I spent a good part of the end of the last semester researching the obesity crisis in America for a Global Social Problems paper. There were a lot of causes I found that were obvious and there were quite a few suggestions I found to help remedy the problem (Thank you Food Inc. for getting me that A). While I was writing the paper, I just kept think, “Oh yeah. That’s totally why there’s such an obesity problem. We should definitley blame poor parenting, the media, and advertisements.” Then winter break came. And I figured out the real reasons behind it…
The first thing that hit me harder than a shoe thrown at me was that I eat out of boredom. I’m pretty much 100% positive a lot of people would be in agreement with me on this one. There’s no school to go to. I don’t have a job to go to. So what do I do? I sit on the couch and read or watch tv. Then I think that the kitchen’s only a little walk away and there’s a new bag of pita chips or Chex Mix (Anything full of carbs that aren’t potato chips is the enemy in my world). So I go get the bag and before I know it, the bag’s empty. I eat a whole lot less when I have stuff to do. If I actually leave the house, then I’m not stuffing my face. Or if there’s company, I’m busy with whoever’s over instead of the food in the kitchen. I had all intentions of not eating myself into a coma over break but those plans went out the window as soon as Christmas Eve hit and I was thrown into the plethora of holdiays I’m obligated to eat for in celebration (Seriously, why are there so many holidays and birthdays right now? And why should I eat just because of them?).
The boredom just doesn’t lure me into the kitchen with it’s promise of yumminess. It uses the possiblity of something to do to it’s advantage as well (and knows I will be lulled into a false sense of security since I’m in sweats and not clothes that actually require squeezing my butt into). How does it do this? It shows me some chocolate and cookie mix and other stuff I could use to bake something to occupy myself. So I’ll hop on a recipe website–usually All Recipes or this blog I really like–and start the process of mixing together something that is sure to be delicious (read: full of calories and not healthy in the slightest but yummy). Then, to reward myself for being such an awesome baker (honestly, I’m about as domestic as Rachel Zoe or someone else who is the antithesis of a Stepford Wife), I will eat a serving of the concotion. And then another. And then another. As much as I want until my tummy is satisfied (and unhappy) about the amount of chocolate that it has injested. The worst part: I won’t even think about it because I will be lazy and in said sweats because I wasn’t planning on leaving my house that day (another pathetic result of the boredom).
The second thing to blame for obesity–relationships. I’m not saying I’m blaming my family or friends for my huge leap in the amount of food I’ve been eating but…yeah, okay, I’m blaming them (I have an external locus of control for this topic). Example number 1 is New Year’s Eve. I was waiting all day for those chips and salsa from The Anvil but in my head, I knew that I would limit myself. What happened? I sat between my parents and the basket was set in front of me and I began noshing until every last bit was gone. Then Bruce–my aunt’s fiance–offered me more…and I ate them. And then Gram told me she had some of the chocolate left over that I really liked (Thank you, Brylin, for eating some of it with me so I didn’t eat it all). Example number 2 is kind of the same thing as boredom but baking is something we do as a social event (Yeah, all of this is social control but I’m refraining from making it that general). I seriously bake with everyone from my best friends to my boyfriend to my mom to my 9 year old cousin. It’s just something we do in my family. We’ll have this sudden ah ha! moment, text one another with an “OMG! I just found the best recipe ever! Want to make it together?” and we bake…and eat it.
The other thing that comes from relationships is going out. I won’t blame those I love for this one…I will blame restaurants and food companies. We live in a society where eating is no longer something we do in order to live. We eat as a social event. We do lunch dates with out best friends (followed by dessert). We meet for coffee (Has anyone else realized how bad for you those delicious mocha drinks are?). We go out on dates. We throw parties. It’s like everytime we are with another person we must eat. I’m not complaining because obviously like every other person I LOVE food and I love being with all my favorite people It’s just an observation I’m making about how our society functions. And then of course, there’s a favorite past time of kids my age (and being from the smallest town ever where rednecks are bred): drinking. Once again, I’m not complaining because I enjoy it like everyone else but I also realize that there a massive amount of calories in my favorite drinks (Then again, once I’m one in, I don’t really care).
The last thing I’ve observed recently is just misinformation. I’ll be the first to admit that somedays, my work out is pathetically turned into me playing Just Dance for like an hour or however long I spent walking around the mall or ghost hunting, but I also know that this is just me being lazy. But I know that not everyone who surrounds me is this aware of stuff. My little cousin is trying to get in better shape for basketball season. His mom has him using Wii Fit to keep track of how he’s doing. Not to burst anyone’s bubbles but that thing is jacked up. We had to get a new Wii console a few months ago. Using the same game and Wii Fit board on the new console, I gained roughly 5 pounds in one day. Yeah, that did not happen. Then again, they don’t see that him eating three cheeseburger sliders and fries and chips and queso for dinner along with whatever else he ate is not something a 9 year old should be eating.
That’s another part of this. Granted, having an eating disorder certainly adds to your awareness of nutritional values, a lot of people are just unaware of what they’re eating. I’ve had to explain that just because Panera has a lot of healthy ingredients in their sandwhichs and they are yummy, that doesn’t make them not fattening. Or don’t even get me started on salads. Yeah, a basic garden salad with a form of protein is a great and healthy meal. Adding a ton of cheese, crutons, bacon bits, and dressing on top negates all of that though. I’ve seen my dad use an entire bottle of ranch on top of his salad (not that he didn’t ruin it with about five chicken tenders didn’t already do that but it’s the principle of the matter).
Okay, so none of my observations are going to help me stop my new found gluttony (including a doctors appointment next week where I have to be weighed, which I don’t even want to know) but it’s just some stuff I’ve picked up on…the real reasons America is the fattest nation. I’ll just avert my eyes from the number. Avoid my tightest pair of jeans (Sorry holey Abercrombie booy cuts! You’re cute but just too tiny for my butt right now). And go back to eating like a normal person instead of a baby elephant when the semester starts up again. It’s break. I’m allowed to do what I want. Granted, you would think being a vegetarian would make all of this easier but I think I’ve found ways to even screw that one up.