A touchy subject, and let me start by saying I’m most definitely writing this without judgement. How could I be judgemental on such a subject. It’d be a case of the pot calling the kettle black for sure as I too am considerably over my ideal weight.
I was sitting at a picnic table overlooking the beach the other day, and couldn’t help noticing how many of the beach goers would have fallen into the morbidly obese category. I’m not talking a few kilos of excess weight here. I’m talking a weight of probably almost double their ideal weight. And I’m not talking one or two people. This would have been close to half of the adults in the beach.
How has this happened? Is it an unhealthy quantity of consumed takeaway meals? Is it that meal sizes are now huge? Is it because we’re constantly bombarded with food information, thus keeping food uppermost in our minds constantly.
There’s the healthy eating pyramid which has been drummed into us for years, albeit today’s pyramid is different to the one that was around 20 years ago. There’s all the information on so called superfoods. There’s the food fads (as apposed to genuine allergies) – the gluten intolerances, the dairy intolerances, the no meat, the sometimes meat, the no eggs….. the list goes on. Every magazine, and almost every newspaper will have at least one article divulging some new superfood, or some new food culprit that’s contribulting to our health problems.
And then there’s the cooking shows – there’s too many of them to list, but everyday there’s at least one or two we can tune into on our televisions. I don’t know about you, but I rarely watch any of these shows, and the rare times I do, I often find myself reaching for the chocolate as my appetite is stimulated. Watching the gastronomic delights being cooked up and consumed in front of me certainly gets my digestive juices working on overdrive.
The supermarket aisles are choc full of jars and packets of goodness what that you just have to add to meat to conjure up some sort of gastronomic delight. I have no idea what’s in them and who buys them, but the supermarkets wouldn’t be giving up their shelf space to these convenience foods if they weren’t selling heaps of them.
Like I said, this is written without judgement. I just wish there was an easy answer. In my own case, it’s not takeaway, it’s not watching an abundance of cooking shows, and it’s not buying jars or packets of ready made sauces. Most times I cook from scratch, and I’m conscious of trying to incorporate the daily five veg and two fruits.
Most days I get reasonably close. I’ve never succumbed to reduced fat dairies even when it was fashionable. I guess real food has always been my focus, and full fat dairy my biggest weakness. Together with a love of cooking, lack of self disapline when nibbles are on offer, and a haphazard, unregimented exercise regime I too weigh close to the morbidly obese line.
I know it’s easy for those that are slim to sit in judgement with statements like, ‘how can they let themselves get so big’. If you are reading this, and have made such judgements, let me assure you – THERE’S NOT AN OVERWEIGHT PERSON ON THIS PLANET THAT WOULDNT BE SLIM IF THEY COULD BE. It may seem easy to those that are either just fortunate by nature of their genes, or have sufficient self control and self disapline to remain within a healthy weight range. But for those of us like me, for whom the necessary attributes for remaining slim and healthy don’t come naturally, it’s bloody hard, if not completely impossible.
But this isn’t about justifying my own obesity, it’s just about wondering why. What used to be a rarity, is now evident in epidemic proportions. The culprit was recently considered to be fats, now it’s sugar. When I was growing up (back in the old days – yes l’m over 60), everyone had potatoes mashed with lots of butter and full cream milk almost nightly. We had our Friday night fish and chips, most often cooked in dripping. We had our Sunday roast dinners with several peeled and roasted potatoes cooked in the fatty pan drippings and smothered in gravy, also made from the fatty pan drippings. We had our rice puddings and custards to follow our main meals – made with full cream milk and real sugar. Yes, there were still people around with weight problems for sure. It just wasn’t in epidemic proportions.
The mind boggles. We didn’t question our food then. Meat, potatoes, and an orange and a green veg all cooked and served with sufficient salt and fats to make it palatable. Then a good serve of dairy to follow in the form of some sort of sugar sweetened concoction, usually with some added carbs.
We’ve been trying to rectify our diets for the passed fifty years. There’s an abundance of research that goes into it and an abundance of information now available – yet the problem is getting worse. I don’t know why. What are your thoughts?