Sunflower

So... Hmmmmm.



If you're just tuning in to :: Escapism ::, you might not know three things:

1. I'm a liberal Democrat
2. I desperately want to fix health care in this country (i.e. hopefully get universal health care)
3. I'm seriously overweight and have been trying to lose this weight for years.

Anyways, I'm trying to lose again, so I've been reading a lot of weight loss/obesity articles lately. The obesity epidemic (and YES, it is an epidemic) is something I care deeply about. The way we're headed, 1 out of every 3 children born in 2000 will be diabetic. This is NOT COOL. Go ask txvoodoo if you think diabetes is a fun thing to have.

So I'm reading this article from a wire service about the cost of obesity in the United States: $147 billion a year, almost 10% of all medical costs. WHAT?!? That's just... gah!!!! I can't even wrap my head around that.

I was fine until I read this paragraph:
"Today's report demonstrating the clear link between rising rates of obesity and increasing medical costs is alarming, but not unexpected," Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation said in a statement. "Obesity is the driver of so many chronic conditions -- heart disease, diabetes, cancer -- that generate the exorbitant costs that are crushing our health-care system," she said.

... And then I started thinking about something. Yes, we all have personal responsibility about what we put in our mouths. We all have a choice. But then, the government is the one who started subsidizing the crap out of corn, wheat and and soy. Now virtually all our food is made from those 3 foods. Corn is in EVERYTHING. We're not meant to eat this much HFCS.

We're subsidizing the crops that make us fat and most of the people who work at the USDA, making our nutritional guidelines, used to be food lobbyists. We have this free market system that show our kids nothing but candy and fast food ads, and lets a new Micky D's open up on every corner. Don't get me wrong, I love capitalism, but doesn't it seem excessive?

Not to mention we have the whole evolution thing going on. You know the drill: our caveman ancestors didn't get food, especially fat, salt & sweets very often, so they had to eat as much of it as possible when they could. Now we can get this stuff all the time, but our primitive physiology doesn't know that.

I dunno. I'm not making my point very clearly. I guess what I'm trying to say is our landscape and culture in this country, from the time we're kids, is skewed towards making us fat. And I feel like our government is kind of saying, "If only those lazy fatties would just walk for 20 minutes a day, we could solve the obesity epidemic. Oh, and the health care crisis to boot!!!" All the while keeping up all their same business as usual.

WELL, JERKFACES, it doesn't work that way. We're all going to have to make massive changes. Individuals, governments, doctors, schools, hospitals, institutions, everyone.
  • Current Mood: annoyed annoyed
  • Current Music: Janet Jackson - Escapade
Don't forget that obesity isn't entirely about lifestyle choice, either. It's at least partially- sometimes almost entirely- due to genetic factors and simply the way a body handles food. Equating fat and unhealthy is a dangerous false dichotomy.
There's so many factors that go into what makes a person obese.

All I know is that it's not just that the human race as a whole became more gluttonous and lazy over the last 30 years. And it's not just computers & stuff. It's EVERYTHING. It's a big complex mess of factors... and it's not going to be solved by a pat answer of "eat less exercise more". THAT'S NOT WORKING, MORONS.
Or how 'bout epigenetics. (That's which genes get activated.) Your health depends not only on who your grandparents were, but whether they were getting enough to eat when they were at key developmental ages.
I knew there was something seriously fucked up with our food when I started weight watchers and wondered why Yoplait NONFAT yogurt had (at the time) 3 points and other brands had only one.

Because Yoplait uses HFCS!!!!

I haven't had a Yoplait since, which is sad because I liked them and I always have coupons for that brand and rarely for any others.

There are so many factors in obesity. Prepackaged foods, fast foods, just easier than cooking a healthy meal for two working parents and kids with too much to do after school. Even my mom, a gourmet retired caterer, finds it easier to use prepackaged foods like risotto rather than make it from scratch despite it being packed with salt and higher fats.

I try to cook real food at least four or five evening meals a week (that counts leftovers). It takes time and, yeah, many times I'd rather throw a lean cuisine in the microwave, but I know it's healthier for me.

It's a struggle any way you look at it.
UGH, you can't throw a stick in the grocery store without hitting HFCS. It's ridiculous - that stuff is in almost everything!

I'm going to have to learn to cook one of these days. As it is, I'm making microwaved instant rice, grilled chicken & frozen veggies, so that's a start.
Learning to cook just takes some time. Start with some simple recipes. Tonight we had baked salmon slathered in coarse grain mustard--simple and yummy.

I recommend cooking real rice--minute rice is actually higher in calories. I have no clue why. Cooking rice on the stove takes about twenty minutes; the great thing is that if you add to much liquid you can always just drain it off. You can also use fat free chicken or veggie broth for added flavor. Frozen veggies are basically the same good for you as fresh. Avoid canned.

