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If you just eat less, exercise more, make better food choices, diet, and whatever other social wisdom that people put forth about losing weight and solving the weight issues of American sound great – and then there is reality.

Americans live for the ideal of self-determination and boot strap mentality. If everyone could just take control of our lives we could solve our own problems and not need anyone help. And maybe if you have enough money, a 40 hour a week job that really only required 40 hours, a partner to support you and watch your kids while you go work out, access to good food, and other middle to upper middle class things, sure this logic would work great, assuming you don’t have some medical issue that prevents you from doing so or getting some sort of weight loss surgery. But for the vast majority of Americans, especially those who are most likely to be obese, this is not the case – not even close.

You see, for the vast majority of Americans, especially those who are most likely to be overweight, the things needed to lose and sustain weight lose are not available. If you make minimum wage, you make 1000 for a single person and 4K for a family of three to live on for a year. This means there are good odds you live in a lower income area, where there is also less likely to be a grocery store. We call this a food desert. Instead, the local gas station or convenience store is where you get your food as is the local fast food place. When you do go to the grocery store, your food stamps support you buying cheese, juice, peanut butter, maybe some carrots, beans or rice, and maybe bread. When you have to choose between a $1 loaf of bread and a $2 jar of peanut butter which will feed your kids dinner for a week but is nutritionally poor, or a $3 bag of apples you feed you kids dinner for the week. And this assumes your kids get dinner. A growing number of children are food insecure, meaning they are often living off of what is being supplied in school.

When you have to work 60 hours a week to pay the bills, you are freaking tired when you get home and cooking for 30-40 minutes with your kids telling you how hungry they are sucks, especially when you can hand them a bag of government subsidized chips or nuke some nuggets that cost a buck or two. And when your kids go to school and get meals, the government counts pizzas as a vegetable and gives them the same burgers, fries, fried chicken, Jell-O, chicken nuggets, and canned vegetables you do. If it is approved for school lunches by the government, why they aren’t good enough for your children at home? We know these foods are terrible for everyone and lead to obesity, but that is what is fed to kids at school. Your kids are also not getting as much exercise as they used to, since after school activities and recess have been cut back to the bare minimums in most states leading to kids being more sedentary.

For all of Michelle Obama’s concern about the health of our children and our country, our policies are still supporting Big Ag, who makes the rules about what is being feed and subsidized and fed to us. While, yes individuals are somewhat responsible for what they eat and what their kids eat, we also exist in a controlled food economy where corn is in everything. Your meat is corn (because you and that cow or chicken you are eat are what you eat and we feed them corn). Every process food out there has corn or soy in it. Your eggs are corn, your dairy is corn, hell, the nice shine on your apple is CORN. We are not made to eat like this. THIS IS PART OF THE PROBLEM. An apple is not just an apple anymore. And people do not have access to affordable whole foods, because the government doesn’t subsidize them. As more natural disasters hit agricultural areas, as prices increase on meat, dairy, and vegetables, the people who are most at risk for obesity and its health issues will be further pushed to eliminating these foods and only having processed one, leading to more obesity. They will also need to work more hours to keep food on the table, meaning they have less time for food preparation and their kids will have less access to nutrition. As food prices climb, schools will keep looking for the lowest costing, higher caloric foods to meet the FDA standards. If the meal is not 600 or more calories than schools don’t get funding for it. That means a large garden salad, slice of whole grain bread, small milk, and a piece of fruit will not be subsidized but nuggets and fries will. As these kids become adults, they think this means nutrition and they are already battling the health issues of obesity, and need to spend their income on medicine rather than food.

There are things that I didn’t even include here – but one thing should be clear it is not just about shutting your mouth and moving around when it comes to weight loss and obesity. It’s so much more complicated than that.

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  •  Tip Jar (195+ / 0-)
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  •  "For all of Michelle Obama's concern (60+ / 0-)

    about the health of our children"--why drag her into it?  She does good work.

    "Maybe we should march on the campus of the electoral college and occupy it until they change their vote"--some wingnut, Worldnetdaily

    by chicago minx on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 09:22:00 AM PST

  •  True. (30+ / 0-)

    Our policies are still supporting Big Ag and Big Food Conglomerates that have the latest products and packaging that promote profit, not good health.

    Be the change you want to see in the world. -Gandhi

    by DRo on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 09:24:50 AM PST

  •  Interestng post. Food policies do make it harder (41+ / 0-)

    to be fit.  The foods that are worst for you tend to be cheaper, and in some cases these same foods are subsidized for no reasonable policy goal other than to support large Agro businesses.  Corn is the best example of this.  Corn Syrup is in everything these days, its cheap to make, and its one of the most heavily subsidized industries in the country.

    Personally, I think food stamps should be able to be used at Farmers Markets, where they could support local farmers and provide people using them with healthier alternatives.  education would need to accompany this policy though.

    The only thing we have to fear is fear itself - FDR. Obama Nation. -6.13 -6.15

    by ecostar on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 09:44:21 AM PST

    •  Rice and beans are cheap, slow cooker can make (13+ / 0-)

      cheap meats tender, there is no excuse for bad food choices.

      people are in denial that their weight is their responsibility, easier to say but I had no choice but to buy huge bottle of crappy soda for my kids....

      •  education (22+ / 0-)

        There are a lot of people who do not understand what "bad food choices" mean.

        I have a friend who worked counselling new immigrants, usually from Central and South America. One super common problem was that they would come to NYC and get super fat, because suddenly instead of eating the traditional diets they were raised on, they had access to all kinds of cheap, delicious, super-convenient food, food that they had no idea was actually bad for them. It's what Americans eat, they thought, the land of plenty and what not. They literally had no idea, because why would they?

        Obviously a lot of people do know about bad food choices and make them everyday, but a lot of people don't.

      •  There may be no excuses, but there are plenty of (39+ / 0-)

        reasons.  From childhood on, we're subjected to thousands of hours of happy, smiling people with great relationships, and hunky/sex partners or partners to be, all ours for the having, if only we eat at Subway, or McDonalds, or eat Doritos or drink 'Bud Light'.  Children are bribed with toys in these meals, and everything is 'jazzed up' with sugars, fats, compounds that have the 'proper mouth feel' to make us overeat things we never should be eating in the first place.

        It's the same as every other field of consumerism - billions of dollars are poured into convincing us that we need to buy and consume shoddy products, wooing us emotionally and subconsciously.  There may be a few PSAs out there somewhere about the benefits of generic, non-branded broccoli or carrots, but if so, they're outweighed hundreds or thousands to one by commercials for happy meals and cookie crisps.

      •  Rice and beans (43+ / 0-)

        are not necessarily a good food choice. A lot of carbs, very little balance to that meal, you're only talking two food groups. Soda is cheaper than milk and keeps longer, also it doesn't spoil on the 2 hour bus ride home. Most of us don't buy soda though, we get kool aid. I get the packets because I can control how much sugar goes in it (I use half a cup, not a full cup). I only get the pre-mixed for the hurricane kit because that can be made cup by cup. Sure, tap water is cheaper, but it doesn't always taste great. I've lived in places where the tap water had so much sulfur in it we all broke out or got sick whenever we drank it. Hauling enough bottled water home on the bus sucks as well. Convenience stores were closer than the grocery store, but more expensive, unless you were buying soda.

        As for meats, depending where you are even what you call 'cheap meats' are too expensive. I can buy a pack of hot dogs for a dollar, which I can get two meals out of depending on how many kids I have and how big they are, or I can pay $3 for cheap meat. I may not have that extra $2.

        "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

        by FloridaSNMOM on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 11:24:49 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  These are significant challenges, FloridaSN Mom (4+ / 0-)

          Do you have any possibility of joining a co-op or of teaming up with neighbors or friends to buy in bulk or share a ride to a full service store?  

          It's the Supreme Court, stupid!

          by Radiowalla on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 11:32:51 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  We don't live in a food desert any more. (19+ / 0-)

            And we are moving to a place where there's three grocery stores within a mile of us. I don't know about a farmer's market. I was pregnant with my daughter when we lived where I was referring to, and I used to walk 3 miles to the closest grocery store. That last month of pregnancy when I was going into what was considered false labor every day was hellish on those walks. And there were times when we only made it so far as the convenience store, which was about a half mile away, and our food choices were much more limited.
            But I remember very well carrying groceries home 3 miles, with the bags cutting off my circulation and praying the milk didn't spoil before we got home in the Florida heat. In a way it was a bit easier when my daughter was born and I could fill the basket under the stroller with the heaviest stuff.

            "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

            by FloridaSNMOM on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 11:39:18 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  People should only be eating a hot dog once a (5+ / 0-)

          month, it's such an unhealthy and terrible food item.

          Chicken paste nuggets with coating - ugh.

          Trouble with American diet is it is virtually 100% processed foods.  Don't eat processed food.  Try it.  It's difficult, but it's healthy.

          Again - food deserts in the inner cities - what's needed are programs where twice-a-week they haul in a truckload of decent low-cost veggies, etc.  A portable farmers market?  Also inner-city gardens, seeds and tilling provided by cities.

          "Privatize to Profitize" explains every single Republican economic, social and governing philosophy. Take every taxpayer dollar from defense, education, health care, public lands, retirement - privatize it, and profit from it.

          by mumtaznepal on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 12:04:47 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Huge difference between (33+ / 0-)

            "should" and "can afford to". If it's a choice between giving your kids no meat and giving them hot dogs, you give them hot dogs. I've been to that place, where it's ramen and hot dogs and instant mashed potatoes (and canned green beans, it's always canned green beans!)  because that's what the food bank gave you. Lots of pasta in tomato sauce.
            If all you have is food stamps and TANF coming in, and all your cash is going to rent and utilities, what you consider difficult often enters into the realm of the impossible.
            As I said, we're not there any longer, but I've been there.

            "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

            by FloridaSNMOM on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 12:11:11 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  They don't understand. (24+ / 0-)

              They have little experience with crying hungry children and empty larders.

              "Til you're so fucking crazy you can't follow their rules" John Lennon - Working Class Hero

              by Horace Boothroyd III on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 12:34:29 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  I totally get what you are talking about (15+ / 0-)

              Been there many times. One thing I've found helps us is chicken legs and sometimes leg quarters in multi-packs. I have a package here with 10 legs, $1.29 per lb, total cost was $3.21.

              I developed an allergy to pork, so when it comes to meat my inexpensive choices are limited. I get so tired of chicken and don't want to eat that much hamburger. Chicken legs have been a gift because I can prepare them in so many different ways and thank gawd we like them.

              "The scientific nature of the ordinary man is to go on out and do the best you can." John Prine

              by high uintas on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 12:37:15 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  We do a lot of chicken too (8+ / 0-)

                I tend to get them on buy one get one. That and pork, a lot of pork as well. We don't have the issue with pork thank the Gods. Red meat though is a rarity. Sometimes they have that on buy one get one. If I can get it down below $3 a pound that way I'll get it, and get as many meals out of it as I can.

                "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

                by FloridaSNMOM on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 12:49:04 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  I've seen our local food bank, and the food (12+ / 0-)

              choices are terrible:  white bread, white rice, boxes of mac and cheese, cans of soup with meat.

              If you wanted to "eat nutritionally soundly" off my local food bank, you couldn't do it.  Just impossible, I agree.

              So at least I try to donate brown rice and cooked beans, oatmeal rather than boxes of Trix and mac and cheese  

              I live in a town where even food stamp recipients can easily get to and shop at the massive Kroger or WalMart, they don't have to shop at the cheap Save A Lot.

              But they go to the cheap Save A Lot which has processed crap, few choices, little produce and meat.  And they still buy boxes of cheap donuts, mac and cheese, etc. over produce and simple (non sausage type) meats.

              The prices are cheaper at the bigger stores, and there are plenty of inexpensive options with the store brands.  

              It's just the Americans are used to eating very complex diets with lots of fat and salt for flavor.  

              Americans just don't eat simple, healthy diets.  Don't want them, are not used to them. And we're dying younger for it, and have become morbidly obese and unhealthy, in just 2 generations.

              Oatmeal, blueberries, walnuts, banana for breakfast can be done for $1 a day.  Two-eggs scrambled with 1 cup spinach, green onions, red peppers 80 cents.  Slice of whole-wheat bread toast with real peanut butter and a banana 45 cents.

              But people want a PopTart or bowl of cereal or donut.

              "Privatize to Profitize" explains every single Republican economic, social and governing philosophy. Take every taxpayer dollar from defense, education, health care, public lands, retirement - privatize it, and profit from it.

              by mumtaznepal on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 12:49:01 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Fresh produce at our local food pantry (11+ / 0-)

                A couple years ago they installed large coolers. Now they can accept produce donations, which they get from grocery chains, local farmers and local gardeners.

                This is in a very small community, so it can be done.

                I love it that Obama's channeling Harry Truman: "I don't give 'em hell; I just tell the truth and they think it's hell!"

                by sillia on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 12:55:19 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  Save-a-lot vs. Walmart. (13+ / 0-)

                Save a lot is a LOT cheaper for many things than walmart. We don't have Kroger so I can't speak for them. I buy very few things at Walmart that are actually cheaper. Peanut butter, my tea bags, sugar, flour those things are cheaper at Walmart. Turkey burger I get at Save-a-lot for 1.39 for 12 oz. Bread is under a dollar at Save-a-lot. Canned vegetables are a LOT cheaper, so is pasta. Bananas are cheaper at Save-a-lot. Milk is cheaper but also spoils faster, that I get at Walmart, or better yet Winn Dixie which is closer so less spoilage risk. Meats I get at Winn Dixie because they offer buy one get one deals. Whole chicken is cheapest at Walmart. Fruit and vegetables, fresh sometimes are cheaper at save-a-lot, sometimes at Walmart, once in a great while there is a good sale at Winn Dixie on them.

                But for us, Save-a-lot is across the street from Caedy's work, Walmart is on the way home near where she switches buses. The distance and amount of bus transfers is greater, but she makes those trips more often because they are luckily convenient. Winn Dixie is about a mile away. Not everyone has those choices. If it's a choice of dragging food on three buses from Krogers or one bus from Save a lot, you shop at save a lot 9 times out of 10, the reverse holds true as well.

                "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

                by FloridaSNMOM on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 12:57:10 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  I'm lucky, I don't have to feed a family (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  dancerat, Katydid

                  (especially any growing teen boys!) just myself.

                  But let's look at things Americans commonly do, like buy peanut butter - do we purchase the big jar of Skippy or Jiff with the hydrogenated oils,  or the jar of "natural" peanut butter with only peanuts?

                  Right there is a massive lifetime health and calorie choice.

                  Milk:  Purchase 1% or 2%, not whole (unless you need the 20-40 extra fat calories for growing kids) Milk has a lot of sugar in it.  I've found the store brands just as good as the name brands.

                  Sugar:  is there baking with sugar? (cookies, cakes, etc) Putting it on cereals?  Adding to drinks? (Koolaid, tea, coffee?)  Lots of households don't need sugar, don't keep it in the house.

                  Bread:  white sandwich bread? White dinner rolls?  Horrible thing we Americans were born and raised upon!

                  "Privatize to Profitize" explains every single Republican economic, social and governing philosophy. Take every taxpayer dollar from defense, education, health care, public lands, retirement - privatize it, and profit from it.

                  by mumtaznepal on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 01:09:50 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I buy walmart brand peanut butter (7+ / 0-)

                    the cheapest possible, because we go through at least a jar of peanut butter a week, and $6 a week is hard enough to afford, let alone $10-$15 a week (probably more as those jars are a LOT smaller)!  Sure if it was only me and my husband, I may splurge on the organic, or just not buy it at all because we don't eat peanut butter that often. I can't afford to keep the 17 year old in organic however.

                    I buy store brand wherever possible, even with milk. We don't use a lot of milk though, too many allergies, more often we're buying almond or coconut milk, though that's a LOT more expensive then regular. That's a necessary expenditure, organic peanut butter is not. If I get regular milk it's for my thin 10 year old, and yes I buy her whole milk.

                    Sugar: for kool aid and tea, baking (including bread).

                    We only buy wheat bread unless there's no other choice, the kids don't even LIKE white. More often we make our own these days. I get store bread for my son because he eats a lot of PB&J, and he goes through bread too fast for me to keep up making it. Once he moves out and off to college my grocery bill will go down by a lot LOL.

                    Weight, so far as overweight issues is only a problem for the adults in my house. the kids are right on target but on the lower side of it (ask OldHippyChick who has met both of them if you don't believe me). We eat less than they do, and we still have the weight disparity. But there are medical issues in all three adult cases.

                    "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

                    by FloridaSNMOM on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 01:45:24 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  One can buy Smuckers natural (not "organic") (0+ / 0-)

                      peanut butter for the same price as Skippy.  There are also two other brands of "peanut only" brands on the Wal Mart shelves.

                      The difference is that the "natural" brands are made from only peanuts, there are no added unhealthy hydrogenated oils added.  It's not "organic" (that's not the point) There are also big jars available.  

                      It's a health difference.  There is little to no cost difference (they have less ingredients than the WalMart brand)

                       That's my point - we can make little health differences in every food item we buy.  

                      If one is buying peanut butter for peanuts as a protein source, look at the labels: are there added processed ingredients like hydrogenated oils, or not?  What is the protein content, fat content?

                      Pick the simple "real nature" food of creamy ground-up peanuts.  Not the "processed" peanut food, with added hydrogenated oils, salt, preservatives brand.

                      Then, what bread is being used with the peanut butter? White bread?  Homemade white bread?  Homemade wheat bread?  Can the bread be made thinner slices?  More whole grains?  Healthier?  That's the point.  

