By now, the entire world know that Americans are the fattest of the fattest. However, apparently new figures from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have discovered that the number of obese people outweighs those who are just a bit overweight. In fact, the majority of Americans are either obese or overweight.
Despite programs like Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign, the numbers of obese and overweight Americans is a growing problem that will strain not only pants, but also the health system.
Why are people gaining so much fat? Well, apparently there are a few causes of this. But predominantly there is the issue of too much food and too little exercise. Americans eat some of the largest portions. Between 1983 and 2000, Americans began eating about 20% more calories per year, in large part due to an increase in meat consumption, added fats and an increase in grain consumption. And the fact that Americans are notorious for their fast-food habits, with it making up as much as 11% of the average American diet. This does not even include the other processed foods that many eat on a daily basis.
Not to mention the fact that Americans have totally skewed the definition of diet. Consumers are sent mixed messages of what to eat and how much to eat, resulting in many spending insane amounts of money on weight loss schemes that are supposed to work quickly. This combined with lifestyle changes like us spending way more time at work and way less time at home cooking means that more people are making the decision to eat processed food rather than to cook a healthy meal.
Additionally, the food portion fits in horribly with the fact that a lack of exercise is rampant. Kids do not go out and play like they used to, American employees spend more time working in offices rather than working in fields and on factory floors. The fact that jobs are less physically demanding and the fact that more calories are being eaten is just a recipe for weight gain.
You can blame whatever you want for weight gain, but as the CDC has so frequently pointed out, yes genetics influence metabolism and other health problems that can impact weight gain, but the big criminal is calories. Weight gain and loss is controlled via a total calories consumed versus the total calories used. And unfortunately, quick fixes do not exist. If you are overweight or obese, you need to work to lose the weight, and it will never be instant. For some, it takes years. Especially if you consider that to healthily lose weight, you would be losing about one pound per week, that can mean that you could take twenty weeks to lose twenty pounds. So obviously it is not a quick fix.
My real question though is this, when did we stop eating real food and think it was okay to eat this crap? I mean, I enjoy the occasional burger or processed goodie, but once you eat real food for a while, you notice how great you feel and look and the processed stuff is just no longer on your radar. And when did people stop trusting their bodies? I know I am guilty of overeating a lot of the time, and ignoring your hunger signals can result in it being really hard to know when you are or are not hungry. Your body is a really smart thing though, it tells you when you may be hungry, and tells you when you have eaten enough. It even tells you what it wants, and yes, your body may want pizza, but I guarantee it does not want pizza all of the time.