One of the big problems with obesity is that people can't afford to be thin. Canned/boxed foods are cheaper than a piece of fish, some rice and fresh veggies. A box of mac cheese with milk and margarine costs about $1.25. Fish, rice and veggies for two (because if you're overweight, a box of mac cheese is going to feed two if you're lucky--I used to eat a whole box at a time) costs upwards of $6.00-$12.00 depending on what you get. You can buy a carton of icecream--three or four servings for $2.50. Apples cost about a buck a piece right now! And it's a big rip that the highest fat count ground beef is always the cheapest. You can get 75% beef for around $2.00 and 90-98% for twice that. It's really hard to afford to eat good for you foods when they cost twice as much.

I really hate that I don't want to scroll through my hundred plus icons to find something appropriate, stupid LJ...
This is where I falter in my opinions about weight loss. I'm a big girl, and I want to lose it for my benefit, not so that my neighbor's health insurance premiums go down. I don't think it's healthy to be fat - ever - and I don't care what anyone claims about HAES. I think it's better to be not-fat rather than fat.

That said, I have the same reservations about the claims that obesity is the sole problem with the state of healthcare and insurance today. How about this? If obese people shouldn't have access to the same insurance and health care as everyone else - and there are those (Rick Santorum, for example) - who believe exactly that, then how about someone who gets drunk and wraps their car around a telephone pole be turned away too? How about someone with lung cancer? Or skin cancer? Why should the hundreds of dollars I pay a year in premiums go for treatment for someone who has melanoma because they baked in a tanning bed for twenty years?

Like you, it's hard to articulate, but it's no different. I have diabetes, but someone else is waiting for a liver because they wouldn't put down the beer. Someone else has given birth to a baby with birth defects because they smoked crack. Just as someone else broke their spine because they drove 100 mph and hit someone head on. All of that is because of something we did to ourselves, so what's the difference?

Good post!
Let me add this...I'm just making a point here. I don't think that accident victims or crack babies shouldn't have access to healthcare. On the contrary, I believe in universal public healthcare that provides access for everyone. I just don't like the continued discrimination against obese people, that we are the SOLE CAUSE of the rise in healthcare costs when there are hundreds if not thousands of other issues that contribute to the high costs that have nothing whatsoever to do with being fat.
Also, Rick Santorum seriously says that? And he's a real contender for the republican nomination? AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH
I had to look up "HAES" - health at every size. I don't really get that either. I think it's totally possible to be healthy with a little bit of extra weight - 20, maybe 30 pounds. Me though? NOBODY is friggin' healthy at my size. Here's a short list of the health problems that I have as a direct result of my obesity: High cholesterol, elevated triglycerides, PCOS, prediabetes, and serious knee pain. And I'm only 32 years old. I'm too young for these kinds of problems! So I get touchy when people start talking about fat-acceptance. It's good to a point, but it's also dangerous for me. I can fat-accept myself into an early death.

And I totally agree with all your points. Everyone deserves access to good health care.
I read the comm fatshionista and a good portion of the posting members there cling desperately to the HAES theory. It may work for a handful of people, but everyone of them claims to be healthy at their size and Luna, some of these girls are enormous. Like I said, I'm a big girl - 275 at last weigh in - and I KNOW I'm nothing approaching healthy, so I simply reject the idea that a woman weighing 350-450 is healthy. I just can't.

I'm 46 and the one regret in life is having told myself for years that I have time to lose weight. "I'll do it next year." Time has run out for me and I don't want to be fat anymore. I don't care about being beautiful or sexy...I just don't want diabetes anymore.

*hugs*

I'm going to do it. I was talking to a lady at Curves last night and I told her that my short term goal when I started back in April was to lose 50 pounds by July 2012 so when I went back to Orlando, I could ride the HP rides without worrying about fitting in the seat. I've lost 25 pounds and kept it off, so I'm halfway to my goal. Then, when I get there, I'll set another 50 pound goal until I reach at the very least 135. I'd be happy at that weight.
I think HAES probably started as a rejection of the 5-foot-11, 100 pound, size zero fashion model standard of the 90's. All the Kate Moss heroin chic waif crazes. That was so beyond ridiculous, that we ended up swinging the pendulum to the other unhealthy extreme. We can't seem to do moderation in this country!

And I don't care who you are, nobody is healthy at 350-450 pounds. The human frame is not meant to carry that much extra weight.

I'm someone who is always going to be "plus-sized". I'm 5'8" tall and have a large frame. When I was last thin, in high school, I was 165 pounds and wearing a size 16/XL top. I'm totally okay with society needing more plus size fashions, etc.

