Friday, May 2, 2014

Supersizing Part I

On a recent business trip, I was patiently waiting for my flight that had been delayed. I was reading a copy of Salt Sugar Fat by Michael Moss in which he explains how the food we American’s eat today has made us as a population overweight and in ill health.
With the plane at the gate and the unloading of passengers about to begin, I decided to observe those passengers deplaning to see if Moss was right in his claim that we have become unhealthy and overweight as a nation. As the people walked into the gate area, I counted total people and those that appeared to be carrying some extra pounds around their midsection.  Over 90% of those I observed had noticeable bellies among other areas supporting extra weight.
While I don’t mean this as criticism, it got me to thinking why Americans on average seems to be gaining weight and becoming less fit by the year.  When we were in Italy six years ago we didn’t see five fast food restaurants in the entire country. Upon returning home, we saw 20 fast food restaurants within 10 minutes of the airport!  Have you ever tried to eat healthy in an airport?  Finding the arc of the covenant may prove an easier task.
Studies have shown that on average, Americans continue to gain weight and with the increased weight has come an astronomical increase in chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer, stroke, asthma and dementia not to mention a host of other diseases such as muscle and joint issues associated with unhealthy lifestyles.  This has become known as “Disease of Affluence” or “Western Disease.”  Unfortunately other countries that are adopting more western eating and lifestyle habits are experiencing the same increases in obesity and chronic illness.
So the main question is, “What is making us fat and unhealthy and what can we do about it?”  Sounds like a simple enough question, but the answer is not as easy to identify.  Perusing the heath and diet section of your local book store you will find a myriad of diets from vegan, Paleo, Adkins, vegetarian, South Beach, and the list goes on that promises to cure us from our battle with weight gain and chronic diseases.
Over the course of the next few weeks I will delve into this subject on a deeper level and provide some thoughts as to why we are gaining weight and some things to consider when trying to improve our health and reduce our waistline. While I am not a doctor and don’t recommend you make any changes before you consult with your physician, I do want to give you some things to consider when having that conversation with your physician.
Chris is a Certified Personal Trainer and exercise and endurance enthusiast.  He competes yearly in numerous running races, marathons, ultra marathons, triathlons and other endurance events.