We missed the boat. It passed us so long ago that we can’t even see the sails in the distance. We are trying so hard to combat obesity with diet fads that we missed the bigger picture:
why do we wage war on our bodies? According to the National Institutes of Health, two-thirds of adults were overweight in 2000, and nearly half of those were obese.
Health care costs for the overweight and obese were estimated at $117 billion. At the same time, Americans spent $40 billion on dieti-related products, and according
to WebMD, since 2002, 20 percent of Americans have tried low-carb diets.
That is only one category of dieting; combine them all, and the number would be much higher. We blame obesity on McDonalds, Burger King and the huge portions of food available in most restaurants now. We blame the diet craze on models and celebrities, and how they show us just how skinny we have to be.
We justify many problems in our society by demonizing the easiest target and using whatever scientific study we can to back up our claims.
This is a child’s excuse. That isn’t to say that these images play no part in this problem, but they are only contributing factors, not the cause. It is time that we collectively grew up and started taking
responsibility for how we treat our bodies.
The newest fad in this line of passing the blame is to the people who raised us. Using the excuse that you were raised to eat whatever junk was around and saying that is how you learned about nutrition doesn’t work.
This is saying that we can’t learn past what our parents taught us. This simply isn’t true.We can say we diet to keep up with everyone else’s good looks and to attract the opposite sex.
First off, that is more a self-esteem issue. Diets won’t help with that – counseling will.
Still there are unanswered questions. Why the war on our bodies? Not to sound like Yoda, but the answers lie within us.
Something in our society paints these behaviors as socially acceptable. And honestly, they are to an extent. It’s OK to diet if we begin to exceed healthy weight limits. For that reason, it’s OK to devour that double cheeseburger, extra large fries, and large coke every once in a while.
But when already emaciated people are dieting and obese people continue eating these meals eight times a week, then there’s a problem. We could label them as addictions and file them away as the next mental disorder, or we could admit that we do have choice, and maybe we have been making the wrong ones.
With claims that violence on TV breeds violence on the street, we have gotten used to believing we don’t have choices anymore. We are just sponges and when TV, magazines and commercials tell us how to behave, we have no choice but to listen.
Stop. Just stop. It is time we stop blaming everyone and everything but ourselves. We do what we do because we want to do it, with few exceptions in mental disorders. With claims like these we sell ourselves horribly short. We chose to eat a triple burger, a Slimfast shake, a sandwich or an apple.
We missed that boat when we started picking out scapegoats for our problems. But it is gone completely.
We just need to grab the wheel, and take back control.
Ashley Helaudais can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.