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Obesity Epidemic in America: Who Is to Blame?

Updated on October 10, 2013
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Mighty Mom is a keen observer of life. She shares her personal experiences and opinions in helpful and often amusing ways.

Mmmm Mom's Home Cooking

Tipping the Scales

Look around you. There is no denying Americans are getting heavier. And heavier. And heavier. Being overweight correlates to a host of health problems including high blood pressure and diabetes, and ultimately, shorter life expectancy. Current statistics:

  • 67% of Americans (200 million) are overweight or obese - a doubling since 1980. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
  • Currently one third of American children are either obese or at risk of becoming obese (IOM Progress In Preventing Childhood Obesity)

"Today's children may become the first generation in history to have a shorter life expectancy than their parents'."- 17th United States Surgeon General Richard H. Carmona, M.D., M.P.H., F.A.C.S.

That is a frightening thought.

From Family Dining to Fast Food Nation

We were not always a super-sized nation.

Well, how did we get here? A combination of trends has changed our eating habits and our very relationship with food. I'll use my own childhood as my benchmark. Back in the ‘60s and ‘70s there was exactly one hamburger stand in our town, Wetson's. We frequented it very, very infrequently, like maybe 3x a year. We also had a Dunkin' Donuts. My dad had a sweet tooth, so he got us a dozen donuts after church every couple of weeks (we went to church every week, we just didn't get donuts every time). On Friday nights we were allowed TV dinners. Other than that, we ate home-cooked food. If we dined out, it was a special occasion. My mom wasn't big on cooking, so if fast food had been more available, I've no doubt we would have been first in the drive-thru line.

Fast-forward to the present as I'm raising my son. Working full-time is not an excuse for laziness in the meal planning department, it's simply part of this equation. We have soccer practice after school, games and tournaments on weekends. My son goes through various evolutionary phases in his choice of fast food. First McDonald's, then Burger King (always Burger King for French toast sticks and hash browns, the breakfast of late-for-school champions). He flirts with Jack in the Box, Taco Bell, In ‘n Out Burger, finally declaring Wendys his all-time favorite.

Ninety percent of these "meals" are consumed in transit. Despite the fact that my German car has no cup holders (think they might be onto something here?), we regularly eat and drink while driving.

It's this eating/drinking and driving that's so dangerous. We multitask. We snarf rather than savor. Do we even care if we're ingesting French fries or quesadillas? Heck no! They're both just starch and grease. The perfect road food. We're lovin' it!

Sitting down to a relaxing meal
Sitting down to a relaxing meal

Cheap, fast and easy -- is just a little sleazy

Then there's the seductively low price of fast food. Fast food restaurants appeal to people who are either in a hurry, on a limited food budget, or both. If I'm hungry this minute, it offers me a quick fix. I can eat a "satisfying" meal, complete with drink, for under $5 and I don't have to pay a tip.

If they priced their food higher would they lose customers? That would be an interesting experiment. The combo of convenience and price is hard to beat.

And how many millions of pounds gained?
And how many millions of pounds gained?

What makes it so good?

My son and I had this discussion just this week. We both swear there is a secret ingredient all fast food restaurants put in their food. This little extra somethin' makes it smell irresistible and keeps you coming back for more. We don't know exactly what it is (that's why it's a secret) but it's the food equivalent of THC or nicotine. And yet, fast food has not been formally declared addictive.

Just because they sell it you don't have to eat it

This is my son's argument. He sees it as a personal choice based on the common sense he claims everyone should have. For example, "Everyone should know that eating a hamburger so big you can't even fit in your mouth is way more fat and calories than a regular burger." His common sense solution to super-sized soft drinks is to buy the large (because it's only $.20 more than a small) but don't drink it all.

This may explain why, despite consuming his fair share of McDonald's et al over the years, he is still long and lean. Others aren't so lucky

Egg McMuffintop?

