Well-Being//

What a couple of pitbulls taught me about obesity.

The difference between physical exertion for personal survival, and personal improvement.


Back in Christmas time 2015, I was on holiday with my family, in my country of origin, beautiful New Caledonia. We were staying in a suburb on the outskirts of the capital, Noumea, and one morning I had decided to go for a run.

I was minding my own business, running along the road under the mid-morning sun, and I suddenly heard dogs barking. Having grown up in Australia, I was anticipating the comfortable sight of a fence between myself and the frantic canines, however, I soon realized that New Caledonian government has a different opinion about fencing off properties.

As I looked up, I noticed two angry pitbulls sprinting towards me, barking. My heart started pounding. All of a sudden, I forgot where I was, what my plans were for the day, and what I was going to have for breakfast. The only thing that was going through my mind was to get the heck away from these pitbulls. I took off, ran as hard as I possibly could, and after what felt like 30 seconds of chasing, they had given up on the pursuit.

Now, what does this have to do with obesity? Well, whenever I think back to that story, I realize how much of a comfort zone us humans live in. We are lucky enough to have such a big dominance on the food chain, that we can live in our habitat and never have to worry about becoming the prey of another being or another animal. We should be grateful for that.

However, being in such a zone of physical comfort means that we do not need to exert ourselves. I often relate to the animal kingdom as an example, because when you look at animals in the wild, most of them are under threat of becoming prey. They literally need to physically exert themselves every day to survive.

For us humans, physical exertion has become a choice instead of a necessity. Because we dominate the food chain, we can go to our local supermarket in the comfort of our own cars, and comfortably pick up any item of food that we so desire to consume. We can do this without worrying about becoming prey.

Now, I’m not saying that obesity will cease to exist once we create animals that are capable of hunting us down. I am just saying that we should be grateful of having the upper hand on the food chain, and that we shouldn’t take physical exertion for granted.

The great thing is, we have the ability of getting out of our comfort zones for the purpose of personal improvement, rather than personal survival. When I was being chased down by two angry pitbulls, I was in ‘personal survival’ mode. I didn’t care about how long or how far I’d been running, I only cared about escaping and ‘surviving’.

Once we, as a society, stop taking our physical abilities for granted, we will be able to gradually eliminate obesity. Once the whole world starts to see physical exertion as a way of improvement, rather than a form of pain, we will become a healthier society. Once we all embrace the fact that we have a huge dominance on the world around us, and that we do not need to get out of our comfort zones for the sake of survival, obesity levels will drop.

Make the most of your ability to improve yourself through physical exertion, and make it a habit to get out of your comfort zone for this reason. Be grateful that we do not need to get out of our comfort zone for the sake of personal survival. Find a way of moving that you enjoy, try different sports, different exercise routines, stick to them and enjoy the process of getting out of your comfort zone, and always strive to physically improve yourself.

The best starting point would be to book yourself a holiday in New Caledonia, and find some angry pitbulls to run away from, it worked for me!

Originally published at medium.com

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