Can TV be good For Your Health?

I am going to share something with you that only my most trusted inner circle of friends know: I am a TV addict. I can’t get enough. The same applies to most pop culture. Let me explain: I firmly believe that America is still only one country because of television. More than movies, music or any other art form, it is what brings us together as a nation and allows for a conversation amongst complete strangers. It is a fascinating medium.

So what does it have to do with health? Television is basically a reflection of society in an exaggerated way so let’s discuss three very different shows and how they have affected my world this week. The shows are, and I only watch 2 out of 3 of them, Jersey Shore, Glee, and Mike and Molly.

The reason I wanted to discuss Jersey Shore is because my trainer will be spending Halloween night in Atlantic City with several characters from the show. So, my trainer actually knows these people (not that there is anything wrong with that (Seinfeld) ). Does that say anything about who I choose to train with? I am not sure but one thing I do know is that I would rather be going to the Atlantic City of Boardwalk Empire (HBO) – just a personal preference.

Putting that aside, the main reason I bring up Jersey Shore is because GTL- gym, tan, laundry. For those of you who don’t know what that is- where have ya been? Even Leonardo Dicaprio has been known to say this. It is a ritual the boys of Jersey Shore engage in on a seemingly daily basis. It’s a good catch phrase and better than the one from the 1st season- t-shirt time. So, when a catch-phrase becomes part of the vernacular people pay attention. So I look around at my books and one of my patients was fascinated by the subtitle of The Hamptons Diet– diet secrets of the rich, famous and thin. Aha- a new catch-phrase was born – RFT. Think of it every time you want to bite into something you know you shouldn’t. RFT, RFT, RFT- chant it, imagine it, secret it, (OK, that’s a book reference) just live it – RFT.

Now, let’s talk about Glee– clearly one of the most imaginative shows to come along in years. Since it’s Halloween, the cast chose to do a homage to The Rocky Horror Picture Show. But, the real plot line had to do with how girls now objectify boys the same way men have been objectifying women for eons. So the boys were in the school gym discussing having to take their shirts off in front of the entire school: one boy was totally buff, one the not-so-great- shaped school quarterback and one in a wheelchair ( watch the show- too much to explain). As they were working out, they were discussing what a healthy diet was- interesting that teens would be discussing health but also interesting that it completely coincided with my food philosophy- RFT in case youv’e forgotten already. The best TV line of the week (not in a “Real Housewives of any city”): The buff boy lifts his shirt and says, “you can’t get this six-pack if you eat carbohydrates.”

Now for Mike and Molly– an unfortunate show about two obese people who meet at an Overeaters Anonymous meeting, fall in love, and get married. There was a huge controversy about this show because a reporter from Marie Claire magazine wrote in her article that the show was not setting a good example by showing obese people kissing, or doing anything for that matter- she was more more irreverent than I am being here. But, the truth is the truth. Portraying obesity as a lifestyle choice that is acceptable is just plain wrong. Look, we ostracize smokers, why should obesity be any different? It is a contributing factor to 6 of the top ten leading cause of death in the United States alone- not to mention that obesity is directly linked to diabetes that is the leading cause of blindness and amputation in this country.

I am down for an ice cream sunday as much as the next guy but I DON’T do it. I have guilt over eating pasta and pizza when I was in Rome a week ago. I love those foods, grew up with them but refuse to allow them to play a role in my life. I think foods which contribute to obesity should be heavily taxed and people who consume those foods should do them in a location where I can’t see them or smell the foods- we do it to smokers. I do not want any second hand fat.
I digress a bit but the point is TV makes for an incredible look into the world of health and all you have to do to be healthy is to remember: RFT, RFT, RFT