Monday, February 24, 2014

Deepak Chopra Thinks People With Obesity Are Lazy, Gluttonous, Monsters

Or so it would seem from his video for something called, "The Weightless Project", which according to Chopra is "an initiative, where any attempt at shedding a few pounds results in funds that will help the undernourished".

Somber almost creepy music, headless plodding bodies, an obese man in an undershirt blankly staring forward holding a television remote, large butts hanging precariously over picnic table benches, cars pulling up to drive-thrus, scary obese silhouettes in dark alleys, and all of this juxtaposed with images of starving children and poverty to bring us to the video's ultimate message of if you folks with obesity just get off your lazy asses you can not only help yourselves, but also feed the poor.

Don't believe me?

Think I'm exaggerating?

Watch the video:


[Deepak, for more on why the portrayal of people with obesity matters please visit Yale's Rudd Center]

Bookmark and Share


  1. Seeing Deepak Chopra was involved made me sceptical of this from the getgo. The video itself was just creepy, and not very informative. I get it, they want people to go to the website, but a little more information would have been nice. And a change of music.

  2. Hi Yoni,

    I agree that the video is somewhat creepy with its music, but rather than feeling like it was being critical of obese people I was left just feeling mystified as to how working out will help undernourished people. I'll head on over to the Weightless Project website and find out, but I'm not sure that his ad/project needs such a harsh criticism as you're giving it.

    Anyways, I love your updates and am constantly finding out about all sorts of things going on in the food industry here so thank you!

  3. Anonymous8:27 am

    Just went to the website and since I am not an economics guru, I wonder if this is just a marketing ploy for apps and devices promoted on the site. With almost 57 million calories donated, does that warrant $18194 spent? Feels like one of those fun run fundraisers you see all the time in the community that ultimately only take energy away from meaningful, prevention based, initiatives.

  4. Anonymous8:32 am

    If you analyze a problem simplisticly you get simplistic solutions. These issues are opposite sides of the same coin and hunger cannot be solved by charity as much as obesity cannot be solved by 'burning a few extra calories'.

  5. I hate that I had to load to find out how supposedly a minute on the treadmill is going to feed someone. This "project" will definitely be a boon to the owner of "" where a self-described "qualified nutritionist and weight loss hypnotherapist" has a website.

    I went to the correct website and my impression is that it is a strategy for marketing and promoting products like Fitbit and Jawbone. It appears to entirely represent Deepak Chopra and an India-based design firm. The money raised is intended for victims of last year's Philippines typhoon. A quote from someone identified as the CEO of "Health 2.0" proclaims "The concept of a carbon credit economy for calories is brilliant." I am sorry to say I don't quite understand what that means. I don't see where the site says who will actually be donating the money.

    The whole thing seems like an odd attempt to leverage guilt and shame in order to market products by connecting them to a disaster donation effort.

    1. Anonymous12:48 pm

      Great post! Thank you. The last sentence hits the nail on the head. A new low in marketing practices has been achieved.

  6. Anonymous9:35 am

    I have an even better idea: Let's give every fat person three or four starving children to carry around all day. The children can eat the crumbs that fall on the floor at the fast food places and the chubster will expend calories hauling the kids around. Win win!

    All kidding aside (and maybe I shouldn't be making light of Chopra's horrible message), this Weightless Project is beyond the pale. Seems to me that they are blaming obese people for world hunger. Not so funny at all.

  7. I had to go look briefly too. Just to see! Agree with you. Seems to be mostly to drive sales of devices and then get the companies (device or app developers) to cough up money for the increased business. Indeed some money may go to a deserving cause but the whole set-up makes me feel a bit...dirty.

  8. It's great that Chopra has published his tax returns so we can see how much he makes and how much of that he donates to hunger & poverty charities.

    Oh wait, he didn't do that.


    Deepak Chopra can kiss my fat, lazy behind. Aside from his obvious cherry picking of data and complete ignorance of the evidence around exercise as a weight loss behaviour, juxtaposing starving children and obese individuals is just insulting. It implies that those who are overweight are somehow responsible for third world poverty.

    First off, larger global systemic issues underlie both malnutrition and obesity. Food subsidies, inequality, politics, economics, etc. Suggesting that we can solve both obesity and hunger by individual behavioural choices is disingenuous and ignorant.

    Although individual choice plays some role, obesity is a societal issue. There is too much food of too low a quality in the Western world. We eat all that food because it exists, not because we are weak willed sloths.

    The same factors that lead to an excess of food in the Western world lead to lack of access to food in sub-Saharan Africa.

