What if the most coveted award was for kindness? Kindness awards are handed out liberally in grade school, encouraging kids to be kind. Then kids move into middle and high school where peers and pop culture hold their gaze and kindness loses its cache to coolness. What if the kindest male and female celebrities were awarded for their kindness? The kindest man and woman in business? Ellen? Oprah? Eminem? Katniss?
Fifty percent of Americans are overweight, and we spend over $40 million a year on diet programs and products to slim down and get healthy. In our society, where addiction and instant gratification rule, looking and staying young and hot is more important than maintaining good health. People are literally dying to lose weight.Humbly, I must admit, I am counted in these statistics. As a child, one of the things I learned from my father was thin = good and fat = bad. Although I was not chubby until I was subjected to these alleged facts, I was put on the Grapefruit Diet at age 10. Was that child abuse? Perhaps.
I, like billions of others, fell victim to the illusion that there is a magic pill, eating plan, hormone injection or medical procedure that will solve my weight problem and make me happy. Thin people are happier, aren’t they?
Turns out, no big surprise, that the real and lasting solution to the weight loss, health and ultimately happiness riddle is simple, free and available in unlimited supplies: kindness. Research indicates kindness to oneself and others can have a marked impact on weight loss. In one study, those who increased their efforts to be kind to everyone around them burned more white fat—the bad kind—converting it to energy and resulting in weight loss. More and more holistic health articles are popping up on the practice of kindness visualization, meditation and prayer as integral to achieving a healthy weight. The Kindness Diet is for real and it works not only for human health but in Alicia Silverstone’sbook and blog, the health of all living beings.If nothing else, it feels good to be kind. And being the good little addict and instant-gratification-oriented human that I am, if something feels good, I want more of it. Maybe I can reframe that painful childhood lesson and change thin = good to kindness = good health.