McDonald's made me fat

In 2002 two Bronx, NY teenagers sued McDonald's, claiming that its food had caused them to become obese and unhealthy. The suit claimed McDonald's failed to clearly and conspicuously disclose the ingredients and effects of its food, including high levels of fat, salt, sugar and cholesterol. The landmark legal action was the first of its kind against a fast-food chain to make its way into a U.S. courtroom and was modeled on similar litigation against tobacco companies.

The plaintiffs argued that McDonald's should be held accountable for the girls' obesity, heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol. The father of one of the girls said he had never seen anything in the Bronx restaurants that informed him of the food's ingredients. "I always believed McDonald's was healthy for my children," he said in an affidavit.

To win their argument, the girls would have to prove that McDonald's successfully fools its customers into a state of ignorance about the health risks of eating its product, and that in the absence of McDonald's deception, they would not have become overweight.

That seems like a pretty heavy burden of proof, doesn't it? And that dad doesn't sound too bright. I may feed my kid McDonald's, but I never fool myself into thinking it's "healthy."

Lawyers representing McDonald's used the same argument as my son. They said, "Every responsible person understands what is in products such as hamburgers and fries, as well as the consequence to one's waistline, and potentially to one's health, of excessively eating those foods over a prolonged period of time."

McDonald's lawyers also contended that it would be impossible to establish whether eating at McDonald's was a major cause of ailments because genetics, medical conditions and sedentary lifestyles could also be factors."

I dunno about that. These kids were just teenagers. Awfully young to be dealing with high cholesterol, high blood pressure AND diabetes - those usually show up after several more years of trashing your body.

Not so fast (food)

... says the judge

In the end, the judge dismissed the case. But the fact that McDonald's has added more healthful alternatives such as salads and yogurt to its menu can be seen as a "good faith" effort (at least to avoid further litigation).

As for me, I do consider myself a "responsible person" who understands the consequences of various food choices to my waistline and health. To me, responsible means that I hold myself accountable for the food choices I make. McDonald's may have deeper pockets than some of the other companies I could go after (Dreyer's ice cream, Hershey's, Frito Lay, to name just a few). The bottom line is, I do agree with my son on this one. Just because they make it, I don't have to eat it. And if I do eat it, I know enough to get my bottom to the gym and work - not sue - to get rid of the consequences of my indulgence!

Time to Weigh In

Should people be allowed to sue companies for making them fat?

See results

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    • profile image

      ashleyfitness 2 years ago

      Loved this hub, people need to educate themselves and step up to becoming the healthy person they want to be.

    • profile image

      jess 3 years ago

      Fast food is only part of the problem. The bigger issue is the lack of exercise and the increased sedentary lifestyle that is beginning at a young age with all the new shiny electronics. The best option to lose weight by healthy eating and exercise. A good program to check out is this one http://fatburningfurnaceguide.net/ which you can read about on my site.

    • profile image

      K Galt 3 years ago

      "My son and I had this discussion just this week. We both swear there is a secret ingredient all fast food restaurants put in their food. This little extra somethin' makes it smell irresistible and keeps you coming back for more. We don't know exactly what it is (that's why it's a secret) but it's the food equivalent of THC or nicotine. And yet, fast food has not been formally declared addictive."

      Google "Fast Food AND MSG"

    • cnielson profile image

      cnielson 4 years ago from Exeter, Rhode Island

      Many of us know what has happened to get us in this predicament with portion sizes and many other related things resulting in obesity and poor health. Reversing those things is huge....but as I learned in attacking any problem is breaking it down into small pieces. The old adage of how do you go about eating and elephant meaning solving a huge problem? The answer is 'one bite at a time. No pun intended.

      Charlie

    • Mighty Mom profile image
      Author

      Susan Reid 4 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Hello cnielson. So true. Supersizing isn't just for fast food! Portion sizes are much bigger than they were even 30 years ago. 24 ounce steaks? Big Gulp sodas of IDK, 50 ounces? And snacking -- we never used to snack when I was a girl. After school you might have 2 cookies and some milk. Not a box of Totino's Pizza Rolls. LOL.

