Friday, November 22, 2013

What causes someone to be morbidly obese?

I'm in a 12 step program for food addiction, and most of the people come in with anywhere from 40 - 100 pounds excess fat that they often say is the result of eating "a ton" of sugar. For those of you who don't know, the word "sugar" is used in the food addiction recovery meetings to indicate food like candy, cakes, pies, donuts, cookies, ice cream--you know, the sweet stuff. Now, I'm not averse to eating sweets myself, but only after I have had what my family called "real food", which was usually high fat protein (steak, fried chicken or pork chops, homemade hamburgers or meatloaf), LOTS of bread slathered in butter and some kind vegetables as a side dish. Then it was dessert. Snacks could be anything from a soup bowl filled with cereal and milk or a hot link sandwich with mustard, mayonnaise, ketchup and hot sauce. Oh, you thought I meant potato chips or popcorn for a snack? Yes, but that stuff was usually paired with the hot link sandwich. And I topped it all off with cookies and milk. THAT, my friends, is how a person eats their way into a 400+ pound body by age 40. By the grace of God, I don't eat like that anymore. It's truly a miracle, but I have to remember that it's a one day at a time issue. I can't afford to forget that I am a real hardcore, self destructive food addict who, without the help of a Higher Power Who I don't really understand (but pray and ask for help with this addiction all the time), and the food addiction recovery program, my family would have buried me a long time ago.

Here's some food related stories and videos that I recently found. Please read the Huffington Post story that I've posted, and watch the Jamie Oliver video that's posted below that. By the way, I was more than appalled that even though the kids in the video knew that those chicken nuggets contained ingredients that they all said "EWWWW!" and scrunched up their noses at when Jamie showed them what goes into the nuggets, when Jamie asked them if they wanted to eat any, they all raised their hands and said "yes". Why? "Because we're hungry!" Wow. Nice, Madison Avenue. You've effectively brain-snatched America's kids.

I nearly fainted one day when a young mom with a toddler in a stroller asked her little one "Do you want Wendy's or Taco Bell for dinner?" I saw another one giving her infant some Fanta orange soda one day. The child couldn't have been older than six months. That's like shooting diabetes into your child's veins! I kept my mouth shut, but I was screaming inside. In my opinion, this what mass marketing does--encourage people to become zombie consumers. The messages to buy that garbage are so persuasive that there isn't much resistance to keeping large quantities of it in their homes. My parents didn't feed me that stuff all the time; they did everything they could to limit my portion sizes, encourage me to eat all my vegetables (which I HATED), and stop me from drinking more than one soda a day.

It bears mentioning that the sugar content for sodas was different back in 60s because the soft drink companies used cane sugar instead high fructose corn syrup. Cane sugar still creates "sugar cravings" and metabolizes the same way in the body, but there's something about HFCS that seems to cause people to pack on the pounds faster and put them into hard core sugar addict mode. One example: when school districts were voting to take HFCS sweetened sodas out of their vending machines back in the late 90s/early 2000, a very obese teenaged girl who was being interviewed by a local Sacramento (CA) news station claimed that she was going to stop coming to school if they got rid of the sweet stuff because she HAD to have her sodas. (Unfortunately, I can't locate that news story, but I believe it was done by either KCRA Channel 3 or Channel 10 in Sacramento.)

However, I think I was one of those kids who was genetically predisposed to food addiction. There's nothing my mother and father could have done to prevent me from being a food addict, and they spent a lot of money trying. No amount of diets, nutritional consults with doctors, hypnotherapy or even locking up the refrigerator worked for long. I became a sneak, creeping into the kitchen to get another slice of my mother's meat loaf for a sandwich, or grab a bowl of her amazing (and VERY rich) homemade macaroni and cheese. My mom would yell, "Get out of the kitchen, now! You've had enough to eat!", but that didn't stop me from coming back when she was busy doing something else. I learned to wait until she was caught up with arguing with my father, which usually happened as soon as he walked through the front door. Yes, there was a connection. But that's a whole 'nother story.

Families these days are at an even greater disadvantage when it comes to trying to preventing food addiction and childhood obesity.  We didn't have the overwheming sensory overload of food commericials or the abundance of high fructose corn syrup and chemically additives in food like we did now. Couple that with the fact that many parents grew up eating even more of that  non-nutritional junk than I did, add that with the fact that they never learned to cook well balanced meals for themselves, you have the perfect recipe for childhood (and adult) obesity. A lot of parents probably don't realize this, but they are potentially taking 10-15 years off their kids' life span by feeding them all that junk. Unless they make a very determined effort to provide very nutritious meals with no processed ingredients in them, their children stand a good chance of developing nutritional deficiencies that could lead to obesity at an early age.

That's why I don't let my grandson watch television (and feed him the same food I eat), and I insisted on unleashing my critical analysis of food (and toy) commericials when my three children were growing up. Of course, they didn't appreciate it at the time. ("Mom, can we just watch T.V.?!!") But they know how to keep away from the Kool-Aid as adults, and I'm taking credit for that. :) Yes, they wanted to eat the junk food like all the other kids, and I did give in sometimes. But none of them had the horrendous problems with obesity like I did growing up. And I'm very grateful for that.

Fast food truths

1 comment:

  1. Correction about what I feed my grandson: I eat three meals a day, weighed and measured, no flour or sugar products and nothing in between those three meals. My grandson eats the same way when he's with me, although I don't weigh and measure his food. He's pretty good about being able to stop when he feels full. I don't insist that he "clean his plate", or nor do I finish his food for him. It bugs me to throw away food because of how I raised ("...there are starving children in Africa and Asia who would LOVE to eat this food..."), but it isn't going to be transported from my grandson's plate of lefovers to starving 3rd World children anyway. I can financially contribute to organziations who do that work instead of eating leftovers on their behalf.


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