I do not know what percentage of humans struggle with weight loss. I am not a nutritionist who knows which of the hundreds of diet programs out there works best. I am not an exercise scientist who can tell you how much to work out and when. I am not a fitness guru who can lead you through an extreme body makeover.
I am an economist. I currently weigh more than I ever have in my life. I contend with several formally diagnosed mental health issues.
Why would anyone want to take diet and exercise advice from an overweight and depressed economist? That is a good question. All I can say is I desire to share a few lessons I have learned to help encourage others on their path to fitness, especially those of us who find ourselves, once again, at the beginning of this journey.
All of us go through periods of difficulty and find ourselves traveling down roads we could not have predicted and never wanted. Sometimes it is our own choices that lead us down a destructive path. Sometimes it is the choices of others that cause us harm. Some might argue that what we eat and how we exercise are within our control. That is true to an extent, but not entirely. Our socioeconomic circumstances and health, be it physical or mental, place restrictions on all of us. One can only choose what to eat if they have access to a variety of foods and the income to purchase them. One can only spend an hour at the gym if they can afford the gym or the hour. Someone who is allergic to certain foods is restricted. Someone who has arthritis may be limited in their mobility. Different people face different boundaries and some people’s boundaries are more restrictive than others', but we have to acknowledge that legitimate boundaries to healthy eating and exercise do exist. However, within those boundaries, there is a degree of control each of us can achieve. What to eat? When to exercise?? Whether or not to improve our health??? All of that is up to each of us within our own restrictive boundaries, whatever they may be.