    There needs to be a change in caloric distribution around the world, but it won't occur through an aggregate of individual choice. And malnutrition, although a major problem, is widely considered NOT to be the biggest nutritional health problem facing the world, as the Lancet aptly documents above.

    Finally, his whole argument disappears from the very perspective through which he presents it. If obesity is in fact the result of laziness and lack of exercise, then all of us joining a gym and getting off our lazy, self centred asses will solve the problem. But then is malnutrition a result of too much activity? And if westerners start all exercising like mad they are likely to continue to eat just as much if not more, leaving LESS food for the malnourished, not more. And since he seems to not appreciate evidence, maybe he is one who believes that the plural of anecdotes is evidence. So let's start the cascade of anecdotes.

    At 5'8" and 205 lbs, I have a bmi of 31, making me one of chopras reviled obese westerners. I weight lift for 45 minutes three days a week and run at least two hours a week, sometimes as high as 4-6 hrs, over another three days a week. Yet I remain at this elevated weight because I've been unable, despite over a decade of constant effort, to change my consumption patterns.

    If I cannot lose but only maintain my weight with that amount of effort, what hope is there for our society to lose weight through exercise alone?

    The fact that his program makes no mention whatsoever of those undertaking weight loss measures attempting food intake changes shows how out of touch he is with reality.

    Of course, what else is one to expect from someone who makes a living spouting off reckless and ridiculous health claims? Someone who promotes Ayurvedic medicine and who publicly states that "you can tell your body not to age?" (

    Maybe if we all start telling ourselves not to be so fat, and children in sub-Saharan Africa start telling themselves not to be so malnourished, all our problems will disappear.

    1. Michele Mercurio6:06 pm

      If you cannot change your consumption patterns, why haven't you considered a medical intervention (e.g., weight loss surgery or psychological counseling from a specialist in food addiction)?

    2. Anonymous1:06 pm

      You probably didn't mean any harm with your post, but the question about such private issues as medical procedures and therapy, in one short, blunt sentence, sounds very confrontational and accusatory. All of the ground covered in his post, with many good points made, yet you focus only on his weight and why he hasn't done more. It is sad.

  10. I already have a Fitbit and have been using it for over a year. When I saw the project announced on Fitbit's blog a few weeks ago, I thought it sounded cool -- until I actually watched the video and saw that Deepak Chopra was involved. Needless to say, I declined to opt in.

  11. Out with the fitbit, hello new fitness tracker. Jerks.

  12. Anonymous4:33 pm

    "Deepak Oprah" the 21st century Con!

  13. Anonymous5:25 am

    A few years back, when Deepak Chopra went to Johannesburg, South Africa, for a seminar (his fee was around $100,000) he was asked by some organisers if he would like to visit a children's home they were running....his answer was: It's no in the contract!
    Just another way for Chopra to earn money while gaining a "good samarian" tag as well.
    And, pointed out, how will losing weight gain malnourished peopl, and where?

    1. What do you expect from a man who's understanding of the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle is that the MOON will disappear if everybody stops looking at it.

      The man is clearly an imbecile. That he has managed so much fame and fortune flabbergasts me. My roommate says his interpretation of Indian mythology is pretty neat though.

  14. Anonymous12:43 pm

    The world is too overpopulated. That is the number one problem. We cannot feed everyone. Let evolution run it's course. It's unfortunate, but true.

    1. Absolutely! The planet would benefit from fewer assholes. You know, unfortunate but true.

    2. Anonymous7:09 pm

      Thank you. I'm glad you agree! You know, because I'm supposed to feel all guilt ridden when I see a starving East Indian kid on the television so I'm expected to whip out my wallet. You know, because I'm supposed to feel guilty that I live in an actual developed country. Think what you want but this world is too overpopulated and it's taking a toll on everything. This planet cannot sustain this many people. This is one of the reasons there is hunger and disease. Yeah I may not know what real true hunger is, and I am grateful that I never will, but I should not have to feel guilty because I was lucky enough to be born in this country. A country that men and women fought to make this way, so people don't have to go hungry and can be free to do as they wish and become who they wish. I think the government does enough to help people in need across the world. We are known for our generosity. Enough is enough.

    3. You'll also never know what true compassion is, either. Or integrity, Mr. "Anonymous."

  15. Anonymous9:28 pm

    Wow the judgmental attitude that goes on here. I am overweight because of a broken hip from a car accident. I cannot work out and walk with a limp. My wife who is skinny says she eats more than I do. Deep Pockets Chopra is an ass.

  16. Send half the calories we consume each day in America to Africa and we SAVE lives in both places.