My head is spinning!
Recently there’s been a rash of articles in the media discussing all of the many reasons why Americans are so overweight. It’s been blamed on everything from snacking, restaurant portion sizes, advertising, video games, sugar, and diet sodas to too much variety (that was a new one on me!) and mis-leading nutrition labels! I’m sure there are more, but these are the most recent reads that come to mind. Really?!
I’m over it guys…let’s get real and stop the blame game and stop the search for the magic fix. The truth is that ALL of these things play a role, as does stress, lack of sleep, lack of physical activity, access to health care, education, practice!, money, cultural beliefs, the economy, societal norms…the list goes on!
So what if the latest study shows that it’s snacking between meals, rather than portion sizes of main meals that’s driving the increase in our waistlines? Either way it’s overeating. So what if the even later latest study shows that sugar (in all forms) is the root of all things fat and evil? Really? There are important biological processes that take place within the human body that require sugar to happen. And do we really believe if tomorrow the labels on food items were just a *tiny bit* more clear that we’d change our ways overnight and poof – lose weight and be healthy? Hardly. How do I know? Well the latest study of course. It shows that only 1 in 6 changes their eating in response to the new legislation that requires calorie and nutrient information to be printed on fast-food and chain restaurant menus. A step in the right direction for sure, but a long long way to go.
We (you and I) cannot control or fix all of the things that are contributing to obesity in our society. And yes, our government and our preventive health care services have a lot of work to do to improve on some of the political and societal norms that DO drive the trend. By no means am I trying to let anyone off the hook. What I am trying to do is re-focus some sense of responsibility and accountability back on us, as individuals.
You as an individual can take responsibility for what you do have control over each day and start making some small changes. Stop worrying about the latest media spin on the latest research – if you try to take it all in it can become overwhelming, often contradictory, and mostly over-hyped. Start worrying about the basics – a little more movement, a little less food, reduce some of the added sugars and salts by cutting out a convenience meal or two each week, and focus on making the best choices you can for your health under any given set of circumstances. Still too much? Pick ONE of those things, it will make a difference! If you need help with any of it (I certainly did), all you have to do is ask. I can help. And if not me, there are many resources and others out there who can and want to help, too.
We all face our own unique set of challenges, but ultimately the responsibility rests within us to do for ourselves and make the right choices, not wait for the government to legislate or the science to finally discover that magic potion. These are distractions, we need to refocus. Where are you going to start?