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Should Healthy People ALWAYS Set an Example?

Posted Oct 17 2008 9:14pm

by Brett Blumenthal

The other day, a friend and I were taking a leisurely stroll and we had the choice of taking an escalator or taking the stairs.  She headed for the stairs and I opted for the escalator.  My friend quickly scolded me, ‘You, of all people, should be taking the stairs!’  Ummm…SERIOUSLY????  Yes, I’m a fit, healthy individual, and yes, I have a business promoting healthy and balanced lifestyles, but in all honesty, does that mean that I, or anyone else who is healthy, should always be setting an example

Granted, I’ve experienced those individuals who think my healthy choices are ‘unnecessary.’  I look healthy and as a result, why do I need to eat well …why don’t I just dive into a big bag of chocolate donuts?  But, as my friend so blatantly demonstrated, there too are those individuals who assume that if you are healthy and are in the ‘business of health’, you should be living the ‘Healthy Example’ ALL the time…or at least WANTING to. 

I know I’m not alone in this experience.  Recently, I spoke with a woman who runs a personal training company with her boyfriend.  She told me that everytime she and her boyfriend go out to a restaurant, people who know them scrutinize over what they eat, commenting on their eating dessert, butter or even drinking wine.  Ok…here are my issues with this:

  1. These extremes are CRAZY!   The all or nothing attitude is completely unrealistic, not to mention, self-defeating.  It’s these stereotypes that get us into trouble…ultimately de-motivating individuals about being healthy.  That is why BALANCE is the true secret to being healthy.  Knowing when too much is too much and when not enough is not enough is key. 
  2. The Double Standard: If healthy people ever had this reaction to an unhealthy, overweight and out of shape person, it would be completely unacceptable. 
  3. Comparing Apples to Apples:  If the logic of all or nothing held true, then it would be like saying, if you are fat and out of shape, you should ALWAYS do things that people expect out of shape and fat people to do.  God forbid they should eat a salad!

Has anyone forced a stereotype of healthiness on you because you are healthy?  Do you think that people who are healthy should ALWAYS lead by example?


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