Clients often come to me frustrated from everything they’ve tried and exhausted by the lack of results. They also believe it requires too much energy and effort to do ALL.THE.THINGS to lose weight, be healthy and oh yes, fit in your life too.
In today’s episode, I reveal and discuss a cultural myth that keeps you working hard not smart, the opportunity you have when you realize not all efforts are equal and the trick to sticking with healthy living and your weight loss path.
THE MERITOCRACY MYTH
Meritocracy is the idea that success can be achieved based on ability and talent. In other words, we’re all equal and it’s hard work and opportunity that enables us to prove ourselves, regardless of race, class or creed.
The more left you lean, the less you see America as a true meritocracy.
Donald Trump, as president, is shocking to me and most of the world. There’s a layer of complexity here that I can’t get into right now.
However, the Donald’s election was in large part due to being born into extreme wealth and capitalizing on that. He equated his ability to own things with his merit for the Presidency.
WHERE MERITOCRACY HIDES IN HEALTH BELIEFS
There can be an incredible upside to questioning this meritocracy related to our health, healing and weight loss efforts.
One way the American idea of meritocracy shows up is in traditional weight loss conversations. All bodies are “equal”, or physiologically and emotionally the same at any given time (preposterous yet unchallenged in mainstream conversations).
There’s a belief that if you’re overweight, it is your fault for not trying hard enough. That if you work hard (at counting calories), stay disciplined (around tempting foods) and focused (at the gym), and “follow the rules” (eat less, move more), you will succeed (weight loss!).
This follows along the same conditioned thought that says if you work hard, keep a positive attitude, and never give up, you will succeed. You will achieve the American Dream.
The reality is success, in terms of wealth, isn’t achieved through merit. Income is what you earn. Wealth is how much you own.
This is all about ownership. The majority of ownership is by a few families and corporations, a wealthy oligarchy. This is inherited, not earned through merit. Of course, there’s always exceptions to the rule, which keeps the illusion going.
Back to questioning meritocracy related to our health, culturally we equate being “good” as making choices which leads to being thin. This implies thin people are healthy and work hard for their figures. Both assumptions are often untrue.
Side note: just like many people don’t learn the invisible social systems that negate meritocracy, these health premises negate the invisible environmental threats like polluted air, water and soil or emotional threats like trauma, isolation and lack of support for working families, that influence health outcomes.
While there’s considerable truth to having to take responsibility for our health, it doesn’t involve the meritocracy idea that discipline and following the “eat less, move more” rules you’ve been taught will lead to successful goals.
In reality, these ideas couldn’t be further from the truth. Most of my clients have tried everything under the sun under the meritocracy premise. They work hard at learning about nutrition and getting to the gym while juggling the rest of their over-worked lives.
Yet their efforts are based on an idea that was never true.
In this episode, I share a more true perspective and approach to take to any health goal based on how the body actually works, not what you’ve been sold.