      Combine that with our sedentary lifestyle which is exacerbated by our tehnology-driven society. We're tuned in and tuned out to our bodies.

      But it's heartening to know that physical education efforts by our FLOTUS and others are starting to pay off. We CAN reverse the damage. Each of us can take steps to improve our own health. I am and I hope you are, too.

      Thanks for commenting. MM

    • cnielson profile image

      cnielson 4 years ago from Exeter, Rhode Island

      There have been so many subtle changes in how products are marketed and sold that result in the consumption of greater quantities of food and calories. Large cookies are common which are probably 5 times the size of a regular cookie. Candy bars that had a very standard size and sold for a nickel many years ago, now are probably 4-5 times that size and sell for over a dollar. The list goes on and on ....and basically takes advantage of people's inability to control what they eat. Unfortunately most people, as evidenced by the huge increase in obesity are not cautious or focused on the food they eat. The result is they eat more and more and their 'portion size' they become accustomed to is causing them to maintain a level of weight that is in most instances greater than what is considered healthy and appropriate for their body type.

    • ZipperConstantine profile image

      Zipper 4 years ago from United States

      Good article! I think the occasional Big Mac is ok. Just don't make a habit out of it. McDonald has great frys, I often wonder if they soak them in sugar?

    • profile image

      student 4 years ago

      nice work! lots of information.

    • profile image

      Hannah 5 years ago

      We CAN'T walk anywhere because Walmarts shut the downtowns. People should demand walkability in their towns. Also, read, "Why we get Fat." I've struggled with my weight since I could remember, always thinking fat is bad and no fat things like rice and pasta are good. Not so. For the first time ever I've eaten normal amounts of food and actually lost weight. Sugar is toxic, and poisonous, and fattening. We've been experimented on and lied to for the past 60 years, and the sugar producers and drug companies and clinics made money. I don't have anything to do with selling the book, just saying I read it.

    • profile image

      matt 5 years ago

      200 million people overweight WHAT

    • profile image

      Andy 5 years ago

      i need your information so i can use your work in my paper.

    • Mighty Mom profile image
      Author

      Susan Reid 5 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Hello Andy,

      I'm not quite sure what you are asking me for but if it's something I can provide I'd be happy to. Can you be more specific?

      Thanks,

      MM

    • profile image

      Andy 5 years ago

      can i get a source from you so i can put it on my work cited page..please and thank you

    • profile image

      Elysium 5 years ago

      sorry, forgot the contact details - which are childhoodexperience@hotmail.com

      thank you!

    • profile image

      Elysium 5 years ago

      Hi -

      I find this debate compelling - most of all because I believe you cannot have one without the other and in truth it is both the individual and the company who are at fault.

      My question though is posted differently - I am actually seeking any adults who have experienced being put on weight loss programs during their childhood.

      If anyone has had this experience or knows of anyone who has had this experience I would love to be contacted.

      thank you.

    • profile image

      DePuy Pinnacle Recall 6 years ago

      I guess health and other values begin at home. I was an obese person once, and I had to drastically reduce my weight after having a DePuy Pinnacle hip implant. This was to lessen my body's weight and to reduce some pressure on my hips.

    • Fluffy77 profile image

      Fluffy77 6 years ago from Enterprise, OR

      Great hub, and I absolutely believe that you must make your own choices wisely when eating at fast food places. I know I always try too. There are many more healthier choices then there used to be now too. You should check out my new hub on gastric bypass surgeries for weight loss. Voted you up here.

    • profile image

      nairbear 6 years ago

      thanks!

    • Mighty Mom profile image
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      Susan Reid 6 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Oh hello nairbear.

      I'm flattered you want to cite my hub in your paper.

      It was published here on Hub Pages on 10/25/08.

      Give a shout if you need anything else! Thanks for visiting. MM

    • profile image

      nairbear 6 years ago

      Hi!

      im trying to cite this in my research paper about obesity,but i cant seem to find the date it was written??