                      Better - can the peanut butter be spread, not on bread, but on the slices of an apple?  Apple dipped in natural peanut butter for lunch is far healthier and less expensive meal than peanut butter on bread.

                      That's my point - we have choices with everything we put in our mouth.  American diets, the way we've been raised to eat, and what we've been raised to eat, the is really unnatural!

                      American kids are raised with eating PBJ with potato chips.  

                      Instead,for lunch we'd do better eating 1-2 tablespoons of real peanut butter dipping and flavoring the apple slices we're also eating.

                      But that's not the "American" ideal of a "lunch", however, is it? That's our problem.  It's easier and more familiar to slap hydrogenated oils on two slices of bread, than slice up an apple, and scoop out a tablespoon of creamy-ground-peanuts-only in their natural oils onto a plate?

                      Why drink anything other than milk (for kids) and water?  Why add free sugar to any drink? Why flavor drinks except for special treats?

                      That's American habit, and it's made us fat diabetics.

                      "Privatize to Profitize" explains every single Republican economic, social and governing philosophy. Take every taxpayer dollar from defense, education, health care, public lands, retirement - privatize it, and profit from it.

                      by mumtaznepal on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 02:02:40 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  If you look at the price per ounce (10+ / 0-)

                        And only at the BIGGEST size jars, there IS a price difference. If you buy the little 18 oz jars that may be true, but I buy the HUGE ones. Often the Bulk sized ones. I've NEVER seen the naturals in that size in the walmart near me.

                        And no, I can't afford enough apples for him to spread peanut butter on, plus he needs the carbs. He's a SEVERE hypoglycemic. He needs the bread. And he eats about six pb&J's a day, and he still is scrawny (he's 6'1" and about 170 lbs). Carb plus protein plus a bit of sugar in the jelly (and the PB) is better for him than just protein and sugar. That isn't true for all kids, but it is for HIM.

                        My daughter can't drink a lot of milk, she's asthmatic and it makes her wheeze more. She does drink some, but not more than one glass a day. As to water, our water sucks. It has a lot of chlorine and tastes horrible. Yes, they could drink bottled water (expensive) or use the brita pitcher, IF they ever remembered to fill the bloody thing! As for kool aid, I have no problem giving them kool aid. They drink enough to stay hydrated, my son gets the sugar boost between meals that he needs to keep himself balanced, and and he doesn't get too much because I control how much sugar goes in it. This is why I don't buy the pre-mixed. Do they need it? NO. But they get so few luxuries, this is one I can give them.

                        "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

                        by FloridaSNMOM on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 02:20:59 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  You've clearly made your choices and tried to find (0+ / 0-)

                          what works best for your family and budget.

                          My words are not meant as a specific comment on your practices and choices. I am trying to comment generally on our American diets and practices.

                          My point is that every single food item we purchase is a choice. Often there are better choices to make, and it's not always between price and health (but yes, it can be).

                          We need to train ourselves away from the "American diet".  

                          We need to train ourselves to use the Brita water filter, rather than spending money to purchase sugar and flavorings to cover up the taste of bad tap water.  The former is healthy, the latter is not.

                          I would advise any growing teen that eating six PBJ sandwiches a day that is NOT the best way to get that amount of calories, protein, fat, nutrients needed.  

                          I will mention that simple carbohydrate and simple sugars contribute to the occurrence of hypoglycemic episodes.  That insulin spike is followed by the blood sugar crash.  And that sugar crash requires more sugar, and fast.

                          Constant sugar boosts, the constant up and down from sugared drinks and simple carb foods, are not good for maintaining blood sugar levels.  They are, in fact, the opposite.  And this contributes to fat storage.

                          Yes, it does work to "manage" hypglycemia, as it creates a vicious cycle of insulin peaks, then crashes, that respond well to more straight sugar jolts.

                          "Privatize to Profitize" explains every single Republican economic, social and governing philosophy. Take every taxpayer dollar from defense, education, health care, public lands, retirement - privatize it, and profit from it.

                          by mumtaznepal on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 03:11:12 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Managing hypoglycemia (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            PSzymeczek, worldlotus

                            is something we've gotten good at. He doesn't just eat PB&J. He eats a lot more than that including meals I make him three times a day. He just eats that between meals. And he's still skinny as a rail. He has the metabolism of a humming bird!

                            As to spikes and crash, yes, that's why he eats a lot of peanut butter, the protein levels him out. But he's also autistic and is limited on what he WILL eat. There are a lot of flavors and textures off limits. Add in a milk allergy, and you get what you get. He's been stable for years now, but it took us a while to get it worked out.

                            As to the brita, we have one. I love the thing, so do the kids. What they don't love is refilling it. Much like ice cubes I've temporarily given up. I could fill all four trays twice a day and still not get a single one. I could fill the brita filter every time I find it empty and get one glass each time. They get kool aid, and they are responsible for making it. I get cold brew iced tea (not sweet), which they won't touch and actually get enough to stay hydrated. You can only yell at them so much. I've left notes, I've taken things away. They still don't refill it. It's not a battle worth fighting at this point. It takes too much energy I don't have.

                            "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

                            by FloridaSNMOM on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 03:59:30 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  KIDS! :-) (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            FloridaSNMOM, worldlotus

                            "Privatize to Profitize" explains every single Republican economic, social and governing philosophy. Take every taxpayer dollar from defense, education, health care, public lands, retirement - privatize it, and profit from it.

                            by mumtaznepal on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 05:58:15 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                      •  After a quick search online... (3+ / 0-)

                        I CAN get the 40 oz jars of the natural on Amazon, for $8.22. I can get the Walmart brand 40 oz jar for $6. That's an extra $8-10 dollars a month for my budget at the rate we go through peanut butter. That may not sound like much, but that's 2-4 dinners for my family, depending what I get. And if it's a short month it's closer to 5.

                        "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

                        by FloridaSNMOM on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 02:23:53 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  It's very difficult when ones' budget must be (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          worldlotus

                          precise.  There is no room for error, even if $1-2.

                          There are, unbelievably, 364 choices when one enters "peanut butter" into the Walmart website.  

                          Some say that makes America great .. I think that's terrible :-)

                          Out of all these peanut butters, I would look at the labels, and only consider purchasing the ones whose ingredients are "Peanuts, salt", without added hydrogenated oils and preservatives.

                          The "real" peanut butters separate the oils out at room temp, so you have to stir them to restore the creaminess, then refrigerate them.

                          That's why they started added preservatives and hydrogenated oils to peanut butters.

                          I love nut butters (I grew up on PBJ on white for lunch), but now would rather simply eat for lunch the actual dry roasted peanuts, or natural peanuts in the shell.

                          My point is that the American diet is very unique as to it's complexity and level of processing and addition of extraneous ingredients, and it's far healthier if we move away from that.  And it's generally cheaper to be simpler, too.

                          http://www.walmart.com/...

                          "Privatize to Profitize" explains every single Republican economic, social and governing philosophy. Take every taxpayer dollar from defense, education, health care, public lands, retirement - privatize it, and profit from it.

                          by mumtaznepal on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 03:21:37 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  These are the unhealthy choices we face in the (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            worldlotus

                            grocery aisle:

                            From the WalMart web page:

                            Jif Peanut Butters - ingredients peanuts, hydrogenated oils, sugar, molasses.  Multiple varieties, including "simply Jif" and "natural", but every one has 2 to 3 grams of sugar per serving added, plus hydrogenated oils.

                            Skippy Peanut Butters -  ditto to the above, 3 grams added sugar each variety, hydrogenated oils added.

                            Smuckers Natural - ingredients only peanuts and pinch salt, no added sugar, no hydrogenated oils, naturally occurring sugars less than 1 gram per serving.

                            I would only purchase the last one for a nut butter.

                            But to get there, you have to read the labels on every variety.

                            "Privatize to Profitize" explains every single Republican economic, social and governing philosophy. Take every taxpayer dollar from defense, education, health care, public lands, retirement - privatize it, and profit from it.

                            by mumtaznepal on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 03:54:07 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I don't buy any of those. (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Papuska, worldlotus

                            It's no name all the way LOL. Even Jiff and Skippy and Peter Pan are too expensive.

                            "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

                            by FloridaSNMOM on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 06:41:06 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

              •  Agreed. Food banks are no substitute for a living (6+ / 0-)

                wage or minimum safety net.

        •  No fat (5+ / 0-)

          Which means I binge when I can afford fats.

          "Til you're so fucking crazy you can't follow their rules" John Lennon - Working Class Hero

          by Horace Boothroyd III on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 12:33:32 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Time is a factor in this (11+ / 0-)

        Many don't have a slow cooker, or don't know what they are.

        We are talking about people who are exhausted by working all the time, people who just can't deal with things.

        Women create the entire labor force. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Sympathy is the strongest instinct in human nature. - Charles Darwin

        by splashy on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 12:57:31 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I just don't agree with that argument. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          OleHippieChick, mystery2me

          We are talking about obesity in America, not poor obese people in America.  And besides which, if you ARE poor and you DO work 12+ hours a day, the slow cooker is something you are VERY familiar with.  There are so many obese people that aren't under the poverty line.  

          "Those who can make you believe in absurdities can make you commit atrocities."

          by dancerat on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 02:15:52 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Agreed! (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            merrywidow

            Slow cookers are a working person's best friend if he or she wants a hot meal all ready when they get home. Thats the point: set it up before work and don't worry about it later There's myriad recipes.
            Yes I have come home from work exhausted.

            people were comng home from work exhausted before the obesity epidemic and microwaves---what did they do?

            Happy just to be alive

            by exlrrp on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 04:27:35 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I and my husband eat a very healthy diet and it (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              caul

              takes lots of time, planning, effort - shopping, preparing, cooking, cleaning up after it, don't kid yourself, it's tiring and time-consuming. People have to make eating at home, and eating whole foods cooked at home a priority.  There is no cultural reinforcement of which I am aware of this choice, and that does not make it any easier.  It can be done, but one has to clearly understand why you are doing it and what to do.  Eating out, eating at fast food joints, etc. - these choices are constantly reinforced in the media.  It is part of the our culture.  

              The elevation of appearance over substance, of celebrity over character, of short term gains over lasting achievement displays a poverty of ambition. It distracts you from what's truly important. - Barack Obama

              by helfenburg on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 04:29:43 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  What did they do? (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              DamselleFly, kareylou, caul
              people were comng home from work exhausted before the obesity epidemic and microwaves---what did they do?
              They employed women as unpaid servants at home.

              Among the poor, women often worked outside the home...but also often lived in multigenerational households where their daughters and aging mothers were available for the unpaid labour.

              The current setup, where wage-earners also serve as cooks/maids/childcare providers, is a very new thing.

              (That's not to say that the women who did all the unpaid labour at home weren't exhausted and overworked, but the logistics of cooking a meal are somewhat easier to arrange when you're being exhausted and overworked in and around and by your own kitchen than when you're being exhausted and overworked by unrelated work miles away. The cooking was part of - often the bulk of - their work, not an addendum to it.)

              "Let’s just move on, treat everybody with firmness, fairness, dignity, compassion and respect. Let’s be Marines." - Sgt. Maj Michael Barrett on DADT repeal

              by kyril on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 04:35:10 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  Say, merrywidow, did you miss this in the diary? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        DamselleFly
        While, yes individuals are somewhat responsible for what they eat and what their kids eat, we also exist in a controlled food economy where corn is in everything. Your meat is corn (because you and that cow or chicken you are eat are what you eat and we feed them corn). Every process food out there has corn or soy in it. Your eggs are corn, your dairy is corn, hell, the nice shine on your apple is CORN. We are not made to eat like this. THIS IS PART OF THE PROBLEM.
        •  I am aware this is a big problem, our ag policies (0+ / 0-)

          do not support good food....I would love to see corn and soybeans and sugar get their subsidies ended.....but who is buying all that soda? not me, not in my house. We drink water with a Brita filter in the pitcher.

      •  Agreed! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kyril

        The diarist shouldn't scoff at peanut butter, either. It's an excellent food (assuming of course that no one in the family has allergies to it).
        Peanut butter with wheat bread makes a complete protein with all necessary amino acids.
        I am not trying by any means to make light of the problem of food insecurity.
        I just wish that most schools hadn't been forced to dump home economics courses. It would be very useful for all kids in public school to learn nutrition and cooking skills. Now would be the time to revisit and revamp home-ec courses in public school.

      •  Really? (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        helfenburg, kyril, caul

        Come to some of the poor areas of Detroit.  Where there may not be grocery stores within walking distance that have things like fresh fruit and vegetables, or other "good food choices." At least not ones that people who live in these areas can afford. Where we have no public transportation, and your only real resource to get places, if you don't have a car, is to walk.  Where the winters often get bad enough that you're not going to be walking terribly far.  Now combine all of that with a minimum wage job, and subtract costs for rent, bills, etc.

        I understand your point, but frankly I think you're oversimplifying things a bit.  And I think it shows a lack of understanding of what some poor people have to deal with when it comes to food choices.

      •  White rice is not a healthy choice and frequently (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        caul

        cheap meat is full of fat.  

        Obviously everyone could use some more education about healthy diets, even the self-righteous.

        The elevation of appearance over substance, of celebrity over character, of short term gains over lasting achievement displays a poverty of ambition. It distracts you from what's truly important. - Barack Obama

        by helfenburg on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 04:23:19 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Exactly. People have a choice, and choose poorly. (0+ / 0-)

        They need to be educated on what to do, not claim helplessness.

        Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!

        by bigtimecynic on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 06:04:23 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  But Lots of People On Food Stamps Can't Get to (27+ / 0-)

      afarmer's market.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 10:02:57 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  And the fruits and veggies at my farmers' market (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kyril, caul

        are grotesquely overpriced.  I now have a garden, thank goodness, and no longer go to the farmers' market.

        The elevation of appearance over substance, of celebrity over character, of short term gains over lasting achievement displays a poverty of ambition. It distracts you from what's truly important. - Barack Obama

        by helfenburg on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 04:31:28 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Don't buy prepared foods. (12+ / 0-)

      Read every label. If it has ingredients you don't want in your body, don't buy it. HFCS is in fewer and fewer products as people rejected it. As the consumer, your voice is very loud. It takes a little longer to prepare food, but it feels good knowing what you're eating. Prepare large quantities and freeze it in portion size containers. With a microwave and a salad, you can have a meal on the table in minutes.

      •  You really didn't read the diary, did you? (51+ / 0-)

        When you are trying to feed the kids between jobs one and two...

        When you are trying to feed family of three on $323 a month...

        When the grocery store produce section consists of only what the "good" stores have rejected...

        When our government subsidizes corn and wheat that has been genetically modified for more than half a century....

        When corn products are in everything...

        When our school lunches have been tailored for the benefit of the Ag Industry, not our children....

        When you don't have the benefit of the background many of us here take for granted when it comes to food choices...

        When cheap never equals good for you and filling rarely equals optimum nutitrion...

        People have trouble deciphering the labels -- they're printed as small as is legal and as confusing as possible.  They are consumers who don't have voices; they buy what they know, they buy what they can and their choices are made by the balance on the EBT card as much as any other consideration.  They do not have the time and the energy to work 50, 60, 70 hours a week and then do the kind of cooking necessary to put up a week's worth of meals for a whole family.  They don't have salad.  They may not have a microwave, a crockpot, a working stove or oven, a freezer that they can be sure will keep things frozen.

        We have made it nearly impossible for people with limited transportation, limited education, and controlled access to what it on the shelves to make good food choices.    It's like telling me how easy it would be to have a dining room table -- when I don't have a dining room.

        History should teach humility and prudence, but America doesn't seem to learn. I've never seen a virgin who loses her innocence so often. -- Gordon Wood

        by stormicats on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 10:25:50 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  If that's what our obesity problem was about (20+ / 0-)

          then only low income people would be overweight.  

          But that's not the case, of course,  For most of the people whose weight is a health issues, there are choices.  The more healthy choice is often much harder, and less convenient.  But personal responsibility plays some role here.  There are few of us who have NO choice.  A family who has no cooking apparatus, no refrigerator/freezer, and no access to a grocery (even if it's less convenient than the corner fast food outlet) fits into the "no other choice" situation.  But most of us have choices.  Often, the unhealthy choices are the easier choices.  It's not easy to take 30 minutes a day to walk at a brisk pace. But it's a choice almost anyone who takes time, for example, to watch one TV show a day can make.

          I do not discount the fact that our society often makes healthy choices more difficult.  That's absolutely true.  But addressing the obesity/health problem in this country needs to be a combination of addressing societal issues AND stressing the need for people to take personal responsibility for choices.  

          •  There is a lot going on (11+ / 0-)

            Choices matter, but even good choices are no guarantee. Many people who make good choices still can not be thin. My choices are to run 30 miles a week and think hard about every one of the 1600 calories I eat in order to weigh only 20 pounds above the upper limits of my "healthy" weight or to eat with out thinking too much about it (I'm naturally a pretty healthy eater with a penchant for chocolate) and do a few hours of walking and running a week and be 30 pounds above the upper limit of my"healthy" weight.

            So yes, many people can choose to be healthier then they are today, but that doesn't mean that everybody has the ability to have a low fat slender body. If you saw me, you might think, all she needs to do is loose a few pound, but you have no idea how much effort I put in to keeping my weight at this level. At least I know I can run the average American into the ground.

