Filed Under Diet, Fitness, Weight Loss |
To varying degrees, we all have internal struggles. Take a close look around you; everyone suffers from some kind of inner turmoil; even the ones with the “perfect” lives. In this topsy-turvy world, coping with stress is difficult, especially when we are not taught healthy coping mechanisms. Our coping mechanisms vary from person to person. Some of us gamble, drink, shop, take drugs, smoke cigarettes, or overeat, to name a few. If you notice, all the aforementioned are different types of addictions, if done in excess.
Of all the industrialized nations in the world, guess which country has the highest rate of obesity? Yes, you guessed it; United States. According to Forbes, 74.1% of Americans are considered overweight. As a result we spend large amounts of money on weight loss products. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), twenty-two states have an obesity rate greater than 25%; two of these states (Mississippi and West Virginia) have a obesity rate greater than 30%. The CDC states the difference between being overweight and obese (for adults only) is determined by using weight and height to calculate “body mass index” (BMI). BMI indicates the amount of body fat.
- An adult who has a BMI between 25 and 29.9 is considered overweight.
- An adult who has a BMI of 30 or higher is considered obese.
For more information regarding BMI, click on this CDC page http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpa/bmi/index.htm.
Sadly, there has been a dramatic increase in obesity in the United States during the last 20 years. Let’s face it, there’s an epidemic going on here but why? At first glance, we know that on average Americans are not physically active, have stressful jobs, work long hours, we eat overly processed (foods that contain high fructose corn syrup and partially hydrogenated oils) foods, and we eat too much of them. I will never forget the time my uncle was visiting from Greece. He was craving a steak so we took him to Black Angus. When the steak arrived, my uncle was stunned and dumb-founded. He said, “I asked for a steak, not half the cow.” The portion sizes in restaurants are ginormous. Why do Americans eat so much? If you look at the psychological factors, I believe the American culture is suffering from some type of emotional disconnect, either within ourselves and/or with others. As a result, we eat excessively because we are not happy. Why the disconnect? It’s a complicated issue but I think it’s a combination of an unattached, emotionally disconnected society where individuals, companies and corporations conduct themselves with misguided priorities. Our culture is a fast paced, consuming, materialistic society that leaves little time to cultivate ourselves and our humanity. Sadly, the cycle continues as we raise our children. Not only are we in denial about our problems, it seems we place more value on things instead of people (this includes the way we treat ourselves), which causes an internal disconnect. On the other hand, many European countries have lower rates of obesity, which I think is largely due to an overall happier culture/society where one may feel freer to express themselves, to live more fulfilling lives. Also, the foods in Europe are fresher with fewer chemicals and preservatives. We’re too busy here trying to be happy instead of really focusing on our issues and resolving them. Interestingly, Japan has a very low obesity rate but even that’s changing as they adapt to a more Western lifestyle. This is just my theory, but I believe Americans not only eat the wrong foods, but we overeat them to cope with our dissatisfaction with ourselves and our lives! Then we look for a quick way to lose weight. What do you think? I’d love to read your thoughts.
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