Yesterday a friend of mine posted a link on Facebook to the New York Times article “The Fat Trap.” It was an interesting read – some scientific studies on how for some of us, our bodies are working against us to lose weight and keep it off, and a profile of a couple who was able to lose weight and keep it off.
I’ve been around the
block internet enough to take any “studies” with a grain of salt, and I’m no scientist, so I won’t comment on those. However, the profile of the couple was very interesting, especially the way the author portrayed how they maintained their weight loos.
In a nutshell, Janice and Adam used to weigh over 300 pounds each. They both lost significant weight, bringing them down to more ideal levels, and have maintained that weight loss for many years. The article went to great lengths explaining just how they do that. They work out – a lot – and watch what they eat – extremely diligently. I’m pretty sure the author purposely made it seem like they went to lengths that are unattainable for most of us. Working out 2+ hours per day. Weighing all of your food, keeping a food journal, and avoiding sugar and flour.
What bothered me the most was the way this was portrayed. I guess the point of the article was to be informative about our health, and not political. I’ve been reading up here and there about food politics, and it is both fascinating and sad. (Since this isn’t a political/ranty blog, I’ll keep my opinions out of it.)
However, I keep coming back to this:
Our bodies were not made to be sedentary. They were made to move.
Our bodies were not made to eat processed garbage. They were made to eat foods that we can hunt and gather.
Where I think the article failed (as an informational article on a health topic) was pointing out those facts. Pointing out that Janice and Adam aren’t really going to extremes – they are actually doing what they are supposed to do with their bodies. Moving them. Fueling them with real food. Sure it takes a lot of time and attention, but that is what our bodies were meant to do. Why is that such a crazy, extreme idea?
It made me realize that the way Western society has been normalized, and the Standard American Diet we are all used to, are both so out of touch with the realities of what our bodies need. All you have to do is look at the rampant obesity levels to realize something isn’t right. I’m not trying to put blame on why things are the way they are (I’ll let everyone else continue tackling that issue), but just point out my observations.
Most of us (myself included) spend the majority of our time sitting – at a desk, in the car, on the train, in front of the TV, etc. Last year there was an article that went around that said sitting all day is basically going to give us all heart attacks. But what can you do? You need to work. You need to get to/from work. You can’t get around those 8+ hours per day sitting for your job, unless you install one of those desk-treadmills.
Most of us barely have time to eat, let alone plan a healthy meal. Most of us are trying to stick to a budget, and unfortunately (here comes the food politics again) the foods that are subsidized in this country (and thus the cheapest and most readily available) are not what we should be filling our bodies with.
I’m not a nutritionist, but it seems like there is a lot of misinformation out there, even when it comes to “truths” like the food pyramid plate. (As someone who is lactose intolerant, that little dairy cup makes me laugh. I’m sure the gluten-intolerant would agree regarding the grains. Interesting that so many people can’t digest some of the “basic” food the government tells us we “need.” OK, food-politics “rant” over.)
I don’t have any answers (just more of my own questions), but it just made me realize how misinformed and in the dark many of us are about our bodies and how to treat them. I’ve been trying to read up on that a bit recently, but mostly articles on the internet, and you can never truly trust what you read online. Or even offline. There is so much conflicting information, from questionable sources with questionable motives.
We’re doomed, aren’t we?