How will we look at ‘Body Capital’ in the future and is there anything we can do to change an unhealthy mindset?
New Ideals Guide Us
People’s values are slowly changing. We are waking up to the realisation that money alone does not equate to a better life. New ideals are informing people’s hunt for the good life and we now rate meaning, relationships and sustainable living as essential ingredients for a fulfilled life. Naturally, these values need to be balanced with a ‘fit and healthy’ approach to our personal wellbeing, enhancing the principle of pleasure and happiness rather than that of status.
Informed Health Intelligence
It is also crucial to instill what I call ‘informed health and body intelligence’ into our educational systems, as lifestyle-related diseases continue to impact the West and emerging economies. Urbanisation and a sedentary lifestyle make it vital for businesses, government and employers alike to take action to promote healthy eating and positive lifestyle ideals and choices – alongside easily accessible fitness options for the individual. As many people now spend over 90% of their time indoors, our environments will become smarter and more in tune with our physical needs, and could be a tool to boost health and wellbeing in the future.
The Good Life Ecosystem
We urgently need to build a sustainable eco system, so this is not about pointing fingers or scaremongering, but about telling positive and inspiring stories about the benefits of a healthy mindset for people, communities and the world. Beauty will always be inherent and a natural part of what we aspire to in life. However, we will have to be more diverse in how we perceive and portray the ideals of beauty and Body Capital. The role of media, fashion, businesses and government should be the same: being guides inspiring the good life.
Sustainable and Healthy
A final spin on the correlation between our weight and the planet comes from Prof Ian Roberts of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, who recently said: “One of the problems with definitions of obesity – it fosters a ‘them and us’ ideal – when actually we’re all getting fatter”. He’s right, and what is rarely included in current debates over food and health is that old-fashioned word ‘moderation’. Fasting – once practised routinely for religious reasons – is now being considered by scientists, who think its chief value is that it switches the body to repair mode and increases longevity, a side benefit may be a healthy body weight. Tests balanced a completely normal diet with reduced calorie consumption on two days a week – no starvation or miracle foods required. Could something as obvious as eating a bit less sometimes help us find a sustainable and healthy relationship with food and our planet and live longer happier lives?
I believe the true answer in this debate is to apply some of the same measures for Body Capital as we do for other aspects of life. Perhaps what we need to rediscover is the concept of Mindful Eating, balancing moderation with delight and contentment. Enjoy the journey by reconnecting with the process of cooking a meal without just fixating on the actual ‘end’ of eating it. Focus on pleasure as a driving principle for eating and remember that a key component of a meal has always been social. Good friends, good food, good times – sounds like The Good Life to me.
* Oh dear. I’m eating myself to death – The Guardian August 2012 >>
* Eating 40% Less Could Extend Your Life by 20 Years – Mail Online July 2012 >>
* Mindful Eating as Food for Thought – New York Times February 2012 >>
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Years ago I started researching and writing about the concept of ‘Body Capital’