            •  I certainly did not mean to suggest that (4+ / 0-)

              everyone can be -- or even should be -- working to have  "low fat slender body" as you put it.  You would never mistake my family (who are conscious of the health issues our family has had that are caused in part by, or exacerbated by, weight issues) for fitness models.  Of course there are no guarantees.  Of course this differs from person to person.  That's one reason I said below that I do not condone attacks on any one personally, or ridiculing anyone personally.  

              But there is no question that, as a whole, our society suffers from the fact that so many of us are overweight to the point that it affects our health.  And, as we all know, we are in a situation where we are spreading the costs of health care out over all of us.  The fact that so many of us are overweight to the point of affecting our health, and increasing health care costs for us all, is something that we as a country should be concerned about.  

              All I am saying is that the solution can't be "it's not your fault at all, you play no role in your personal health, it's society's fault."  It also can't be, "you're entirely on your own, you get no help, and if you make bad choices, that's your own problem."  It needs to involving changing our society to help people make better choices, but it also necessarily involves a recognition that, ultimately, much of the problem does come down to people making better choices, even if those choices are more difficult for people to make.  

          •  This kind of reminds me (17+ / 0-)

            of people who lecture breast cancer survivors, saying "if you would have gotten a mammogram, you wouldn't have gotten breast cancer".

            Curing obesity is not a panacea for our nation's health problems.  Scientific evidence only links it to a specific group of illnesses.

            We would all do much better if we minded our own business and tried to avoid sitting in judgement of others.

            Democratic Leaders must be very clear they stand with the working class of our country. Democrats must hold the line in demanding that deficit reduction is done fairly -- not on the backs of the elderly, the sick, children and the poor.

            by Betty Pinson on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 01:29:10 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Thank you and I think genetics is a factor too (5+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              kaliope, Papuska, worldlotus, kyril, caul

              I was thin all my life growing up.  As I left the hospital with my second child, I wore a size 7 pair of pants.  So we are talking one day after giving birth I was able to fit into my size 7 jeans.

              While my children were at home, we ate healthy.  I was diligent.  They were both thin, but I started to gain weight, slowly.  I had not changed my eating habits, but I no longer was chasing after 2 small children.

              I had to endure the in-laws accusing me of starving my children because they were so thin.  I also had to endure them accusing me of feeding them junk.  I worked a full-time job and took my responsibilities as a mother very seriously.  I bought checks eggs, from the egg farm. (these are the eggs that are not pretty so they are cheaper). I planned my meals for the week based on what was on sale at the store. Soda to my children was fruit juice which was cut with sparkling water.  I could go on and on....

              Fast forward to today.  My son is on the leaner side and my daughter's body type is looking more like her grandmother's.  I truly believe that genetics is a factor as well.  My face, for instance, has never looked thin.   I am overweight now and I accept that.  I do have a weakness for certain foods like pizza :)

          •  So it's one set of problems for low income people (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            kyril, DamselleFly, kareylou, caul

            and a different set for the well off who do have more choices, although there is some intersection.

            I have a garden and the difference in taste between what I grow and what I buy at the supermarket is astounding.  The ag industry has removed all taste from the food that is good for us, i.e. fruits and veggies, and the food processing industry has added the addictive tastes of sweet, salty and the texture by adding the stuff we shouldn't eat.

            People's tastes are set in childhood.  At the local elementary school, I see children adding sugar to their cereal at breakfast and drinking flavored milks, chocolate and strawberry, which have added sugar.  You'd instigate an uprising by asking the school to stop serving flavored milk and sugar, but this is the pathway to Type 2 diabetes in adulthood - a lifetime of added sugar to foods that don't need it.

            The elevation of appearance over substance, of celebrity over character, of short term gains over lasting achievement displays a poverty of ambition. It distracts you from what's truly important. - Barack Obama

            by helfenburg on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 04:37:19 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  A lifetime of dieting (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            stormicats

            In 1990, at age 39, after yoyo dieting for my entire adult life, I enrolled in a hospital weight-loss program.

            I lost more than 100 pounds.

            I also learned that the program I was participating in had a 93% failure rate. That is, 93% of the people on it regained everything they'd lost within 5 years.

            The program touted itself as "successful" because the average of similar programs had a failure rate of 95%.

            Needless to say, I was one of the 93%. Today, I weigh more than when I started that program.

            Our society puts a tremendous premium on slenderness. There is huge societal pressure on obese people to lose weight. They are shamed and discriminated against. Don't you think most obese people would like to get out of that place?

            Yet, 93% of the people who tried that hospital-based program failed. With the pressure from family, friends, the need to make oneself acceptable for a job all pushing people to stay with weight-loss efforts, the fact that 93% would fail tells me that it can't just be "people not taking responsibility for their choices."

            The program I participated in back then was called a "modified fast." It was about 800 calories a day of powdered meal-replacement drinks. If you went on the program and didn't cheat, you lost weight. There was physician supervision (a sit-down, one-on-one appt. with a physician once a week), a personal trainer, group therapy meetings and more.

            But that type of program, which was in vogue in 1990 because Oprah Winfrey had gone on a similar program, are hard to find today. Why? Because they were an utter failure when it came to maintaining the weight loss afterward.

            I was on the program for nearly 10 months, and suffered unbelievable food cravings (which I resisted for the term of the program). When I got off the program, I was determined to succeed and maintained my weight without gaining for ... almost 10 months.

            Since then, I've dieted over and over. Even when I'm not dieting, I am aware of my food choices and try to make them reasonable. I've made myself an expert on nutrition. I've walked for exercise. I've ridden a bike for exercise. I own a stationary bike and an elliptical trainer.

            But I'm still obese.

            I can't run. My feet an knees would not take it, and I have a heart condition (which my cardiologist assures me has little or nothing to do with my weight -- he'd like me to lose but tells me it's not critical for my heart).

            Let me expand on my parenthetical statement above: I asked my cardiologist point-blank: Dr. will this condition improve if I lose weight? He said: No. Losing weight will make you feel better overall, but you'll still have this condition, and if you don't, it won't make this condition worse.

            In short, if it were simply a matter of "taking responsibility for my life," I would be thin. I take responsibility. I take LOTS of responsibility.

            The obesity epidemic is real. And it's an epidemic in the classic sense: A disease that is spreading out of control through the population.

            If we're going to conquer this, we need more, better research on human nutrition. Currently, there is a hell of a lot more we don't understand about nutrition than what we understand.

            Anecdotal evidence ("I lost X number of pounds by doing Y and have kept it off for Z years. Anybody can do it!") will never solve the problem.

            We'll have the answer someday -- just like we're going to cure AIDS and cancer and heart disease.

            But we're not there yet.

            Wealth doesn't trickle down -- it rises up.

            by elsaf on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 07:12:09 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  It would be nice (27+ / 0-)

      if there were more farmer's markets. It would also be nice if they made sure farmer's markets were placed where people who use public transportation could get to them. Having a farmer's market on a weekend in an area where buses only run mon-fri and 2 miles from any bus route at all is unhelpful even if they accept food stamps.

      "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

      by FloridaSNMOM on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 11:19:18 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  There is also a senior discount program (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      splashy, worldlotus, kyril, DamselleFly

      or at least there was last year--senior citizens could pick up a coupon (avail wherever there are sr citizen services) for a discount on their farmer's market purchases. I forget what this program is called, but it's great--good for the farmers and good for getting more fresh food into seniors.

      I love it that Obama's channeling Harry Truman: "I don't give 'em hell; I just tell the truth and they think it's hell!"

      by sillia on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 12:51:32 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  There was a voucher program (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sillia, worldlotus, kyril, DamselleFly

      Last summer for those over 65 with low income where you got $50 to use at the farmer's markets with approved vendors.

      Women create the entire labor force. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Sympathy is the strongest instinct in human nature. - Charles Darwin

      by splashy on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 12:55:40 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The Farmers' Market (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      worldlotus, kyril

      back in the SE Arizona town we lived in for years accepted SNAP benefits for many of the vendors.  But a lot of the good stuff was sstill overpriced.  

      You can't keep a mighty tree alive (much less expect it to thrive) by only spritzing the fine leaves at its tippy-top. The fate of the whole tree depends on nurturing the grassroots. - Jim Hightower

      by PSzymeczek on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 04:06:08 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The flipside is the vegetable trucks... (6+ / 0-)

      ....that park at the local flea markets, as well as Mexican and Asian groceries, that offer good-quality fresh fruits and vegetables at a fraction of the price of some farmers' markets, some of which exist to squeeze every penny out of yuppies.

      9-11 changed everything? Well, Katrina changed it back.

      by varro on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 05:49:22 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I've got a different perspective on it (27+ / 0-)

    while working in the Peace Corps.
       People around here eat rice and beans every single day, 365 days a year, for their entire lives.

    While there is some obesity, its not too much of a problem. There is no childhood obesity at all.

       People talk about food all the time. It's an obsession. Why? Because long stretches of not having food to eat are a constant concern.

      Being fat isn't considered a bad thing. People will openly call you "gordo" or "flacco" right to your face. Not offense is intended. Nor is either condition considered to be a bad thing.

    ¡Cállate o despertarás la izquierda! - protest sign in Spain

    by gjohnsit on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 10:08:06 AM PST

  •  of course it's more complicated than that (18+ / 0-)

    but taking control of your diet - through mindful, purposeful eating - is a good start in fighting back against corporate manipulation. Just being fully aware of what we eat, and learning approximately how much we should eat, can over time contribute to a healthier diet.

    Even losing 2 pounds a year can be a positive goal for some folks (because the average american gains 1-2 pounds a year after 30).

    There's a war on when it comes to food choices in this country, but there's no need to surrender.

    •  on the day that I finally said to myself, (9+ / 0-)

      "self, any day now you're gonna be big enough to butcher" (how I got there is a long story & full of the very real excuses I made for myself) I was already mindful of the way big AG has been meddling with our foods and rarely ate "convenience". So...

      I put away the "dinner plates" and began using the "salad plates" every day (except Xmas and TG)

      end of denial/beginning of weight loss

      altho gradual, the results were almost immediate, including the part where I just generally felt better physically (including my arthritic knees & back)

      I've also planted a wee small garden every spring since (some in containers) so that I can have fresh produce at least six months of the year without ever leaving my home. It is fun and worth the small amount of time invested.

      but that's just me

      "Show up. Pay attention. Tell the truth. And don't be attached to the results." -- Angeles Arrien

      by Sybil Liberty on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 12:26:53 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  A personal perspective - It's complicated (40+ / 0-)

    You've focused on one aspect of the problem well - what might be called the lower socio-economic end of it.  But Obesity cuts across all class and income and ethnic lines in this country - and throughout the developed world, though not as severely anywhere as here.  Chris Christie isn't fat for any of the reasons described in the diary.
    I speak as one who teaches this stuff to cardiac patients - with not too much lasting success - and has struggled all my life to control weight.  I'm the only one of my siblings not to be obese, though at times in my life I've been not too much short of it.
    A couple of observations:
    One set of people, mostly obese themselves, claim that genetics play a major part.  However obesity has increased massively in the last 50 or so years, and our genes have not changed in that time.  So it may play some role for any one person, but it doesn't explain what has changed in the broader society.
    Others like to blame some failure of character.  I think this fails on the same grounds.  Some superficial characteristics of one generation might be a bit different from another, but our fundamental characters have not changed in one or two generations.
    So, it seems obvious that the answer has to lie in our environment - the totality of our environment: how we work, how we shop, how we eat, and most especially what food choices are offered and promoted to us.  Most especially the fact that there is a massive industry devoted to developing and marketing foods that taste so good you can't stop eating them.  Foods that provide little true satisfaction, but a great deal of taste pleasure.  And, of course, those same foods are marketed through hugely sophisticated advertising campaigns.  
    That is, of course, only one piece of the puzzle, and no one answer explains it all.  But it surely is one piece.
    And finally what is true for one person is not true for society as a whole: Any one individual can, in fact, change their own situation via the measures you deride in your opening.  Not easily, but it can be done.  But that is not the fix for society as a whole.  For that we need to look at the whole totality of our food environment.

    "Wouldn't you rather vote for what you want and not get it than vote for what you don't want - and get it?" Eugene Debs. "Le courage, c'est de chercher la verite et de la dire" Jean Jaures

    by Chico David RN on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 10:20:56 AM PST

    •  My Parents Are Obese (6+ / 0-)

      I have the stretch marks on my body to show how large I used to be. I recall my mom telling me I needed to eat more. I was too small. I was like no Mom I don't need to eat more. You need to eat less. It is a choice. I choose not to eat more.

      When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

      by webranding on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 10:27:34 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  You are correct, the packaged foods in (17+ / 0-)

      this country are designed. Designed to be mass produced cheaply. Cheaply specifically means artificial ingredients, HFCS, trans fats, and MSG and its derivatives (called by dozens of different names to confuse people). Any resemblance to nutritional value is purely accidental.
      In a nutshell, it is plastic for your chewing enjoyment. MSG is added to make said plastic taste good, it lights up the part of your brain that controls apitite and turns your ability to feel full OFF!!!

      I have done a great deal of reading on food to get my health under control. Former career woman too busy to cook and ate out a lot. Used convenience foods more than I should. Guess what, The weight crept up and up and up. Sound familiar?

      During my research, someone described Americans as a society of overweight people that nutritionally are actually starving. We as a country ingest far too little nutritionally abundant food. We need vitamins and minerals to fuel our bodies. We don't get enough. Vegetable are nutritionally dense, we don't eat enough of them.

      I am very careful with what I eat now. I look for nutrition as top consideration. If you see artificial anything, STOP and put it back. They have taken something made by nature, say blueberries, and instead put artificial color and flavor in instead of the blueberries. If you had gotten the blueberries you would be ingesting vitamins an minerals and antioxidants, instead you got artificial color, artificial flavor and sugar (or HFCS), basically nutritionally VOID. They probably added MSG to make you think it tastes great which means you are wired to keep eating a nutritionally void food that will ruin your health and make you fat. Wash, rinse, repeat with thousands of foods put out there by big agribusinesses.

      The great American health heist brought to you by (insert any large food co. that pumps this stuff out.) INC.

      Take heart. Once you know this, you are armed with knowledge that will serve you well the rest of your life. I actually get  a sick feeling looking at baked goods put out at grocery stores, knowing what is in them.

      Many American are catching on to this, hence the explosion the popularity of organics, whole foods, farmers markets, food co-ops, etc...

      Truth is harmonious, lies are discordant.

      by Babsnc on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 11:34:50 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Thanks for your great comment. (14+ / 0-)

      ....developing and marketing foods that taste so good you can't stop eating them.  

      Foods that provide little true satisfaction, but a great deal of taste pleasure.  

      These are two of the downfalls for me.  

      (Pea soup is a good price/cost/calorie value.  Potatoes, too, I think. )

      Time is a long river.

      by phonegery on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 11:49:30 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  My own road to weight control (12+ / 0-)

        has involved the Weight Watchers program - the online version, since I didn't feel I needed a teacher or cheerleader or someone to hold me accountable - all good reasons to go to the meetings if you do need them.  What I needed was a framework, a system.  And that one has worked for me.  And along the way, the points system has lead me on a constant search for what would give me the best lasting satisfaction for the fewest points.  A very interesting process.  Favorite lunch right now, which I just finished: black bean tacos with salsa and shredded carrots, carrot sticks and pickles on the side, fruit for desert.
        Interestingly, I had begun to get a bit worried about my relationship with alcohol - nothing too extreme, but my one glass of wine a day 10 years ago had gradually morphed into 3 or 4 - one with lunch on days I didn't work, an aperitif of kir or sparkling wine, two more glasses with dinner.  Day after day, I would say to myself I really ought to trim that back and it wasn't happening.  But once I put it in the point context - if I have more wine, that's fewer points available for food - it suddenly got easy to stay at one a day.
        It's not for everyone, but it works for my kind of brain.

        "Wouldn't you rather vote for what you want and not get it than vote for what you don't want - and get it?" Eugene Debs. "Le courage, c'est de chercher la verite et de la dire" Jean Jaures

        by Chico David RN on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 01:38:48 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  My current best liked is (0+ / 0-)

          peanut butter, coconut oil mixed together (in the jar, [the coconut oil kinda melts and melds with the peanut butter,] spread, or dripped or whatever, on raw red bell peppers.  Or orange bell peppers.  Ripe bells, in any event.  They taste sweet.

          Time is a long river.

          by phonegery on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 08:03:44 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  AND how we're *advertised to* eom (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      worldlotus

      "Today is who you are" - my wife

      by I Lurked For Years on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 04:28:57 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  You've hit the nail on the head here. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DamselleFly, Chico David RN

      Something is different about the environment.  Something has gone wrong, and it's lots of things.  In my town, a suburb of Wash, DC, there are about 25 fast food restaurants on the main intersection in town, Chipotle, Five Guys, Popeye's Mcdonalds, Pizza Hut, etc., etc.  Cheap, calorie laden food is constantly, easily accessible.  I remember the first McDonald's in the midwestern town where I grew up and we never went there for a meal, but only for ice cream really.  My mother put a meal on the table every night and with no help from my father or anyone else and she worked full-time.  

      I know that if I eliminate all processed food from my diet and eat only whole foods that I prepare and cook myself, it's nothing I feel compelled to eat a lot more of.  I mean I like broccoli, but I've never felt the urge to binge on the stuff.  And even if I did, how much damage could I do?

      It's complicated but the food processing and fast food industries have a lot to answer for.

      The elevation of appearance over substance, of celebrity over character, of short term gains over lasting achievement displays a poverty of ambition. It distracts you from what's truly important. - Barack Obama

      by helfenburg on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 04:45:56 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Some valid points but (25+ / 0-)

    we, as a nation, cannot and should not adopt an attitude that absolves people from individual responsibility.  

