He IS heavy and he’s my brother

Per an article by Mike Stobbe of the Associated Press called “CDC survey finds about 40% of US adults are obese,” Americans are indeed “heavy.” And, some of us are very heavy.

“About 4 in 10 Americans are obese, and nearly 1 in 10 is severely so, government researchers said Thursday.” This comes from a 2017-18 health survey by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“The survey found that the obesity rate was 42%….The severe obesity rate was more than 9%…But, it’s clear that adult obesity rates are trending up, said the CDC’s Cynthia Ogden, one of the reports authors.”

This should not be news. The World Health Organization has determined the US as the most obese country in the world for at least decade. A former Global Wellness UK based colleague of mine would say to clients, “one of the US’ greatest exports is obesity.” We have exported the gift of high calorie fast food.

The next time you are in McDonalds, Burger King, KFC, etc., read the calorie content on the orders. An average adult man is supposed to intake 2,500 calories per day with an adult woman limited to 2,000 due to size differential. If a fast food meal tops out at 1,250 calories, that is 1/2 a day’s calories. And, don’t even think of super-sizing.

But, it gets worse as we have too many kids with Types I and II diabetes. And, pre-diabetic is the diagnosis du jour for kids and adults. The key culprit is carbs. Bread, potatoes, pasta, rice – think white foods – convert into sugar and lead to diabetes.

So, what should we do about it? Here are a few ideas that worked for me as I shed about fifty pounds over a several years. The key words to remember are “sustainable change.” Whatever path you choose to follow, make it more than a fad change – make it sustainable. Here are a few paths to consider:

– Portion control – put your meals and snacks in a plate or bowl with smaller portions. Make yourself get up if you want more, but resist that urge.
– Less fast food – no or fewer fries (share them) and less fried food
– Less white food – this one is hard, but cut back
– Snack with nuts, trail mixes, and fruits (ripe or dried)
– Read the calorie contents – I might break a breakfast bar in half if it is 200 calories
– Indulge earlier in the day, so you can burn it off
– Walking is your friend

It goes without saying to check with your doctor before you embark on major change. Other anaerobic, core and stretching exercises (yoga, pilates, jazzeercise, calisthenics, etc.) are excellent, but I recommend something you can keep up over the long haul.

Let me close with a comment another wellness colleague who is a doctor used to say. “We are train wrecks waiting to happen.” Being heavy now will haunt you even more later. So, think sustainable change and get off that track.

18 thoughts on “He IS heavy and he’s my brother

  1. So true Keith. Excellent post. One thing I’ve learned over the years– keep moving!! Yes, watch what you eat for sure. But some kind of exercise every day is important. I realize it’s not easy for everyone. But, it’s a proven fact that even 30 minutes a day of some kind of rigorous activity is beneficial. I think so many people glued to their computers and cell phones certainly play a part in many who are overweight. Plus, now all you have to do is move a couple fingers on a keyboard and everything comes to you. Food, clothes…nearly everything. That, while convenient, certainly doesn’t lead to good overall healthy habits.

  2. Good post, good advice! Though not overweight, I have had Type I diabetes since infancy, so I’ve become a pro at knowing just exactly how much that scoop of rice is going to raise my glucose and how much insulin is needed to combat it. That said, I get lazy sometimes and don’t manage it as well as I might.

  3. I know our society was fat, but that 42% amazes me. Growing up when I did, we didn’t have fast food outlets on every corner like we have now. Although I indulge now and then, burgers, fries, and sweets don’t make up a large part of my diet like I fear they do for many people. We live close to a high school and it’s sad to see so many overweight kids. If they are heavy at that age (and many are heavy much younger), they will have a difficult time getting control of their weight later. Obesity is costing our society a ton in money and resources.

    • Hugh, I think it is excellent you added “being in hurry,” as people need not even get out of their car. Drive throughs are preferred over walking 200 feet. Keith

  4. Fast food and all ready-to-eat meals have not only a lot of senseless calories and low nutritional value but also a lot of ingredients that teaches us to crave that junk food. But thank God (at least over here) people are eating more consciously and taking better care of what they use for cooking.

    • Erika, well said. The companies employ chemists to make things more addictive, sweetening the pot, so to speak. It is all designed to sell more product. When we do indulge in fast food, we usually strip off one of the buns and order no fries.

      One of the sad truths about restaurants in America, the booths are further away from the table to allow for bigger people. I feel like I have to lean forward to eat.

      Keith

      • That’s actually true. I never thought about it but now that you say it, I remember that it is always a bit difficult for me to sit comfortable while eating since the table and the booths are further apart than I am used to from over here.

  5. Note to Readers: Excellent comments above. Let me sum up a couple of key suggestions from readers:
    – processed foods are as concerning as fast foods
    – fast and processed foods often have chemical enhancements to make them more addictive, usually meaning sweeter
    – portion sizing is critical when you have diabetes or are pre-diabetic
    – fast foods make it so you don’t even have to get out of your car (avoid that as the walking will help, you will be a smarter order maker when not pressed for time, and not idling the car will help the environment and your budget).

  6. Note to Readers II: Jeff got my thinking about every little bit helps. Many years ago, I read where some doctors said if you cannot exercise for fifteen minutes, don’t bother. That was BS then and proven to be BS now. Do something, even if it is only five minutes. Or, build up slowly with just a few reps. It is more than OK to start slow. If walking is hard, just start with a few steps or walking in place, eg.

    Trust me, we would to have those tone sweaty bodies on the TV commercials demonstrating an exercise bike or doing yoga. Yet, at 42% obesity, not many of us look like that. Just try to be a better you.

  7. Great post! Great suggestions. I would add, if you do find yourself resorting to fast food, order from the children’s menu or ask for a burger in lettuce instead of a bun. I like to small size my fast food. Less guilt, feel better, and cheaper too.

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