Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Obesity: Public Enemy #1

Sandi and I take pleasure in entertaining out of town friends. Besides feeding them fresh, local Farmer’s Market foods, we shanghai them into the car; hold them hostage while flaunting Indy’s beauty. Straight away, they notice our conspicuous preponderance of obese men, women, and kids. “What’s with that”? I elucidate Hoosiers innate resistance to change; a mysterious reluctance to let go of macho meat and potatoes, gravy, and a god-like devotion to convenience, and rampant covetousness for deep-fried bits of meat or cheese dipped into of a vat o’ Ranch Dressing.

It’s no mystery why nearly 65 percent of Americans are corpulently porky; the American diet. The estimate, including direct medical costs only, not costs such as missed work, is higher than the annual medical bill for smoking. In other words, becoming obese is causing the same health care costs everyone’s bitching about to increase even more. Get it?

Obesity is the #2 cause of preventable death in the United States. You’d need to be buried under a pile of Little Debbie’s wrappers not to know obesity ramps-up the threat of breast cancer, coronary heart disease, low self-esteem, type II diabetes, knee-replacement, sleep apnea, gallbladder disease, osteoarthritis, colon cancer, and hypertension. So, why can’t Midwesterners wrap their taste buds around the simple concept? Is it predatory marketing and baffling labeling or do we just lack self control? America’s dollar-driven marketing gurus have mastered the concept that the human appetite is elastic: give them more and they’ll eat more; keep them fat, sick, and come back for more. In many ways we can also blame the obesity epidemic on the impressionable advertising footprints left on our brains.

Humans have a natural proclivity for full-flavored, yet highly caloric, easy to digest foods. Just as it it’s natural for gorillas to love leaves, it’s innate for human mammals to love funnel cake. Americans eat more processed dead foods than any other country. When eating machine cuisine, the temple doesn't have to work as hard to digest the food’s energy. Add the socially acceptable sedentary work habits of Americans and people will naturally store additional pounds for energy. If Hoosiers ate rawer, harder to digest, whole, unprocessed foods and added more movement to their everyday lives, they could lose the excess chunk in their proverbial trunk.

At nearly all of my lectures, someone expresses only the affluent can afford to eat healthy, which leads me to conclude poverty causes obesity. The fact that more and more American families can't afford fresh fruits and veggies or good cuts of meat could be part; another component is sloth. Short-sighted authorities have taken PE out of schools and don't send children out to play for 15 minutes in the nurturing sun, fretting they might become victims of skin cancer. No one needs reminding of the low-grade food served in the public school system; a prescription for weight gain, diabetes, and undernourished, foggy little brains

The only home you have, the holy temple, works pretty simple. There are a certain number of calories your temple requires every day for it to maintain its current weight. If your diet is made up of fewer calories than this maintenance level, you’ll lose weight. If it's made up of more calories, you’ll gain weight. It's really simple, actually.

Remove all bar-coded foods from your house and desk at work to control junk food cravings. It works for my weaknesses if the dead, caloric food is not in sight, because you’ll be less likely to craving it. Out of sight; out of mind.

Don’t beat yourself up. You’ve had some help from Big Food. Follow any "cheat" meal with at least five healthy meals and snacks. That ensures you'll be eating right more than 80 percent of the time. If you make a mistake, remember, you are above all, human; and a groovy, worthy one at that.


Anonymous said...

I absolutely love following this blog!! A dare to make a change, but forgiveness when a lapse in judgment occurs. Keep 'em coming, Mr. Fowler!

You're as engaging with the written word as you are in person.

Al said...

I also love reading this blog, I am from the UK and the same is happening here with obesity on the increase. People also argue that they can't afford to buy healthy food, but that is just rubbish. My food costs are not very high, as i buy simple, seasonal, basic food such as vegetables and grains and pulses and i pay much less that those who buy ready meals and takeaways!