America is a nation dedicated to looking physically good all while not having to do anything to gain that fitness. In fact, I have friends that would starve to look "hot" rather than eat well-balanced meals and do some physical activity. Why? The ADA says that we are spending $33 billion on weight loss aids, yet we are facing an obesity "epidemic." Ironic? Maybe, maybe not, I like to call it the effect of the "Obesity Cycle:"
Breaking the Cycle
The obesity cycle is dangerous, but many Americans will go through it (not just overweight persons, skinny people too). First, people fail to eat nutritiously, claiming that they don't have time, so they settle for fast food or junk food. Many reasons for this, mainly depression or lack of nutritional knowledge. Then after a while, they open their eyes, look in a mirror, (or overhear some guy say, "look at the jiggle," and realize that they WANT to be skinny. They don't think about being in shape, just skinny like the girl in history whose legs are the size of ones arms. So they buy some "100 calories snack packs" and chocolate Slim fast, along with diet pill like hydroxycut or alli, and they are ready to go. After two weeks of dieting (no exercise), they crave a Whopper or something, feel that they cannot do this and succumb to their pitiful desires, thus repeating the whole cycle again.
Why Are Diet Pills Dangerous?
Let's face it, it can be hard for people to know how to eat healthy and do physical exercise with zero nutritional education and lack of proper models (i.e. parents/guardians). And with marketing so gung-ho on advertising junk food in one commercial and diet pills in another, it teaches people that they can have their cake and eat it too. Recently, a diet pill has breached the market claiming that it is a fat buster- Alli. Alli, or Orlistat is a fat blocker that claims to block the absorption of 25% of the daily fat intake as long as certain requirements are followed.
This pill is SO dangerous I cannot believe that it is FDA approved. It is the ultimate "make me skinny" pill because it claims you can still eat fat-filled diets, so long as you take this pill. And the side effects? Think about it like this, you might pass gas and instead your pants will be stained with unabsorbed fat globules...and we all know that grease doesn't come off clothes too easily . In addition to the slimy side effects, it prevents the much-needed absorption of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K . Now this would not be terrible if most American took a multi-vitamin; according to USA Today, 59% of Americans do not consume a vitamin . I guess what I am trying to get at is that the pills that are put on the market are not manufactured with the person's best interest in mind, but they know the desperation a person can feel when they want a "quick fix." There is no regard to safety, and they can avoid blame for somebody's death because they put disclaimers on these bottles, but fail to see that Americans lack the initiative to educate themselves, thus creating the possibility of really hurting somebody who lacks the knowledge to make diet choices in the first place.
What If Interventions Are Necessary?
After reading Brandon's review about getting surgery to reduce his obesity, I am proud of him, yet my opinion (feelings) on obesity remains the same. Adults that are obese allow themselves to fall into the category because of many reasons: depression, low self-esteem, lack of discipline, etc... But I feel that it is a choice or lack thereof.
Children on the other hand, I feel sympathy towards their wellbeing. They don't buy the groceries or make the choices of what their parents claim to be food. But kids have a choice. I grew up in a VERY Irish family (both parents came from the meat and potatoes generation) and I became a vegetarian around the age of eight. I chose not to eat certain foods, which forced my parents to change their lifestyles and start serving more veggies.
But look at today's generation...many children are "glued" to the TV especially if their parents work a lot or don't provide enough outdoor activities. City children are more obese than rural children are (from personal experience, I came from the "sticks" to the "city" and there is a HUGE difference in the activity levels).
So, do I agree with obesity surgery for a 13yr old, heck no. Get that kid outside. Nobody needs surgery to lose weight at that age (or any age really). I feel that obese children are a direct product of the failure of parents to teach their children valuable lessons. I feel that the child should put on a nutritious eating plan and eased into daily activities like walking, weight lifting, and playing at the beach.
Surgery is a quick fix that often leads to failure. Example- There was a boy on my brother's baseball team (6-7yrs ago) whose entire family was morbidly obese. Why? Fast food, and when they were not eating fast food, they were eating junk food in extreme proportions. All six family members underwent gastric bypass surgery. They all lost about100-250 pounds, including the 14yr old. Within two years of the surgery, every single one of them managed to gain the weight back! This is a very common situation. Many undergo the surgery as Brandon stated, but do not really want change their lifestyles, just their looks. I think people need to be better qualified for these surgeries. They need to go to "ANCs"(anonymous nutritional classes) for a year before undergoing the surgery as well as make every attempt to start a better lifestyle BEFORE the surgery, not after...
Let's get something straight, the food pyramids created by the USDA for Americans, whether meat-eating or vegetarians (or vegans) suck. They are funded by big agriculture and recommend that you eat large amounts of the food that they want to sell. Plain and simple.
I know this because I worked for the USDA for a brief time (but left because I couldn't handle the fact that they allowed their pockets and politics to influence the information they provided to us). I watched as the dairy or beef or wheat guys would totally influence how the pyramid was designed. That consumers were told to eat more grains or dairy because it was important to them to boost those economies...it had nothing to do with your health.
This is something that has been sitting on me for a long time and part of my mission to get you from skinny to strong is to make you the most informed on nutrition as possible. I aim to provide honest, no-agenda nutrition information that doesn't appeal to fads or policy. It just appeals to the human body and your physical (and sometimes emotional) needs.
To start, I have created a food pyramid that is the center of our nutrition program. And because many of you are meat eaters or are vegan, I made sure to create this pyramid to accommodate your dietary choices. Of course, you will not find dairy on this pyramid because it is not a legitimate food group for humans. We are not going to talk about this here, but let's just remember that another animal's milk isn't created for other species...we don't see baby cows being fed human milk, do we? No, it doesn't make any sense and it is purely a commercial product.
Protein: 3-4 servings per day
Fats: 1-3 servings per day
Fruits: 1-3 servings a day
Vegetables: 5+ servings per day
Grains: 0-3 servings per day
Sites We Love
The Baker Chick
The Candida Diet
Super Healthy Kids
Wake Up World
No Meat Athlete
American Nutrition Assoc.
Lean it Up
Muscle and Fitness