January 6, 2010

Just Say, "No!"

Today Jeramy and I watched the movie/documentary "Supersize Me". I know that we're behind on the times, but oh, my goodness! This man, Morgan, was a totally healthy man when he started out and after 30 days of nothing but Mickey D's, he almost killed his liver and put himself at serious risk for emergency treatments. He gained about 25 pounds, 12 of which was pure fat and ate about 30 pounds of sugar!!!!! Anyway, you'll have to check out the movie for yourself.

Jeramy and I both used to be overweight. In high school Jeramy lost about 25 pounds or so of fat with smart eating and exercise before entering the USAF Academy. Before entering high school, I lost about 16 pounds which I regained plus some before entering college. After meeting Jeramy, before our wedding, I lost about 34 pounds with true disciplined diet and exercise. Jeramy's motivation was entrance into the Academy, as an unbeliever. Mine was the glory of God and obedience to the Word, after coming to Christ.

In the movie there was one man interviewed who talked about how it is easier for people to confront smokers about the dangers and irresponsibility of smoking than to confront obese people (of which there are now soo many) about the hazards of their lifestyles. It is such a sensitive subject to talk to people about their not-so-healthy eating and exercise habits. It's almost as sensitive an issue as a couple's fertility. Why is this so?

Some say that obesity is not only a physical issue but a psychological and genetic one. My Dad tended toward a more heavy set figure. Does that play a part in my experience with childhood obesity? Yes. But I'll argue from personal experience and observation that it's not a genetic predisposition. A lot of fat parents have fat kids. Kids sit with their parents at the dinner, lunch and breakfast table (and every snack in between) and learn the same eating habits as their parents. They learn to make the same choices their parents make. I give my babies part of what I myself eat. I can't count how many times my Dad took me to 7-Eleven for a Slurpee, loaded with sugar, or fed me bacon or fried chicken or took me to Wendy's, etc. People learn to make bad choices because it's what their accustomed to - their appetite has been tailored to crave those things.

As far as psychologically and mentally, food brings comfort. When you're teased for whatever reason (including our obesity), that bag of Dorito's won't mention your shortcomings and it continues the whole terrible cycle. When you've suffered unnecessary hardship, nothing is going right in your day, you know that that bowl of ice cream is reliable and won't let you down. You can trust in the sweetness, saltiness, savory goodness of food and it's so easily accessible. People rejoice over food when things go right - they use food to celebrate (hence birthday parties, retirement parties, etc.). Sometimes, I suppose, people just don't have the right information to make smart choices.

I consider that at the moment, there is no rectification for this situation. How can we confront the people we love (with pure motives) about their harmful eating habits and lack of regular adequate exercise (30 min/day minimum)? I have no clue. I suppose as a believer talking to another believer, it is just as any other sin. You must have an established relationship with mutual love and trust, and for an issue this sensitive a deep level of confidence in the strength of the relationship. We could always take them to the Scripture and show them what God says about gluttony and laziness. And remind them that self-control is a fruit of the Spirit.

Most people will admit that they should seldom, if ever, eat fast food. But why do we consume so much of it anyway? We continue to make bad choices. Instead of preparing fast, good food to go, like a box of raisins or cereal bars or even a sandwich, we stop at BK or Chic-Fil-A (I love CFA) because we didn't come prepared or we see the signs and get a cravin' for a crunchin' munchin'.

Tim Hawkins did this bit (which I couldn't find on YouTube) about it: You're out and you're hungry. You didn't come prepared and you decide to go to a fast food joint. But you're psyching yourself out for ordering something healthy and you chant it to yourself, "A grilled chicken salad, yogurt and water . . . a grilled chicken salad, yogurt and water . . . " But when you get up to the window, it gets thrown out the window, "Yeah, I'll take a double quarter pounder with a slice of fat with a supersized heart attack and a jumbo caffeinated type 2 diabetes on the side."

Let us confront the people we love with this overweight/obesity issue. (Hey, confront me too people! During this pregnancy, my goal is not to gain weight during my first trimester and keep it around 15-20 lbs total. I have some residual from my previous two babies and a little holiday weight. You can keep me accountable.) Let's not make it such a sensitive subject anymore. Our weight is just as much public knowledge as our skin color, clothing styles or the model cars we drive. Let's speak out. Obesity has become America's number 1 (or 2) preventable death-inducing condition.

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