    • The Jet profile image

      The Jet 6 years ago from The Bay

      I was once dating a Half Irish woman and she made lamb stew -- it tasted really good! It was a fulfilling meal.

      I can also eat breakfast foods for lunch. Brunch is cool. Dinner requires more epicness. Hah.

      I have heard the song sung by friends who've seen it! Lol. I should probably watch West Side Story. You have fun too! Night. :)

    • Mighty Mom profile image
      Author

      Susan Reid 6 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Well, I haven't written the mashed potato hub yet. I'm trying to finish a project for a client in Australia and it's just not coming together. Luckily I know you won't starve without the mashed potatoes! Not a good enough reason to go into an Irish pub (although lamb stew and corned beef are good enticements!)

      Bran flakes and blueberries are nummy. Not dinner material, tho. I can eat breakfast food for lunch. But I don't understand people who eat cereal for dinner.

      Not too opinionated, am I? LOL

      Well, I hope you get something to eat, Mr. Jet. Do you know the song "When you're a Jet you're a Jet all the way..." (from Westside Story, although also applicable to the NY pro football team...) ha ha ha. Getting silly now so better go back to the grindstone... Night. Maybe I'll log back in later. Not sure! Have fun!!

    • The Jet profile image

      The Jet 6 years ago from The Bay

      Tuna salad! I'm getting hungry now. Carrotslaw with raisins? Never heard. Sounds... hahaa. Maybe it's something I'd have to taste to appreciate. lol.

      I'm not a vampire, last I checked. Bran flakes and blueberries sound pretty good, actually. I'm hungry. I should eat.

      And thank you for the mashed potato hub! That's so nice of you. You're cool. It's a good thing too, because I don't usually hang out in Irish pubs. Haha.

      Kudos for all your help and wisdom. :)

    • Mighty Mom profile image
      Author

      Susan Reid 6 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      You know, I hated mayonnaise as a kid. Would not eat it. Some days I wish I had never learned to like it at all. Macaroni salad, potato salad, tuna and chicken salad = all good. But coleslaw? bleh. I do like carrotslaw with raisins. That's "reasonably" healthy.

      I'm just having my bran flakes and blueberries now. Got a late start today. Hopefully you are up and out doing whatever you do in the daytime (if you are a vampire, that would be sleeping).

      I will write a hub dedicated to you with Mighty Mom's genuine mashed potatoes recipe. But you can get them at any Irish pub. I know you are in the "Bay Area" which could mean any direction surrounding SF.

      BTW, Colcannon potatoes (with cabbage in them) are great and cut down on the starch. I've done the same thing by mashing in some cauliflower. Yum!!

      Want to make sure I'm being clear (cuz lots of times I am in MY head but no one else's). Commenting on another person's HUB (like you've done here) is not the forums. The forums are a separate feature of Hub Pages. At the top of your screen click on "Forums." From there you can select any number of topics. And from there you can find any number of threads (conversations) to post on. That's a great way to get to know other hubbers who are interested in the same things you are....

      MM

    • The Jet profile image

      The Jet 6 years ago from The Bay

      Ah, coleslaw hater. It's okay, you're still cool. Eat the potato wedges in the car! Haha. At a red light, of course. ;)

      Cabbage cooked is pretty tasty. Veggies are nice... I used to dislike them, but I now I prefer them. And I shall take your advice on the Irish hand mashed spuds. Do I make it...? Or is it served anywhere?

      Still getting the hang of the forums here. Thanks for your coolness!

    • Mighty Mom profile image
      Author

      Susan Reid 6 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      I hate coleslaw. Just can't deal with it. Cabbage is good cooked, but raw? Bleh. The potato wedges are ok, but always seem to get cold and starchy by the time you get them home. I don't bother with them.

      If you are judging mashed potatoes by KFC, no wonder!

      Get yourself some proper Irish hand mashed spuds, Jet!!!

      I will be looking for you over on the forums, Mr. Jet. You can have some fun over there!!! I do!!

