January 28, 2020

Obesity in America…My Take

Overweight American’s, is it a plaque we put upon ourselves or did society and our ancestors help?  This topic hits home to me.  Just 6 years ago, back in 2005, I topped the scales at 275 pounds.  You might wonder how a 29 year old (at the time) let herself go like that. Well, here is a little background, I come from a 100% Italian family, all there ever is are get togethers surrounded by tons of food.  As a child and teenager though, I wasn’t heavy.  I was a competitive swimmer for 14 years, did triathlons and I loved free weights. It all started when I was 18, in my very first severe car accident that left me bed ridden for 2 years, then at 22, I became a single mother and yet again at 25, I was in another severe car accident that left me fighting for my life and my fiancé leaving me because “it was just too hard on him”.  I went into a deep depression, not caring about the world around me, much less myself and my health.  Then my sister said the words that became my turning point, she stated I lived through two car accidents that should have taken my life, yet I lived to only be killing myself with food.  That was it, I changed everything and in two years I lost half of me and gained so much more! Even through another car accident, this one in my patrol car on duty, and barely surviving it, I have managed to stay at 150 and though I cannot run any longer due to my injuries, I am back to my active lifestyle, even with my chronic pain and Fibromyalgia.

I believe that a little of everything is responsible to the epidemic that is occurring in America, from societies portrayal of what is “fit and healthy”, to genetics, to parents being at fault and lastly to our own loss of self control and will power.  Society can be blamed on both ends of the spectrum, from obesity to eating disorders.  Just look at some of the “role models” put out there from the beginning of our childhood. One example is Barbie, the most unproportionate doll ever made.  Her figure has caused many women to try and gain that figure, some becoming anorexic or bulimic, to having multiple cosmetic and plastic surgery to try to obtain it. Then you have the magazines out there that what you visually see is deemed appropriate health.  No one explains to them the severe crash diets that occur, the plastic surgeries done and even worse, all the computer generated “touch ups”.  So much that is put out in the media has led to eating disorders, abuse of diet pill, and even extreme steroid use.  Genetics play a role also, but more on the health side of things, with being born with traits for diabetes or thyroid disease.  As for parents role in their children’s lives, if they don’t live a healthy lifestyle for themselves, their children don’t know the difference either.  It’s not like they can do the grocery shopping.  Children don’t learn the importance of food choice and daily activity, instead they deal with overworked, over stressed parents who live off fast food, quick and easy microwaveable meals and relaxing in front of TV for activity.

The choice to overeat as adults is strictly on ourselves, it’s a conscience choice we make every time we sit down for a meal.  One issue I see with overeating is the pace in which people eat.  Life is so busy; they squeeze time in to eat, which means eating fast.  Doing so, doesn’t give the time for our brains to register that we are full, instead we just keep eating.  One thing, I know affected me, was I was always told to clean my plate growing up. Well, have you looked at the portion sizes given out at restaurants now?  Some are two or three times the portion size we need to consume at a meal.  I have learned to ask for a “To Go” box when my meal arrives and I put half in it from the very beginning, so I can still “clean my plate”.

A complication that can arise from being overweight is one of Osteoarthritis.  This is when the cartilage and joint bone in the joints wear away.  In commonly occurs in the knees, elbows, lower back and hips.  The reason it is seen more often in overweight individuals is due to the extra weight causing more pressure on the joints. (Pierce)

A disease that can be associated by the type of foods we consume is one of Celiac Disease. Celiac disease has to do with food containing gluten, which is a certain protein found in grains like wheat, barley, oat and rye. This disease affects the small intestine and the body’s ability, or lack thereof, to digest and absorb nutrients.  Symptoms can range from mild to severe, and they can include but not limited to abdominal bloating, chronic diarrhea, fatigue and failure to thrive.  Complications that stem from this disease can be malnutrition, osteoporosis, small intestine cancer, anemia and even miscarriage.

Works Cited

Pierce, G. (n.d.). Ezine Articles. Retrieved 2 1, 2011

Why is what I do…NOT THE NORM!?!

(This was a blog written by a great friend of mine…my additions are in white)

This is Tupperware.

There is nothing remarkable about it, and definitely no reason for people to fear it. It is simply a container used to store food. It has no evil agenda to speak of, and should be allowed to pass unnoticed. So why is it whenever I break it out to eat my pre-prepared food, people literally FREAK OUT?!
Why…why freak out…no one seems to freak out when they see TO GO boxes and containers…makes you wonder?

Then there is a natural progression….
Stage one is the questions stage…”whatcha got in there?” “Are you on a diet?”
Stage two is the excuses stage…”I wish I had time to prepare my food.” “Doesn’t matter what I eat, I can’t lose weight.”
three is the rationalization stage…”It’s too expensive to eat like that.” “I can go to Taco Bell and get 3 meals for $10”.

Usually after Stage three they stop their rant because they have finally realized that I haven’t really acknowledged anything that they have said, and have finished eating. Honestly, they didn’t really want a response from me, they just wanted to remind themselves why they CAN’T do what I am doing.

My most favorite line is, “I didn’t know eating healthy could smell sooo good.” Well, why don’t you try it and shut up then!

But let’s look at their motivation. Why do they care what I eat?! SERIOUSLY?! If I go with friends to a restaurant and they order the double bacon burger with extra bacon…do I say anything?! Nope, cause I really don’t care. In fact if I am at a table full of people that have just supersized their meal, why are all eyes on me when I order something “healthy”?! It really is a sad commentary on us as a society, when the one person in the group that wants to improve themselves, rather than bitch about why they can’t, is questioned.

It really is like the alcoholic that wants you to drink with them. They know they are weak willed and want you to mirror their actions so they don’t actually have to look at themselves with disappointment. Whenever someone tries to better themselves, other people, who lack the discipline to do the same attempt to pull them back to the pack. We as a society continue to cater to the lowest common denominator. It’s kind of like the joy some people take when celebrities get caught doing something they shouldn’t be doing. “Hey look, Random Rock Star is just as screwed up as me….I now feel better about my mediocre existence.”

This is the most annoying, people seem to think I don’t drink because I train. No people, I don’t drink because I don’t like the taste or smell, not to mention I could think of other ways to spend my hard earned money!

How sad is that?!