Disney’s Childhood Obesity Exhibit–is it really that simple?

February 23, 2012 in Uncategorized

Obesity is a serious issue.

It will kill you.

Maybe not in one day.

But drawn out over years–it kills.

Everyone knows that this is a complex issue.

It’s not just a matter of swapping out your ice cream for frozen yogurt.

Well maybe it could be that simple.

If we were robots.

Or computer programs.

Or this was the Matrix where you could just download a new program into your brain and wake up instantly knowing kung fu.

But this is real life.

Not the matrix.

And in the real world, humans are complex individuals.

Anyone taking Psych 101 knows that we are not one dimensional paper dolls.

We’re made up of more than just circuitry and wires.

We’re a bit more complicated than that.

Maslow knew it when he talked about our hiearchy of needs.

How we’re all moving up the pyramid striving to reach our potential.

When it comes to someone fighting obesity, there are many complex issues taking place.

You don’t look at someone who is 100 pounds or 200 pounds overweight and say “Did you know double stuffed Oreos have more calories than an apple? Try switching them out and see what happens”.

A month later, this obese person comes back to you 20 pounds thinner.

“Thanks! I had no idea! Wow that was so…SIMPLE!”

Does anyone out there think that’s going to happen?

Now maybe if you were talking to your friend who was 10 pounds overweight and she really didn’t know that drowning her salad in bleu cheese dressing was the culprit of those extra pounds.

But an obese person?

Someone who clearly has a serious issue with overeating?

You don’t get obese because you didn’t realize that broccoli is healthier for you than brownies.

The truth is that like many things in life–obesity is a a complex issue.

 It has many factors.

 Some of it is behavioral.  Maybe even most of it.

But some of it is physical. Biological. Genetic even.

Some is learned. Some is environmental.

And then there are all the things going on inside your body.

Hormones. Cravings.

The list goes on and on.

Would you look at someone who is clinically depressed and say…”Cheer up! You look ugly with those tears streaming down your face.  I’m going to shoot pom poms at you until you get happy! Oh yeah–and I’m going to call you mean names too like party pooper and Debby Downer and Crybaby!  That ought to shame you right out of that depression!”

I think most people understand that there are a few other things happening in the life of someone suffering from depression.

For example, the situation they are in.

Did someone die?

Did they lose their job?

What is causing them to be depressed?

Are their hormones running rampant?

Are they affected by the weather?

Do they have a mood disorder?

Did something happen in their past?

You see it’s a complex issue.  Like most things in life.

Take your car for instance.  It’s making noises. Lights are going on.  Smoke is coming out of the hood.

There’s a good chance that a seasoned professional might know what is wrong just from looking at it.

My experience, however, is that even the best mechanic will hook it up to a diagnostic tool to see what exactly is going on.

I mean you can look at a car and guess but is every car exactly the same?

Are they all alike?

Of course not.

Neither are people.

We’re not all clones of each other walking around with the same backgrounds, same life experiences, same DNA.

We’re individuals.
 
We are individually packaged complex people walking around this world trying to climb our way up Maslow’s pyramid to the best version of ourself we can!

But it’s hard.

Why oh why is it so hard?

I know Oreos aren’t good for me.

I know Snickers are not a good source of protein!

And yet this simple fact alone does not keep me from eating them.

There is something else going on inside of us.

A war if you will.

A battle between Oreos and apples.

Between sitting on the couch and walking around the block.

Between wanting to do it versus actually doing it.

It’s a war that has been going on for ages.

Check out what Paul has to say about it.

And this is coming from someone who is the Rocky Balboa of Bible times.

What I don’t understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise.  Romans 7:16

You see, it’s not always about lack of information.

Sometimes we know exactly what we need to do but there is something much deeper within keeping us from doing it.

We can’t just assume that more information is the cure.

Some things are more complex than that.

Everyone I know has some childhood memory they’d rather forget.

Yesterday, my youngest daughter came home from school in tears.

She said she’d been sitting on the floor during circle time and apparently her underwear was showing out the back of her jeans.

Another child took it upon herself to let everyone else know—except my daughter.

Pointing, whispering, snickering.

I’m sure you can imagine this isn’t going to be her favorite memory of the week.

We all  have those memories, don’t we?

Some memory of being a child and having someone point at you, whisper and snicker about something they didn’t like.

You weren’t cool enough.

Your underwear was showing.

You failed to zip your fly.

Maybe you were pulled out of class because you couldn’t read as well as the other kids.

Or maybe your foot turned in when you walked.

Maybe you had to wear glasses or braces or you had acne.

The list goes on and on.

Did teasing help? Shaming you?

Was that a positive experience in your childhood?

Think about where every kid dreams to go!

The place where your dreams come true.

It doesn’t matter who you are or where you’re from.

It doesn’t matter if you’re rich or poor.

Skinny or overweight .

When you’re there—your dreams come true!

Which is why I found this story about Disney Epcot’s new exhibit, Habit Heroes, geared towards tackling childhood obesity a bit baffling.

It’s supposed to be an interactive exhibit where kids defeat a morbidly obese character named “Lead Bottom”.

Yes I just said that–LEAD BOTTOM.

 How do you defeat him?

By shooting broccoli at him of course!

Because we all know that obesity is killing our nation.

And broccoli will defeat it.

Because it’s that simple.

Or we could just get Morpheus to download a new program to our brain the way he did for Neo in the Matrix.

We could wake up tomorrow instantly cured of all the complex issues that made us obese in the first place.

And as a bonus we could do Kung Fu.

I’m sorry to say that the issue is much more involved than that.

Much more layered.

That doesn’t mean you can’t beat it.

That there isn’t hope.

