Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Atlantic City

213.4lbs. That's the lowest yet folks. Could this be the week we break the 210lbs barrier, could it be? Could it be?

All I know is that my belts are starting to annoy me. Now I know why supposed young toughs wear their pants around their asses - the lack of good belts! I am closing in on the last notch in most of my beltage and it is getting annoying. When you wear a belt for a period of time it gets this little warpy part where it is usually inside of the belt buckle. Now the warpy part is on the other side of said belt buckle and just looks, um, weird. Time to buy some new belts and now I can wear that ginormous Superman belt buckle that has been in my closet for years because I no longer fear it digging into my Dunlap when I sit down. What is a dunlap? It is a tire brand. Also it is a state of being where your belly "Dunlap" over your belt.

So I have read some more Fatland and folks it is depressing. Reading about what has been happening to the American diet the past 40 years is a full on recounting of a slow death by a thousand cuts. It actually felled one of the preconceived notions I have had for years. Critser takes the notion that, if you were somehow deprived as a child you would somehow overeat later on in life, and stomps it into the ground. I have touted this bit of nonsense before as well. You have probably heard this many times because, you know, the media likes to spout this stuff over and over again. It is a great excuse for a great big problem, being obese. It's funny but being fat just makes you want to latch on to any idea that will explain away the true reason you are the way you are, truth being: you eat too damn much.

Our new found obesity in America got a running start with the touchy feeliness of a couple called Harvey and Marilyn Diamond. They wrote a book called Fit for Life. Folks there is a bad science and there is baaaad science and this was a good example of baaaaad science. It basically put forth the idea that if you wanted your children to be strong and healthy you should allow them to eat whatever they want whenever they want - let the little snot monsters rule the roost. So instead of viewing obesity as an issue with the child over eating, they viewed the problem as the adult not eating whatever they wanted as a child. See how that works? Does it make any sense when I put it in that context?

I also learned we had inadvertently adopted a French concept that had allowed Maddi (my daughter) to lose weight while not starving the child. At the early part of the last century the French were having similar problems with childhood obesity (so much for that 'French Paradox' idea - it's a learned concept) for the same reasons we have it now. Now the French didn't try some touchy feely approach of pandering and accommodation, they took the proverbial bull by the horns. They pushed the idea rather heavily that snacks and treats should be rare occurrences and eating to the point of gluttony was a vice and not a virtue. If one thinks that our society does not view gluttony as a virtue, why do we have Championship Eating Leagues? They also demoted children from feeling entitled to eat what their parents ate and to eat what was appropriate for their age and size. The French learned that just those minor changes turned things around. It certainly worked for Maddi.

I do believe that we should have sensitivity for some of our obese countrymen but we have now transformed being fat into a God given flag waving right. Why do I say some and not all? Well the medical community is to blame for some of the problem. Some medicines make it impossible for a healthy person to maintain or lose weight. If there is any excuse for the rest of us, it is the fact that, perhaps, we consume too many calories unintentionally. A certain massive burger chain has systematically increased the caloric content of their fries over the past 40 years going from 176 to somewhere north of 500. They are not the only guilty party, there are a lot of others to blame. If you are eating 200-300 calories a day more by eating out then it is clear how one can get very fat very quickly. As Critser points out in the book, value meals are simply put there to get you to buy more. One point he has not addressed yet, one that dawned on me today, is that value items are also designed for exactly the same purpose. Why get one 89 cent burrito when you can get four for less than the price of a value meal?! It's like the concept of value meal gluttony on steroids. Food for thought.

Below is a depressing song. I am sorry. In fact, it has to be on one of the most intentionally depressing albums ever recorded. But I do like the hell bent for leather approach that the song takes. The man doesn't know if he is going to live or die tomorrow, all he knows is that he just wants to go out and spend a night with his girl one last time - future be damned. In a way, it is both fatalistic and optimistic. Sort of the way I am feeling today. After reading another part of Fatland, I find it harder for us to reverse our free fall into obese oblivion. On the other hand, I am optimistic because at least, personally, I am reversing that trend. Oh and 210lbs looms in the distance, still a faint shadow but nonetheless closer. Put your makeup and fix your hair up pretty and meet me tonight in Atlantic City.

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