Quality of Life

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Posted by HSG on May 31, 2005 at 16:34:33:

One of the most significant statements in the article by Paul Campos that Emily recently linked was the author's observation that the weight-loss profiteers and diet zealots had begun to reorient their campaign as a "quality of life" issue, now that their attempts to fabricate an "epidemic" have run aground on actual medical facts.

Their witch-hunt certainly needs some sort of reorientation, since reports are coming in on a daily basis showing just how nonsensical and baseless their entire anti-plus campaign really is.

Here, for example, are two pages at the CCF that discuss a new article in Scientific American, which tears weight myths to shreds:

-Scientific American Link #1
-Scientific American Link #2

So, without any factual basis for their contentions, the starvation advocates have decided to talk about "quality of life."

If they are smart, they will quickly rethink this position, because when it comes to quality of life, it is obvious the lifestyle that they seek to impose on North American women is a miserable one indeed.

Just think about the quality of life that any unfortunate soul who is duped into following their regimen of self-torture and self-denial actually leads:

  • She goes around with a hungry feeling in her stomach all day.
  • She thinks about food constantly, because her body is (rightly) telling her that she is starving, and that she desperately needs nourishment.
  • When she does eat, she has to limit herself to foods that are guaranteed to be taste-reduced, low-taste, or altogether taste-free.
  • She has to watch her friends enjoy their food, while she eats next to nothing, feeling ashamed.
  • And then, after a long day's work as a homemaker, or at a place of employment, she has to devote whatever energy she has left into punishing her body (which is in an already weakened condition from the constant starvation) at a gym prison.
  • She has to do this using cold machines that resembles chrome-plated medieval torture instruments.
  • The activities that she undertakes at this gym prison are utterly monotonous, consisting of mindless repetition of the same physical actions, all to no purpose.
  • Insanely, she actually has to pay--and pay big--for the "privilege" of torturing herself like this.
  • The time that she spends incarcerating herself in this gym prison is time spent away from her spouse, or from her child, or from her family. And it is time that she can never get back. That much of her life is lost, gone forever, doing precisely the sort of brainless physical labour that human beings have struggled to escape, throughout history.
  • And in the end, all of this self-denial and self-torture either yields minimal results--or worse, it actually does ravage her figure, leading to a reduction in precisely the womanly curves that made her feminine and attractive in the first place (because it is invariably the hourglass curves that vanish first).

Now, think about the quality of life that someone who does not punish herself this way possesses:

  • She can eat as much as she wants, whenever she wants, and whatever she wants.
  • She can have dessert--and eat it too.
  • She can join her friends in decadent self-indulgence; and she can watch those individuals who have sentenced themselves to self-deprivation turn pea-green with envy.
  • She walks around with a happy feeling inside her, content and satisfied, and can devote her thoughts to other matters.
  • After a day of exertion (either at home or at work), she can rest and relax, instead of going to the gym prison for self-imposed punishment.
  • The money that she saves by not surrendering it to the torture-inflicters is money that she can spend on herself--on clothes, on cosmetics, and on things that can actually enhance her feminine beauty. Or, if she prefers, she can spend it on books and music, or on life necessities.
  • The time that she would have sacrificed in self-punishment she can now use to go shopping, to visit an art gallery, or to do anything she likes.
  • Alternatively, she can spend more time with her husband, or with her children, or a boyfriend, or girlfriends, or by herself, curled up with a good book.

And it is the latter point that demands further consideration.

Not only does a woman who avoids starving and torturing herself possess more physical energy than one who squanders it all in a gym in physical punishment, but she also possesses more mental energy, which she can then devote to other matters.

Quality of life? The individual who devotes her time to tedious physical activity probably knows little about Shakespeare--but she is likely to know just how many calories there are in a carrot.

She may not write poetry, but she undoubtedly writes out a card listing all of the carbohydrates she imbibes within a 24-hour period.

She may not listen to opera, but she listens to the droning whirr of her stationary bike as she pedals her life away.

Is this all that human beings were born to do--to waste their lives engaged in physical hardship?


The history of human existence is the struggle to free oneself from the life of a beast of burden, and to devote oneself to more fulfilling and enjoyable pursuits.

We all know that physical self-abuse diminishes one's beauty, but is also deprives one of the chance to become a more fascinating and complete individual, and to lead a richer internal life.

Spending time discovering more about the world around you--either the civilizations that exist today, or those that have existed in the past--makes you a better conversationalist, and a more profound thinker.

It also enables you to lead a more reflective life.

And sooner or later--through fate, tragedy, or our own fault--we are all confronted by situations in which we are left with no company, but the company of our own thoughts.

And without a rich inner life, that time can be a sad and lonely one.

* * *

In the end, when we take stock of our lives, none of us will say, "I wish I'd spent more time on the treadmill." But we will surely say, "I wish I'd spent more time having fun."

None of us will regret all of the nautilus equipment that we never tried, but we will regret all of the topics that we never explored, or the cultures that we never learned about, or the books that we never read--or the desserts that we never ate.

A happy existence does not depend on quantity of activity, but indeed, on quality of life.

And our time on this planet is not long--so make the most of it. And don't let the the gym pushers use it up, or the diet advocates make it miserable.

Live life . . . to the fullest.

Message from Classical Antiquity to the Modern World (via a Barbara Brickner e-card, courtesy of Elena Miro):

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