    As you point out, there are a number of things that make it much harder for some to do those things that are healthy.  And as others point out, some have medical issues that make it impossible to lower their weight to a more healthy level.  

    But we should not use that as a blanket excuse for the majority of the people in this country who do not have a healthy weight. We can certainly, certainly, acknowledge that it is difficult for almost everybody -- except, perhaps, the super rich for whom their body is their income (like athletes or movie stars) -- to maintain a healthy weight in today's society.  That is not to say that we shouldn't look at our society and discuss ways to make it easier to lose weight.  But we also cannot say to the majority of Americans who are overweight to an unhealthy level, "oh, it's not your fault, you can't help it."  For most who are overweight to an unhealthy level, they got there as a result of personal choices, and although it's often very, very hard, they can take responsibility themselves to do something to address it.  

    I understand it may be harder for those who are very low income than it is for the middle class.  But most of those things that make it "hard" in the diary apply to the vast majority of us.  The part about time applies to virtually everyone who works, not just the low income.  Many, many working individuals -- from teachers I know (grading papers, after school duties) to doctors I know -- work far, far more than 40 hours a week.  They have the same time issue.  The part about unhealthy food being more convenient applies to most of us -- for most working parents, it's far easier, and sometimes cheaper, to pick up a happy meal at McD's than to prepare a healthier meal that their children will want to eat from scratch.  For ALL of us who have children, those children are surrounded by unhealthy food unhealthy food choices, and the promotion of unhealthy food choices.  Has anybody watched TV commercials lately?  Those things make it much harder.  It does not absolve us of personal responsibility.  (I speak as someone who has a family history of health issues closely linked to weight issues.)  

    This is a bit of rant, I know.  I certainly don't approve of ridiculing or making fun of someone because of a weight problem -- it's not my place to criticize someone else personally about what I might "perceive" to be their health issues -- I don't know, and unless I know that person, and their situation, personally, I should refrain from saying anything about them personally.  And as I recognize that society often makes maintaining a healthy weight harder than it has to be.  On the other hand, I don't like to see attitudes of "well, it's not really my fault that I'm overweight, it's everything around me."  Sometimes, in medical situations, it is largely beyond being affected by personal choices. Certainly, we as a society can make changes that make it easier for people to make healthier choices.  But addressing the obesity/health issue in this country needs to be a combination of (1) societal change AND (2) personal responsibility.  We can't let it be an "either, or" situation.  

    •  Well reasoned comment , (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      OleHippieChick, Miggles

      We can't just abandon all hope for addressing what is a horrific public health crisis.  

      We own our weight.  It belongs to us.  And it is our job to deal with it.   Or not.  That's the choice that each of us has.  

      It's the Supreme Court, stupid!

      by Radiowalla on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 10:35:03 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  So much bad food is due to national policy (13+ / 0-)

        Watch the movie "King Corn" to see how much that corn that is in almost everything we eat has come to be a shadow of the nutrition in corn as recently as the '80s.  See how this has come about by a Federal subsidy designed to pay only for volume.  Watch how cows fed on this corn will die of nutritional deficiency if not slaughtered to feed us. Also note that growing lower volume, higher nutrition corn will cause a farmer to go broke.

        Our farm programs are designed to support the production of lots of worthless eating.  We do need support for our farmers but we need support that brings good food to our tables, not what we are getting.  

        And no government paid program should buy food laden with artificial ingredients.

        A lot of our food mess is due to the fact that bribing those in office is legal as long as the bribe is called a campaign contribution.  It is also caused by the fact that unless those running receive these bribes their chances of winning election or reelection are poor.

        We as individuals do have responsibility for what we eat and feed our children but to feed anyone well these days is awfully hard -- far harder than it once was or ever should be.  

    •  Putting everyone on a diet (8+ / 0-)

      also isn't going to solve our problems.  It's not a panacea.

      People will still be poor, they will still be unhealthy (for other reasons, including lack of access to affordable care), some will still have mental health issues.

      We will still be stuck in a country where the middle class is shrinking, the economy is falling apart and where good paying jobs are still shipped overseas.  People will still be going bankrupt, still struggle to pay off student loans, still be unable to buy a new car or get a good education. Going on a diet isn't going to cure any of that.

      For once, let's look at the big picture instead of focusing on narrow issues that, for the most part, aren't going to make a big difference for our society.

      Democratic Leaders must be very clear they stand with the working class of our country. Democrats must hold the line in demanding that deficit reduction is done fairly -- not on the backs of the elderly, the sick, children and the poor.

      by Betty Pinson on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 01:37:25 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  We need to love food more, not less. (19+ / 0-)

    If we loved food enough to insist on knowing what's in packaged goods and where our vegetables were grown...

    If we loved food enough to actually prepare it with a modicum of care and a spirit of adventure...

    If we loved food enough to walk away from nasty, adulterated
    industrial foods with mystery ingredients...

    If we loved food enough to take our time eating it, celebrating it, and honoring our friends and family by nourishing them...

    By truly loving food, we show love to ourselves and to our community.

    Sorry if this all sounds preachy, but I believe it to be true.  

    It's the Supreme Court, stupid!

    by Radiowalla on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 10:28:29 AM PST

  •  I think there's something else going on, too. (42+ / 0-)

    I'll use Chris Christie as an example.

    For him to not only get that large but maintain that size, you could reach the conclusion that he's spending 18 hours a day eating or making some really bad food choices, like, say, eating a dozen doughnuts with every meal.

    Okay, maybe he is, but I doubt it.

    He has what I imagine is a time-consuming job. I would bet you that he doesn't eat that much, or, at least, way less than most of us assume he does.

    I think there are mysteries about weight that medical science has yet to unlock.

    Don't we all know at least one person who eats and eats yet never seems to gain weight? And don't we all know someone who doesn't seem to eat that much yet has a weight problem?

    I think the issue's more complicated than we realize.

    How about I believe in the unlucky ones?

    by BenderRodriguez on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 10:32:15 AM PST

    •  I Am Not A Fan Of The Guy (23+ / 0-)

      but when I saw him on Letterman and he couldn't fit in the chair offered, I almost broke down and cried. I used to be like a 100 pounds heavier then I am now. I know what it is like. I feel for the guy.

      When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

      by webranding on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 10:38:31 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Its a whole LOT (22+ / 0-)

      Of factors.
      My reasons for weight issues are completely different from anyone else.
      But many people will focus on just one idea, and proclaim that they know everything.

      The food we eat, our modern lifestyle, psychological issues, Geography (food deserts) health complications, medications.....Etc Etc.

      There is no magic bullet.
      But sure as hell there are a lot out there who want to sanctimoniously proclaim that it is sheer laziness....It is just easier for them to denounce others and be all superior.

      The pull up your bootstraps crowd.

      "As the days go by, we face the increasing inevitability that we are alone in a godless, uninhabited, hostile and meaningless universe. Still, you've got to laugh, haven't you?" - Holly, Red Dwarf

      by pale cold on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 10:44:35 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  "Lazy" is such an offensive descriptor ... (11+ / 0-)

        If someone has been trying over and over again to quit smoking, i'm not sure anyone would accuse them of being too "lazy" to quit.  People, generally speaking, recognize that cigarettes are addictive (in spite of what Big Tobacco tried to assert for so many years), and it's really really difficult to quit!  And while cigarette smokers can navigate around the source of thier temptation, food is ubiquitous.  But people who have an addictive relationship with food seem to be held to an entirely different standard of self control.

      •  I remember telling my therapist once that food (9+ / 0-)

        was my only comfort. She said "Then why would you limit that?"

        Certainly I am learning other ways to comfort myself but until I do I'll take food rather than a miserable existence, thank you.

        Tracy B Ann - technically that is my signature.

        by ZenTrainer on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 01:07:37 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, it's not always about self control (4+ / 0-)

        I was very annoyed w/ Rev Al when he was discussing his weight loss. He made it sound like you only need to exert discipline to lose weight.

        IMO, it's not just about self control. And I do not believe there is ONE way that works for everyone. It's a multidimensional issue, IMO, where each person has to find/discover what works best for their situation.

        What I believe for myself, is that eating unprocessed foods make me feel better and fills me up w/ fewer calories. But my body has adapted to fewer calories and if I don't exercise, I won't lose weight. But that's me. My spouse just has to reduce his calories and badda bing...his weight goes down.

        I also agree with commenter who said processed foods are made to 'make you' want to eat more and more. The whole Lay's you can't just eat one philosophy. I cannot have those items in the house because they call out to me to consume them. I go out of my way to avoid situations where I am around tasty processed stuff.  

        "I'd like to find your inner child and kick it's little ass." -Don Henley.

        by Olkate on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 03:49:00 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I have the belly fat problem. (17+ / 0-)

      I exercise daily, eat well and still carry a huge roll of fat around my lower abdomen.  My legs and arms look great.  My torso looks great. My doctor says I'm as healthy as a horse.   I'm married to a guy that eats constantly and rarely gets off the couch and still looks like he did when he was 25.    I don't know if I can blame it on my thyroid, but I've been on replacement for 25 years and nothing helps.  Sometimes it's more than diet and exercise.

      I bought a hoodie to show solidarity with Trayvon Martin, but nobody notices me.

      by shades at midnite on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 11:27:05 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Stop eating white stuff. No white rice, no white (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        PeteZerria

        bread, no potatoes, no banana.  Try it for a month.

        "Privatize to Profitize" explains every single Republican economic, social and governing philosophy. Take every taxpayer dollar from defense, education, health care, public lands, retirement - privatize it, and profit from it.

        by mumtaznepal on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 12:22:17 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  How old are you? (0+ / 0-)

        If you are a woman, then the belly fat issue may be an issue with your abdominal muscles because of hormonal changes.
        There are very specific exercises that need to be done to control the belly area--regular exercise like sit-ups, yoga, etc. probably won't help.
        I have the same issue--I'm post menopausal, eat very well and carry 137 lbs. on a 5'7" frame--so I'm not overweight--and I exercise regularly.
        I have to target my abdominal muscles very carefully with specific exercises or the pot belly gets out of hand despite the other exercise.

    •  Microbes? (5+ / 0-)

      We all have a lot of microbes inside of us, especially in the digestive tract.  

      www.tapestryofbronze.com

      by chloris creator on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 11:40:35 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  "I think the issue's more complicated..." (10+ / 0-)

      Disorders of Carbohydrate Metabolism

      Glycogen is made of many glucose molecules linked together. The sugar glucose is the body's main source of energy for the muscles (including the heart) and brain. Any glucose that is not used immediately for energy is held in reserve in the liver, muscles, and kidneys in the form of glycogen and is released when needed by the body.

      There are many different glycogen storage diseases (also called glycogenoses), each identified by a roman numeral. These diseases are caused by a hereditary lack of one of the enzymes that is essential to the process of forming glucose into glycogen and breaking down glycogen into glucose. About 1 in 20,000 infants has some form of glycogen storage disease.

      Carbohydrate Intolerance:

      It is the inability of the body to completely process carbohydrates (sugars and starches) due to lack or inadequate amount of one or more of the enzymes needed for their digestion.
      Lactose Intolerance is the most common one but the inability to break down starch is also common.

      “Carbohydrate intolerance, the inability to metabolize sugar found in carbohydrates, may lead to a build-up of fat deposits on muscle tissue, which can cause a person to gain weight and, eventually, impair physical endurance,” said study co-author Emile F. L. Dubois, MD, PhD, FCCP, Department of Pulmonary Diseases, Hospital Reinier de Graaf Groep, Delft-Voorburg, Netherlands.

      •  Yes, but ... Americans still choose to eat mostly (8+ / 0-)

        carbohydrate.  Try eating less carbs, and zero "white" carbs (white rice, white enriched bread, potatoes, etc)

        And yes, the corn syrup in everything is carbs.

        I'm a veterinarian. Over the past 40 years we've made cats fat and diabetic by their diets of excellent (nutritionally) dry cat foods (I'm not talking the crap foods out there)  Why?  Cats take the carbs necessary to hold a dry kibble together and bank them as fat, become diabetic, etc.  

        And they do nothing but lay around all day, so they get fat.  Most 8 pound adult cats don't need more than a scant 1/4 cup of excellent dry cat food a day, and nearly all owners put down free-choice or a cup a day.

        Very similar to Americans and their diets. Same cause.  Same effect.  Rampant diabetes.  Food-induced obesity. Lack of exercise.

        Solution?  Less carbs.  I advise most feline basic diets now meat/fat (a good canned food as the base) with a lot less carb (dry foods)   Cats readily maintain their lean optimal weight their whole lives.  Plus, you need to exercise them!

        PS dogs are entirely different.

        "Privatize to Profitize" explains every single Republican economic, social and governing philosophy. Take every taxpayer dollar from defense, education, health care, public lands, retirement - privatize it, and profit from it.

        by mumtaznepal on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 12:28:42 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  And, I have to add - a big problem is that owners (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          worldlotus

          still want to feed at least a cup or more of volume a day.

          Owners think feeding a smaller amount of food just isn't right.  "Oh, he's starving".  

          Well, no, he's bored and wants to eat because he's indoors and has nothing to do but look out the window - like our American lifestyle.

          Same problem with American diets.  Our eyes are adjusted to "this much" as the volume to eat.  It's too much.  

          I remember eating with my immigrant grandparents, the volume, the types of food - and they were farmers and construction workers.  

          We need to go back to eating like that.  Real butter not faked processed margarine.  Real vegetables not fresh frozen with sauces.

          "Privatize to Profitize" explains every single Republican economic, social and governing philosophy. Take every taxpayer dollar from defense, education, health care, public lands, retirement - privatize it, and profit from it.

          by mumtaznepal on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 12:32:50 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  they choose them (4+ / 0-)

          because that is all they can afford. I lost 70+ lbs on Atkins. I felt like a million bucks, I really don't tolerate carbs well. I couldn't afford to eat that diet now.

          "The scientific nature of the ordinary man is to go on out and do the best you can." John Prine

          by high uintas on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 12:43:08 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  The human body adapts quickly and efficiently (6+ / 0-)

      at maintaining weight, so it may not require all that much caloric intake for Gov. Christie to stay at the weight that he is.  The same diminishing returns happen with exercise.  An untrained person might spend 110 cal to walk a mile on the first day of an exercise program, but a week later will have gained efficiencies and need to spend only 100 cal to walk that same mile.  So we have this built-in evolutionary adaptation that today contributes to the vexing problem of weight loss.

    •  What else is going on... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      worldlotus, BenderRodriguez

      Hereditary predisposition to obesity. It's in the genes.

    •  I remember years ago (5+ / 0-)

      working with a woman who ate like an elephant every day for lunch.  One litre of soda.  Two fat sandwhiches.  One large bag of chips.  A large fruit item.  One large bag of candy or a large chocolate bar.  We used to sit across from her and discuss it in amazement, like cheering on your favorite contest eater.

      She weighed 85 lbs.  

      •  That is most likely (0+ / 0-)

        a hyperthyroid or other metabolic issue. It's reasonably common for people (especially young people) to be able to eat a lot and maintain a 'normal' or even slightly underweight physique, but 85 pounds on an adult is severely underweight and worthy of concern.

        "Let’s just move on, treat everybody with firmness, fairness, dignity, compassion and respect. Let’s be Marines." - Sgt. Maj Michael Barrett on DADT repeal

        by kyril on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 05:12:28 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  The disconnect in this country (30+ / 0-)

    is nothing short of appalling. I remember back in the early 1980s reading an item way back in the newspaper about how that year's AMA convention had ratified a position paper insisting that...

    "There is no evidence that diet is related to health." My Mother-in-Law thought I was kidding, so I made her read it. She was a medical transcriptionist who worked with lots of doctors, and she was outraged. Of course diet is related to health!

    Now, leading up to provisions in the APA for more preventative medical practice, the California Medical Association and other doctors' groups are opposing a requirement in CA law for non-specialists to take 7 hours of continuing education courses in basic nutrition (not now taught at most medical schools) by 2017.

    The issue in this country is that the most subsidized foods - thus the cheapest foods - are high in bulk and calories but nutritionally vacant. People consume more and more bulk because they're still hungry - our bodies NEED nutrition, that is what hunger is all about. People eat massive amounts of garbage and are starving. It's really very sad.

    •  I Eat Foods That Should Be Illegal (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SuWho, mumtaznepal, Joieau

      fat and all kinds of things. But I am something of a foodie. I eat those things in caution. In moderation. I get it that if I ate those things every day all day things would suck.

      When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

      by webranding on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 10:48:20 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I Don't Talk Much Here About Weight (4+ / 0-)

      cause I find my opinions on said topics are not popular.

      You know how I lost 100 pounds, well I just starved myself. I just didn't eat much. That isn't a popular thing to say, but alas it makes sense to me. Oh and it worked.

      When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

      by webranding on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 11:19:44 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm not eating much either, but I'm not starving. (8+ / 0-)

        The choices you make as to what you're eating can significantly affect the degree of hunger you feel.  It's good that you lost weight, but most people aren't going to want to do it if they actually feel hungry all the time.  I certainly wouldn't.  The easier a regimen is to follow, the more people will follow it successfully.  Most people can lose the weight without feeling like they're starving, once they know how their body works and what triggers those feelings of hunger.

      •  My husband and I (7+ / 0-)

        weigh precisely the same now as when we graduated from high school in 1969 [that's 114 pounds for me]. After all these years, things have rearranged some, though. We've never had any trouble with our weight.

        His brother and one of my sisters are 'obese' by classification, and both suffer issues of being pre-diabetic. Over the years I have noticed a few things, significant differences in dietary choices and eating habits. Which I suspect fit into the puzzle somehow.

