When to blame others and when to blame yourself

I am going to take a wild guess and say that most of you reading this blog have, in one way or another, dealt with some health issue.  Whether it’s losing weight, gaining weight, fighting some disease or other ailment, the majority of us have gone through our own health woes.  I’ve been there and some days it feels like I am still there, so I know how tough these things can be.  What exactly am I trying to get at in this post? I am so glad you asked!

This past Sunday there was an article in the Chicago Tribune by Julie Deardorff about how there may be many factors that affect obesity, not just less movement and too many calories.  The article looks in depth at three factors that might be keeping people obese: air pollution, microbes in the gut, and sleep deprivation.  For air pollution, researchers are saying that pregnant women exposed to higher

concentrations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) have a greater risk for obese or overweight children.  Microbes in the gut (which we have talked about before) are another cause for concern. There appears to be a link to antibiotics, which kill off both good and bad bacteria in your body, and this can also increase the risk for obesity. And there is also significant research cropping up that is saying those that get less than 7 to 8 hours of sleep are at a higher risk for being overweight.  In a side article, Deardorff also briefly lists other factors that could contribute to weight gain including maternal age, air conditioning, and decreased smoking.  Yup, you read that last one right. People who stop smoking tend to gain weight because nicotine acts as an appetite suppressant.

Well.  It appears that it is just hopeless for all of us trying to lose or maintain a healthy weight. Might as well give up now and go back to eating fast food in front of the TV.  Nope.  This isn’t the first time that I have read an article of this nature.  I agree that there are many components to living a healthy lifestyle, aside from the standard exercise and eat healthy, but I also think that people constantly try to find a way to blame everything under the sun but themselves for why they are overweight.  It’s easier, and a lot less painful, to blame the air for your weight problem instead of stepping up and admitting that your weight is caused by the pint of Ben and Jerry’s you scarf down every night, or say my mom was older when she had me so she set me up for failure right from the start. Are you sure it’s not the fact that you haven’t exercised in the last five years instead?  I am not trying to belittle the efforts of the researchers trying to fix our weight problem nor am I denying that most of this research is right.  What I am saying is we cannot be so quick to pass the buck.  You need to be accountable for your actions (or lack thereof). It’s tough and possibly humiliating, but it’s also responsible and respectable.

Now all that being said I do realize that sometimes there really are deeper underlying issues as to why someone might be overweight.  And I am not trying to bash those people who struggle to lose weight.  In fact for all of those really and truly trying but not seeing the results you want, I commend you.  You are putting in the effort and hard work and that is what counts.  If diet and exercise are not working for you and you can honestly say you have given 100 percent, talk with your doctor and see what else might be going on.  And for those of you who like to play the blame game, toughen up buttercup and get up and working.  That is the only way you can even start to blame someone else for your weight issues.  Your health starts with YOU taking action.