If Obesity really was an “Epidemic”, the same way that influenza or cholera could become epidemics, you would think we would be forming some sort of plan to combat it. The sticky part of obesity is that it usually is tied to personal choices. Government cannot ban you from buying a donut…yet.
Here is my idea for a Espirt d’ Corps on the front lines on the Obesity Epidemic:
- Dietitians and other medical professionals cannot be everywhere at once. While they are necessary for monitoring the health of those who want to lose weight, they can’t be on call for everyone’s craving urges at 9 pm.
- Instead of having the highly-paid sorts and commercial weight-loss programs “in charge”, I suggest spreading out the responsibility to trained peer counselors who help no more than half a dozen people at a time. This is a long-term relationship so feeling comfortable with someone is paramount.
- The Peer Counselors will be trained in basic nutrition and fitness routines. They may or may not have lost a significant amount of weight, but it would certainly aid them in helping others through the same changes. They have support from professionals when they need it.
- Overweight and Obese people must want to lose the weight. No amount of badgering from a “friend” will make them change. They sign up for the counseling and find the right Counselor to match their personality and geographic location.
- Peer Counselors are on-call, pretty much all the time. They help folks through cravings or give advice on what to buy at the grocery store, etc. They are like Volunteer Firefighters in community service.
- Peer Counselors visit with participants several times a week at the start. They have full access to cupboards, refrigerators, the backs of sock drawers, whatever and where ever food can be hidden. They help in meal planning and grocery shopping.
- Peer Counselors bring together their participants for weekly fitness outings. Exercise and fun are mixed together. Fat people, I’ve noticed, tend to be lonely people. Relationship-building is paramount.
- If the participants are not showing inner motivation after a set period of time, they are put on a back-list for a while until they come around the the idea that they are responsible for following the Peer Counselor’s directions.
- Obviously, this plan will encounter some serious challenges from the Establishment, meaning those who have the most to “lose” if people lose weight. This will be the the weight-loss pay plans, cardiologists, and internists, among others. Imagine putting a cardiologist out of a job! That would be revolutionary.
I thought up this plan because so many times I wish I could step alongside others to help them through the process. I am not a professional but I learn all the time about health, fitness and nutrition. If there was some way I could communicate others how much fun being alive really is, without being overloaded with all sorts of junk -not just food and fat- I’d jump at it. 🙂