Dr. Jeff Godin, Ph.D., CSCS, & Spartan Coach

What if there was a disease that afflicted 36% of the population in the United States of America, roughly about 78 million people? What if this disease was strongly related to other debilitating and life-halting diseases such as heart disease, cancer, arthritis, and diabetes? Which Hollywood celebrity would start a foundation to crush this horrible disease?

The disease is obesity. On June 18th, 2013 the American Medical Association officially declared obesity a disease. This means that it will become a physician’s professional obligation to treat patients with obesity, the same way they would treat other diseases such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and arthritis. The optimist in me says that this will create a healthy discussion between the patient and physician on the health implications of obesity and physicians will prescribe a healthy diet and exercise as the primary mode of treatment. The cynic in me says that treatment will include prescriptive medications instead of encouraging preventative measures.

Why is it so hard to talk to people about obesity? Every time I teach it in class, I have to walk on egg shells. Even in the professional setting, if you tell someone they are obese they react as if it was a racial slur. I was called by an irate mother that accused me of ruining her daughter’s self-esteem by noting that her BMI and body fat percentage placed her in the obese category. Hopefully, classifying obesity as a disease will eliminate some of the awkwardness that comes with discussing it. It will be seen for what it is… a clinical diagnosis, not a personal attack. No one gets their feelings hurt when the doctor tells them that the hideous mole on their back should be removed and biopsied to see if it is cancerous. I understand that obesity is more than simply a physical problem, but until it can be discussed openly, and attacked vigorously, it will always remain as the elephant in the room and we will never make progress towards finding obesity’s root cause.

The best treatment for obesity is a Spartan Lifestyle, one that is founded on a healthy diet and loaded with physical activity. The Spartan Lifestyle includes a diet that is mostly plant based, that includes an abundance of vegetables and fruits, very moderate in grains and animal food products. It is a diet that eliminates processed foods, added sugars, and trans fats. A Spartan Lifestyle includes meals that are prepared from fresh foods, not ones that come from a box. For fluid, Spartans drink water, not sugary, over caffeinated beverages. You can get access to healthy and nutritious recipes by subscribing to our daily “Food of the Day” emails. They are FREE and provide recipes to help get you started and keep you fueled in a healthy way. Subscribe HERE.

Physical activity doesn’t require a fancy gym, or shiny plates, or cardio equipment. It does require a commitment of 60 minutes a day, which still leaves 1,380 minutes to sleep, work, and relax. It starts with motivation, if a BMI of 30 and all the excess baggage associated with it isn’t enough motivation; there are 1,000,000 trainers and coaches out there that are willing to help the right person find it.  Similar to our Food of the Day (FOD), Spartan Race offers FREE workouts WODs each day to keep you moving and active, and to prepare you for your Spartan Races.  Subscribe HERE

Spartan Race wants to lead the charge in crushing obesity. Do we really need a physician to treat obesity? Why not nip it in the bud before it gets to that point? Let’s rip 78 million people off of their couches and get them to follow the Spartan Lifestyle!

Who wants to join us in this crusade?

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2 Responses

  1. avatar

    You will never be able to get rid of that “elephant in the room” feeling when talking about obesity because this is a self-inflicted issue that someone has brought onto themselves. It is an addiction that got them this way. Being addicted to food is no different than being addicted to alcohol, drugs or any other addictive behavior. I KNOW THIS BECAUSE I WAS 300 LBS. AT ONE TIME. Food was my friend, it comforted me, it was the thing I turned to when the day was rough, and it brought me a feeling of happiness when my craving was satisfied. No different than the alcoholic or druggie who reaches for the drink or joint when the day has been bad.

    I had gastric bypass surgery a in 2005 and lost 140 lbs. I have kept it off. I have had two plastic surgeries to help correct the damage I did to my body. I have two more surgeries left to go and am planning them around my first SPARTAN RACE.

  2. avatar

    I too was over 300 pounds and since 2006, I have lost 100 pounds with a single rise to 290 pounds again when I used the excuse of 100+ hour work weeks to fall into old habits. The first drop in weight was 90 pounds in 6 months with just three small modifications: Setting a goal (skydiving), Increasing exercise (mostly biking), and controlling portions of really tasty foods made with real food.

    I am more of a foodie now than I was before I lost the weight, and the enjoyment of food is still a big part of my life. Before I lost weight, I was always eating processed foods, huge amounts of grain, modified fats, sweet foods, and foods which should barely be considered food (have you ever looked at the ingredients list for Totino’s Party Pizzas?).

    Since 2006, I have added so many new foods to my diet, foods from Asia, Africa, the Mediterranean…foods made with real ingredients, foods which satisfy with miniscule portions. Sure, 8 ounces of sushi costs more than that 3 pound plate of spaghetti…but…after I’m done with the sushi, I can stay awake to work out…not fall into a carb coma.

    At home, I practice the Hunter-Gatherer diet, actually hunting and fishing as much meat as I can, and eating fresh greens as often as possible.

    I have to thank some friends who were VERY rough on me during the transition from a life of no flavor and terrible foods, to enjoying the spices and flavors of good food. I also have to thank the OCR community, and especially Spartan Race, for giving me something FUN to put my training toward.

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