast to drive, what type of clothing to wear to work, how to act, lots of rules and regulations to follow. Now they want to tell you what to eat! Do we deserve this? Are we really so stupid and immature that it comes down to dictatorship before we do something that is really for our own good? Do we take our doctors advice about losing 10 pounds, then in 3 or 4 years, he's advising that we take off 50 pounds? How bad do our lives have to get before the lightbulb goes on in our head and we realize we could live a better life if we made better food choices and exercised regularly? You tell me!

To all of you who have a legitimate medical reason for being overweight -- you have my sympathy and my apologies. I am not trying to put the spotlight on you, afterall, you can't help the weight gain. And I know when you look at a person you don't know if they are heavy due to the medical problems they have or if they just eat too much and don't exercise. No one really has a right to judge another human being. But that is what the government seems to be considering. Are they right or are they wrong?

Tell me what you think!!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Shame, no. Encourage, yes. But not by the government, I don't think.
    I'd prefer it if the government would be 'tough' with the big food companies, forbid ingredients like trans fats, and set rules for schools to be junkfood-free. And offer education on healthy eating habits and exercise as part of the curriculum.
    1871 days ago

    Comment edited on: 2/7/2013 2:10:03 PM
    1879 days ago
  • JACK714
    Different ways motivate different people. I think we need to visit each possible way and see if it works. The Biggest Loser is showing that child obesity is a serious problem. There might be kids who are motivated by rewards, or lack of rewards, or maybe even a little shame on you. Just need to use every avenue possible as the problem is complicated.
    1879 days ago
    I would never shame anyone into trying to loose weight. What a horrible thing to do to someone. I know it would not have worked on me! I had known for about 2 years before I started losing weight that I needed to. I did it when I was ready to do it. When I said enough is enough. I think I shamed myself into it when I was going to have to buy a size 18 because 16 was getting to tight. That was my shame, no one else telling me I was fat and needed to loose weight. I told myself and got moving!

    I think this is a very touchy subject and is going to pi$$ off a lot of people if the government goes through with it.
    1880 days ago
  • 4_MY_LIFE
    You can't shame anyone into losing weight. It would backfire. After all, what happens when the doctor or a family member/loved one tells you that you have to lose? You get defiant and gain weight. The desire to lose weight has to come from within, otherwise, it isn't lasting.
    1880 days ago
  • -VIXEN-
    We can educate and motivate but in the end, we have to be ready and committed to take personal responsibility for our own well being.
    1880 days ago
  • PSMITH3841
    I would never, in a million years, try to shame someone into losing weight. That is none of my business, and a choice that needs to be made by the individual. No amount of so-called "helpful discussions", pleading, threats or shaming is going to make them do something they don't want to do. As far as the government is concerned, it has given us all we need....Freedom to choose.
    1880 days ago
    I would never tell someone they are over weight and I never make fun of anyone to their face only because it has happened to me all my life - being heavy is no fun but having people call you names like Big Blue Whale or Moby Dick all through school was no fun so never never would I do that to someone else
    so shaming someone to lose don't think so - We all have to just keep trying that is why we are here
    1880 days ago
    I don't think anybody can be 'shamed' into doing anything, not smoking, losing weight whatever. It just makes them unhappy. They have to really want to do it for themselves - their own overwhelming want to be healthier, fitter, live longer etc. I do feel ashamed of being the size I am, but that is not because anybody else has made me feel guilty, it is my own guilt. I suppose in a way it is part society with the emphasis on skinny filmstars and sports stars and the desire to fit in, but that is not overwhelming enough. Or not in my own experience.
    In the UK there is a lot of government advertising on TV aimed at preventing smoking, drink driving and encouraging healthy eating through pointing out the dangers in pretty unpleasant detail at times which isn't explicitly aimed at shaming, but I suppose does a bit. I think people have their own guilt and don't need any extra given to them.
    Thanks for making me think about it though. emoticon
    1880 days ago
  • BERRY4
    I like how one mom, over time, prompted her child to think through his choices. "How does that work for you?"
    He had to eventually think about how his choices affected the outcome.

    It would seem that many people do NOT see the equation of input (food)/ output (exercise) and overall weight and health issues. Putting a spotlight on that should be useful.
    However, keep the pickin' gov't OUT of my life & the life of others! It is NOT their place to dictate my health care nor my health choices.
    1881 days ago
  • DALID414
    I don't think shaming would work.
    I did listen to my Dr about losing weight, I remembered my mother's Drs telling her to lose weight at EVERY visit, it was so redundant, but of course she didn't lose the weight. And every visit the number of lbs to lose kept going higher and higher. I didn't want to be my mother. Not in this way.
    1881 days ago
    I have subscribed to the thinking most of my adult life ........... simple words:
    LIVE AND LET LIVE ..................
    So ....... I would have to say "No" to the title Question ....... nor would I 'point out' to anyone *I* think they are overweight and need to lose weight. (When it comes to someone ELSE and how they might live ........ I am no one special ..........
    I DO think that when a patient sees their physician, that is between the two of them in utmost private scenario ................ and even when I was heavy, it was not often addressed .............
    I did not need anyone to point out I needed to lose 20# or so ............. I had a mirror!
    I think it is a pretty 'touchy' area ..........
    1881 days ago
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