The "caloric balance" paradigm leads inexorably to the conclusion that lack of exercise is one of the major causes of obesity; if the obese individual would exercise more and burn more fat calories, then he or she would not be over-weight. The problem with this conclusion is that it assumes that lack of exercise, due to lack of motivation, is a state of mind independent of the pathologies that cause obesity.
This assumption surely cannot stand scrutiny. When one examines healthy individuals, it is clear that we human beings are made for vigorous physical action. Our upright posture, anthropologists now believe, evolved to enable us to run long distances. Our arms and hands are made for grappling, holding, lifting. When we engage in vigorous physical activity, our mood lifts, aches and pains subside, our mind is sharper and enlivened, our muscles are strengthened. Vigorous physical work heals and strengthens the cardio-vascular system, reduces inflammation, aids the functioning, cleansing, and healing of nearly every organ of our body.
Biological vitality is our birthright. Why would people voluntarily relinquish the benefits brought by vitality and strength? The common sense answer is, they would not. Moreover, it offends common sense to believe, as the caloric balance paradigm would have us believe, that billions of people all over the world would, virtually simultaneously in historical perspective, renounce their birthright to biological vitality. It offends common sense to believe that these billions of people would voluntarily embrace destruction of their health through obesity by refusing to exercise if they could.
There must be another answer, beside willful laziness, to explain why people, as they slip into obesity, fail to exercise. I believe the lethargy that accompanies obesity is another side effect of the same pathologies that give rise to obesity in the first place. The perfect storm has stolen the birthright of health and vitality from everyone.
Here are indications that lack of motivation to exercise is an induced symptom.
Lethargy is caused by 239 known medical conditions (1, 2). Symptoms of lethargy include tiredness, malaise, muscular weakness, drowsiness, fatigue. Medical conditions causing lethargy include adrenal insufficiency, fever, depression, iron poisoning, menopause, mycobacterial infections, shock, worms (1, ). Obesity is not listed among them.
Lethargy is induced by over 120 widely prescribed medicines (1). Some medicines are notorious for demotivating the drive for an active life, including librium, thorazine, and valium. Medicines for migraine headaches cause lethargy and fatigue (1). Anti-seizure medicines for epilepsy cause lethargy, drowsiness, or sleepiness (1).
Certain kinds of inflammation are known to cause fatigue and lethargy and to demotivate exercise. Chronic gastritis, an inflammation of the mucosa (including the lining of the stomach and intestines), causes lethargy.
The indications are plentiful that lethargy is a medical symptom caused by underlying pathology, and that obesity is not the cause of lack of desire to exercise. These indications are sufficiently strong that the medical research community should research specifically the relationship between lack of motive to exercise and the pathways to pathology that underlie obesity.
Despite the overwhelming acceptance of the notion that lack of exercise has caused obesity (try googling "obesity lack of exercise"), we should not accept it.
The Causes of Obesity