Thursday, 18 March 2010

Enough with this 'obesity epidemic'

I rarely talk about items 'in the news,' but this one has become so constant that I'll break that rule this once. One of my biggest concerns is that, from what I have seen on-line, various nations and districts are taking initiatives to legislate about outlawing or taxing particular foods. It may seem odd that I am so against this - there certainly is no junk food in my cupboards, nor is there sugar. But I frankly believe this precedent could be destructive - indeed, could lead to a larger problem than currently exists. Where will it end? Rationing, so no one can have more than a forkful of protein again? Taxes so high that no one can afford anything on his plate except the 'healthy grains' that are making everyone as fat as horses?

I shall not live to see this, I suppose, but I believe the day will come when currently blind medical science realises what I've known all of my life, having been raised on that dreadful "Mediterranean diet." Practically no protein and fat, combined with a huge percentage of grains, is the surest formula for being ravenous twenty-four hours a day. The effect is similar to drinking salt water when one is hungry. I've never been slight, but, unlike many others in my age group, I weigh what I did at age 13 - because I got away from eating starch, and don't have the fruits and vegetables (which I love and always have) unless I have protein at the same time.

When I was a child, I well remember those who ate meat three times a day, and carried crisps and sweets in their packed lunches, who did not have weight problems at all. As a young woman, except for those involved in competitive sports or dancers, no one I knew was interested in exercise in the least. Our social outings would typically be, for example, going for drinks, not heading for a gym. I doubt there has been a time in history when people were as obsessed as they are now with working out and avoiding fats. The day will come when someone finally sees the correlation between the stress on grains (and no protein) and the weight problems.

Just do a Google search, and it will become all too clear that the doctors (whom many seem ready to follow like a Pied Piper) have absolutely no solution for weight problems. "Successes" may be one group of women, described as 'morbidly obese,' who observed a rigid low fat diet, then sacrificed mind, heart, and soul for a life that consists of nothing but earning a living and three hours a day of exercise. They lost 19 pounds in a year, then gained it back - but are classed as 'successful' because they didn't start gaining after six months! This is one of scores of examples. The best it seems one can hope for with these 'safe, healthy' diets is slight weight loss that at best is regained at the same rate that it was lost.

Sadder still is that those such as the women I've just mentioned will have to endure all sorts of misunderstanding, abuse, and mockery. It was bad enough in the days when they'd have merely been the target of those who thought them ugly. Today, there are scores of supposed psychological problems which will be assumed. On a theology forum (which hasn't the slightest relation to weight problems), someone posted a question (and I quote) - "Is weight the sign of screwedupness?" I'm inclined to doubt a correlation. I certainly would prefer the company of Queen Victoria, Pope John, Orson Welles, or Thomas Aquinas to that of the slim Ted Bundy. Yet there are as many Internet sites, films, articles and the like which emphasise this nonsense as there are those 'medical sites' which insist that, at best, someone can hope to maintain a 5% weight loss.

I don't consider losing a few pounds and gaining it back (the more if one sacrifices any quality of life in the process) as a success, but those who bought this 'study' in the first place have much to endure from those who'd agree with me - but for different reasons. Those in the study, as far as I can see, were targets of an effective scam. But their friends are more likely to assume that they have a hidden stash of chocolates - or that they fear losing weight because they just have to have been raped or molested and live in terror that a man might find them attractive - that they are 'kidding themselves' - the list can go on forever.

All along, they will have endured that, once anyone knew they were trying to lose weight, absolutely anything they eat or drink will come under fire. Any activity that doesn't involve exercise will be condemned. I must have been a trend-setter - I had anorexia back in 1973, when it was little-known and seldom a disease of the working class. Still, I had to hear endless comments about how (for example) my drinking coffee meant I couldn't lose weight. When my torso was black and blue because my bones were protruding through my skin, I still had 'helpful' women advising me that I had big hips and 'had to do exercise.' (Only concern for my welfare, I'm sure. A woman's having discernible hips is a grave sin, and perish the thought I should go to my Maker, as I surely soon would have had the anorexia continued, if I still lacked skinny hips in my coffin.)

Those who were successful with low carbohydrate approaches (see some of the blogs that I follow) indeed may be open about this - but even the 'studies' about supposed (not genuine!) low carbohydrate dieting are a 'sell out.' Where, for example, Robert Atkins 'stuck to his guns' despite criticism, apparently the next generation are mired in sycophancy. A study of which I read, chronicled in the New England Journal of Medicine, oddly was funded by the Atkins centre - though it isn't low carbohydrate at all. No - it's the 'safe' version that will possibly meet the dictates of "my doctor says not to lose more than a pound a month... protein has to be kept to three ounces.. take in at least 180 grams of carbohydrates per day... don't lose more than ten pounds... stock up on healthy grains..." Those in that particular study, as in another I saw written of in the Daily Mail, temporarily observed 'Atkins induction', but did not progress to ongoing weight loss. They proceeded (undoubtedly gaining in the process, at once) to the 'safe' (translation - worthless) version which some doctor or nutritionist might approve - and it's just as worthless as the 'success stories' I previously mentioned.

I'm not suggesting that this is universal! Many people, myself included, had very substantial weight loss (in some cases, well over 100 pounds), and never gained it back. Yet they aren't likely to be taking in 6-11 servings of grains each day.

Fun is a thing of the past. Social gatherings with people who fear eating, or drinking anything but water, are bad enough at my age - but legislation that makes children fearful of so much as a Coca-Cola is a disgrace. I also hate the idea that the young will have no social life beyond planned exercising. What has this obsession with low fat diets and grains accomplished? Why has this 'epidemic' occurred at a time when people are exercising at the highest rate I'm sure anyone can recall, and fear fats to no end?

Legislation based on 'healthy eating' (which probably is a ploy to increase tax money) may well deprive those who have had successful weight loss of the very foods they need to not join the ranks of the 'obese.' Worthless though the advice of most 'professionals' is, selling 'self esteem' or 'motivation' (even when one doesn't even expect that a single client will achieve significant or permanent weight loss) is highly lucrative.

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