With Thanksgiving on the horizon, I’m not certain if this blog post is timely or untimely! However, did you notice the November CDC report indicating obesity is on the rise in the US? And after ALL we’ve done. Who woulda thunk it?
We changed the Food Guide Pyramid into MyPlate. We increased information on our food labels. We taxed big drinks. We forced schools to completely overhaul lunch programs. We demonized any number of foods. And we talked an awful lot about it.
And yet, obesity among adults now averages 36.5%. “Overweight” is a different category not included in these stats!!
Nutrition professionals were as vocal as we could be on what would be productive in the obesity fight; but it’s hard to be heard amongst the shouting of the pseudo “experts”.
First, treating obesity as having a single cause with a single fix is nonsensical. Second, let’s admit having more information about our food’s nutritional content will not result in better choices. Information is everywhere. If an adult cannot figure out that an apple would be a healthier choice than apple pie, our educational system failed us.
While obesity is a multifactorial, complex issue, I think there might be one broad term that encompasses most of the causes: distraction.
There’s little intentionality about what we’re going to eat later today, let alone our meal plans for the rest of the week (save Thanksgiving, of course). We eat while doing other things: driving, watching our screens, in class, at our desks. Do we even remember what we ate? Did we truly taste the food? Were we hungry when we started? Were we satisfied when we finished? Or did we know we were done when the bag or box was empty or the plate was clean?
Will we overeat at Thanksgiving? If we’re constantly distracted by TV or games (or encouragement from others to eat more), we become oblivious to our body and what it wants.
Slow down, limit distractions, think before you eat to be well.
PS If you have a story of how you pay attention to your food and enjoy it without overeating, please share.