The horrific tragedies in Japan started me thinking and reflecting.
In my Navy days I visited Japan on several occasions. I have fond memories of both the country and the people. Those I was honored to have met possessed a strong character and an incredible work ethic. They demonstrated a widespread respect for people and an apparent dislike for personal weakness. Those I had become acquainted with were not excuse makers; they were doers. Although currently, they are genuine victims of horrific natural and now man-made disasters, with incredible resolve they are taking the steps necessary to deal with their very real adversity.
Observing their strength led me to think about the victim mentality so prevalent here in our own country. There are those that are merchants of victim-hood whose sole goal is to convince others that they are victims and that they need to:
-One; blame someone
-Two; rely on someone else to relieve their victim status
Locally, WILK Newsradio’s talk jock Steve Corbett is a classic example of victim-hood peddling. Utilizing desperation, delusion and demagoguery he attempts to convince people that their lot in life is the result of one group and their salvation is in the hands of another group.
What would drive someone to knock the downtrodden further down?
When did we lose the inner power of the Rugged American Individual?
What does any of this have to do with weight loss or fitness? Perhaps nothing, but more than likely — everything.
I started wondering about differences between true victims and people who are convinced to become victims. Concerning obesity, this victim mentality comes from movements like the Fat Acceptance Movement or Fat Rights groups. These organizations want people to feel victimized because of their choices. I emphasize, I am not referring to those whose obesity is caused by a genuine underlying medical condition. I am speaking with those who do not take the appropriate steps to control their weight and fitness levels, yet wish to take control.
I have heard more excuses than I can recall as to why one is obese and out of shape. I used many of those same excuses myself. There must come a time when you look in the mirror an accept responsibility for your current physical condition. Yes, there is some general, genuine blame to go around:
-Dr. Ancel Keys
-Senator George McGovern
-The U.S.D.A. Food Pyramid
-And others I’m sure
However, blaming others only increases your victimization. By placing blame, you also are looking for someone else to fix the problem. Here is the cold, hard reality. You are responsible for gorging on the foods you should not eat. You are responsible for not getting up and moving around. You, and only you, are responsible to improve your condition.
I understand how hard, cruel and unfair life is. Much of my life is collapsing around me. Not to go into specifics, but things in a good part of my world are not good. If not for the mental discipline that allowed me to take control of my physical condition and weight, I can only imagine how much worse matters would be.
It is the strength of my mind, combined with the healthiness of my body that will not allow my legs to collapse under the crushing weight of the world upon my shoulders. We are capable of commanding only one factor in life — ourselves. So, take charge and don’t allow anyone to manipulate you into a becoming a victim of obesity.
Dr. Joe Leonardi is the author of the book; Fat Then Fit Now; A life beyond wight loss.