The Elephant in the Room
Alright, I’ll say it (since a lot of you are thinking it): obesity is a huge problem–pun fully intended.
Over one-third of American adults is obese. Not just a bit heavy: obese. Thirty-five point seven percent to be exact, according to the CDC . Take a gander at your leisure: http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/adult.html
I am not obese. I have never been obese. I have never been what might even slightly be considered over-fat. In fact, I’ve been very thin my entire life–except for the first year or so, but I had a three-hundred-pound babysitter who fed me grits, so it wasn’t my fault. Having admitted that I’ve always been thin, I know what the objections will be to me posting this: that I don’t understand what it’s like, that I have genetics on my side, that I’m a superficial a-hole. I’m sure there are many more, and I’m sure I have heard them all.
Look, I live in the same country as some of you (United States), and I am subject to the same food choices and other environmental factors as you. To be fair, I ate In’N'Out last night, so I am by no means a saint when it comes to eating out. But I ate one burger, not three, and I had a few fries, not a plateful. I do not eat fast-food on a daily basis. Like many other activities in my life (except for maybe reading), I do it in moderation, which is just fine. I’ll be the last one to preach about the evils of a night out to eat once in awhile or the occasional beer with buddies or a cookie now and again. But Americans are not so good at moderation; we enjoy excess. And it will kill us if we’re not careful.
An answer to a possible objection: my genetic blessing of a super-fast metabolism. It would be dishonest of me to say that it has been hard work for me staying thin. It has not. I come from a family of thin people on both sides. Small people in general, really. My brother is five feet and six inches tall, weighing in at about a buck twenty; my sister is five feet tall (probably more like four eleven) and tips the scales at about a hundred pounds. I am the giant of my family at five feet ten (and a half) inches tall, with a hundred and sixty pounds to carry around, twenty of those gained in the last few months by working out frenetically. I know I have a fast metabolism, and I act accordingly. I wouldn’t lead the lifestyle I do if I didn’t have some genetic assistance.
But it would be nonsense to claim that this is the only reason my family is thin. We have all led fairly healthy lifestyles. We were never allowed sugar cereal as kids (possibly due to my hyperactivity, but…), we drank soda sparingly, ate fast-food maybe once a week, we were involved in sports, rode our bikes all the time, and more. It would be easy and convenient to just say that we had to do nothing but rely on the genes to keep us thin, but it would be untrue.
I work hard to maintain a healthy body. Yes I had fast-food last night, but you know what I’m doing today? I’m going to the gym to work out with weights, and tomorrow I’ll swim at least five hundred meters. Weight-gain and weight-loss both are a matter of simple mathematics: there are either caloric surpluses or caloric deficits. Not rocket science. I also get plenty of sleep and stay active throughout the day. It’s not that hard. One can run anywhere, do push-ups anywhere, do sit-ups anywhere.
I’m tired of living in a place where it’s okay to rip on someone for smoking, giving a laundry list of the health risks, putting commercials on TV about it, and more, but then it’s cruel to talk about the health risks of being over-fat. We might hurt someone’s self-esteem. It’s my opinion that people not only look better when they’re fit, but they also feel better. Heart disease is the number one killer in America. That’s a fact.
So let’s make a collective effort to get that number below one in three. It’s embarrassing to have such a ratio in what is supposed to be a developed nation, one that claims to be a beacon of light to the rest of the world. The light will not make it out there if it’s obscured by all these rolls of fat.
You don’t like it? Stop reading and get off your butt and do something about it.