        1. We quit eating meat 40 years ago. We do occasionally indulge in fish, maybe every other month or less. I have been known to eat occasional chicken. We don't use animal oils or processed foods with animal fats. We do consume ample amounts of cheese, and some eggs (maybe 3 a week).

        2. We use only sugar or honey (or molasses in baking) for sweeteners, don't eat that much sweet stuff. Except for chocolate...

        3. Don't drink soft drinks, do drink coffee, juice, water and beer. Lemonade and tea in the summer.

        4. We're grazers, and very slow eaters. If we go out with people they're always done with their meal before we're off our first course. We don't go out much, and I fortunately have time to cook our meals at home. Also grow a lot of our produce and fruit, get more from local growers, so a lot of what we eat when it's not winter is fresh. Munched raw even (my asparagus and cherry tomatoes never seem to make it into the kitchen from the garden), throughout the day.

        Our siblings with issues are pretty much the opposite. Meat before vegetables every time or exclusively (with buns), only refined flour and artificial sweeteners, lots of soda, eat very fast, eat out almost every meal (junk and/or fast food). Very little fresh veggies or fruit. Most people eat more bulk of food than we do, but not that much more all totaled. That's why I think there's a deficit in nutritional value. If nutritional needs are met, constant hunger should not be a big issue. Looks to me like bulk and empty calories don't provide adequate nutrition.

        I could of course be entirely wrong. But not as entirely wrong as the AMA when it claimed there is no evidence to suggest diet is related to health.

  •  But some people want to argue against physics (7+ / 0-)

    The law of conservation of energy wasn't repealed.  If you eat more calories than you burn, you gain weight.  It really is that simple.

    Yes it is very easy to eat too many calories if you have bad food choices, but you don't have to.  If you burn 2,500 calories per day and consume 3,000, then you will gain 1 pound per week.  It doesn't matter which food choices you made to get to that 2,500.  Some of our olympic athletes lived off of McDonalds.  

    Yes you may be hungry some times, but back when I decided to lose 25 pounds, I was hungry most of the time.  Come to think of it, I ate a lot of whole wheat bread and peanut butter back then.

    The fact of the matter is that many people that don't live in a "food desert" make dreadful food choices and then compound that by leading the most energy efficient life possible.  

    These same people are then shocked that they are gaining weight.  

    •  I used to feel the same way until (14+ / 0-)

      I read Gary Taubes book "Why we get Fat". The energy balance theory sounds appealing and intuitive but our bodies response to food varies depending on the type of macro-nutrients carrying the calories. And the response varies among individuals.

      One theory gaining ground is that carbs and sugars trigger bodies to store fat (as a reaction to trying to get the blood sugar under control before it kills you). And because individuals have varying responses to blood sugar weight gain among individuals will vary.

      So now I pay attention to glycemic index and glycemic loads in an effort to keep my insulin production low it has paid off.

      I was really pissed off to find out that eating shredded wheat with skim milk was was worse for me than eating table suger. Now, I have eggs and whole milk for breakfast.

      •  It's not really a "theory" about carbs and sugars (10+ / 0-)

        being stored as fat, that's accepted fact.

        Yes, you spike your insulin levels, you'll increase inflammation, increase storage of carbs.

        Eat only complex carbohydrate, and not very much of it.  You're doing the right thing - which is as our ancestors ate.

        "Privatize to Profitize" explains every single Republican economic, social and governing philosophy. Take every taxpayer dollar from defense, education, health care, public lands, retirement - privatize it, and profit from it.

        by mumtaznepal on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 12:36:29 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  This is in fact an immutable Law. (0+ / 0-)

        It really isn't debatable.  There are of course mechanisms that reduce your caloric output or expenditure, but if you burn more than you take in, your weight goes down.  

        If you think you need to maybe go buy the next size up in clothes, you are eating too many calories.  It is that simple.

        •  Wow (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Samulayo, Katydid, kyril, HamdenRice

          No. It's not that simple. Our bodies burn different types of material differently, and at different rates. This is why I can eat way more than the daily recommended amount of calories every single day, never exercise, yet not gain weight. It's because I eat about half the recommended amount of carbs every day, and instead gorge on meat and dairy products. Calories in/out has been disproven. Hell, it was never actually proven. It sounds all nice and scientific, but our bodies are more complex than that. The amount of carbs you eat seriously make a difference. Not only that, but the more carbs you eat, the more hungry you get. It's why so Americans are obese yet still hungry.

          Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

          by moviemeister76 on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 06:40:21 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Wow. Are you just anti science? (0+ / 0-)

            Calories go into your mouth.  You assimilate some portion of them.  You burn some portion of them.  You store some portion of them.  

            The food that you eat DOES influence how much of each happens.  But the bottom line is that the Law of Conservation of Mass and Energy does hold.  Intelligent people do not debate fundamental laws of the universe.  

            The following is simply an expanded version of the Law of Conservation of Mass.  Feel free to expand any of these terms in the manner that makes sense to you.

            Calories in - calories excreted - minus calories burned = accumulation.  

            If you don't believe that is correct, then some government agency spent good money trying to teach you math and science and failed miserably.

            Signed,

            A chemical/biomedical engineer.

    •  It's not that simple... (18+ / 0-)

      Because humans aren't simply machines, and we don't burn all foods equally.

      Humans don't metabolize everything we ingest equally.  You could eat a ton of cellulose and not gain weight, because you simply don't have the ability to metabolize it despite the fact that it 'contains calories'.  Likewise, for your cells to strip down and rebuild the things you eat into the things your body uses takes differing processes and amounts of energy.  Your body uses glucose, so it's extremely efficient at taking glucose and using every last bit of energy, and storing everything that isn't being immediately used.  Pop in some random protein, and more energy has to be used to even break it down to the point where you can use it, so some of the calories go into merely providing the energy for the metabolism itself.

      And there are a lot of individual nutrients your body needs that aren't always present in every food, which is why you often see things like 'Vitamin A and D added', or 'Folic Acid enriched'.  
      I'm not surprised at all that you were hungry when you were downing bread (of any kind) and peanut butter either.  That sort of diet will make you hungry by jacking your blood sugar levels up, then dropping them.

      People do make a lot of poor food choices, in large part because much of the information they get, even from the government, is based on bad science or no science, but on helping specific industries.

      •  There is a huge difference between having a (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        FiredUpInCA

        piece of white bread with Jiff peanut butter,

        and having a piece of no-corn-syrup whole grain high-fiber bread with real peanut butter.

        The first will make you obese, the second will help you lose weight and keep you full.

        "Privatize to Profitize" explains every single Republican economic, social and governing philosophy. Take every taxpayer dollar from defense, education, health care, public lands, retirement - privatize it, and profit from it.

        by mumtaznepal on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 12:38:30 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I would agree in (3+ / 0-)

          the difference and direction in the two examples you selected, although I would tend to avoid even the second pairing, as my personal sensitivity to carbs seems to be pretty low.

          •  We eat WAY too many carbs in this country, I (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Dr Erich Bloodaxe RN, Katydid

            agree.  And yes, even whole-grain wheat bread is a carb.

            I look back on what my grandparents and uncles/aunts ate (northern Euro immigrants that worked farm, construction and all lived well into their upper 90's).

            They ate meat and potatoes and veggies.  But they used real butter, drank water or milk, didn't add sauces.  The meat was less "marbled" and leaner, and the veggies were far more nutritional and not "designed" for commercial uniformity.  No corn syrup. Only corn was as whole kernel or ears.   Only 1 slice of bread a day.  

            Americans should try to reset their lifestyles, eat a week on ONLY fruits and vegetables, with eggs, cheese, nuts, beans, legumes as their protein sources, with very little carbs, and if then only whole grain.

            They will hate the texture, the taste, the flavors initially, but you can reset to eating like a human ought to.

            Read the diets of "Blue Zone" long-lived societies, even Loma Linda, California (the 7th Day Adventists).  You CAN do it in America.

            And believe me, it's far less expensive than any processed diet.

            "Privatize to Profitize" explains every single Republican economic, social and governing philosophy. Take every taxpayer dollar from defense, education, health care, public lands, retirement - privatize it, and profit from it.

            by mumtaznepal on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 01:01:03 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  I'm the same (0+ / 0-)

            particularly with wheat. Family sensitivity to wheat apparently landed on me, too.

            Pretty much any wheat bread, whole wheat, HFCS-free or whatever ... instant appetite increase, bloat, etc.

      •  Thanks for letting me know that it IS that simple (0+ / 0-)

        Of course you need to assimilate what you eat for it to cause you to gain weight.  The most useful version of the Law of Conservation of Mass is:

        In - Out = Accumulation.

        and it isn't debatable.  In your cellulose example, In = Out, therefore accumulation = zero.

        Actually a breakfast of whole wheat bread, peanut butter, and fruit did not leave me hungry.  Lean protein plus a pile of vegetables actually left me hungrier.  

        People particularly make bad food choices (quantity in part) when they continue to shovel food into their mouths at the same rate regardless of their waist size.

    •  And that 500 calories is so easy to take off (0+ / 0-)

      1 coke & 45 minutes of exercise.

    •  Laws of physics do not in fact apply (14+ / 0-)

      I have no dog in this fight as someone who has consistently in life been described as too skinny. (I did get a bit fat in my 40s, but I'm skinny again.)

      But what I think the materialist/physics/conservation of energy argument misses is that human bodies are much, much more complex.

      Not to be gross, but sometimes, we retain extra food and sometimes we crap it out. Changes in hormones, brain chemistry, number of fat cells, etc., drastically change how two different people will process the same number of calories.

      People who have gone through a famine period, for example, will hold onto calories through fat more than others. This was scientifically studied with the survivors of German and Japanese prison camps of US soldiers.

      Through natural selection, people in cultures that experienced regular annual hunger periods process food differently, and tend toward obesity.

      It really isn't just a matter of eat less=less weight. That means that there are people who can eat a normal, healthy diet and become obese, and people like me who can eat bacon and pork belly for a week and not gain a pound.  

      Btw, my fatal weakness is rice and beans. I don't know why but that is pretty much the only food that will make me gain excessive weight, and it's a good healthy food.

    •  No, it really isn't that simple. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sngmama, kyril

      Different foods affect our bodies differently.

      "These are not candidates. These are the empty stand-ins for lobbyists' policies to be legislated later." - Chimpy, 9/24/10

      by NWTerriD on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 05:51:13 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Science - the lost art (0+ / 0-)

        Are you really trying to say that a fundamental property of the universe doesn't apply to human beings?  Really?

        You eat food.  You assimilate a portion of it.  You excrete a portion of it.  You burn a portion of it.  The remainder is accumulation or weight gain.  

        The food that you eat DOES change how much of each happens.  Guess what, if you are eating processed corn, you do not need to eat much of it to get your allotment of calories.  If you are eating just celery sticks you will likely die from hunger.  Why?  Because you don't assimilate much of a celery stick.  

        So the issue isn't exactly what people are eating but rather the quantities.  

        •  Multiple fundamental laws of science work together (0+ / 0-)

          It's unfortunate that you keep refusing to consider the additional information being presented to you by knowledgeable sources.

          "These are not candidates. These are the empty stand-ins for lobbyists' policies to be legislated later." - Chimpy, 9/24/10

          by NWTerriD on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 08:28:22 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Of course they do (0+ / 0-)

            No one said otherwise.  And I believe I have read many of these knowledgeable sources first hand.

            The problem is that we now have people out there that truly think that the law of conservation of mass doesn't apply to them.  The problem is that the laws weren't applied fully enough.

            If every time some dietician said eat this number of calories because you burn so many calories per day and then that person gained weight, then that dietician should have assumed that the laws were correct and that they were wrong either in the way they were counting calories, they way they thought the human body assimilated them, or in their estimate of what they thought that person burned per day.  If every time a person realized that their calculations along these lines were not what the law predicted, and then went and refined their calculations, I believe we would have reached our current level of understanding a long time ago.  

    •  Look, people aren't trying to tell you that the (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      worldlotus, HamdenRice, kareylou, kyril

      human body is exempt from the laws of thermodynamics. They're trying to say that so many other factors are operating in our bodies that an understanding of thermodynamics gives you almost no understanding of the body. We don't absorb the energy that goes into our bodies evenly, we don't expend energy evenly, we don't store energy in a simple manner. Physics is applicable, but biology complicates it beyond our ability to comprehend.

      •  Actually people are saying that (0+ / 0-)

        Or else they articulate themselves amazingly badly.  No, actually I have had people say that the law of conservation of mass and energy don't apply to the human body.

        The laws of thermodynamics do in fact also apply to the human body, but they are distinct from these laws that I am referring to.

        Here is what is amazingly comprehensible.  A Mexican eating their standard diet does not get obese.  You take that same Mexican and give them the same diet and a cush job and they now get fat.  Understand?  The diet didn't change.  The work output did.  In other words their caloric intake now exceeds their output.  Of course there are various complexities here, but the basics aren't very hard.  Most people that are fat eat too much.  Period.  There is another diary written today by someone that was obese that says the exact same thing.  

        Watch what obese people eat.  They eat like crap and they eat a lot of it and then they follow it up with zero exercise.  

        •  Let's simplify this for you: (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          kyril

          You started this incredibly wrongheaded thread with this blatantly biologically incorrect statement:

          If you eat more calories than you burn, you gain weight.  It really is that simple.
          That's wrong. Many people eat more calories than they burn, and don't gain weight. The vast majority of Americans eat more calories than they burn (most are not malnourished) but only a portion of the population gets fat and they get fat at different rates.

          To gain weight, a body must not just eat calories, but digest them and absorb them.

          This biological fact seems to be way over your head.

          •  Maybe you just fail at science (0+ / 0-)

            You obviously don't know the difference between the laws of thermodynamics and conservation of mass so obviously there are a few issues.

            Or maybe I just need to spell things out more for you.  If you eat something and your body doesn't digest it, then it never really counted as a calorie.  

            Did I really need to write that?  Obviously for the people that don't get conservation of mass, I guess I do.  Just for you:  

            In - Out = Accumulation.

            The IN term:  liquid, gas, and solid primarily taken in through the mouth

            The OUT term:  liquid, gas, and solid leaving through the respiratory system, the skin, the excretory system, and the GI tract.

            The ACCUMULATION term:  everything that is left over which could be used productively or not.  

            Now do you really want to argue against that or not?  There are actually people out there that think that this formula doesn't explain in rough terms what is going on.  Are you one of them?

            •  Vocabulary fail (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              kyril

              Here is what you wrote at first:

              If you eat more calories than you burn, you gain weight.  It really is that simple.
              Now its:
              If you eat something and your body doesn't digest it, then it never really counted as a calorie.  
              So if I eat something and don't digest it, I didn't really eat it?

              To paraphrase Bill Clinton, it depends on what the meaning of the word eat is?

              ROFL!!!

              Vocabulary fail!

              And biology fail also.

              •  Are you really this dense? (0+ / 0-)

                For something to be an actual calorie, it has to be digestible.  Duh.

                You can eat wood dust all day long.  Or perhaps we should say celery.  If you were a cow, that wood dust or celery would have actual calories.  As a human, it has zero calories.  Should I have counted the calories in the wood dust going in even though we have no mechanism to convert that to usable energy?  That makes truly zero sense ergo they shouldn't ever be counted as an intake calorie.  Accordingly, I never changed what I said, but I realize that I needed to spell it out more for some people.

                Undigestible foods are by definition zero calories.  They don't count toward your calorie intake.  Or put into an energy balance, the energy intake on these foods equals the energy outflow i.e. zero accumulation.

                Why are we talking about undigested calories?  Assimilation is the actual scientific term.  They don't exist as far as your body is concerned.  

                Let me know if you really want to talk biology.  Or thermodynamics.  LOL.  I'm well prepared either way.

                •  What people are trying to say is: (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  elsaf

                  Different bodies assimilate different numbers of calories from the same foods. Therefore, the calories on the package are not necessarily an accurate gauge of the number of calories you are actually assimilating.  Two people with the same rate of energy expenditure might eat the same number of package-calories but absorb a different number of effective-calories. And of those effective-calories, the two bodies may passively burn different amounts.

                  (This is actually similar to a model with simpler physics: two gasoline engines might burn the same amount of the same fuel but do different amounts of work because of different levels of waste heat and incomplete combustion. Human bodies have different levels of incomplete combustion and a lot of variance in baseline waste heat production.)

                  There are a few more additional levels of complexity:

                  1) The human metabolism can, to a certain degree, adjust its level of energy expenditure in response to energy input in a couple of different ways. In other words, both work and waste heat vary as functions of assimilated calories; however, the coefficients of the functions vary among individuals.

                  2) The rate at which calories are assimilated has an impact on what is done with them. Unlike our gasoline engine, the human body can store calories for later use, so when fed more energy than it can burn, it stores the excess; when fed less energy than it can burn, it uses the stored energy. However, the rate at which it can access the stored energy varies among individuals, and when the rate of intake + rate of stored energy release is less than the rate of output, output slows down (by either reducing waste heat or reducing energy available to do work).

                  3) The human isn't the only one interacting with the food. Large colonies of gut microflora are also 'eating' it. Some of these bacteria eat and burn sugars (reducing assimilation without increasing excretion). Others eat difficult-to-digest food and excrete sugars and alcohols (increasing assimilation without decreasing excretion of 'accessible' calories). Different bodies have very different microbiomes. And the type and amount of one's food intake affects one's microflora.

                  4) In the absence of very strong external controls, energy input varies greatly in response to energy output; the human body has powerful mechanisms to make sure this happens.