I think your goals are perfectly attainable! I've been on this weight loss journey for about 2 1/2 months and have lost 35 pounds, or about 10% of my body weight. My next goal is to be under 300 pounds by my birthday at the end of July. I haven't been that since 2009!


And that's perfectly understandable...it's no healthier to be Kate Moss's size than it is ours. I don't know where our country got our love of excess. My parents grew up during the Depression and WWII and they theorize that it's backlash against both starvation and rationing... once both events were over and food was plentiful again, the hoarding instinct kicked in. Not unlike our own bodies tendency to hoard calories against the threat of starvation. Add to that our love of a good bargain, and Americans stampede for the all you can eat buffet :)

And I love food, good food. It's a curse!

I'm short, 5'1", and fairly small boned, so 275 is NOT a good size for me. Even my goal of 135 is still going to leave me a bit chunky, but it's better than 275!

I am so freaking proud of you!!! 35 pounds in less than three months?? What have you been doing?
My parents grew up during the Depression and WWII and they theorize that it's backlash against both starvation and rationing... once both events were over and food was plentiful again, the hoarding instinct kicked in.

Ooooh, that actually makes a lot of sense!

35 pounds in less than three months?? What have you been doing?

Thank you! All I've been doing is counting calories and walking. Are you on my weight loss filter?
If you can see this post you're added! Just click on all the different posts on the "weight loss" tag and you'll be good. :)
I can see it! Thanks! And again, I'm proud of you for what you've accomplished. I know how hard it is and I'm always here if you need to vent about the hardness of it all!
"We're subsidizing the crops that make us fat and most of the people who work at the USDA, making our nutritional guidelines, used to be food lobbyists. We have this free market system that show our kids nothing but candy and fast food ads, and lets a new Micky D's open up on every corner. Don't get me wrong, I love capitalism, but doesn't it seem excessive?"

This week is a good way to understand why we subsidize corn: What election (caucus) happened in the past week? Iowa. This is the root of all our subsidizing of it. Politicians "take the pledge" to avoid alienating our nation's corn producers and to get votes.

You DO need to cook. Tomato sauce? has hfcs. WHY? Tomatoes are naturally sweet.
This is the root of all our subsidizing of it. Politicians "take the pledge" to avoid alienating our nation's corn producers and to get votes.

UGH. Just, UGH.

I don't use tomato sauce but I get what you're saying.
Rice vinegar has fucking HFCS! Why??? It's vinegar! Yes, it's a "sweet" vinegar, but it doesn't need to be sweetened, ffs.

That said, I've found both tomato sauce and rice vinegar that don't, you just need to read labels.
What makes me mad is when you hear stories about how some schools refuse to let kids bring lunch from home, and only offer school lunches that are just as unhealthy. Sometimes lunches packed from home are better than what you could have had at school, not to mention the price! I was lucky in that the "good" lunches at my high school were usually between $1.50-$2.50 (my junior and senior year, I fell in love with these huge salads they had that came with chicken and pretty much all my favorite veggies, and it was only a quarter more than the pizza I usually bought). And what about kids with food allergies?
What makes me mad is when you hear stories about how some schools refuse to let kids bring lunch from home, and only offer school lunches that are just as unhealthy.

Schools do this? Why?!? That's just ridiculous.

A friend of mine who is very much into the practice of ahimsa (aka, she's one of those vegan bitches that's always preaching about growing your own flax or whatever) said they should shut down every single McDonalds in the US and world. My best friend, who works in PR and community research, basically said to her that it's a huge part of how a portion of our population gets its food. It's an inherently poisoned system and all of it needs fixing.
Have you seen the movie "Killer at Large"? One interesting part was when California banned junk food in school vending machines... and then they showed news footage of pissed off parents sliding candy bars through the rails of the school fence. There's a lot of resistance to eating healthy, or changing bad habits.
Not to mention, designing our cities, towns, suburbs, etc., so no one can walk anywhere. It's like, if there are no sidewalks, and no way to cross a six-lane highway, how the hell are people supposed to walk places? And if the food schools serve is all industrial cheese and refined carbs...
Ugh, the no-sidewalks in some neighborhoods drives me crazy, because I don't have a car. People who design cities just take it for granted that everyone drives.
Have you heard there's now evidence that air pollution can contribute to (possibly even cause) some obesity?

You know, my DH and I used to beg S to lose weight. At one point he was over 300 lb. (he's 5-8 or maybe 5-9). He didn't start working on it until he decided he was tired of not being able to buy regular clothes. He just bought some size 36 Levis and is thrilled. Hell, I probably couldn't wear size 36 Levis and I'm 5 feet 1. I do know that some people have a terrible time losing weight no matter how much they work on it. I don't think a one-size-fits-all approach will be successful.
I don't think a one-size-fits-all approach will be successful.

Definitely not. Everyone has to come up with a plan that works for them.