Thursday, February 2, 2012

Reality TV Ugh!

I was channel surfing earlier and being bombarded by crappy reality television programs. On one channel, Biggest Loser (or Biggest Fatties as I like to call it). On another channel, their version of Biggest Loser - Excess Baggage, where a celebrity teams up with an ordinary Australian to lose weight. I hate reality television with all the poor me, my life is so hard that's why I am fat or never got my shot as a singer/dancer crap. It's never about what it claims to be about - losing weight or finding talent - it's about how much money can be made off the viewing public with votes and what not.

But seeing the two shows on tonight reminded me of a conversation I had earlier that day while enjoying Subway for lunch with a dear friend. Australia, it seems, has become the global leader in obesity. Quite a shock when you stop to consider just how many people there are here when compared with places like the US and Asia. But apparently we are a nation of fatties. It led to a very interesting discussion on fast food vs good food. I reasoned, whether rightly or wrongly, that the main reasons people today are as overweight as they are rely on a few key things; 1. Technology 2. Pricing 3. Laziness.

1. Technology. The technological advances, even in my relatively short lifetime, have been amazing. I am only 30 years old and yet I was a young teenager before we even got our first computer in the house. We were fortunate enough to have an Atari to play and it wasn't upgraded the minute a new gaming system became available. We never owned a Sega Megadrive or a Nintendo or a Playstation or anything like that. Hell, I still have my original x box and only recently (within the last 2 years) got myself a wii. iPhones didn't exist when I was a child - god I still remember my first brick of a mobile phone. Children today spend too much time gaming, playing consoles and DS's and the likes and less time outside running around and riding bicycles, climbing trees and playing sport.

When I was a kid we made tree houses, I played cricket and basketball and soccer and touch football. We would mow a racing track in the backyard and race our bicycles around it. I would dare to venture that most children today wouldn't even know how to build a halfway decent tree house, but they could tell you everything you needed to know about an ipad or an x box 360. They would know all about WoW and Skyrim and Call of Duty.

2. Pricing. People struggle financially. It is a fact after the GFC. Hell there are times I struggle financially just like everyone else, with a mortgage on a single income and what not. It is no wonder people are more likely and inclined to turn towards fast food outlets like Maccas and HJs (Burger King for you Americans) and KFC. For some ridiculous reason I cannot fathom, crap food that is really quite bad for you is cheaper than (or at least appears to be) buying healthy fresh produce. Of course someone is going to go and get that Big Mac meal for $5.95 (I don't even know if that is what it costs) when you can have a burger, fries AND a drink for that price, instead of going to the Salad Bar and getting a chicken and salad sandwich for $9. Thats JUST the sandwich, no drink. If I am going to have take out, 9.5 times out of 10 I will have Subway because I believe it is at least still a healthy alternative. I do not deny myself the once in a blue moon treat from KFC but I always end up feeling like crap after wards and asking myself why I did that. I would much rather go to my local fish and chip shop and get a home made style burger anyway.

But during my conversation today I asked the simple question - why does the Government make such bad unhealthy things so readily available? Granted, I realise we are adults and should be free to choose what we want to eat and in what quantities. I am not suggesting that fast food be banned, but when your country becomes the global leader in obesity, does the government not have a responsibility to put the health of her citizens first? Laws were passed banning the advertising of cigarettes. They are now kept in plain, unadorned cupboards in retail outlets that sell them. Additional taxes were placed upon alcoholic drinks to try and make them less appealing, especially to younger people who might be a little more restricted by budgets. Why then can the government not put some sort of fee or tax or whatever you want to call it on fast food. Sure - the item is still available but at a price. I don't know that many people would be willing to buy a regular big mac meal from Maccas if it is going to set them back $15 to do so. Yet if their healthier alternatives (which they are starting to introduce) were cheaper than the crap, people might actually choose them instead. Why can't there be some incentive for spending a certain amount of money on fresh fruit and veg at the massive supermarket chains? They have a majority of the market and make massive yearly profits, surely they can stand to make slightly less of a profit in order to provide healthy options to people at affordable pricing, or perhaps a bonus of milk or bread or something like that for XX amount spent on fresh produce? Those ideas might not be realistic or feasible, but it doesn't change the fact that whilst we as individuals are responsible for the crap we put into our bodies, the government should get to a point where they put their foot down and say 'Enough is enough!'.

3. Laziness - I think generations today are for the most part, lazy. Not everyone mind you, but a lot of people are. They want everything and they want it now. They want it handed to them on a platter, instead of slogging their guts out to earn it themselves. They want the nice, fancy 4 bedroom house, the brand new expensive car, the designer labels, the high paying job. They want all these things and they don't want to have to spend 10 or 15 years working for it, building it up. They want to look great and fit into everything and be stylish etc but they don't want to have to spend time exercising and eating right to get it. They want to be able to go out Friday night and get their drink on, but still wake up looking a million bucks Saturday morning. It's just not realistic people. If you want something, you have to work for it, you have to earn it. You want that high paying job - get educated, start at the bottom and work your way up, get the skills you need and the experience to back you. You want that nice house and fancy car - Work your way up to the high paying job, buy yourself a fixer-uper and put some money into doing it up to sell it so that you can move on to something better. You want to fit into that size 10 dress - go for a walk, get on a treadmill, ride a bike, do pilates.....get off the couch and do SOMETHING!

You want to sit on my television screen and cry that no one loves you and you can't find a partner because you're morbidly obese, you want to cry 'poor me' because you have a problem saying no to food and you eat when you get emotional, you want me to feel sorry for you because you're a 21 year old male with bigger breasts than me...... Harden up, suck it up, get off your ass and do something about it. Do something about it because you want to change your life, not because of the $250,000 carrot dangling in front of your chubby fat lips if you happen to be 'the biggest loser'. Otherwise, go away, feed your face full of all the crap and shit you've been shoveling down for years, end up with diabetes and heart disease and likely dying of a stroke or a heart attack because you can't even see your own feet anymore. It might sound harsh and cruel, but maybe that's what some people need in order to wake up to themselves. Can't help someone who won't help themselves and I for one am not going to sit here and feel sorry for someone who weight such preposterous amounts and refuses to make an effort to change their circumstances.

1 comment:

  1. While I agree that obese people should, barring legitimate more medical conditions, take responsibility for their chronic obesity, I disagree just as much that it's the role of government to step in and dictate what people eat and how much they eat, which is exactly what happens when policies are put in place that encoirage one "good" activity over it's alternatives.

    I dislike ideas where a particular type of producr, whether it be junk food, soda, cigarettes, booze or any other number of known unhealthy eating/drinking habits, is taxed in a way for the purpose of reducing its consumption. It flies, I think, in the face of the personal responsibility theory if your goal is to change a personal behaviors through outside influences. In this case outside influence in the form of making the behavior more financially unappealing.

    Businesses exist to produce a profit for their owners and in the case of publically traded companies, thier shareholders. They *generally* are not concerned with public policy matters that do not directly impact their bottom line, nor should they be. Businesses are not people. In a free market society consumer demand, not government regulations or restrictions, determine the success of one item (food, in this case) over another.

    Let the government put all the relevent information related to obesity in a easily accessible place, like the web. Advocate for consumer awareness of these issues through advertising, such as public awareness campaigns. But leave the final decision to the consumer, the individual, rather than interfering with the free market to promote one product over another.

    And for those who make the decision to overeat, or to smoke, or to drink excessively... Cut them off from any social funding related to medical costs in the future. It's not the responsibility of others to foot the bill for medical issues related to obesity when the individual didn't take responsibility for him or herself.