                  So yes, energy in = energy out + energy stored, but both the "in" and "out" sides are very hard to measure, have significant variance between individuals, and vary in response to each other (that is, in addition to not being able to measure them accurately, you also can't just hold one of them constant and look at the other's effect on stored energy).

                  "Let’s just move on, treat everybody with firmness, fairness, dignity, compassion and respect. Let’s be Marines." - Sgt. Maj Michael Barrett on DADT repeal

                  by kyril on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 08:21:05 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Thanks for the thoughtful response (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    kyril

                    As someone that majored in biomedical engineering, I don't see much I would take exception to.  Perhaps if I had written all of that, I would have gotten fewer negative responses, but that is just fine by me.  The fact of the matter is that there are truly people out there that don't believe that conservation of mass or energy applies to the human body.  

                    I agree that energy input and output can vary greatly.  Excellent examples include the Mexicans eating their "poor" diet in Mexico and here stateside.  Another good example is how the obesity rate on Cypress has changed over time despite their largely continuing to eat a "good" Mediterranean diet.  

                    While there is no doubt that some foods are far better for you than others, I would still contend that many people make poor food choices, eat too much of that food type, conduct themselves in an amazingly energy efficient manner, and then wonder why their weight is increasing.  Answer - Law of Conservation of Mass (or energy depending on how much math you want to do).  

                •  Wow, did you ever choose the wrong major! (0+ / 0-)

                  I sure hope you're not planning to try to use your "biomedical engineering" studies in the real world.

                  No one is talking about eating sawdust. Everyone who has tried to school you has talked about biological processes and the different characteristics of foods and the digestion, absorption, metabolism and excretion pathways they go through, and the way different people have complex different variations on the same.

                  One lean serving of steak is about 130 calories. One serving of Breyer's ice cream is also about 130 calories. One third serving of casual dining restaurant baked potato with sour cream is also about 130 calories.

                  Are you going to try to maintain with a straight face that they all have the same potential for adding weight, for all people, at all times, simply because the calorie count is the same? That all that matters is calories? That they are digested, absorbed, stored and metabolized the same way? That there is no urea cycle in protein dense foods like steak? Is that what you learned in "biomedical engineering" classes?

                  Not one person has said that conservation of energy doesn't exist and isn't valid; they've said it isn't applicable. It's like if we were trying to discuss building a campfire, and you said the laws of nuclear fusion apply. Well, no, they don't apply; they're still valid in the universe including around our campfire but they are inapplicable to the phenomenon we are studying -- a campfire, not a star.  The way you apply conservation of energy to a steam engine is different from how you apply it in bioenergetics, nutrition and gastroenterology.

                  kyril has been much more polite in explaining how wrong you are, but you persist in this incredibly wrong headed discussion. What the heck kind of "biomedical engineering" department did you study in, anyway?????

                  •  So conservation of energy isn't applicable? (0+ / 0-)

                    After all?  Or perhaps you would like to go back to talking about thermodynamics.  You seemed to know so much about that topic that you couldn't even apply it properly.

                    A calorie is a calorie is a calorie.  Period.  If your body cannot convert that calorie to usable energy then it maybe shouldn't have counted as a calorie in the first place.  So let's see, the urea cycle?  Deamination of amino acids to make usable energy?  Takes energy and is inefficient, right?  

                    Your 130 calorie steak really isn't 130 calories as far as your body is concerned.  It is actually less.  Why did you call it 130 in the first place?  Can't you count, moron?

                    Anyway, conservation of energy is always applicable unless you are a complete retard.  Your analogy with nuclear fusion also indicates that you struggle with the logic too.

                    •  I checked your profile and get it now (0+ / 0-)

                      I'm arguing with a child which is pointless. You made an idiotic comment to begin with, several adults have tried to correct you, and because of internet disinhibition syndrome and general immaturity, you're going to stick with it no matter what.

                      Okey dokey. Whatever sonny. Please get back to your studies of biomechanical engineering at the Frostbite Falls Commercial College of Motel Management, Beautician Studies, Dry Cleaning and Biomechanical Engineering.

                      •  And I have read your other comments (0+ / 0-)

                        You are typically rude and uninformed.  I figured you for internet disinhibition syndrome.  Someone who says things on the internet that they would never say to someone's face.  Well I live near Oakland, CA.  Why don't you stop by and explain it to me in person.  We'll see if you say the same things in person.  I seriously doubt that would be the case.  I'm pretty sure you are just one more internet coward.

                        Funny that my "idiotic" comment was completely echoed in another diary by someone that was obese and lost a huge amount of weight.  I'm guessing that person might know a bit about the topic.  The reason that I posted the topic was that many people think that conservation of mass and energy doesn't apply to humans AT ALL.  There is nothing "idiotic" about pointing this out.  Did I choose to write a book on the topic, no.

                        Let me show you an analogy that isn't stupid, unlike the one that you attempted to put together.  You know, logic.

                        People use the energy in wood to make charcoal.  It would be like I asked you how much energy was in the charcoal made from a cord of wood and you gave me the energy in the wood.  And I said, no, making charcoal is inefficient, you lose much of the energy.  That energy isn't available in the charcoal.  And you then gave me the energy in the wood.   At that point I would conclude that you were either mathematically challenged or just stupid.

                        That is your steak.  Maybe to some other lifeform with a different method of processing the meat the calories in your example would have actually been 130.  But for a human, no.  So why did you say that all of those items were 130 calories when they clearly are not?  Are you just slow?  Is that what they teach the kids these days at your podunk community college?

                        I went to Carnegie Mellon, pumpkin.  Actual degree was chemical/biomedical engineering.  

                        But like I said, stop by some time and explain it to me in person.  I really do dislike the internet disinhibition and I feel that face to face discussions clear a lot of things up.

  •  Thoughtful diary. (9+ / 0-)

    There are likely several contributing factors, but I suspect the major one is income as you mention here.

    Studies show that average wages of most jobs have not kept pace with inflation which means less real money available for food budgets, as well as the necessity for two full time jobs or the closest equivalent to that potential income as a family can manage.  Mostly the only food stuffs that have become less expensive are generic synthetical foods or those with low nutritional quality for American meals.

    So I think that like so many other problems today a major contributing factor is declining income.  And while it's possible that individuals with sufficient time, information, and energy could eek out a basically healthy diet, very few adults fall into that group.  In fact, from my observations even few professionals in medicine have much if any understanding of nutrition.

    I think the issues involved are much more complex than the scope of the discussions of the problem of overweight, even to the point of what constitutes a healthy weight for different individuals.

    I was glad to see you going beyond some of the overly generalized points in your analysis of weight.  It did encourage to me to begin thinking more deeply about the subject.

    More: Some men think the Earth is round, others think it flat; it is a matter capable of question. But if it is flat, will the King's command make it round? And if it is round, will the King's command flatten it?

    by blueoasis on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 11:01:07 AM PST

  •  When the time comes to change it does happen. (0+ / 0-)

    It is a real work and often fails but it does happen.  This is a massive social problem for us so I'm glad we keep looking at it.  I see Dr. Oz is pushing 'green coffee' as  a way of curbing the my lust for food, any one have experince with this, I was thinking of trying it?  My cardio man told me I had to lose about 20 lls. for my health, not so much, but some how when I look at this it seems like alot more than it is.  

    •  Apple Cider Vinegar (3+ / 0-)

      Organic, raw, unfiltered acv.  It is all things to all people.  It will curb your appetite and help with some of those pesky pounds.  It helps with insomnia, digestive issues, eczema, you name it, acv fixes it.

      Drink 2 tbs with honey in a glass of water before eating. It is the most repulsive drink you will ever love.

      •  Thanks, I'm going to get some now. Sounds easy to (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cama2008

        take.

      •  I've often heard of acv. (4+ / 0-)

        How much water, like a shot's worth? Seems like the less dilute the honey, the better, and you could make it like a quick shooter from hell.
        Do you drink plain water after? How long till you feel the benefits?

        I ♥ President Obama and have his back.
        Hands off SocSec, Medicare and Medicaid. NO subsidies to rich Corps.
        Rich pay more, bloated DoD steal less. End war on Afghanistan 01/01/14.

        by OleHippieChick on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 12:04:21 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Hi OHC (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          OleHippieChick, FiredUpInCA

          The amount of water depends what you can tolerate as far as drinking the acv, and the more water, the slower going, that's for sure.  I usually mix it with a full glass of water.  I don't drink anything afterwards, although that couldn't hurt. That's the beauty of ACV.  There's no wrong way to drink it.

          I started taking it when I developed eczema.  I was so tormented by it, I would try ANYTHING and it just seems that the topical steroids weren't working at all.  I felt like I was being poisoned from the inside.  I won't go into the litany of things I tried.

          It did take a few days to start feeling any effects, but not much more than 4 days I don't think.  Then I started to see real results, plus side benefits like some weight/water loss and digestion improvement.  I sleep better, I wake refreshed, I FEEL better.  The eczema is just completely gone, just a little scarring left, but no more torment, no more waking up at night.

          Here is some more info.

          http://www.eatingbirdfood.com/...

          •  Thank you, cama2008, that's impressive. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            cama2008

            As always, I need to sleep better and improve digestion. Feeling better all around would be wonderful. I'm sort of stuck weightwise, have to drop about 15lbs, and I want to dump taking gabapentin. Because what could it hurt, I'll have to try this.
            If I can hold my nose so I don't taste it, then shooter it and drown it with ice water it could work for me. I don't mind trying things that seem innocuous but then really work. :-D

            I ♥ President Obama and have his back.
            Hands off SocSec, Medicare and Medicaid. NO subsidies to rich Corps.
            Rich pay more, bloated DoD steal less. End war on Afghanistan 01/01/14.

            by OleHippieChick on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 01:28:21 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  The worst thing about acv (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              OleHippieChick

              Is the taste, after that, like you say, it's innocuous, no harm done.  The price is right, 8 bucks for a big bottle.  No side effects, just guzzle it down fast.  Then hold it down.  You may feel nauseous, I threw up once, but then you know it's doing its thing.

              They say to drink it before eating on the morning, I usually have coffee first.

              Good luck!

              •  Thanks. Some say they find it delicious (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                cama2008

                and one recipe for the drink from your link is

                Daily Apple Pie ACV Drink

                    2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
                    2 Tablespoons all natural apple juice
                    6 ounces of cold water
                    4 drops of vanilla liquid stevia
                    sprinkle of cinnamon
                    1-2 cubes of ice

                Could sub honey for stevia.

                I ♥ President Obama and have his back.
                Hands off SocSec, Medicare and Medicaid. NO subsidies to rich Corps.
                Rich pay more, bloated DoD steal less. End war on Afghanistan 01/01/14.

                by OleHippieChick on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 01:51:38 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

    •  This is interesting to me... what works (6+ / 0-)

      I read one post in a forum that said no matter what you do when you start working out, don't diet at the same time.  I always have and despite my best efforts, I have never lost weight. So this time, I said screw it.  I ate as badly as I ever have, but I just added 45 minutes of work out time per night.  Repeat. I did not change my eating habits AT ALL, just walked an hour a night.  Every night.  So far, I have lost 6.6 pounds this month.  Not a lot, but if it continues, I will be at my weight I want to be in a year.  This is supposed to get rid of "plateaus" and "starvation syndrome".

      "Those who can make you believe in absurdities can make you commit atrocities."

      by dancerat on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 02:28:36 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Tipped, as you correctly identify several of the (11+ / 0-)

    biggest ways in which our government is detrimental to our health.   Subsidies for corn and sugar are horribly detrimental to the health of our nation, and school lunch menus that meet industry standards, rather than health standards.

    These are serious and depressing policy challenges.

  •  Huh? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ssgbryan, emelyn, KJB Oregon, eXtina
    If you make minimum wage, you make 1000 for a single person and 4K for a family of three to live on for a year.
    I'm not sure how you came up with this.

    It's perfectly possible to eat a decent diet cheaply. Whole grains and rice, beans, seasonal veggies and fruits are healthful and usually cheap. Nobody (no matter what income level) should be drinking the dreck concocted by the soft-drink companies. Some of the other poisons are tolerable in tiny quantities: maybe a cupcake per year, or something like that.

    The obesity epidemic certainly is multifactorial. Without big Ag, it probably would not be an epidemic. Without individuals' bad decisions, it would not exist at all (except in rare medical cases).

    None of this is to say it's easy. We are genetically tuned to love sweets and fats, and most of us are programmed to store fat. On the other hand, we do have the ability to say no to the very appealing blandishments of the advertising industry.

    "There is just one way to save yourself, and that's to get together and work and fight for everybody." ---Woody Guthrie (quoted by Jim Hightower in The Progressive Populist April 1, 2012, p3)

    by CitizenJoe on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 11:25:09 AM PST

  •  My 3 favorite places to look for food info (5+ / 0-)

    The day is coming when a single carrot, freshly observed, will set off a revolution. Paul Cezanne

    by MeToo on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 11:36:40 AM PST

    •  thank you (4+ / 0-)

      Those are all excellent sources of info. I've lost about 45 lbs in the past year or so. The 'Wheat Belly' book helped get me started on a good path. Lost the weight while eating well and never starving myself.

      I've eliminated or avoided:
      *Almost all grains especially wheat. Over our 2+ million year evolution, humans ate almost no grains until very recently. The term "healthy whole grains" is BS, we can live quite well without ever eating bread, pasta etc.
      *Sugars in almost all forms, especially HFCS. For coffee I've switched to mainly stevia. Sugars are toxic to humans period. I'll indulge around holidays only.
      *Vegetable oils; we use olive oil and butter mostly, sometimes coconut oil
      *Packaged "convenience" foods
      *Soy, which contains a lot of antinutients
      *Most recently I've begun cutting back on dairy. There's a lot of research now showing that sporting a milk mustache is not healthful, especially for adults.

      Stick with meat, veggies, fruit especially berries, nuts, coconut oil and most people will lose weight and improve their bloodwork numbers like triglycerides and HDL. In addition to the above books I also recommend Loren Cordain's 'Paleo Answer' and Volek & Phinney's 'Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living'

      •  Yep! Try the antipasta! (0+ / 0-)

        You're gonna have to change your username!

        I've been off wheat for two years and my body is much happier.

        It's the wheat people, plain and simple- we've been mislead.

        The day is coming when a single carrot, freshly observed, will set off a revolution. Paul Cezanne

        by MeToo on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 08:20:34 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for emphasizing (6+ / 0-)

    that some of society's problems, at least, are just exactly that. They are not caused by individuals, and individuals often can't "fix" them--e.g., slim down--all alone.

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 11:48:47 AM PST

  •  All the processed packaged meals and diet plans (7+ / 0-)

    are based on portion control. There's no myth, most people just have to eat less. You can duplicate the program weight loss without the chemicals if you use portion control and learn to like being hungry for a while until the stomach adjusts. Ice water, my friends.

    I reduced my food choices because it makes dieting easier. Yogurt, pita and hummus, cooked chicken over salad. Yes, sometimes I'm bored. Good. That makes me eat less of it.

    I eat with a smaller cake fork for smaller bites, chewed slowly and thoroughly. I drop the fork and breathe between bites to make sure everything is swallowing OK. I cured acid reflux and gas by eating like this.

    Restaurant fish fry once a month, if that. Chocolate once a week. Low-fat fudgesicle every other night. Like that. Some form of exercise is required. I walk and do yoga.

    I ♥ President Obama and have his back.
    Hands off SocSec, Medicare and Medicaid. NO subsidies to rich Corps.
    Rich pay more, bloated DoD steal less. End war on Afghanistan 01/01/14.

    by OleHippieChick on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 11:54:49 AM PST

  •  When was the last time we purchased (6+ / 0-)

    a natural peanut butter that is 100% peanuts with some salt, or do you (general you) buy creamy and easier to use Jiff or Skippy or something else with hydrogenated oils added?

    Wonder Bread or whole wheat bread without corn oil?

    Plain broccoli or Green Giant broccoli with cheese sauce?

    Baked chicken breast and frozen veggies, or "Healthy Choice" meal?

    When we serve a chicken breast purchased at Kroger, do you cut it in half because they are twice the size they were 40 years ago?

    At a local restaurant, can you get an adult meal that has only 4-5 oz of protein?  Naw.  How many fries with that BLT?  Half the plate.

    Soda pop.  Americans live on bottled non-water drinks.

    There are many choices Americans make, and being obese as result of the American diet is a big one.

    Yes, I agree completely with the existence of food deserts, and the overwhelming influx of corn syrup in virtually every single thing we eat.  That is a major cause of obesity.

    It's difficult to avoid that.  But it can be done. Grocery shop as your grandmother did, before the aisles were filled with crap competing for your dollars.

    When was the last time we had dinner where the plate was 1/2 vegetables, 1/4 meat, 1/4 whole grain?   And the meat was only 4-5 oz, not 8?

    Breakfast: cereal? Muffin?  Big bowl of favored processed expensive "health mix"?   Or oatmeal and a banana?

    Americans have zero idea of portion control.  They eat too much food.  Period.

    "Privatize to Profitize" explains every single Republican economic, social and governing philosophy. Take every taxpayer dollar from defense, education, health care, public lands, retirement - privatize it, and profit from it.

    by mumtaznepal on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 11:59:00 AM PST

    •  Even our pets! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mumtaznepal, worldlotus

      See teevee ads showing a kitten in front of a huge dog dish full, heaped, with chow. It leaves an impression on the mind. Full grown cats get 0.75 - 1.25 cup of chow per day.

