Sunday, January 29, 2012

Dear America, Are We Really Fat?

Grant Cochrane/freedigitalphotos
The average American keeps getting bigger and bigger and bigger. And, I hate to tell you, but it's not muscle. One gal in class last week said she notices a difference immediately when she flies from back home after visiting another country: American bodies look fat. Really? Ouch.

Who's to blame? Fast food, busy lives, lack of family dinners, multi-tasking, the demise of cooking from scratch,  unavailable produce and other healthy foods, the expense of healthy food, the unending consumption of sugary beverages, or the automation of everything from toys to the work force creating an inactive society. Even if we decide where the blame goes, what's that going to do for us, other than perhaps make us feel less at fault. But that won't help you with your own body size problems.

OK. You're tired of your excess body fat. You hate looking in mirrors and avoid anything to do with swim suits. Finding clothes that fit can be so depressing, with real emotional pain. And, as body fat increases, so does the risk for developing heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer. Not what any of us want. The good news is that as each little bit of fat melts away, our risk factor declines right along with it. Every little bit makes us healthier, happier, and we look more svelte, too.

We can't change our entire country's eating and lifestyle habits in one big bang. But you can start with yourself. And living a healthy lifestyle models those behaviors for people around you. Who knows, someone may eventually look up to you and try to live a healthy life just like you...

This week, work one or more of these 3 behaviors. Each will have a big impact on both your health and your weight:

  1. Whittle away the white stuff. But don't totally eliminate it if there is something you really love. Make it a an occasional treat. Minimize:
    1. Sugar: sucrose, fructose, dextrose, syrups, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, jam, jelly, honey, candies.
    2. White flour: bread, rolls, pastries, bagels, donuts, cookies, cakes, flour tortillas
    3. White rice, white pasta
  2. Fill half your plate with fruits & veggies before you take anything else:
    1. Colorful produce provides a wide array of vitamins, minerals & antioxidants
    2. Portion control for other things!
  3. Step it up:
    1. Move more: Park farther away, use the upstairs bathroom if you are downstairs, walk over to talk to someone at work instead of emailing them.
    2. Make a game of it: wear your pedometer and measure how many steps you take in a day. Tomorrow, try to beat that (thanks, Cindy!)
    3. Join a gym, exercise class, pick up basketball, or play active sports or dance videos with the kids, or alone!
    4. Just walk...
Fire Up!  You Can Do It!!


  1. Cindy has me hooked on walking with my pedometer. I try to get at least 10,000 steps per day - though Cindy said I should set my goal at 12,000!

  2. Pedometers are great! If you can make your workout into a game, like beating 12,000 steps a day, it makes burning calories lots more fun! I am really into my Endomondo app for smart phones, especially when I realize my last mile was faster than the first. Incentive!


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