A lot of media coverage has focused on the increasing obesity crisis in America, and the First Lady is now directing a lot of her efforts towards the growing epidemic of obese children. It certainly is a sad commentary on our culture when you consider that weight gain since the early 1900’s averages about 1000%.
There have been a myriad of reasons explored as to why this has occurred. Some fault parents, schools, fast food emporiums or the possibility of individuals having a food addiction. I’m sure these can all be valid assumptions, however, I have lived long enough to note that my generation and those before me never seemed to struggle with weight nor did their friends.
Somewhere along the way the idea of how much sustenance one needs to go through the day has shifted to more is better. We have become like cows who graze continuously munching, crunching, and moving slowly through the day.
Cows have a by-product, however, called milk, as the outcome of their chewing. Unfortunately for us we just get fat. Unlike cows our munching is not bits of grass, a little here, a little there. We have become consumers of portions that could feed a village, and it’s getting worse.
I saw several billboards, one after the other on a road trip recently, that showcased hamburgers that were big enough to double as mattresses. The fillings were oozing out of the burgers and included stacks of bacon and cheese. You would literally need a step ladder to get to the top. The average caloric count for this overgrown burger is probably around 2000 calories or more. Add a coke and a dessert and your done for the day and possibly the next few days.
Most often this type of food is eaten quickly. That’s probably why they call it fast food. Most meals years ago were eaten together with family members and took some time.
Today, eating has to fit into the construct of a busy day. It is often treated as an inconvenience and therefore something to be gotten rid of as quickly as possible in order to get back to our texting, e-mailing and cell-phones. In fact some people won’t even take a break from their techno world to stop and eat and you can hear them chomping while their talking to you.
We need to bring back the ability to savor and be present to what we’re eating and how much. Those choices are in our control. Once we truly understand that, we may find that obesity becomes a non-issue.