Smart, Rich & Thin

I always know when my husband has driven my car. Yes, I need to readjust the seat. But oftentimes I don’t even notice that. The telltale sign is the radio. It’s always on.

Yesterday, as I started the car, some radio program played a clip of some person stating that they would never listen to anyone who wasn’t rich. The radio host commented on the clip and the person making the statement, saying that this remark essentially said, “If you’re smart and you’re not rich, there’s something wrong with you.” The program host then went on to describe a list of examples of how someone could be very smart and not necessarily rich. And the implication was that the person making the original statement in the radio clip was an idiot.

And then I turned the radio off. I don’t know what the station or program was. I don’t know who the host was or who the person in the clip was – and I don’t really care. I turn off all extraneous noise. But that assertion stuck with me. “If you’re smart and you’re not rich, there’s something wrong with you.”

Why do you suppose that remark would hit me like of ton of bricks? Because I happen to work and live and breathe in the one subject area that is compared to money more than any other – weight-loss. And I know the corresponding statement is an underlying cultural assumption. If you’re smart and you’re not thin, there’s something wrong with you.

Our culture asks, “If you’re smart, why aren’t you thin? You obviously know that you only get to eat so much. If you want to eat more, you have to exercise. You obviously know what foods are ‘good’ and what foods are ‘bad.’ You obviously know that you should be at the gym instead of sitting on the couch.”

If you’re fat, our culture says, there’s obviously “something wrong with you.” Either you’re unmotivated and undisciplined or you’ve got emotional and psychological issues that sabotage your success. The most forgivable reason that you’re fat – assuming that you are indeed smart – is that there’s something wrong with your hormones. Then, according to our culture, it’s not really your “fault” and you can find the right doctor or treatment to “fix” you.

The radio program host rattled off half a dozen reasons why intelligence doesn’t necessarily relate to economic status. And I could list a dozen more as to why someone’s intelligence doesn’t relate to their weight. But that’s not even really the point.

The point is that, as a culture, we think we know what determines our weight. We think – based on those assumptions – that we have the power to change it. And we think we’re wrong, bad, broken or stupid if we can’t. This mindset not only keeps us stuck in our pain, it prevents us from creating sustainable results.

To create sustainable results we must release the cultural idea that our weight is directly a simple result of what we eat and what we do for exercise. We must understand that our weight is a reflection of the totality of our state of being. To create sustainable results, we don’t simply change the rules of the game. We change the game altogether. Then, not only are we smart – we’re happy to boot!