Trust me—there is.

If I can lose 130 pounds in 7 months then there is hope.

But it isn’t in shaming the obese by calling them “Lead Bottom” or ignoring all the other issues that play into it.

I haven’t been to this exhibit so I don’t know about it firsthand.

I’m sure it has good intentions.

I doubt that this exhibit is all good or all bad.

I’m sure much of it is even fun.

I just know one thing–an obese child will go to Disney World this year and see an exhibit of someone resembling their shape called “Lead Bottom”.

That won’t be one of their favorite childhood memories.

You want to know more? Check out Obesity PPM on Facebook where they posted about it. Or check out this blog, Weighty Matters, which does an excellent job of describing the exhibit including pictures.

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous February 23, 2012 at 12:02 pm

They would make more of difference by selling decent food at their theme parks than by doing this exhibit. If they actually sold some decent food for a decenht price instead of fried food on every corner and huge soft drinks then maybe with all of the walking people could actually drop a few pounds at the park and have a fun time. Thanks for posting. I had no clue about this.

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Holly from 300 Pounds Down February 23, 2012 at 12:04 pm

You make a pretty good point there! I hadn't even thought of that! Thanks for your comment. I really appreciate it!

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Mike Turner February 23, 2012 at 1:16 pm

I know I have more then just a few memories I wish I could forget from my childhood, an oh how I have had dreams of being able to just upload a new program but alas like you said in Real Life that's not going to happen, I know that it so hard sometimes there is some kinda mental thing going on sometimes I mean I will be going to the store telling myself that in order to stop hurting and to prevent from being out of breath just walking from the car to the store I need to eat healthier and exerciser more but before you know it I am unloading the groceries at home and there is the candies and cakes and chips. Why because it makes me feel good at least for the moment, we cant escape it as soon as we enter a store there is the racks full of all the sweets jumping out at us on sale like its going to go bad tomorrow then the seasonal selection that seems to take over half a store with all the peanut butter eggs and all the other stuff, the stores need to have a second floor to them and that's where all the candies cakes and chips will be and no elevators or escalator just good old stairs that would be a good start at least then if we wanted it we would have to put forth a real hard effort for it. shew sorry for the rant but you are just so inspiring with your blog 😉

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Matt, Kara, Hunter and Cavan February 23, 2012 at 7:04 pm

Along with my surgery I am getting monthly counseling visits with a mental health worker. I am working hard at coming to terms with the reasons I binge eat and how to change those habits. I wish they could be weekly meetings, but since we live so remote the counselor only visits once a month. Better than nothing! And it sure is helping.

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Holly from 300 Pounds Down February 23, 2012 at 7:14 pm

thanks for sharing, Mike!! I completely relate to every single thing you said. The thoughts going through your mind about walking in the grocery store have passed through mind a thousand times. I would be thinking in my head how I don't need to buy the food I am about to buy…and yet I'd still walk right out with it!! Like you said, there are other things going on in our head that makes it tough. Thank you so much for sharing. It's good to know that others feel the same way!

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Holly from 300 Pounds Down February 23, 2012 at 7:16 pm

That is so awesome!! I definitely think that is a great thing to do if you can. I started seeing a counselor who specializes with bariatric patients early on and it has helped a lot. I already had a lot of insight into my own issues so I wasn't convinced that she could provide me with anything more . I was wrong! Someone else can always see things objectively and add a different perspective. I'm glad you shared this! It reminds me of how important that is!

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Sheila February 23, 2012 at 8:39 pm

Holly, yet another excellent post! I have not yet heard of the new Disney shot at solving the obesity crisis, but will try to check out your extra links when I have the time. Thanks for posting them. One of my early blog posts was about a great book I read. http://thisonebody.blogspot.com/2010/09/food-for-thought.html
There is soooooooooo much that plays into the role of obesity in our society, I really WISH it was as simple as swapping the apple for a snickers. If only it was that easy.

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Virtual Paul February 23, 2012 at 8:45 pm

Great post, Holly. I had to follow your blog!! Weight loss is every bit as mental as it is physical.

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Holly from 300 Pounds Down February 23, 2012 at 9:05 pm

Hey Sheila! Thanks a lot for your feedback. I love your blog. I will go check out the book review. Thanks again!

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Holly from 300 Pounds Down February 23, 2012 at 9:14 pm

Thanks Paul! I totally agree with you. I just checked out your blog and I love it. I'm watching your cooking video right now. What a fantastic thing you are doing helping everyone learning healthy recipes!

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Virtual Paul February 23, 2012 at 9:25 pm

Well thank you, Holly. However, I must admit many of my cooking videos are not the most healthy. I have to have some variety. I like to think that I am losing weight to live, but I don't solely live to lose weight. If that makes any sense? Anyways, it is nice to meet you and you are doing fantastic judging from your photos!!

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Kelliann February 24, 2012 at 7:23 am

Excellent post…

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trisha February 26, 2012 at 2:54 pm

GREAT, thought-provoking post…would maybe like to reference it ij a future blog post of mine if I get your blessing! 🙂

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Holly from 300 Pounds Down February 26, 2012 at 3:28 pm

Um YEAH!! That would be an honor. Looking forward to your next update on your blog. It's one of my favorites!

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Holly from 300 Pounds Down February 26, 2012 at 3:29 pm

Thanks!!

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Maria Fitzpatrick February 27, 2012 at 7:08 pm

Oh I was very upset about the Disney attraction. Though I feel their intentions were good, this is NOT the way to go about it! 🙁

I posted about this also a few days ago:

http://www.formerlyfluffy.com/disney-is-certainly-not-the-happiest-place-on-earth-for-overweight-or-obese-children/

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