So I'm not alone in getting fat — everybody else is too. According to recently published statistics, 60 percent of all Americans are obese and more of us are getting fatter by the minute. I could tell by watching my rapidly expanding waistline that this was true for me, but after reading about this "epidemic", I took a good look around and started noticing it in the general populace.
Walk into Wal-Mart (like I do at least once a week) and look at the people waddling around. I did this recently, and was staggered by what I saw. There were literally dozens of people who weren't just fat, but what could be charitably called "morbidly obese" and factually called "mighty damn fat." I saw everything from the wobbly little Mr. Peanut paunch to the Orson Wells, Biggie-sized waistline. Not just double chins, but triple chins were in evidence, usually near the candy and bakery aisles, trembling in anticipation of a good feed. I saw overweight people puff down the aisles pushing grocery carts laden with enough food to feed an orphanage for a month. I walked away with my eyes opened. I'm a believer. It looks like we are indeed becoming a nation of fatties.
As a fat guy, I need somebody to blame it on. After all, I've been taught all my life that Everything is Someone Else's Fault. OK, so who's responsible for making me look like Santa's younger brother? I've got it — it's a well-known fact that restaurants are serving much larger portions today than they were, say 20 years ago. You can Supersize at McDonald's, Biggie Size at Wendy's and, if you have absolutely no regard for your waistline, arteries or heart, you can Monster-Burger it at Hardee's. Perfect. It's the restaurants' fault.
The only problem with this theory is no one is making us eat these larger portions. There's competition for our dining dollar, so restaurants are offering larger portions to get our business and we are willing to pony up a little extra money to get a lot more food. We eat more because we want more.
Maybe I can blame it on advertising. After all, we're bombarded daily via TV, radio, newspapers and magazines with pictures of succulent, tasty, high-fat, high-calorie food. They're trying to cajole me into buying something I don't want or need to eat. Yeah, it's the advertisers fault.
Problem is, the commercials don't force us to eat anything we don't want. If you're sitting on the couch, belly rumbling, and an advertisement for Hardee's Monsterburger comes on, you can just as easily go to the kitchen for a salad, fresh vegetables and lean meat. No one makes you get up and drive 20 minutes for a 1400 calorie hamburger, but this is just what plenty of people — myself included — wind up doing.
Maybe I can blame it on the Uncle Sam. I've been told recently by the US government that I need at least 60-90 minutes of exercise daily. What? I can't possibly do that. After a hard day at the office, it's all I can do to lift the DVD clicker off the coffee table. If I have to spend 90 minutes a day huffing around the neighborhood in my rumpled sweat suit, I might as well stay home and watch my collection of Don Knotts movies.
However, it's also reported that even 30 minutes of brisk walking 5 times a week can have significant benefits for inactive people. Maybe I can't run for 90 minutes, but I can find 30 minutes a day to do some walking. I might not want to do it (I don't), but I can.
In the final analysis, it's all up to me. I can eat less fatty and high-carbohydrate food, and up the amounts of fresh veggies, fresh fruits and whole grains. I can turn off the TV and exercise more. Or I can eat at McDonald's daily, loaf on the couch every evening, and watch my waistline grow until I look like a gray haired Sumo wrestler who doubles as the department store Santa Claus. It's my choice. Now gimme some of those carrot sticks.
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