Humans are social creatures. Our ancestors knew that coming together as tribes and later as societies and civilizations gave us big advantages in terms of survival and comfort. Those same social instincts, however, come with drawbacks.
Since we are always looking to the people around us for social cues, we can unconsciously shape our reality to accept certain behaviors and activities as normal and commonplace even if they are incredibly harmful. For example, you might remember that it wasn’t very long ago that smoking was as casual an activity as owning a cell phone is today. We had hints early on that cigarettes weren’t good for us, but everyone was doing it, so nearly everyone picked up smoking.
Even today, in the face of overwhelming evidence that smoking is a Habit of Disease, social influences can make an individual more likely to smoke.
As the obesity epidemic rages on, we are seeing a wide range of Habits of Disease become normalized to the point that many people think “it’s okay” to be overweight or to be inactive. And the change has been subtle. With a high rate of obesity, we are more likely to have people in our social groups who are overweight, so that starts to give us the impression that it’s common.
And then retailers and marketers and even television producers started following suit. Bigger clothing sizes are more accessible, mannequins are changing shape, and the people we are exposed to as celebrities or as characters are starting to shift farther up the body-mass index.
The world around is might be telling us that being overweight is normal, but that doesn’t make it any less unhealthy.
“Picture one is from the spring of this year, I am active duty military so I was already exercising at least 5 days a week. The second picture is current, no change in my exercise routine at all, but I’ve spent the past several months concentrating on nutrition and WOW what a difference it has made!”
Don’t run yourself ragged at the gym with no results, take control of your health!