      I ♥ President Obama and have his back.
      Hands off SocSec, Medicare and Medicaid. NO subsidies to rich Corps.
      Rich pay more, bloated DoD steal less. End war on Afghanistan 01/01/14.

      by OleHippieChick on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 02:16:07 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  the USDA tried to redo the food pyramid and (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blueoasis, mumtaznepal

      couldn't because of pressure from the various Ag lobbies, so they had to modify it to please them. Sucks.

      "I'm sculpting now. Landscapes mostly." ~ Yogi Bear

      by eXtina on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 02:45:28 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  the last time i purchased the kind of peanut (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mommyof3, blueoasis

      butter you speak of it was about $6 a jar vs $3 for Skippy, so so much for that

      "I'm sculpting now. Landscapes mostly." ~ Yogi Bear

      by eXtina on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 02:46:06 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  At my WalMart or Kroger the Smuckers natural (0+ / 0-)

        (not an organic) is the same price as the Jiff and Skippy brands.

        Only difference is no hydrogenated oils added, no sugar added.

        It's laughable comparing the Jif and Skippy "Natural" and "Simple" ingredients to the Smuckers, they both have added sugar (3 grams per serving!) and oil.

        Gotta stir the plain ground peanut butter, as it's oil comes out to be liquid at room temperature.  Then you refrigerate.

        "Privatize to Profitize" explains every single Republican economic, social and governing philosophy. Take every taxpayer dollar from defense, education, health care, public lands, retirement - privatize it, and profit from it.

        by mumtaznepal on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 05:32:28 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Love your postings (0+ / 0-)

      Your advice is very rational and sensible.

    •  And how do you suggest (0+ / 0-)

      grocery shopping as your grandmother did if you live in an area that doesn't have any affordable grocery stores within walking distance, and a lack of public transportation.

      I think many people don't understand that in some "food deserts", transportation plays an issue too.

  •  Stop eating. (7+ / 0-)

    When I was young and foolish I did exactly that.  Twiggy was in power at the time and at 5' 8" and 145 pounds I was considered fat.  So I stopped eating.  For ten days.  And I did indeed lose weight.  Two pounds.  Calories in and calories out, right?

    To add insult to injury, I had a friend who lived on Coke and chocolate.  He probably drank a dozen Cokes a day.  Of course he was a male Twiggy.

    If someone were to starve a draft horse in order to get it to look like an Arabian he would be charged with animal abuse.  And rightly so.  Yet people who are naturally big are considered fat and told to stop eating so much.

    Certainly limiting the amount of food we eat will result in weight loss, but not in every case.  I truly believe that eventually the experts will figure out an effective way to lose weight, and it will be much more complicated than simply eating less and exercising more.

  •  Tips for saving time and money: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lady blair, greengemini

    (1) make and freeze ahead casseroles and soups, (2) ethnic markets (amazing deals on produce, meats and staples), (3) being firm with teachers ("I do laundry and shop on the weekend, I'll have the [gym clothes, art supplies, etc.] for you on Monday"), (4) crockpots and pressure cookers, (5) kitchen gardens (OK, they do take time, but the kids can help). For exercise (but not for saving time or money), get a really rambunctious dog, wake up an hour earlier than you normally would, and take him for a fast walk every morning. For extra credit, enroll him in an agility class on the weekends and burn extra calories running around the ring with him. Bring the kids, too.

  •  One other thing many people don't consider (5+ / 0-)

    is how difficult it is to make healthy food choices in many eight hour jobs. What can you possibly do if you get only 30 minutes for lunch break? And if the only food available on site are vending machines full of really bad, processed food? Or the only food available is what you can safely keep in your car, or on the bus to work?  

    A conservative is a scab for the oligarchy.

    by NBBooks on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 01:01:10 PM PST

    •  Maybe canned fruit in its own juice (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FloridaSNMOM

      put in a plastic lidded bowl or grapes and apples, cut up melon. Hard-boiled eggs. I know pita and hummus keep well for a while unrefrigerated. I used to spread peanut butter thinly on tortillas and roll them up. They keep.

      I ♥ President Obama and have his back.
      Hands off SocSec, Medicare and Medicaid. NO subsidies to rich Corps.
      Rich pay more, bloated DoD steal less. End war on Afghanistan 01/01/14.

      by OleHippieChick on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 02:26:22 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  a packed sandwich won't last till lunch? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PeteZerria

      i'm not really following you but i guess there's no refrigerator or the food gets stolen?
      what about canned tuna or somehting like that?

      "I'm sculpting now. Landscapes mostly." ~ Yogi Bear

      by eXtina on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 02:44:02 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Many who are overly critical of fat... (4+ / 0-)

    ...people are probably just trying to buttress their own decisions about eating.  Plus - could be some jealousy going on.

    Most people are aware of things that are bad for their health but still do them because they see their quality of life get better.

    Would you rather physically live to 95 having passed up all kinds of wonderful eating experiences, or live to 80 having experienced much more happiness along the way?

    Many weigh the pros and cons and make their own rational judgment about that and most are deserving of respect.

    Me - I'd rather my physical longevity take a back seat to my happiness along the way.

    Boehner Just Wants Wife To Listen, Not Come Up With Alternative Debt-Reduction Ideas

    by dov12348 on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 01:04:47 PM PST

  •  Being overweight can be a very complex issue.... (7+ / 0-)

    I think for many people it really does come down to eating healthier. Get off the sugar, carbs, soda..... exercise, get enough sleep, and the basics.  That can't help but change one's weight and health if they are currently engaged in bad eating/living habits.

    At the same time, if you don't know what is "healthy" eating/living, and/or you are too poor to access good food due to geography or finances....  you are in a losing battle.

    One last thing to not forget is imbalanced hormones. Particularly, thyroid, cortisol and pituitary issues. I gained 200 lbs in 5 years due to a tumor on my pituitary gland. First time I've weighed over 110 lbs in my adult life, and I'm 5'4".  It's been a real eye opener for me. I do NOT view fat people the same anymore. I have much more empathy and compassion, no matter the cause of their weight issues.

    But when I see a seriously fat person, my first thought is sugar/carbs/hormones. We need good, comprehensive, single payer healthcare in this country so people can get help with their weight when needed.

    Corporations before people.... it's the American way!

    by Lucy2009 on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 02:06:02 PM PST

  •  I have to say (5+ / 0-)

    I was on welfare and food stamps when I was younger, and I fed my family healthier than I do now.  We didn't eat hot dogs and hamburger for meat, we ate chicken legs and wings and ham hocks and super tough cuts of beef that I put in a slow cooker.  We ate rice and cheap vegetables and fruits in season.  I got bread at the bread thrift store.  My mom taught me how to shop and which stores did markdowns on what days.  I learned when milk and yogurt and cheese was marked down on what days.  
    To this day, even though now I make very good money, I also taught my children how to "scavenge" the stores for markdowns and cheap meat.  
    I also steer away from corn syrup.  I agree that there are some factors that lead away from good eating habits and from exercise.  Running and walking are free.  Americans are obese. Period.  I am too.  I'm doing something about this year.  I think the fact is, that people eat too much crap and they don't walk places.  I really think working too much is an excuse.  I work 12+ hours a day, and I put in 17 days straight of this just a couple days ago, and I still made my daily exercise and ate healthy.  So.  It is that.  

    "Those who can make you believe in absurdities can make you commit atrocities."

    by dancerat on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 02:10:22 PM PST

  •  The issue with the poor is well understood (5+ / 0-)

    If you look at a lot of places with high poverty and a lot of marginally nourished people, you see that many of them are "fat" -- I put the term in quotes intentionally.  This is because the subsistence diets of poor people tend to be rather fatty and starchy.  I'm not an MD, but I'm under the distinct impression that this is quite physiologically different from what happens if I eat too many cheeseburgers and too much ice cream.

  •  Part of the problem with nutrition and (6+ / 0-)

    health in this country is cultural.   Well, maybe much of the problem.  It is now considered "normal" to eat out at fast "food" "restaurants" regularly.  The stuff those establishments serve is considered normal.  When I see patients who are heavy and begin to discuss nutrition, health and lifestyle, they commonly express chagrin that they can't eat "normally" without gaining weight.  What they think of as normal, to me is severely pathological.  But I don't blame them.  It is what the entire culture is saying to them all the time.  
    To most Americans, I eat "weird".  For instance, my lunch is a heaping large plate of raw and cooked vegetables (almost all grown by me) with an ounce or two of left over cooked salmon or a hard boiled egg.  Dinner is black beans or tofu or garbanzos or cooked fish with more vegetables.  Currently I don't have trouble affording good food, but I almost never go out to eat (why would I?  That stuff sucks).  

    But a few decades ago, I was raising children on one person's hourly wage of $2.23 per hour.  We had dried beans, brown rice, and lots of carrots and onions (cheapest vegies back then).  We had a garden in the summer.  I made sure the kids got tofu for their growing body protein needs.  We also used natural peanut butter a lot.  We bought greens as often as we could afford in the winter when the garden was not producing.  It would have been even better if I had had access to quinoa at that time as it would have saved so much time compared to cooking brown rice.

    I am certain that during that time of poverty, my family had good nutrition.  I realize that I had several significant advantages compared to many people who are raised in other circumstances.  I was raised in a middle class family so my nutrition and medical care were adequate before I began to live below the poverty level.  I was young, strong and healthy.  My mother was a nutritionist so I had a pretty good upbringing in nutrition.  It was "normal" to me to consider nutrition over mouth pleasure.  I knew what foods had which vitamins, minerals, fats, proteins and carbs.  My mother instilled in me the wisdom of "junk food" as being "empty calories".  

    These advantages I had were mostly of education and attitude which really are cultural.  I applaud Michelle Obama for addressing nutrition, home gardening, and food deserts.  It is really important to change the concept of normal eating back to what is really normal.  Food should be food, not prepackaged synthetic food-like substances.  

    One more thing I'd like to convince people of regarding the time element required to prepared real food instead of junk.  Once you get started eating real food, it will make you feel so much better that you will find it wasn't the time you previously lacked - it was the energy.  Junk food saps you of energy such that simple tasks like food preparation seem daunting.  Healthy food pays you back in making you feel so much better that everything becomes easier.  You feel more energetic and more cheerful.  You just have to give it a month or two to begin to feel better.  

    I was wise enough to never grow up while fooling most people into believing I had. - Margaret Mead

    by fayea on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 02:14:12 PM PST

  •  yes (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueoasis
    For all of Michelle Obama’s concern about the health of our children and our country, our policies are still supporting Big Ag, who makes the rules about what is being feed and subsidized and fed to us.
    that is why her initiative is a joke, i have never praised it

    there have been a lot of complaints from school directors that following those guidelines for lunch, the kids are hungry. I didn't have enough corroboration to do a diary but i would have
    it was interesting, but haven't heard much about it lately

    "I'm sculpting now. Landscapes mostly." ~ Yogi Bear

    by eXtina on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 02:34:50 PM PST

  •  How to cook from scratch and keep your day job (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueoasis, lady blair

    it can be done, you don't have to come home from worrk exhausted and pop frozen food into the microwave

    it takes some advance planning, but once you are in a rhythm, you're golden

    http://articles.mercola.com/...

    "I'm sculpting now. Landscapes mostly." ~ Yogi Bear

    by eXtina on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 02:39:59 PM PST

  •  The meta-point of this diary ... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JFactor, worldlotus

    ... is true of many things all over the world.

    Everyone's choices are constrained by the culture they're raised in and the environment that surrounds them.

  •  The one fundamental problem with this (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sparhawk, lady blair, JFactor, missLotus

    diary's thesis is this: Middle class people with resources and cars and big supermarkets etc etc etc are also obese.

    You may be right that it is next-to-impossible to eat and exercise if you belong to the working poor, but that doesn't excuse or explain or mitigate the behavior of the rest of us.

    To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

    by UntimelyRippd on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 02:45:21 PM PST

    •  yeah exactly (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      salamanderempress

      I think most of us are aware of what are food deserts. I think most of us are aware of the trap when you have to work two or three minimum wage jobs to feed your family and yourself.

      For obesity, environment matters. Financial resources matter. Culture matters. Incentives matter.

      That being said, the majority of obese people are not below the poverty line. The middle class, however squeezed they might be in some ways, are the bulk of the fat people in this country. So while it is very true that we shouldn't vilify people who are overweight and that we have to improve the opportunities and incentives for people to eat healthier and have healthier lifestyles, the majority of the overweight are also completely capable of losing weight themselves. The society or the class structure isn't keeping the majority of the people overweight. So let's not go overboard with the arguments one way or another - obesity is rarely "a sickness" (the metabolism is messed up etc.) and personal behavior matters. But as we all well know, some in our society, the least well off, are put in a terrible environment and nobody should vilify them for being overweight given their societal and economic environment.

  •  40+ years of HFCS in more and more (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueoasis, worldlotus

    food products ...

    the rise of soda pop (full of HFCS) as an accepted alternative to WATER as the source of daily fluid intake for Americans...

    and people wonder why Americans, on the whole, are getting fatter and fatter?


    "I like paying taxes...with them, I buy Civilization" -- me

    by Angie in WA State on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 03:03:27 PM PST

  •  I guess the policies will have to change (0+ / 0-)

    before you do :/

  •  Well the point is that obesity is increasing in (0+ / 0-)

    the US. So something is changing compared to previous times. As far as I know it is correlated with the increase in diet soda, btw. A good idea would be to stay away from soda and go for tea.

    He who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.

    by Sophie Amrain on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 03:10:24 PM PST

  •  What fucking bothers me (10+ / 0-)

    about a lot of what I have seen on this topic in the last few days is that it seems this is getting boiled down to a Conservative Talk Radio level of discussion. "This is Rush, you are on the air caller! Yeah, hey Rush, long time listener, first time caller, listen, these parasites and burdens on me need to be dealt with harshly. You know these people are the way they are because they are lazy and living off of my hard work. I don't hate x, but they need an asskicking. Tough love, man."

    Want to catch a glimpse of Fox News in the Land of People who Despise Fox News? Talk about obesity in America.

    The inner Movement Conservative sneering scold who "just want the fatties to put down the fork and man up" comes out disguised as 'hey, man just some tough love' and 'speaking hard truths to you'.

    Obesity is exploding in America. It's true. A part of that is happening because bad food is subsidized for big industry, because crappy food is cheap in a land where the middle class is being destroyed, because food is being used to soothe and comfort, filling non-food roles in people's lives. People are self-medicating with bad choices in America every day. It's just that alchoholics and drug addicts don't get 100, 200, or 300 pounds heavier when they self-medicate with their drugs of choice. Fat is a tissue that releases a toxic soup of chemicals when one is obese that complicates matters tremendously. There are chemicals like Leptin that have gone berzerk in a lot of fat people fucking with their brains and their sense of satiety when they eat.

    I have known fat people all of my life, I've struggled with my weight myself, and it's a bigger issue than "put the fork down fatty".

    I have a friend who was a drug addict when he was younger. He hasn't touched coke in fifteen years. This motherfucker has willpower and staying power. Coke gets its hooks into you, and you want that motherfucker. Bad. Chocolate Cake was worse for him. He's told me so. It was easier for him to stop using coke than to keep the 100 to 125 pounds he's lost and put back on over and over and over again since high school than to never put cocaine in his nose ever again.

    There has to be a fucking reason for that beyond "he needs to put the fork down and get some discipline."

    If there were a simple layman's answer to obesity as a matter of public health policy, or personal practice, that would stick, it would have happened by now. There is a cult of fixation on self-love, achievement, and personal perfection that goes hand in hand with rewarding yourself with unhealthy things as a substitute for what you cannot seem to have no matter how much and how desperately you might want it.

    Almost every heavy person that I've ever known has spent a good chunk of their lives being miserable in the persuit of health trying not to be fat. Living around not being fat.

    And they get told, all the fucking time, that America is a land of fat asses who just eat and do fucking nothing like pigs. While the weight loss industrial complex swells, while the big chemical companies crank out the latest new artificial sweetener that is 'just like sugar!'.

    There's a little too much smug self-satisfying superiority induced glee, very hippy punching-esque actually, to a lot of the most simplistic (on the Tom Friedman meets Sean Hannity school level) of obesity scolding.  

    I think one of the biggest reasons that people respond negatively to those kinds of pieces when they get posted is easily dismissed as thin-skinned denial, but the truth of the matter is, if we thought about the world as simplistic and black and white, where weak, cowardly, lazy, and timid people are just avoiding the hard choices and the necessary Calvinistic suffering desired to prove your seriousness to a cause, most of us would be Movement Conservatives or longing for President Harold Ford and Vice President Heath Shuler and not existing as liberals and moderates.

    Obese people, millions of them, spend their entire lives chasing fitness, and failing. The vast majority of heavy people will always be heavy, even the ones who live their lives on a diet, working out, beating themselves up trying to meet both their own expectations and the expectations of others.

    And most fat people know they are fat, they understand very well that they have played a very hands-on role in their weight, and have spent years dieting and exercizing and gotten nowhere because they are screwing with their metabolism by yo-yo dieting and chasing the outcome that people who have no idea what their reality is like other than being disgusted and repulsed by people they don't like to look at, see eat in public, or have to think about getting their tax dollars in public policy and programs.

     

    I am from the Elizabeth Warren and Darcy Burner wing of the Democratic Party

    by LeftHandedMan on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 03:39:00 PM PST

    •  ^^ This ^^ (4+ / 0-)

      Well said.

      I don't eat to excess.  I physically can't.  In one sitting I can not fully consume a restaurant meal.  I eat slowly.  I know that far too often I do not make the "right" choices, mostly because of things like a salad in a restaurant is half lettuce and i do not like lettuce.

