I have been thinking recently about the economics of obesity and weight loss.
At about the size 14 mark (up to size 18, depending upon the company), women's clothing suddenly turns about 10 - 25% more expensive. Now, truth be told, additional fabric is needed. And fabric is not free. I get the economics of this although it does not thrill me.
Larger automobiles cost more - and they often get worse gas mileage. Again, more sheet metal = more expenses. And that lowers fuel efficiency. Plus obesity lowers fuel efficiency. The same articles that tell you to take the junk out of your car's trunk in order to improve gas economy are often too polite to tell you to get the junk out of your own trunk. For gasoline efficiency does not care whether the extra 20 pounds comes from a pair of lounge chairs that are living in your car because you're too lazy to move them into your shed, or if it comes from a year's worth of Taco Bell.
Obesity can mean increased insurance costs, as your risks are higher. Insurance companies do not care whether your increased risk comes from cigarette smoking, living near an oil refinery, taking up sky diving as a hobby or that same per annum consumption of Taco Bell. They just make their actuarial calculations and you can come up short, and end up paying through the nose.
Yet, paradoxically, larger portion restaurants often cost less. And higher calorie foods (often the result of some serious processing) can also cost less. Funny, isn't it, that a lovely pound of apples which have had little done to them other than growth and harvesting can often cost more than a premade apple pie? Or a place that prides itself on its giant portions is dirt cheap, whereas a restaurant where everyone complains about portion size is often on the high end of things. Any size coffee - $2.69! Why the hell WOULDN'T you buy the biggest cup you could get? And cream and sugar are free. Why the hell WOULDN'T you load up on them as well?
It's an interesting dynamic, the push-pull of our culture when it comes to weight loss, dieting and obesity.
We recognize that we, as a nation, are getting fatter. We know we need to make better choices. We know we need to drive less and eat less and walk more and drink more water. Yet when it comes to that, we stymie ourselves at every turn. We make water hard to get (And public restrooms? Fuggeddabboutit!). We are plied with tons of cheaply made, mass-marketed, processed food for cheap. We are punished for our dietary choices with expensive clothing and the like. Yet we are rewarded for them with inexpensive food and billion dollar advertising campaigns and what is almost crack in that food, all to train our brains that it is delicious and addictive and we can't get enough of it.
We need to get off that train, people. We need to vote - with our wallets, and our feet, and our taste buds, and even our ballots.
Up with health!
Down with the paradoxical insanity!
Who's with me? I gotta find a castle to storm! Let's go storm a castle*!
*Er, maybe not a White Castle, okay?