According to the CDC, "More than one-third of U.S. adults (35.7%) and approximately 17% (or 12.5 million) of children and adolescents aged 2—19 years are obese" (CDC, 2012). Not only are many Americans facing obesity and the health problems that come with it, but the average waist size for a woman over 20, is 37.5 inches, while an average man may need pants to fit a 39.7 inches (CDC, 2012). Needless to say, much of our country is tipping the scales.
Why are we faced with this issue? There are many factors that play into the reasons that many Americans are overweight. Perhaps it is the abundance of fast food locations around the country. On just about every corner, there is a restaurant promising fast food and cheap prices. People may be enticed by this because they are in a hurry. In this golden age of go go go, we're so busy with careers, soccer practice, grocery shopping, getting packages to the post office. We rarely slow down. The idea of someone being able to cook a home cooked meal for their family, is almost obsolete.
One other reason, could be prices. Many people think of the mass amounts of money they'll need to spend at the grocery store at any given visit. The thought of a $1 hamburger seems a lot more feasable than dropping $2 on a piece of fruit at the supermarket. Another reason for poor eating habits may simply be lack of education. Although it seems common sense that an apple is a better snack than a candy bar, many children and adults have always lived a lifestyle such as that... passing on their poor eating habits from one generation to the next. Many may even know they are eating unhealthy, but lack the knowledge on how to get better food on their table and into their bodies.
Another reason may simply be lack of motivation. In our technological world, we have video games, tv shows, computers, Facebook, cell phones, and pretty much any other technical gadget you can think of. It is hard to break away from a lifestyle one is accustomed to, in order to do anything different. We are lazy, plain and simple.
Being overweight should not be a cosmetic or physical issue. One should not look at magazine covers and movies and strive to look like the stick thin models because they want to look great. People should want to be healthy, because they deserve it. They should want to be able to walk up a flight of stairs, run with their children at a park, and just extend their quality of life overall. Media holds a powerful grip on us, and many will look at these famous people, and then look at themselves and think that they are "ugly" or "less than" what these people are, simply because of the way they look. This can in turn, cause a cycle of fad diets that fail, and the depression that may result causing an attitude of "I don't care", followed by another round of trying to diet.
It is not about "dieting". It is not about pills, surgeries, starvation, and fast fixes. It is about a lifestyle change that everyone should make for themselves because they want it. It doesn't even have to be counting calorie or fat content. Simple changes, such as getting out and walking from time to time. Get off of the couch, and make time for life. Little things, like starting off with replacing one of the daily sodas, with a big glass of water. Making better choices... instead of your Snickers bar while sitting in your cubicle, replace it with an apple. Instead of fried, try grilled. Instead of standing around the water cooler at break time, make a quick walk around the building and get your heart going.
It may seem like I am up on my pedestal right now, or that I am looking down on those who are bigger. I am definitely not. I lost 108 pounds on my weight loss journey. I partially did it for the wrong reasons, which I now regret.... but as I was losing and started to feel absolutely amazing, I had an epiphany. Such simple lifestyle changes, and I feel awesome! Eating clean food.... (making a lot of it myself, not pre-packaged things), drinking lots of water, getting out and moving, etc. I woke up in the morning with tons of energy and a smile on my face. It was completely different than I was used to, and I loved it. I'm not going to claim it was easy though. I feel prey to many of the excuses I listed above. Everyday was a challenge that I had to face and everyday I had to think about the decisions I was making for myself.
Everyone should have a chance to feel great and be healthy. Even one small change to your current habits may put you on a course to living a healthier lifestyle. Remember, don't do it because you want to be able to fit into cute clothes and be a size 2. One can have curves and still be making healthy choices for themselves. It's not about looks, it's about health. Work towards being "healthy".... not "skinny".
Make a change today. Even if it is a small one. Decide to sit at the dinner table with your family and eat a home cooked meal a few times a week. Go for a walk on your lunch break. Turn the tv off. DVR your favorite shows, and watch them later. Or better yet, throw the tv out of the window. Switch out some of your sodas and snacks for water and fresh fruit and vegetables. It is not something that has to be all done right away. Even those small changes can lead to bigger changes and a change in attitude.
There you have it. There is my rant for the day. Now go.... get off the computer. Go do something!
CDC. (2012, April 27). Overweight and obesity. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/facts.html
CDC. (2012, November 12). Body measurements. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/bodymeas.htm