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"Unrealistic" body goals

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  • AnnPT77AnnPT77 Member, Premium Posts: 17,063 Member Member, Premium Posts: 17,063 Member
    I'm going to quote myself and comment below, in a way that's related but not direct to the point of the thread. I've been thinking about these issues as I read replies on the thread, and there's an aspect I find odd.
    AnnPT77 wrote: »

    I agree that we're seeing more obese people over the last 40 years or so, but the idea that it was historically normal to be what (I think) we'd refer to as "lean" in threads like this . . . I think that's inaccurate.

    People had less bodyfat. The defined muscularity was not common, nor was single digit body fat coipled with muscularity. A more wiry than defined build was probably more common among average people, even people with quite intense physical jobs. What we'd call "skinny" now was very common, even among demographics with fairly physical work (farmers are the ones I'm most familiar with).

    Most of the handsome young male film idols of the 1940s-1960s aren't what we'd consider normal in that same kind of group today - much less shredded, generally, even at movie swimsuit time. To the extent there are photos of circus strongmen from the 1800s, most are fairly muscular, but still I think on average a bit short of what we'd consider normal in bodybuilders today (even sub-elite but serious ones) Further, many of those 1800s strongmen don't have extremely low bodyfat. Often, there is enough bodyfat that abs don't show, though the rest of the physique suggests that they're there under that bit of fat layer. There have been bodybuilders per se (appearance focused physique) for a very long time, but they've always been a small minority.

    The appearance standards for "good looking fit normal guy" are more defined and muscular now/recently, than has been true over my lifetime (b. 1955). Am I saying the standards are unrealistic? No, I'm saying that they've changed, noticably, toward low bodyfat and defined muscularity.

    Usually, the "obesity epidemic" is said to have begun somewhere around the 1980s. (I was 25 in 1980, for context, so my "noticing bodies" hormones had been in the "on" position for over a decade at that point.)

    Without doing a big bundle of reseach, I think the obesity incidence trend and the muscularity/toned aspiration "look" have risen in parallel, loosely speaking. Looking at some photos of "good looking" aspirational celebrity appearance examples over the years, the aspirational appearance (in popular culture) seems to have moved toward defined muscularity for men, and "toned" appearance for women (in a way that would've been seen as undesirably muscular in say, 1970).

    I suspect the fitness level inthe general population may've been on a somewhat similar track to the obesity trend. That's more complicated, though, so a more tentative thought. For sure, the average person's daily life has gotten much less active (incidental life activity) over those decades, but intentional exercise seems much more popular.

    OTOH, while gyms and the like are all over the place now compared to then, the people I see in mine (and judging from multi-aged friends' routines), many people's exercise routine is fairly mild (that's not a criticism), maybe kind of pro forma. It also seems like - around here - hobby type activities with a strong physical component are attracting fewer people, especially younger people. (I'm talking about things like commonness of dancing as a lifel-long hobby, how many people seem to do things like canoeing often or belong to clubs for that sort of thing, the size of adult sports leagues of various sorts around here, etc.). Cycling for transportation is more popular, though, I think. All of this fitness bit is observational on my side, though, so quite likely biased by where and who I am.

    This is an imperfect kind of correlation, I'm sure; and there are certainly individual counter-examples along the way (celebrities seen as physically desirable who don't fit that muscular/toned mold). But I think there is a loose cooincidence between those trends, of aspirational appearance becoming more fit/muscular, even as the population has become on average more overweight and less active.

    This probably has some implications for what people see as realistic, or not so much, but could cut either/both ways.
    edited October 26
  • NovusDiesNovusDies Member, Premium Posts: 8,753 Member Member, Premium Posts: 8,753 Member
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    Mellouk89 wrote: »
    My sister is morbidly obese, has been that way for most of her life and will probably stay that way. I don't think she lacks "discipline" or whatever that was stated here. She went to school for a very long time, got a good solid job. Wakes up every morning and rarely miss a day of work.

    I think it's a case of people being disciplined in other areas and not putting as much efforts in their fitness and health. I don't know if that makes sense?

    Because I can say she's probably more disciplined and organized than me but in other areas of her life.

    Interesting observiation. I think that's absolutely common.

    I found Novus's explanation of how it applied to him very interesting, too, because it's quite different from what I'd say of myself. Personally, I've found that I can *focus* on a limited number of dynamic areas. There was a time when it was mostly career and marriage. Now retired and widowed, those aren't in the picture. My focus on finances have switched on and off over the years, but in a mode that put decent habits in place for the unfocused times, so that's worked out OK (probably looks "disciplined and organized" from the outside, but really, really isn't).

    Cancer (and the physical depletion that came with treatment) increased my focus on activity and fitness. A decade or so later, I finally acknowledged (echo of Novus here) that health issue such as my blood lips/blood pressure were not responding sufficiently to fitness alone, and I turned more focus to weight management.

    I think for some people like me, there's a question of how many balls we can keep in the air at one time, regarding things that *actively* require attention, discipline, and organization (vs. can just run on autopilot-type habits). Denial is a factor, but possibly having a limited capacity for focus is another.

    There are certainly very successful peole who can (seemingly) achieve discipline, organization, and actual improvement of their behavior/habits in many areas at once . . . but I don't think that type of person is super common.

    I am not one of the super people. Trust me. I just reprioritized things. One of the things that is not immediately easy for a self employed person is to fire B and C clients. These are one that take as much, sometimes more, time than A clients but are less profitable and/or they do not pay timely.

