Where we get fit and spin (wool)

Posts tagged ‘overeating’

Free Food

Eating is far less about nutrition than it is psychology and sociology. This isn’t news. When was the last time someone asked you what your most nutritious food was, vs. what was your favorite food? This post is about one aspect of that, mostly what happens when there is free food.
Free food comes in many forms. Buffets, parties, potlucks, food tasting at stores and promotional giveaways. It tends to unhinge us when food is being offered to us. Buy a sheet pizza and put it in the office break room, any time of day, and it is as if we turn into vultures, descending on prey. People with grocery carts already full of food they are purchasing will use ruses to go back to the food tasting to get another free sample. People who are watching their weight in any other context will pile their plates high at a pot luck.
Of course, scientists will be happy to tell you this is biologically driven. Throughout most of human history, scarcity of food was the norm. You’d be a fool not to eat when it was available. Since food preservation was sketchy at best, eating food while it was fresh and storing it as fat was the most reliable way to get it where it needed to be.
That does little to help us today when abundance is becoming more the norm everywhere. If you are trying to not gain weight, or at least not eat junk food, good luck. I challenge you to take one week and see how often you are offered free food, especially as the holidays approach.

What to do? Other than become a hermit.

  1. Make decisions ahead of time. Most tempting situations repeat themselves. For example, at work, during the holidays, our management puts out cookies in the front room for customers. I’ve made it a habit to not go out there. I know if I walk past that plate too often, I will succumb.
  2. Make sure you eat. Maybe you could resist that new cereal sample normally, but you ate breakfast three hours ago and you’re getting hungry now. Shop right after a meal, or eat a healthy snack before you go. If you are at a buffet or other free meal, make sure you can see your plate, and only one plate. There should be space around each item. Tell yourself “I can always get more if this isn’t enough.” Drink a big glass of water prior to eating.

These tricks are the same for any eating situation, you just have the added problem that free food initiates in your brain, that magical green light to go for it. Remembering that it is just food, you aren’t starving, and that there will always be more, goes a long way to reining in that biological urge.

This is What Inspires Me.

http://lifeintheboomerlane.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/ernestine.jpg?w=200&h=252I saw this article on the “Life in the Boomer Lane” blog. This is why I work out so much. Yes, I know genetics plays a part, but that isn’t the part I have control over. I do have control over what I do every day. I don’t want the last 10 years of my life to be drooling in my oatmeal, as much as I can help it. What you eat and do does matter. The choices you make every day do count.  The woman in this picture is 74 years old! Do I think her joints hurt at night? Probably. But people who do nothing still have achy joints.

I wasn’t going to post this picture, I thought it was too controversial. But I have so few readers, who cares? I was goingA treatise on healthy eating

A call to action

 to repost it on facebook, that is where I got it from, but I know it would ruffle a bunch of feathers. I do feel militant about healthy living sometimes because people do have control over their actions, and the repercussions are serious. Just like drinking or smoking, you don’t see the results until it is

too late. Remember the old saying “You don’t have anything if you don’t have your health”? I see so many people who spend their lives going from doctor to doctor, in pain, unable to do things. Many times we sneer at people riding “Larks”, as often they are seriously overweight. If you are obese, it is hard to move. Strap 100 lbs on and try and go for a walk. But that isn’t an excuse to do nothing, it is a reason to change. I know, I can rant and rave

all I want. Who cares? Will anyone read my words and make a decision to turn their life around? Probably not.

It just frustrates me, especially when we talk about health care and limited resources. How much money would we have to spend on unavoidable problems, like MS, MD or any number of other genetic, viral or bacterial problems, if we stopped creating health problems by eating poorly, not exercising, smoking and any number of other behavioral health issues. (I’m avoiding talking about sex.) Even some forms of breast cancer are being linked to being overweight.

Do you have any rants you want to add? Do you want to slap me for ranting?

The Failure of Success?

I couldn’t sleep this morning, one of those racing thought kind of mornings. As I tried to reign in my errant cogitations, they kept escaping in new directions. One of those was of a more philosophical bent. We had been discussing obesity the night before in the Dojo. One of the girls was complaining that her coworkers would pile their plates with food, without regard if there was enough for everyone, and the guilty parties were already quite large. That led me to think this morning about the “obesity epidemic”. I was thinking we have a deep inborn drive for many things, not just food. In general, humans are driven creatures. What ever goal we set, we put all of our energy into it. That is a good thing if the thing we want is hard to get, needing all that energy. However, we have created for ourselves a situation where it is easy to get most things in life, and we are being constantly teased with more. With food, it is cheap and easy, we don’t have to catch it, dress it, cook it, or even clean up after it. Hence our current problem.

We want to make life easier for ourselves, but that ease leads to bad things, not good in many cases. We wanted shorter working hours, easier home maintenance, and less work in general. Now we can’t even walk to the store, or lift a 25 lb bag of cat food.  Humans seem to need life to be hard in order to not go off the deep end. Too much leisure and all we do is eat and watch tv.

Look at energy. We were driven to get more, better, cheaper forms of energy. We succeeded. If you disagree, compare your lifestyle to an American colonist, you don’t think we have it much, much better? Anyway, now all we can do is whine about the consequences of having all that energy, pollution and “global climate change”.  I don’t hear anyone volunteering to go back to a preindustrial lifestyle.

I’m going to get more radical and say our success in the medical field may also not be without its unintended consequences. Our goal is to defeat disease, and possibly even death. I would argue that is a very bad thing. Talk about over population! Would we simply stop having babies? That’s a horrible thought. Plus, it would never happen, procreation is one of those strong drives in us.

So I’m not saying we shouldn’t strive, I’m a Christian, not a Buddhist. I’m saying that on a macro level, striving is often as good or better than succeeding, the same as it is in individual lives.  So if you feel like a failure, hooray! You won’t be a victim of your own success today. And, no, there was no real point to this article. I’m just saying, that’s all.

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