Why The Ever Increasing Numbers of Obese?

Sunday, May 12, 2013

I was talking to a friend who does ergonomics at my workplace and we were discussing the obvious fact that there are so many super obese people today as compared to 30 years ago. And the disproportionately high number of obese we encounter. We talked about what had changed so dramatically to enable this to occur.

One item was lack of activity (which is fairly obvious to anyone born pre-1970). We USED to be outside all the time as kids. Inside was like jail-time. As adults, we did a lot more physical activity as well. But I really think there is more to the equation. An entire generation did not suddenly think "Oh, I think I'll eat myself into oblivion" and proceed to gorge. It happened so slowly, so stealthily, no one paid attention to what was going on.

Perhaps, there are some of us that are genetically hard wired to store fat (pudgy as kids and babies), and when exposed to an outside toxin (sugar in all its forms) in excess turn the fat storage mechanism on overdrive. Then there are a portion of this sub-set that turn on the fat storage and hunger drive to an open throttle position - who eventually become 200+ pounds overweight.

Managing your hunger is one thing when it's not an all consuming issue. When it becomes like needing to breathe, eventually you give in. When you cut back your calories it seems to bite you sometimes and your body says "ahhhh no, you're gonna eat, and you're gonna eat a lot to make up for this sudden lack". I've noticed this pattern when I eat less than say 1600 calories a day. I may make it a couple of days, but I go up until my average for the week is more at 1800 or 2000.

I know from doing low carb my hunger pangs are pretty well squelched due to ketosis. The minute I start introducing fake sugar into my diet (crystal light, nutra-sweet) I start Jonesing for more and more and the real stuff. I used to never drink sweet beverages. Since I began dieting, I've had all my drinks flavored w/ the stuff. And, I've been battling the "MUST EAT SUGAR" cravings all the time.

My calorie intake is all over the place with days of good adherence to my diet plan, others blown completely off the planet. I think for me it's got to be a better balance with exercise and getting rid of the flavored drink powder and saying no to nutra-sweet type sweeteners. If I buy sweets for dh, it's things I wouldn't touch on a dime. Or, if it is - he takes it to work with him or hides it in his truck.

I'm a very type A personality. I have strong motivation, determination, willpower and drive. I know it's not a matter of "just don't eat it". The combination of activity, and for now eliminating sweet trigger foods will have to happen. It's not that I can't say no to the "bad" foods, it's that right now, my body is overriding what my mind wants. And the body is winning.

I don't believe it's simply a matter of going on a diet to lose the weight. I believe that the combination of exercise/movement is critical to success. I believe for a select group of overweight people (that would include me) cannot afford even the fake sugars, that it sets some kind of response that drives intense cravings for sugar.

I've spent the past month or so closely watching what happens on my day to day intake. There is a pattern of 1400 calorie days, good food choices all day, closely followed by 2000 to 2500 calorie days that have ended in a "binge" of chocolate/sweets.

This is an experiment for me. Starting today, no more crystal light, no more fake sugar. Hubby gets the candy bars that are left in the kitchen. If I bake cookies, it will be Sunday night and he can take them in to work on Monday. I continue to increase my "active" time during the day. Stairs every hour for my get up from the desk workout. Walks at lunch and when I get home. Work toward early morning walks. NO SUGAR.
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    1775 days ago
    Kids used to have a lot more freedom. In the summers we were outside playing, coming home for lunch, then for dinner, and then when the street lights came on. My mom had no way to get in touch with me other than calling my name, often unheard. We did have to ask permission to go in the next block. Now parents are so frightened for their children, and play dates are made and well supervised. It seems to limit their activity. I seldom see kids playing outside. Computer games require a lot of sitting. Back in the day, we didn't even have a car. We took the bus or the streetcar to visit our grandparents. That meant walking was built into our daily lives.

    On the food end...look at the commercials on TV. If you see it, you want to eat it. Teens walk around carrying Big Gulps. McDonalds hamburgers are four times the size they used to be. (I still order the children's size...which used to be the standard size.) People are getting accustomed to cheese and bacon on everything.

    Some people ARE hard wired to be great aunts sure were! But the culture has made a difference, too.

    Thanks for your very thoughtful blog.

    DeAnne, Missourians Team
    1776 days ago
    I was born in 1960. I remember being so active when I was younger, outside all of the time. I rarely go outside now accept to go back and forth to work, to the store, that type of stuff. I used to do a lot that I don't do anymore since I've gotten older.

    Also your point about being genetically hard wired couldn't be more true. My entire family (7) of us are all overweight accept 2. My older sister and my younger brother. I work every day, keep busy then all of the rest and I'm the only one without a lot of medical issues. Obviously what little I do during the day is squelching diabetes, heart issues, high blood pressure etc.

    This article really hit home for me. Awesome job!!!! ~ Donna
    1777 days ago
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