    Of course this year business has sucked and I am not 100 percent sure what happens next. I might be happy with some B and C clients right now. lol
  • janejellyrolljanejellyroll Member Posts: 24,291 Member Member Posts: 24,291 Member
    Mellouk89 wrote: »
    My sister is morbidly obese, has been that way for most of her life and will probably stay that way. I don't think she lacks "discipline" or whatever that was stated here. She went to school for a very long time, got a good solid job. Wakes up every morning and rarely miss a day of work.

    I think it's a case of people being disciplined in other areas and not putting as much efforts in their fitness and health. I don't know if that makes sense?

    Because I can say she's probably more disciplined and organized than me but in other areas of her life.

    In my experience, people who self-sabotage often are highly functional in many areas of their life, but there are one or two things they have some sort of mental block or issue to addressing with the same habits of consistency or self-discipline they're able to harness to help accomplish goals in different areas of their lives.

    I'm absolutely in this category -- I've had times in my life where multiple areas of my life looked great and one or two were just disaster areas. If you just looked at those areas, you'd conclude that I couldn't plan or had no discipline.

    It's gotten better now that I'm older and have done some self-work, but it's still takes more focus and planning for me to make time for household chores than it is for me to, say, knock out projects for work.
  • rheddmobilerheddmobile Member Posts: 5,770 Member Member Posts: 5,770 Member
    NovusDies wrote: »
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    Mellouk89 wrote: »
    My sister is morbidly obese, has been that way for most of her life and will probably stay that way. I don't think she lacks "discipline" or whatever that was stated here. She went to school for a very long time, got a good solid job. Wakes up every morning and rarely miss a day of work.

    I think it's a case of people being disciplined in other areas and not putting as much efforts in their fitness and health. I don't know if that makes sense?

    Because I can say she's probably more disciplined and organized than me but in other areas of her life.

    Interesting observiation. I think that's absolutely common.

    I found Novus's explanation of how it applied to him very interesting, too, because it's quite different from what I'd say of myself. Personally, I've found that I can *focus* on a limited number of dynamic areas. There was a time when it was mostly career and marriage. Now retired and widowed, those aren't in the picture. My focus on finances have switched on and off over the years, but in a mode that put decent habits in place for the unfocused times, so that's worked out OK (probably looks "disciplined and organized" from the outside, but really, really isn't).

    Cancer (and the physical depletion that came with treatment) increased my focus on activity and fitness. A decade or so later, I finally acknowledged (echo of Novus here) that health issue such as my blood lips/blood pressure were not responding sufficiently to fitness alone, and I turned more focus to weight management.

    I think for some people like me, there's a question of how many balls we can keep in the air at one time, regarding things that *actively* require attention, discipline, and organization (vs. can just run on autopilot-type habits). Denial is a factor, but possibly having a limited capacity for focus is another.

    There are certainly very successful peole who can (seemingly) achieve discipline, organization, and actual improvement of their behavior/habits in many areas at once . . . but I don't think that type of person is super common.

    I am not one of the super people. Trust me. I just reprioritized things. One of the things that is not immediately easy for a self employed person is to fire B and C clients. These are one that take as much, sometimes more, time than A clients but are less profitable and/or they do not pay timely.

    Of course this year business has sucked and I am not 100 percent sure what happens next. I might be happy with some B and C clients right now. lol
    Oh man. I feel like this year has been nothing but Cs and Ds! I’m even grateful for the D clients (the ones who might pay someday or frankly they just might not) at the moment!

    I feel like @Mellouk89 has a point. There have been times in my life when exercise and appearance were just not priorities. It takes a lot of time and effort to procure decent meals and work out, compared to days past when crunch time has meant trying to get in a pizza order before Dominos closes at 1 am then working 24 hrs without a break for a shower. Not a lot of time for long runs, shopping, or food prep.
  • ajwindsoriiajwindsorii Member Posts: 9 Member Member Posts: 9 Member
    The only unrealistic fitness goals are the Hollywood transformations which require steroids and other drugs to achieve that kind of body in that time frame or at that age.
    Stuff like a flat stomach or low body fat % is just a matter of dieting; you don't even need to workout.

    Huge problem is how lacking proper nutrition education is. Not enough people seem to understand that losing weight is Calories in Vs. Calories Out. Or that you will eventually lose fat everywhere, but you can't decide where to lose fat first. Instead, it's a constant stream of how some people are just fat through no fault of their own and there's nothing they can do about it.

    My go-to line when someone says that some people can't lose weight is "no one in the holocaust was fat."
  • B_Plus_EffortB_Plus_Effort Member Posts: 259 Member Member Posts: 259 Member
    I had this thought while swimming today. Weight is not like height. I remember being in high school on the varsity basketball team and I couldn't dunk I was so close I could dunk a volley ball but not a basketball and at 6' foot I thought man if I was 6' 1" or 6'3" max the world would be my oyster, well unlike height which we can not control, weight we can. We absolutely can. If we were to drop 100 obese individuals on a deserted island with limited resources to where they would be forced (yes forced) to only eat enough to survive, it is a matter of fact that when we picked them up a month later or a year later every single one of them would have lost weight. So no miracles needed, it is all about input vs output. However in the United States especially everything is a disease or a condition, and seldom do we hold people accountable for their actions, I recently read somewhere about someone's mom who's gotten injured once again as a nurse trying to lift an overweight patient again! I know from personal observations that people who don't lie to themselves succeed, one girl in particular was over 200 pounds and called herself fat, not over weight, not husky, not body positive, but fat, she has now lost over 60 pounds over the last two years, and is still looking to improve.
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