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Wednesday, October 20, 2004
Gluttony, Excess, and Laziness...

... I had a more inspired topic for today, but Blogger ate it a couple of days ago, and I've not had the inspiration to rebuild it. So, today you hear my thoughts and rants on Gluttony, Excess, and Abject Laziness.

The other night I watched a really great movie that I've wanted to see for a long time - 'Super Size Me'. It's the story of Morgan Spurlock, who, in response to a lawsuit filed by two families on behalf of their obese teenage daughters, decided to see what would happen if he ate McDonalds food for 30 days straight. You see, McDonalds' lawyers said that the suit was frivolous because the food is universally known to be bad for you. The judge, however, said that if the girls could prove that the food was indeed healthy, they *could* sue.

So Morgan set out to see what, if any, benefits or dangers a solid diet of McDonalds could do. Did you know that 60% of US adults are overweight or obese? Or that obesity in the United States has doubled since 1980? Or that obesity now racks second only to smoking as a preventable disease? One in 4 people visits a fast food restaurant every day. Where else can you get a meal that's filling and fast for under $5? Never mind the fact that you're probably meeting or exceeding your recommended fat and sugar intake for an entire day.

Betcha you didn't know any of those facts (unless you've already seen the movie or are a nutritionist for the FDA).

Our children and adolescents have increased risks of diabetes and heart disease in their lifetimes - this can be traced right back to bad diets that involve, you guessed it, fast food. Americans eat out, on average, 40% of their meals - this is inclusive of *all* restaurants. It's the convenience factor. For some kids who are left to make their own lunch choices, fast food is the easy choice - it's cheap and they get a lot for their money, even though they *know* it's not good for them.

You have to choose between those gorgeous hot and salty fat dripping fries and a salad - which would *you* choose? I know - I hear my fat cells screaming for the fries too, but I know the salad is better for me, and just as filling. It may not give me that same "full" feeling as the fries, but I know I will have consumed enough calories to be full without feeling full - and still not have exceeded my fat and sugar requirements for the day. And that "full" feeling with the fries that I referred to? That's usually a sign that you've eaten too much.

But those fast food joints are everywhere and it's so easy to run in and grab something fast rather than wait a couple more minutes at another restaurant and grab a salad, or another wise choice. Of course, those wise choices aren't as portable, you can't eat them while driving, and they may be twice as expensive - for people on a tight budget, that could be critical in the decision making process about what to eat.

The other component of this is just flat out laziness. America has become one of the laziest countries on the planet. Even with the booming diet and exercise industry, more than 60% of Americans get no exercise at all on a daily basis - many walk less than 2000 steps in a day (2000 steps is just under a mile). Most of that booming diet industry is pills, bars, drinks - those miracle remedies that will make us think we're going to lose weight while doing absolutely nothing - even losing weight while we sleep. Honestly, I think people are afraid to break a sweat in this country. The poor deodorant industry is going to down the tubes at this rate.

The other day I was walking through our parking lot to get to Carl's Jr (to grab a salad and a small no-frills kid's burger) and I saw one of the more hefty (I'm being nice) employees here get into a car. A couple of minutes later, I'm walking into Carl's Jr, and they're in the drive-thru line. A couple of minutes after that, I'm walking out with my salad (and balsamic vinaigrette dressing) and small burger and a bottle of water (hey, I splurged) and this person is just driving away.

I made it back to my building before they made it back in the driveway. Now, here's what I don't understand - I walked there and back in about 10-15 minutes. It's a really short walk, and a refreshing one at that, since we're slightly off the beaten path of freeways and the like. But this individual couldn't take the time out to walk - and they needed the exercise. I'm sure they didn't have a boring salad and burger and water. Well, I'm assuming - I saw an extra large soda cup come out of that car when they were getting out.

I'm betting this is someone who probably complains that our building is too big to make it from one end to the other, or that they're winded when they do walk the entire length - it's about 150,000 sq. feet after all. *rolls her eyes* A couple of people have complained that the bathrooms are too far to walk through - we have one at the front, one at the back, and one in the middle of the building. It's less distance to walk to than in our old building - but now it's too far. They don't complain about getting to the cafeteria though (which is also in the middle of the building).

Now, don't get me wrong - I'm not condemning those who have chosen to not exercise, or want to eat fast food all the time. After all, that's your choice to do that. It's my choice to walk 5 days a week and go to the gym 4 days a week and maybe indulge in a burger once every couple of weeks.

Tomorrow I'll tell you a little more about what happened with Morgan through the movie and what I learned about the effects of this stuff on one man's body.