The Mentality of Unhealthy Lifestyles

It might not be politically correct, but there’s speculation that the obesity of some people is a reflection of their mentality. Perhaps their characters, but more so the mentality.

This excludes, of course, people suffering from medical conditions like hypothyroidism.

Take, for example, two siblings A & B. A was a medical school classmate of J.’s, and hasn’t had much time to exercise since starting work. B works in the financial industry which is of course busy busy busy. A is trim and fit with a BMI of 22. B is less trim and fit with a BMI of 28 (obese by Asian standards).

A, knowing he has no time to exercise, walks about 20min home from the MRT every day. He climbs the stairs at work, even though SGH lifts are easy to use, fast and arrive frequently. It’s his method of staying active in the face of limited time.

B flat out refuses, opting instead to spend $0.67 to take 2 bus stops distance from the other MRT station.

In a similar vein, one sees larger-sized people, carrying a box of donuts, get on the 1st floor lift only to get off on the 2nd floor, barely 2m from the stair landing. There’s something wrong here.

It seems we must change our mindsets, yes? But how? Stages of behavioural change? What if they’re just not interested, or think it’s too much work?


4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by cheekysalsera on May 26, 2008 at 1:06 am

    Convenience rules in today’s world. People may not think of using such simple options as in A’s example to stay active, because they’re exposed to so many other options in the media which require taking out a fairly large chunk of time to stay healthy (eg. sessions of yoga / pilates / gym / etc), and often the first thought that comes to mind is that they can’t afford that kind of time. It also doesn’t help that being presentable for work requires some effort to maintain, which sometimes conflicts with staying active even in such small ways.

    Anyway, people’s lack of interest shouldn’t stop you from speaking about these things if you think it’s for their own good. After all, you’re in the right place and position to say these things.


  2. Posted by J on May 27, 2008 at 9:51 pm

    Aye, that’s why we currently try to encourage people to make minor changes in their life. Minor ones.

    Take 1/2 a bowl less rice a day.

    Drink Coke Zero instead of Coke.

    Take the stairs instead of the lift.

    Walk 30min a week.

    But if minor changes are too hard for some… what then?


  3. Posted by cheekysalsera on May 28, 2008 at 11:47 pm

    Well, that’s their choice. In the end, implementation and enforcement of these changes are still up to them.

    Btw, there’s an article in today’s newspapers about Japanese and running. Most of the young female runners aren’t doing it primarily for the health benefits. (Eg. they run together in groups, so for some runners, it’s the social activity that keep them at it.) Maybe what’s needed is how to make these healthier options fun, or attractive enough to get people to implement the necessary changes? Good health by itself apparently isn’t attractive enough for some people.


  4. Posted by CS on October 5, 2011 at 5:43 pm

    Well I think calory counting is a very good way because it provides a tangible way to measure how much you have to do to get results. I for one would be very disappointed if I went to the inconvenience of making a change and didn’t get any results for it. They need to know that results will come.

    The easiest way to begin making changes is by changing what you drink. This is because drinks, unlike food, almost always carry a nutritional table that show the number of calories. So you can aim to cut 300 calories a day by cutting back on maybe 2 drinks a day and switching that to water. (Of course you can’t cheat and eat more unhealthy food.) That probably means in something like a few weeks you could be seeing small but visible results. Once you’re convinced that these changes actually work and aren’t just inconveniences, it tends to become easier to move on to other changes like changing what you eat.

    As for things like eating less rice, IMO it doesn’t really work because you’ll still be hungry. Eat lower calory per volume foods, don’t reduce total volume of the same food. You’ll won’t last a week. Unless you replace that half a bowl of rice with vegetables, but most are more inclined to replace it with higher energy foods which completely defeats the purpose of eating less rice.

    Anyway between rice and meat (which tends to come with fat) I suspect the former might contain fewer calories per volume. Is this true?


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