Posts Tagged ‘obesity

12
Mar
09

Can Michelle Obama Teach Americans To Eat Right? Prolly Not.


Don’t get me wrong: I hope she succeeds in her stated goal to encourage healthful eating across the United States. And I really think, if anyone can do it, she can. (Can anyone remember such a collective swoon happening in the States at a couple’s physiques as has happened with these two? Seriously, it’s like we all have a touch of the vapors when they bare the tiniest bit of skin.)

It’s just that, as I’ve said many times before, the notion that being American means overindulging in everything is soooo ingrained, it seems impossible to extricate from our collective consciousness. Her idea to highlight overindulgence in local produce seems smart, since it’s not taking away anything (just modifying it), but it’s still a tough sell. Wearing our hyper-consumption of bacon grease (and spare tires) like a badge of honor has become de rigeur. I hope it changes, since it’s not only wildly unhealthy but also seriously costly to the American taxpayer (yes, more so than smokers or drug addicts), but I lack the hope these guys have.

Part of the reason? They’re already catching flack from our fucking Congressmen about the “tiny portions” they’re being served at the White House dinners. If these guys (who, I hate to say it, are actually role models to a lot of people) can’t suck it up and set an example, I just don’t know if this idea can sell.

It’s not just about the food either. It seems to be a generally accepted notion in the U.S. to sort of expect free lunches, if you will. The legends of people pulling themselves up by the bootstraps aside, we seem to expect to just be given things without working very hard or long at them. It could be my generational lack of patience with everything (blame Sesame Street!), our proliferation of easily-available fast food, or who knows what; cutting corners to get ahead just seems to be the new American dream. Sure, we want the chiseled bodies of our new leaders, but we don’t soooo much want to put in the hours at the gym or eat like they do.

Part of this also stems from our reluctance to tell people they’re not special in some way. From high school teachers no longer being able to correct grammar, to the SAT’s being easier to ace, we seem to be unable to tell our children that everything they do and are isn’t exceptionally perfect, lest we damage their self esteem. I understand this desire. Really. I constantly tell my daughter how wonderful she is, and I loathe the notion that one day she won’t feel that way. But my greatest hope is for her to one day truly accept herself, scars and all, and I know that me constantly denying she has any faults won’t help.

So, yeah, there are a lot of reasons I think Michelle might fail. But, then again, I had many more reasons I thought I’d never see a president elected who is smart, handsome, and in love with his family, so fuck do I know, right?

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17
Feb
09

Stimulate Yourself To The Oldies


I’m taking this opportunity, and probably abusing this forum, to propose my own stimulus package. Of course, we all know it won’t happen for a number of reasons (too focused on the long-term, could be seen as encroaching as people’s individual liberties, I’m an not now–nor will i ever be–a public figure). Still, knowing full well this is going to fly in the face of an awesome–but terrifying–article I just read in Slate, here ’tis:

Step 1: Revamp public transportation.

I know this is part and parcel of virtually any (sane) person’s stimulus plan, but my proposal is further reaching than revamping what we have. Make it accessible to everyone everywhere, suburbs and rural places alike.

Step 2: Tax The Holy Hell Out Of Cars.

I was going to propose just taking them, but this way people can still have their cars, so long as they pay for them. Specifically, I’m thinking of the Dutch model, in which people are taxed on the cars according to their weight. Want a Hummer? Fine. Just pay the government what it will cost them to maintain the roads you’re going to savage. (This tax could be built in to the corporate tax companies reliant on the trucking industry already pay.)

Step 3: Watch What Happens.

As I said, this plan just occurred to me the other day, when, while riding the train to work, I noticed that I have somehow or other gotten really defined arms. While not amazing in and of itself, it is worth noting a few things as background:
a) While living in the States, I taught fitness classes. Like, a lot of fitness classes. About 15 per week. Meaning, I was at the gym at least twice daily, doing step, kickboxing, pilates, spinning, and weight training for the masses.
b) As such, I was in pretty goddamned good shape.
c) I have not been back into a gym since moving from the States almost two years ago.
d) In that time, I’ve had a baby.

Given all this, it was a shock to realize that my arms were suddenly much more toned than they had ever been. And the reason why became clear the next day, as I was taking the train home from a brief jaunt to an Indian market, heavy bag and big baby in tow. Walking, carrying my own groceries, clinging to my child like a mama chimp, etc., has made me the incredible shrinking woman, while building up some seriously good musculature.

Why would national weight loss be stimulus?

1. It would stimulate the poor farming industry, since junk food is not so appealing to the chronically active. (I say this as someone who routinely consumes at least 90% of her calories as junk food, if I’m allowed.)

2. It would save literally an assload of money in health costs, thereby helping people pay lower premiums. Extra change in pockets = extra spending.

3. The jobs created by the infrastructure part alone would employ a ton of people (doing manual labor, which would also aid the eventual goal of de-fatting our nation’s populous).

4. Public maintenance would go hand-in-hand with this.  It’s not so bad to drive by a urine-and-shit-stained sidewalk, but walking in it is unacceptable to all but the brave few who live in Times Square.

5. Why’s it got to be about dollars and cents with you people?  The quality and quantity of life would be improved.  What do you have against old people anyhow?  They’re not all Strom Thurmond, fer cryin’ out loud.

And now I’m going to finish my cookie before I take my 20-minute walk to pick up my daughter at daycare 😛