Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Diet and Weight Loss
We are a fat, fat nation. According to an article on about.com, (http://usgovinfo.about.com/od/healthcare/a/tallbutfat.htm) women are now 29 lbs. heavier now than they were in 1960. One wouldn't know this based on the sizes available in most stores. Seriously, when did 0 become a size? And I find it ironic that clothing for women of current proportions is called Womens sizes. What exactly are those other sizes? Waifs? Twigs? Barbie Wannabes?
In the 80's I remember a big exercise craze. We jogged, we jazzercized, we mall-walked and sneakers became athletic shoes. But then we got cable tv, remote controls, video games, super-sized fast food and of course the internet. In less than a generation we became couch potatoes, more interested in special effects meant to mimic reality than in real life itself.
And it's easy to understand why. Passive entertainment is a great way to escape, to not think, not contemplate, not deal. And if we are all entertained by the same thing, then it gives us ample fodder for diversion. The internet has seen to that. Just Google Britney Spears. The result will yield 104,000,000 matches. For some reason if we are all diverted by the same thing, we think that it makes a difference, that something is happening. It's not. And the expanding size of the American waistline is the evidence that this is true. We are not doing anything but Entertaining Ourselves to Death as Neal Postman likes to say.
So now here we are, nearly 30 lbs heavier and looking for the easy fix. We all want to lose weight in just 20 minutes a day. We have diet soda, light mayonnaise, and a saccharine existence. According to a 1992 FDA pamphlet, "An estimated 50 million Americans will go on diets this year," and "Americans spend an estimated $30 billion a year on all types of diet programs and products, including diet foods and drinks. " (http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/wgtloss.html) It boggles the imagination, that is of course only if one stops to consider such things in the first place.
The thing is, there actually is a magic formula to losing weight. It's called Diet and Exercise. The formula is really simple. Burn more than you consume, and you will lose weight. In some ways, weight loss isn't that much different than database management. When creating a database, the general rule of thumb is crap in, crap out. If you put bad data is put into the database, then only bad data will come out of the database. The same can be said of nutrition. If you eat crap, then you look, feel and are likely full of crap. Is it really that hard to eat 3 carbs, 2 proteins and 5 fruits or vegetables a day? Apparently it is when we are constantly bombarded with advertising that encourages us to consume for gratification as opposed to nutrition. But we do have a choice in this. We can choose not to buy into the idea that everything good is covered in melted cheese, or processed with natural sweeteners, (read: high fructose corn syrup). We can eat healthy food in moderation. We can live actively, dance, walk, sing and interact in a way that doesn't require logging on. But of course then we wouldn't have the irony of this rant in a blog.