Every year Americans get larger. We are getting fatter, and we care less about the health risks. As a physician, I can see the effect on health, but societal pressure is going opposite to the medical evidence. The science is being ignored to spare the feelings of the obese.
As we spare the feelings of the obese, we are doing several things that will harm us all. We are making obesity socially acceptable and have gone further to pretend that highlighting obesity is the same as racist speech. It is not. As obesity increases in prevalence, the conditions that create obesity are becoming normalized. In the long term, this impacts our children and leaves them with a lifetime of obesity. Obesity may become socially acceptable, but it is not medically sustainable. We need to take better care of our citizens and start by telling the truth. Obesity is the most destructive disease to Americans. We will be paying in ways not yet foreseen.
The science is clear. The medical observations are in, and obesity is not an acceptable fashion statement. It is a disease state. Like smoking, no amount of obesity is without consequence. All obesity will cause medical damage. The only question need is, how much. Many will have long lives in spite of their obesity, but the facts are clear. They could have had better lives. The sad news is that obesity is not a personal disease, it is a societal disease. We have an epidemic.
The epidemic is that of the whole organism. The organism is humanity. As the maldistribution of food resources leads to obesity all over the world, the entirety of the planet will suffer. There is a need to clear and plant; rare and kill more animals. This race to produce more food is destroying not just our bodies thru obesity but is destroying the biosphere.
As we destroy our planet’s ability to sustain us, we are killing ourselves. How we handle food is not a personal matter, it is a species matter. The capacity of our planet is finite. We live on a rock covered with a small volume of air and water in a giant vacuum. If the potable water runs out, or the breathable air disappears we have no place of refuge.
All of us can directly impact the planet. We can eat less. The science is clear. If we eat organic or non-organic, there is no difference. We need to eat less. There is no superfood. There is food. No matter the nutrient content, excessive quantity has the same result, obesity.
Eat less and leave a healthier planet for our children. Teach our children to eat less and save the planet for our grandchildren.
Maintaining a healthy weight in our culture is becoming more difficult. Just look at the people around you. Most of us are overweight. As the epidemic of obesity continues to grow, we seem to be less concerned. We seem to be more concerned about the consequences of fat shaming and not on the fact that life expectancy in some segments of the population is declining. Obesity is primarily a disease of excess compounded by a lack of insight.
If we want to change the trajectory of this epidemic, we need first to acknowledge that there is a problem. As I have gained several kilograms over the last few months, I’ve had to confront the trip wires in my life. It seems to me that we all need to honestly evaluate the obstacles preventing us from maintaining a healthy weight.
Let’s challenge our obstacles and surrender to the facts. 1. I’m making poor food choices 2. The people around me are allowing me or encouraging me to eat poorly 3. I don’t recognize appropriate portion size 4. I eat too much and too often 5. I buy too much food 6. I move too little 7. Everything I believe about exercise is wrong 8. Dessert is food 9 Calories matter.
My simple advice, which I should take myself. Stop listening to the people in your life who overeat and are always complaining about their weight. Stop eating out. Eat whole foods. Eat a plant first diet. Remove the highly processed carbohydrates. Eat less often. Count your calories. Sleep better. Stop worrying about what you will look like after you have lost the weight.
Dads, be an example to your family. Be disciplined and eat better.
Happy Father’s Day.
As a society we have and continue to be beset by many addictions. Some of these are more problematic than others. The essential question is what constitutes a tolerable addiction. I suggest that we have a highly immortal relationship with addicts and addiction in general. I further suggest that if we truly examine the definition of addiction we would quickly reconsider our methods. I hope you will at least consider a re-examination of our cultural stand.
The essential addiction of affluent societies is affluence itself and the indulgences that are attendant. The most problematic of which is our addiction to poor food choices. We all know what best food practice is but we have not organized our cultures to make those choices palatable or convenient.
The road to affluence is paved by a brisk market of buyers and sellers that provides goods and services at optimal times, place and cost. The pressure to succeed in the marketplace can led to dubious choices, both from the point of view of the producer and consumer. Market pressure has not so far encouraged the easy and convenient availability of healthy choices. The problem here is that the market is about maximum profit, not healthy choices. Furthermore, the consumer does not know how to influence the availability of better options. This juxtaposition of circumstances has led to the situation we are in today.
We are indulgent to the death of us. We eat poorly and excessively. These choices are not accidental. We continue to consume excessively in spite of the consequences of obesity and poor health. This is the definition of addiction. I suggest that out most problematic addiction is to food. Let’s start addressing this addiction by closing our mouth and using our dollars more prudently.