      I'm overweight.  I don't know why I am.  Honestly I have done weight watchers and Nutri systems and exercised while on both.  I was on Weight Watchers and very diligent about everything that went into my mouth.  I went to the gym 4 -5 times a week.  I did warm-ups, cardio for 45 minutes, the weight machines, then 10 laps in the pool.  After 6 months I lost 10 pounds.   And no it wasn't because I had more muscle.

    •  I wish I could recommend this a thousand times. (0+ / 0-)

      This, honestly, is what always bothered me about movies like "Super Size Me."  It's not that his overall points about fast food were wrong.  But he didn't seem to understand that for many it's not as simple as "stop eating fast food, fatty!"

      It's pretty obvious in that film that Spurlock and his girlfriend are solidly middle class, if not upper middle class. i.e., the kind of people who can afford the fancy vegan meals she made.  So of course it's easy for him to do that.

      But for many people, eating fast food for three meals every day isn't a choice they can make for a month.  It's what they can afford, and what they have the easiest access to.

  •  Okay but Chris Christie has NO EXCUSE. (0+ / 0-)

    He's got access to the best food, trainers and nutritionists that The Garden State has to offer.  He's had good options for a long time.  But he makes bad personal choices and puts his family and his state at risk.  Somebody of his size, who blows up all the time in public, losing his temper, under a high pressure job, is on very risky ground unless he turns things around.  

    This has nothing to do with why obesity is a scourge of the lower classes, and not their fault.

    "The strictest law sometimes becomes the severest injustice." -- Ben Franklin

    by Ouroboros on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 04:22:04 PM PST

  •  calories in vs calories out (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueoasis

    it is that simple - this formula works for the vast majority of people (not everyone) - most people don't want to be uncomfortable - that's why there are so many fad diets - they don't work.

    Even exercise is hyped - it's all about how may caloris you take in vs how many you burn.

    It is very simple.

    The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government. - Thomas Jefferson

    by ctexrep on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 04:24:21 PM PST

    •  Is is not that simple!! (5+ / 0-)

      Just sitting and existing I burn 85- 100 calories an hour.
      24 hours in a day = at least 2000 calories.

      I probably do not consume 2000 calories in a day.  So by your simplistic assessment, I should lose weight if I simply eat less calories and burn a few more.

      I have to walk to my car, walk to my office, etc.  So that means I should be losing weight already!

      Not all calories are equal and every person is different.  Truthfully some people will never, ever look thin.  If they manage to starve themselves enough to lose weight, they look unhealthy and emaciated.  Yeah, that's attractive.

      It is a modern day obsession we have with this whole weight thing.  One size does not fit all.  

      •  What complicates things even more (0+ / 0-)

        is that, at least as I understand it, physical activity is actually more important to one's health than weight.  Sumo wrestlers, for example, are much healthier than many skinny people.

        •  Exactly. And I have watched Sumo... (0+ / 0-)

          They are some big guys.  But the champion is not really all that big.  Even in Sumo, bigger is not necessarily better.

          Your health, and your weight, is a personal thing.  It's complicated.  There are many factors involved.  Some you have control over some you don't.

          For instance, women bear the children.  It's a medical fact that our bodies are built for that.  Not all women can bear children.  It is not by choice, other factors have gone into that.  Maybe they were born that way or perhaps an injury or an illness made them that way.  No matter how many men they have sex with, a baby aint gonna be born.

          So translate that to, no matter how much cardio I do... you get the picture.  Sometimes stuff just IS.

        •  Go to a senior center (0+ / 0-)

          and tell me how many overweight seniors you  see.....not too many if any - you know why?

          Becasue they're all dead or they're bed ridden.

          All the extra weight takes it's toll on the body - heart, joints, back etc.  Carry around a 10 pound weight all day and tell me how you feel by days end - being overweight does that to the body everyday.

          Even tall eldeerly people are rare - the shorter and thinner you are - the longer you live.

          Can't do tto much about your height - that's truly genetic - but for most, you can do something about your weight.

          The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government. - Thomas Jefferson

          by ctexrep on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 07:54:27 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  It's kind of hard to argue with physics (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ctexrep

        If you are consuming fewer calories than you are burning, you will lose weight. Your response appears to be claiming that your body can create energy out of thin air. The truth is, all calories are equal--they are simply units of heat energy. If you're correct on your basal metabolic rate of 85 to 100 calories per hour, I suggest you write down all the food you consume for a few days to get a better idea of how many calories you are actually consuming. If you are maintaining or gaining weight, I guarantee your total intake will be more than your metabolic calorie loss.

        •  That's it! (0+ / 0-)

          Not saying that all calories are the same health wise - there are empty calories (like processed sugar, alcohol) that have no nutritional value yet can add weight.

          I think many people confuse empty calories with no calories.  See the following:

          Fat: 1 gram = 9 calories
          Protein: 1 gram = 4 calories
          Carbohydrates: 1 gram = 4 calories
          Alcohol: 1 gram = 7 calories

          Fats and alcohol are empty calories for they have no real nutritional value - proteins and carbs typically do have nutritional value (yet there are a lot of simple carbs that have little nutritional value).

          If someone is serious about their diet - they don't drink Kool-Aide - just drink the water - or if you must, make unsweetened ice tea.

          No one wants to be made uncomfortable - so society tends to coddle and enable.  I agree with the OP that there are some really bad foods for sale that really aren't foods but I do take exception that one cannot eat healthy, proportioned meals on a budget.  I've been doing it my whole life.

          It's just like quitting smoking - if you really want to do something - anything is possible - millions quit smoking every year - millions eat healthy.

          Exercise is taking the stairs instead of the elevator - parking in the back of the lot rather than drive around looking for the closest spot.  It all adds up.

          The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government. - Thomas Jefferson

          by ctexrep on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 07:49:18 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  something said here is strange (0+ / 0-)
    If you make minimum wage, you make 1000 for a single person and 4K for a family of three to live on for a year
    .

    if you make current minimum wage in Oregon: $8.95/hr, then you make just over $7,000 per year no matter what size family you have.

    ????????????????

    Happy just to be alive

    by exlrrp on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 04:42:55 PM PST

  •  One of my staples when trying to lose weight (0+ / 0-)

    is tuna fish.  But someone told me that the tuna fish coming from the West Coast is becoming toxic because of the problem in Japan.  Anyone know anything about this?  I would hate to have to restrict tuna plus I wouldn't know how to check where the tuna is coming from.

    Bad politicians are sent to Washington by good people who don't vote.

    by Renie57 on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 04:43:26 PM PST

  •  You know what the other problem is? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    worldlotus

    The people of the United States today are the descendants of central, eastern, and southern European peasants, starving Irish, and slaves.

    What all these people had in common is that food was scarce, not to be wasted, and made to last someone a day of physical labor in the fields, factories, and mines.

    I had my grandmother (an anchor baby of backwater peasants who ended up working in steel mills for the likes of Carnegie), alternately saying "eat, you're a growing boy" and "you're too fat".

    American society is that writ large.  No, we can't be slim and  exist on air and dew like the rich who can fire the intern if their latte has whole milk instead of skim milk in....

    9-11 changed everything? Well, Katrina changed it back.

    by varro on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 05:46:31 PM PST

  •  The food in this country is in danger (0+ / 0-)

    of poisoning all of us. If you can afford so called good food, you can't depend on the food in this country. Here in CA, you cant even get honest labelling.
    Face it, like everything else in this country is for sale for profit. And I mean everything is for sale.
    We need  to DEMAND that factory farming end NOW. No one has  the right to kill to make profit. Yes, salmonella and E coli kill. Don't eat meat.

    What do we want? Universal health care! When do we want it? Now!

    by cagernant on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 07:08:34 PM PST

  •  We don't walk enough (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Dude 415, Apost8

    That is our biggest problem.  Walking has been almost completely stricken from our daily activities.  We get in cars, drive everywhere, sit in chairs at work and at home.  The most walking we ever do is around the store, looking at what to buy!

    This is also due to our lack of mass transit.  We wouldn't rely on the car if we had bus stops, trains, and the like within a reasonable distance.  Our nearest bus stop is about a mile and a half away down a highway that has no sidewalks - walking to it is suicide.  And the buses here are so inefficient that a trip to anywhere requires adding an extra two hours on to the outing.

    I wish I had a different grocery store within walking distance besides Sam's Club, because I'd totally hike that once a week.

    The Cake is a lie. In Pie there is Truth. ~ Fordmandalay

    by catwho on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 08:02:00 PM PST

    •  Two years ago I started walking to/from work. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      catwho

      It's just under 2 miles each way.  I love it.  I live in DC, so my daily walks take me past the White House every day.  Sometimes I see Bo running around the North Lawn with a stick in his mouth.  I haven't lost weight, from it, but it has helped me maintain my weight.  I'm in my mid thirties now, and it's starting to get harder to lose/maintain weight.

      "Give to every other human being every right that you claim for yourself." - Robert G. Ingersoll

      by Apost8 on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 06:26:41 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I know plenty of obese people (0+ / 0-)

    and virtually none of them suffer the constraints to eating well that you mention here. In the end, it does come down to a choice. Eating well does not have to cost more than eating junk. In fact, a sensible diet can be much cheaper. Exercise provides the most benefit for the least amount of time invested of anything a person could do. Being fit does not require going to the gym and spending hours every day. Five hours a week is all it takes to get and stay fit, and even three hours would do wonders for most people. There are very few people who don't spend that amount of time on other less productive things that could easily be traded for exercise time.

  •  Uh, not really... (0+ / 0-)

    The premise of this article is wrong, and helps to prop up a harmful myth.

    All my life I have struggled with weight.  Like most things in life I have decided to use the scientific method to loose weight and investigate what really works.

    And the hard truth is its all about portion control, not what you eat.  I still eat junk food often at McDonalds, and while its true it may not be the most healthy thing you can eat, there is no doubt you can loose weight eating there.

    At McDonalds I usually eat the chicken sandwich or sometimes the 10 piece nuggets if I am feeling especially compulsive.  Together with a diet coke they are both filling meals under 500 calories.

    Same with MANY subway sandwiches.

    Its a myth our parents ate healthy balanced food.  They ate high fat crap.  But they ate a WHOLE lot less of it.

    Everyone can loose weight with portion control no matter where you live.  It takes a lot of willpower but I am evidence that it works for many people.

  •  First off... (0+ / 0-)

    ...this post would have a lot more impact if it had been spell checked or proofed.  I'm just saying...

    Second, isn't it amazing how everyone seems to have 'the' answer to American obesity?  And they're so confident that their answer is the only right one.  Bull.  Until you have walked in someone else's shoes, you have no right to judge them.  NO ONE knows the answer to everyone else's weight issues and snide, condescending criticism doesn’t help the obese person.  

    In fact, the more you look down on them, the more worthless and hopeless they feel.  If you don't consider your own self worthy, why the hell would you go through the extreme effort of dieting?  Losing weight is pushing against several million years of evolution - every bio mechanism in the body is geared towards gaining and holding nutrients - and for some, dieting is way harder than you can even imagine.  

    Why would you put yourself through that if every person you met and every media image you saw tried to convince you that, since you're fat, you must be lazy/stupid/worthless?  You wouldn't.

    It takes a lot of belief in yourself and support to stay on a diet, especially when every corporate food supplier is bent on you not doing so.  Looking down on an obese person doesn’t help – in fact, it hurts.  

    •  Normalizing obesity does no favors to the obese. (0+ / 0-)

      Educating people on the topics of good nutrition and exercise isn't looking down on someone. It's informing them of facts.

      Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!

      by bigtimecynic on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 06:15:39 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  you think fat people don't know (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kareylou

        about nutrition? about exercise? about the fact that they are scorned and despised by many, or publicly identified as the thing that is wrong with America? No wonder so many of us are too depressed to take action on behalf of our bodies. Acceptance and encouragement do a great deal more good than lectures and shaming.

        •  this: (0+ / 0-)
          Acceptance and encouragement do a great deal more good than lectures and shaming.
          is true for so many things, not just weight. And just plain acceptance is the first step. True acceptance, not just "Oh I have to pretend to accept because that is the first step toward getting this person to change!". Encouragement should follow only when someone has stated an intention to change and asked for support.

               Although I am not overweight, my body and health have really taken a nose dive over the past couple years. I finally reached a point where I said "This is the body I have, it's the only body I have, and if I don't love it then I don't love myself", and  "If I don't live this life fully, with the body I have, then I am not really living". Once I began integrating that into my self-image (still working on it) I moved toward clarity about what choices were good for me and for my health.

               The stress of non-self-acceptance and the shame of feeling judged by society in general are not good motivators for anyone I know. In fact stress hormones generated by worry contribute to poor health and perhaps to fat storage.

               So society? leave my obese sister the fuck alone. She has a better heart than 99% of you.  

          To keep our faces turned toward change, and behave as free spirits in the presence of fate--that is strength undefeatable. (Helen Keller)

          by kareylou on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 07:42:24 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  There seems to be a myth that only the poor are (0+ / 0-)

    obese. Every time there is a discussion on the subject of obesity, the counter argument is how hard it is for poor people to eat well.

    This logic runs counter to the facts, described in a 2010 CDC paper showing how:

    Among men, obesity prevalence is generally similar at all income levels, with a tendency to be slightly higher at higher income levels.
    and
    Most obese adults are not low income (below 130% of the poverty level).
    Therefore, I would argue that while a minority of people can make the argument that they are fiscally forced into a system of poor diet, a majority of people cannot.

    Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!

    by bigtimecynic on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 05:58:18 AM PST

  •  Our son developed a weight problem (0+ / 0-)

    after we let him eat in the school cafeteria for just a couple of months. We had no idea at the time the food was THAT BAD. He had to take lunches at his previous school and he was excited about eating in the cafeteria at his new school. He became overweight very quickly and it took us about a year to get him back to a normal weight.

  •  Even for those who can do it... (0+ / 0-)

    ... weight loss efforts simply do not work in 95% of cases. Many times people who undertake them wind up fatter and unhealthier than they were before, even if they stick to a healthy diet and exercise plan. I recommend Gina Kolata's "Rethinking Thin" (she's not a crackpot, she's a health writer for the New York Times) for a deeper look at how many people, despite desire, motivation, money spent and calories burned, never manage to lose weight or become thinner. Ragen Chastain, a competitive dancer and large person, blogs here about the fact that none of us owes it to the world to meet any particular standard of "health" or "beauty," and that all of us are worthy of respect no matter where we fall on those spectrums.

  •  Fantastic Article (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    science geek

    Speaking for myself and my family, we are not poor.  However, my wife runs her own business and I work a regular full time job.  I work 8 - 5 and she is able to set her own hours so she works noon hours and then evenings and weekends.   We also have two young and extremely active children.  

    When we had our first child, our intentions were good.  Only organic food when possible.  Home cooked meals and a well balanced diet.  However, as we got busier and busier, and the kids start walking and stop being toddlers, just watching them and keeping them out of trouble and keeping the house from falling into chaos is a full time job.  Now add packing them up, driving around and juggling the kids.  

    As you said, we don't always have time to even do the grocery shopping let alone spending time preparing and cooking a meal.  So it becomes very eay very quickly to start buying pre-made (and heavily processed garbage) meals that can just be quickly heated up.  Or just grabbing some takeout.  It also doesn't help that one of our kids has a number of serious allergies and, believe it or not, going someplace like McDonald's or for fast-food pizza is often much much better than going to certain restaurants.  Again...that is assuming we can get the kids to sit still long enough for a restaurant meal.

    The other issue I don't think you touched on, but maybe I just forgot already, was kids learn about fast food really fast.  It is everywhere, it is brightly coloured and packaged and, frankly, aimed at kids moreso than adults.  When you throw in the countless millions or billions spent on advertising crap food to kids and consumers in general, what chance does natural, normal food even have.  And believe it or not, governments LOVE processed foods because to them it is a "value added" product which helps farmers make more money which is automatically great for the economy.  Just, you know, ignore the externalised costs to society when you have an obesity epidemic.

    Food prices keep going up and will continue going up.  Some of that is supply/demand, but honestly, a lot of it is speculative trading of our food like we allow for oil.  And as people start finding themselves slipping further and further behind, and either working more and more to stay afloat (which means more likelihood that they will rely on bad food which will have serious health consequences), they are more likely to turn to unhealthy food.

    I don't mean this to sound like a sob story.  My wife and I do a decent job of managing healthy foods as best we can.  And we can afford to buy organic foods when possible.  But it can be tough to find the time and if we, with the best of intentions, still resort to junk food from time to time , then people who are worse off than us (money or time wise) really have little to no chance.

  •  I have a control group here. (0+ / 0-)

    I am legal guardian for my disabled sister. She is two years older than I am. I am very aware of what she eats, and she doesn't really have an opportunity to eat other than what we buy her with food stamps (sadly). Unless she is secretly ordering pizza with money I don't know about, she eats quite a bit less than I do, and has cut out almost all empty calories. She stopped drinking and smoking (!!) in order to spend money on nutritious food. She is still considered obese, and I have a BMI of 19, barely. I do get more exercise than she does, but not all that much. It just can't be as simple as calories in, calories out. It's a mystery to me why she retains all that fat. She is already on Synthroid.
    Not asking for advice, just pointing out that I know from my own experience that two people eating roughly the same number of calories can end up at radically different BMIs.

    To keep our faces turned toward change, and behave as free spirits in the presence of fate--that is strength undefeatable. (Helen Keller)

    by kareylou on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 07:30:45 AM PST

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