When I stopped growing at age 16, I made a lifetime commitment to myself: since I will never again get taller, I will never again gain weight.
All around me, I saw men with beer bellies. Logic dictated that at one point, they were all thin like me and then they let themselves go. So I was simply going to stay vigilant and never let that happen.
I just have a few simple habits that are conducive to a thin-guy lifestyle. I go to the gym every day. If a destination is within walking distance, I walk there. Whenever it’s socially appropriate, I like to jump around and dance. And I don’t eat dinner. I view food as the fuel for my body and I don’t require fuel to sleep.
I know that I’m weird. But I made my decision a long time ago: I’d rather be weird and thin than a normal guy with a beer belly. And I’ve been able to watch with cool detachment as an obesity epidemic rages around me.
The muckraking documentary “Fed Up” has a theory as to why Americans have gotten so much fatter during our lifetime. And it comes down to one thing — sugar.
Conventional wisdom says that losing weight is as easy as consuming fewer calories than you burn. According to the movie, it isn’t that simple. If you eat 300 calories worth of almonds, your body uses the almonds for energy in a healthy, productive way. But if you drink 300 calories worth of Baja Blast Mountain Dew, your liver and pancreas are overwhelmed by the foreign substance and promptly turn it into fat.
Big corporations are inundating us with fattening food and the government is making it worse.
In 1977, the McGovern Commission created national dietary guidelines and food labels with the focus on reducing fat intake. Food companies complied and began marketing thousands of low-fat products. And since low-fat foods are notoriously vile, the companies fortified the taste with gobs of corn syrup. Now there is added corn syrup in almost every low-fat packaged food, from pasta sauce to potato chips.
Since sugar is not nourishing at best and a health crisis at worst, you’d think that government would slap a sin tax on sugary foods like it does on cigarettes. Unfortunately, it does the exact opposite. Washington gives $billions in subsidies to corn farmers – making corn syrup even cheaper.
“Hey, this is ‘Merica,” you might say. “I can eat what I want and develop adult onset diabetes any way I darn well please!”
Fair enough, the film says. But think of the children. The main goal of “Fed Up” is to shame us into accepting our role in the childhood obesity epidemic and offer workable solutions.
The film’s most reasonable suggestion is to ban junk food advertising during children’s TV shows. That really does make sense to me. I mean, if a commercial during “The Clone Wars” featured profanity and topless women, it would make the national news and there would be outrage and fines. However, ads for sugary snacks are allowed without question.
Since it is a known fact that f-bombs and boobies are not as unhealthy for children as Frosted Flakes and Chips Ahoy, it seems like our values are out of whack.
If “Fed Up” is correct, sugar is the #1 health crisis in the developed world and the primary cause of obesity. Maybe all my years of exercise and periodic starvation have been unnecessary. Could it be possible that I have maintained my weight simply because I don’t care for packaged snack food or sweets? I don’t really know. I’m just happy to be thin.