FOR-A-HEALTHY_BMI recently referred me to this great David Katz blog from the Huff Post on the whole obesity debate.
I'd been thinking about whether dealing with obesity is simple, or complicated. And Katz has too: that's really what he's writing about.
And of course at one level obesity management IS simple . . . for most of us. Eat less, move more.
But: not easy. Because for many of us, doing those two simple things is really really difficult. For a whole lot of complicated reasons.
David Katz compares teaching swimming skills to teaching people the skill to manage obesity. It's a pretty good analogy: there are quite a few similarities.
But of course nobody has to swim. And all of us have to eat.
You CAN drown in seconds: but most of the time, people swim without experiencing any immediate danger. And although drowning happens (when it happens) instantly, obesity happens over time.
So: not a perfect analogy. Still, the comparison is illuminating as a way of thinking about obesity skills.
What I think myself about the simple/complicated inquiry is that although obesity IS complicated (for many of us) it helps most of us to act as if it's simple.
It helps quite deliberately and consciously to forget about all the (real) reasons obesity can be complicated: to forget about the metabolism, the mother, the environment, the health problems, the unhelpful spouse, the stress at work, the . . . you name it. These are all perfectly good "reasons" and perfectly good explanations as to why we eat too much and move too little: but (and I mean this in the kindest way, and this is exactly what I say to myself): so what. Sometimes I've gotta say that to myself louder. SO WHAT?
Yup, it helps to "just do it": eat less, exercise more. Most of the time.
And then -- AFTER the fact (the same point at which we acquire motivation, after we've done it) -- this obesity control thing actually has the potential of becoming, if not simple, at least simpler.
For those of us who have been William Blake fans: the progression is a bit like his movement through innocence to experience to higher innocence. A willed innocence, a willed simplicity. A willing which is less one of rigid and determined self-discipline (which gets exhausting fast) and more one of avoiding temptation, turning away. It's all about the simplicity of making choices in advance so I don't have to ask myself, what do I want to eat right now? That's a complicated question, for sure. But not if it's already decided. Simple. Simple. Simple.
Not, " I think, therefore I am". And absolutely not "I want, therefore I need".
Eat less, move more.
Or: fake it until you make it.
Knowing always that the potential to get mired back in the complexity is there, it's real.
But choosing to ignore that. Choosing to keep it simple.
Eat less, move more.