I’ve written before about America’s struggle with excess weight. How we’re unhealthier than our parents’ generation (pick a parent), and, if you toss out childhood diseases and illnesses which would today be resolved with antibiotics, probably unhealthier than our grandparents’ generation.
Why do people keep the fat on?
It’s comfy. It’s easy.
It’s killing us. As a nation, it’s making us weak, weak, weak. Even Fox reports that Americans are in deep denial about the threats of obesity.
This cute yet alarming image shows us exactly how we stack up against the rest of the world.
In this Olympic season, British entrepreneurs are even making money off “fat American” gear. Example: a T-shirt that reads: i’m renting my flat to a fat american family.
In other words, we’re a joke. While the US itself is still the envy of many (especially those who don’t need medical care, or are willing to pay top dollar – yes, top dollar, more expensive than in Norway, the most consistently affluent country in the world), Americans themselves are the big butts of global laughter.
How did we fall so hard from the miraculous nation of post-World War II? In only 60 years?
What’s intensely confounding is that Americans who hold deeply-felt positions on different issues – issues that specifically counter excessive weight – don’t see they’re clinging to conflicting beliefs, ideas or values. Somehow, they’re making excuses. In denial. Not recognizing that their actions (chugging along with excess weight) don’t match what they say they believe in. That’s called dissonance.
So, for all of us, let’s tackle that dissonance. Here are a few suggestions for people who hold strong interest or beliefs in areas that they believe have nothing to do with their excess weight:
Super-patriots or the military-minded: Excess weight is a drag on a body. It’s not fit for purpose. The US military grapples every month with potential recruits who are simply too fat to start basic training. Fat is also a drag on the political body. The costs of excess weight in healthcare is already staggering. When you have a large proportion of the US population getting too large to be physically capable of personally defending their nation, as a patriot, you ought to be concerned. Especially if your fat is part of the problem.
Religious-minded: Your body is a temple, right? Unless your mother was obese when bearing you, you didn’t come from God as fat. Healthy babies emerge relatively thin. Whichever God you worship does not want you to abuse what is given you. That includes your body.
Celebrity-minded: Who’s your favorite star? Chances are, they’re not obese. In fact, they probably work out a lot. You can do that, too. Just start walking – best exercise in the world. Along with pushing yourself away from the table before you’re full. That’s what most celebrities do.
Minded to eventually have healthy children: Both sexes: start now. Take in fewer calories than you expend, expend more than you consume. You’ll produce healthier sperm, prepare a terrific uterus for growth. By the time you discover a pregnancy, it’s really late. Yes, while pregnant you should get off alcohol and other things that are poison for a developing fetus. You ought to take your prenatal vitamins and exercise and eat healthy foods – not too much. But the best time to prepare for having healthy children later is now. Before a pregnancy. Think of yourself, potential Dad or Mom, as an automobile manufacturer. Do you want to build a Hyundai or a Rolls-Royce?
Sex-minded: One of the reasons for sexual dysfunction in both sexes is overweight and obesity. When you carry around fat you don’t need, that excess fat does something: it stores estrogen. Even in men. So if you’re storing more estrogen than you need, your hormonal levels (male or female) are out of balance, sometimes way off. Too much estrogen, and libido falls. Yup, you just don’t want to be sexually active. Sometimes, for men, you can’t be sexually active (hence the growth of ED drugs). Drop the excess weight like a hot overcoat you don’t need in the summer, and watch your libido spring back.
Health-minded: As mentioned above, excess fat stores estrogen. Excess estrogen doesn’t just wreck your libido. It’s also a nurturing hormone for cancers. That’s why some people, faced with a cancer diagnosis, immediately change their diet and exercise plan to let go of weight fast. Less estrogen, less coddling of cancer. So make your own body more resistant to cancer: get thin.
Sports-minded: I know you don’t watch sumo wrestlers! Who have life expectancies 10 years shorter than the average male Japanese. You like sports? Do sports. Get off the couch and into the game. Any game. Start by walking around your house during commercials. Imitate your favorite sports stars’ diet and exercise — not their behavior off-camera.
Nature-minded: Have you ever seen an overweight fish? Animals in the wild are rarely too fat for their species (exceptions for those who live in cold climates – they need it to protect themselves from freezing). Even vampire bats, which suck so much blood they must waddle away from their prey, possess the ability to process that blood quickly. The bat that sets out the next night carries no more weight than when it flew out to hunt the night before. When you carry excess weight on your frame, you’re setting natural law topsy-turvy. If squirrels were allowed shotguns, you’d be a sitting duck. Follow nature’s way: eat less, move more.
Justice-minded: Since when was eating more than your fair share just? It’s the food equivalent of having an offshore account. While many people around the globe are getting fatter, there are still pockets of despair. Meanwhile, you’re stuffing your face, using up resources, driving the cost of food up – especially after this summer’s drought. When food prices rise, people who live at the economic edge, making less than $10 per day, find it nearly impossible to feed themselves. They get too thin and develop illnesses, while you continue to resemble a walrus (who needs body fat in order to stay warm in icy waters). Is that really just? Really?
I could come up with more examples of dissonance (economy-minded: slash your grocery/takeout/restaurant bills in half by eating less!) but that’s for later. For now, it’s simple.
Eat a lot less. Move a lot more. Let the excess weight go.