Mercy for the Overweight

organic eater heart

photo credit @organiceater

Here is one of my pet peeves. I absolutely hate it when I hear people criticize overweight people. It is all too common to hear comments like “well, if they would just put their fork down…” or how about “if they would eat less and move more”, or comments about eating a few too many Big Macs. Why does it seem we treat obesity like a moral failure with the implication that overweight people lack the self-discipline to put down their fork or to go for a walk? I can’t see how gluttony or laziness can possibly be the root cause of all obesity. This is not a moral or self-discipline problem!

Consider that it is not just adults who are overweight; it is also children, and now even babies! It doesn’t make sense that children and babies lack self-discipline or are some type of moral failure, or picked up their fork a few too many times. The story behind obesity must be more complicated than simply eating too much and moving too little (calories in; calories out). If that is the case, then what is the real problem? Why are nearly half of all Americans overweight? Why is obesity and type 2 diabetes a growing problem with both adults and CHILDREN?

I think we Americans have strayed away from eating real food, and the result has been disastrous. Many of us start the day with toast, bagels, juice, Pop-Tarts, bars of something, or bowls of something from a box. Then we move on to a fast lunch and a microwave something for dinner, maybe a few stops at the snack machine during the day, and a couple of diet sodas. All of these things are normally a processed “carbolicious” nightmare! Is it possible this onslaught of sugar, processed grains, strange chemicals, strange colors, strange fake flavors, and preservatives might be destroying our healthy metabolism and sending America on the path of obesity and degenerative diseases at a higher and higher rate and younger and younger age? If this is true, then we really can’t say that obesity is a moral or self-discipline problem. It is a metabolic meltdown, caused by all the strange food we are eating.

What is the solution? I think the start is a move to eating real food. This means food that doesn’t come from a box and has no ingredients list. Things like fresh fruit and vegetables, grass-fed meats, fresh eggs, cheese and butter from grass fed animals, and healthy fats like olive oil and coconut oil. For many people, this might just solve the problem. For others of us who are having problems with our weight and blood sugar (they go hand in hand), we might need to restrict the amount of carbohydrates we eat and lean more toward green vegetables, instead of fruits and starchy vegetables. For EVERYBODY, the overweight and underweight, eating fresh real food is the best thing you can do for your life and health. For moms and dads, feeding our children fresh real food, instead of “food” marketed to children, is probably the best thing you can do to ensure their health all the way into old age. The food we feed kids now will be the food they choose as adults. You can’t trust the food industry to make the decision about nutrition for your kids. Their bottom line is profit, not your health. I think that is how we got here to start with.

So have compassion on the overweight. They are not moral failures. They are not lazy. They are not gluttons. They might even be only two years old. We all thought we could trust that food bought in the grocery store aisles would nourish us. It may be that not only is most of it not nourishing us, it is the root cause of our obesity epidemic. Eat fresh and real.

Eat your veggies!

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One Response to Mercy for the Overweight

  1. Loretta says:

    Robin, this post touches my heart. I agree that real food is missing in addition to emotional issues that develop in young children and are often unresolved in adults. Our fast paced lifestyle also complicates matters and “fast food” is the easy answer. The recent story you relayed about the family that made the changeover illustrates just how difficul that is in the midst of a society that does otherwise. So sometimes heroic measures are necessary within the family unit itself which operates within a society that is doing otherwise. I thank you for being part of the solution that may one day lead to a tipping point where REAL food is again the norm rather than the exception.

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