    • The Jet profile image

      The Jet 6 years ago from The Bay

      Salad as a comfort food is hard to imagine. Haha. I also like KFC's mac and cheese...and coleslaw...and potato wedges. Lol. Not too fond of mashed potatoes, honestly.

      I'm glad I'm going the healthy route too. I've given up soda for Naked protein juice -- never looked back. Haha. As for my experiences as a forum post, I'll give it some thought. And good day to you, Mighty Mom.

    • Mighty Mom profile image
      Author

      Susan Reid 6 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Oh yes, when we fuel our bodies instead of feed our emotions, we do feel more energy. No doubt about it!

      It's too bad we can't train ourselves to think of salad as a comfort food. Not me!

      KFC -- I actually like their green beans a lot! But then, I REALLY like their macaroni and cheese a lot, too. Biscuits I can leave for other people. Potatoes and gravy -- well, you can't eat those bland potatoes WITHOUT gravy, now can you? lol

      Glad to hear you are eating healthy. Hey -- you should write about your experience.Maybe not a hub, but forum posts... Just a thought. Cheers and 'night. MM

    • The Jet profile image

      The Jet 6 years ago from The Bay

      Friends just call me "Jet." Haha.

      The benefits are immediate too. I started eating oatmeal every day and I have more energy -- even better, less of a desire to eat fast food.

      As for KFC, I know exactly what you mean.

    • Mighty Mom profile image
      Author

      Susan Reid 6 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Good for you, The Jet (I'm gonna have to start abbreviating that to TJ very soon:-).

      It's never too early to develop good eating and exercise habits.

      We have a weakness for KFC as well. My mother-in-law just loves it...I've tried the grilled chicken, but it's just not "right" -- know what I mean?

    • The Jet profile image

      The Jet 6 years ago from The Bay

      This was a vital read. And it made me glad I've started to eat more healthy foods and work out often. Though, I admittedly partake in KFC. Haha. Voted up.

    • Mighty Mom profile image
      Author

      Susan Reid 6 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Hi Dave!

      I saw "Supersize Me" and was appalled. Have't seen Food, Inc. but will check it out. I like disturbing movies!

      Thanks for the tip!

    • davebaldwin profile image

      davebaldwin 6 years ago from Ralegh, NC

      Have you seen Food, Inc.? You might enjoy that movie....though you will find it disturbing also.

    • Mighty Mom profile image
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      Susan Reid 6 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Hi TroyM.

      Ain't that the truth? So is our reluctance to take the time to cook and eat good food a reflection that we don't value ourselves enough... or that we value our time so highly that we would rather use it for something else??? I think we need to go back to some old ways (dare I say European ways). Eating as a shared, pleasurable experience instead of shoveling food in our mouths while multitasking (driving, watching TV, using the computer, etc...)

      Thanks for visiting and your comment. MM

    • TroyM profile image

      TroyM 6 years ago

      I agree with Livelonger that good food and food that is good for us is more expensive, if we take into account that the time spent in food preparation also has value. Great Hub!

    • irene.trel profile image

      irene.trel 6 years ago

      thanks for this hub, very informative especially to teens who must be aware of what they are eating..=) read more here this would help http://www.obesitydefinition.org

    • Mighty Mom profile image
      Author

      Susan Reid 6 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Hey there, SweetMarie. Thanks for visiting. I would be honored to have a link to your hub about saving money on groceries! Useful information we all can use. All the best, MM

    • SweetMarie83 profile image

      Marie Landry 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Great hub! Your son sounds very smart - not as many kids have that kind of logic, sadly. This article is exactly what I was looking for to illustrate a point about the obesity epidemic in America in a hub I'm writing about saving money on groceries, so I'll be adding the link - thanks!

    • Mighty Mom profile image
      Author

      Susan Reid 6 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      I couldn't agree more, Quality Content. Unfortunately, "unfood" is more readily available and cheaper than real food.

