Obesity as an epidemic is on the rise worldwide. With access to information on healthier eating choices so easy, doctor you would think that obesity would be nearly wiped out. That’s not the case. Have you ever wondered why?
Fatty foods –How often do you eat that sort of thing? If you’re busy, discount the answer is probably more than you care to admit. What’s interesting is that I find people eat fast food and greasy foods even when they don’t really like them. Why? It’s convenient. We live in a fast-paced society where we’re always on the go moving on to something else. Convenience is key. We don’t always have time to stop and cook a full healthy meal.
Is it the fat in the foods that is dangerous? Well it’s certainly not helping, but I think that maybe the real danger is convenience. Take French fries, for example. If you were to make them at home, you’d eat them less often. They’re messy, they’re labor intensive, and it’s a lot of work for just a little bit of food. But with fast food restaurants, you can eat them several times a day – and be honest, some of you do. These sorts of foods are chemically addictive, the more you eat the more you want; so wave bye-bye to your waistline!
Sugar/Carbs – A study was done not too long ago that blindly sampled the food available at a variety of grocery stores. It found that 80% of food items in U.S. grocery stores were spiked with added sugar. That’s a HUGE number. Using that figure, the study estimated that 1/3 of U.S. citizens will have nutrition-caused and completely avoidable diabetes by the year 2050.
Your body commonly converts carbs to sugar, so really it’s sugar that this all boils down to. Sugar is INCREDIBLY addictive, and not really something the human body knows how to process in the massive quantities we shovel into it unintentionally. It’s in our drinks, it’s even in the salads we get at restaurants – that’s a little restaurant secret. Often the lettuce is stored in a cold sugar water to keep it crispy and tasty. Some restaurant salads can tip the calorie scale at well over 1000 calories. Do a little research online, one popular chain has a seemingly healthy salad that has enough calories in it to fuel you FOR AN ENTIRE DAY, a good amount of that from hidden sugar. The point is: sugar is sneaky, addictive, and commonly converted into fat. Hello, obesity!
Finally, it’s time to talk about that sedentary lifestyle. I know I just finished saying that we were living in a fast-paced society; and we are, but fast-paced doesn’t necessarily mean “active.” Many of us have occupations that keep us sitting at our desks typing away on computers for most of the day. Add in drive time, time spent sitting for meals, sitting to watch TV or do more work once we get home, and before we know it we can spend 16 hours or more sitting down.
That’s not to say you are lazy, not at all. You probably get an incredible amount of things done in that time, so your mind is getting a great workout; but your body? Not so much.
Of the three contributors discussed here, this is the one that I think is the one most people try to tackle head on, and that’s great. Exercise is wonderful – but you’re never going to out-exercise your fork. Any and all of the fitness and health gurus will tell you that a fit figure and healthy weight is 80% nutrition and 20% exercise. You need to move to burn the calories, but you also need to just NOT take in those extra calories to begin with.
If you take nothing else away from this, take this – food is fuel, not a reward. It requires a bit of thought and a bit of effort, but if you start small by making healthier swaps, you’ll soon find yourself craving those foods less and making major steps towards a healthier happier you. Your body uses the nutrients you put into it as the building blocks of new cells. You literally become what you eat. Eat strong to become strong and we’ll begin to see a decline in national obesity. You can do this!
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