      Thanks for the comment. MM

    • QualityContent profile image

      QualityContent 6 years ago

      It's our "unfood" as I call it. Food so high in salt, sugar, and chemicals that we gain weight. We need to go back to what our ancestors ate. Real food. Its a game played by the corporations.

    • Mighty Mom profile image
      Author

      Susan Reid 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Hi Squidmom. Good for you for holding out on the fast food! You'll all be better off without it!

      The movie "Supersize Me" shows the horrible health effects of an all-McDonald's diet. After seeing that I was sooo NOT lovin' it!

      Thanks for visiting. MM

    • Squidmom profile image

      Squidmom 7 years ago from Texas

      Very good hub, I definitely see more fast food places now then I did growing up. However,we hardly ever eat out, I think I actually eat out less now then when I was growing up. We didn't pick up take away all the time but at least once a week, because both my parents worked. Saying that, it is very tempting. I'm from a relatively small town but every mile there's a fast food choice. My daughter asks for McDonald's every time she sees the sign, but we have to explain that we don't believe fast food is healthy to eat all of the time. I think it's funny but some of my family give us sour faces when we say no, my sister even brought by a gift card for McDonalds the last time she visited! McDonald's is cheap, we could afford it several times a week if we choose to-but could our health? I don't think so.

    • Mighty Mom profile image
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      Susan Reid 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Hi catherine74. Thanks for reading!

    • catherine74 profile image

      catherine74 7 years ago from London

      Nice hub, very entertaining. Good perspective on the obesity epidemic.

    • Mighty Mom profile image
      Author

      Susan Reid 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Hello Blog Weight.2007 was 3 years ago and Americans keep getting heavier. It may be 34% but it's still too much!

      Thanks for your comment. MM

    • profile image

      Blog Weight 7 years ago

      I'm not agree with the 67% number. The official statystics shows about 34% obese in US as for 2007.

    • Mighty Mom profile image
      Author

      Susan Reid 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Hi Tatjana,

      You are not the first person to say McDonald's food makes you sick. But for those Americans (especially) who have become dependent, it is like a drug. Thanks for enlightening me on the secret toxic ingredient.

      McDonald's has big money and I think it is awful that they are sponsoring the Olympics. With primarily the one ad -- two parents racing each other to bring their little boy a McDonald's box. How sick!

    • Tatjana-Mihaela profile image

      Tatjana-Mihaela 7 years ago from Zadar, CROATIA

      Mc Donald´s food is tasty? Very interesting: to me is just disgusting. I tried to eat it on 2 occasions in London and Munich, and "food" tasted horrible. In my country I avoid to even pass nearby Mc Donald´s restaurants because I immediately get sick when I smell these products (it is not food, everything is artificial).

      Mc Donald´s popularity among children could be explained with cute presents (toys, flags etc.) they give to the children,with colours of meals and way how they pack them, not only with taste of the food. Children get depended on the fast food gradually, not immediately.

      Secret ingredient that make this food so tasty to the people is SODIUM MONOGLUTAMATE (monoglutaminate): it is toxic and highly addictive...and I believe it affects the smell of the food as well, not only taste. People who are addicted to it, cannot easily quit eating it, and cannot imagine food without it.

      I belive that companies that are using that chemical tricks for poisoning people and making them addicted to their foods, just to increase the sale of their toxical products should be sued because of that.

      Excellent Hub, MM.

    • Mighty Mom profile image
      Author

      Susan Reid 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Ew!!! Makes me not want to eat any processed foods! Thanks for the reminder,Carmen. MM

    • Carmen_Sandiego profile image

      Carmen_Sandiego 7 years ago from USA

      Great points! But you forgot to mention the other reasons why Americans are so fat, and our sister nations are healthy. True, fast food plays a large role, but it's also what is being added to our food that makes us fat.

      For starters; Trans fat, hydrogenated oils, growth hormones & steroids in cows, and MSG all lead to obesity. Oddly enough, these additives are banned in Australia and the EU. It makes you wonder why they aren't banned here too!

    • shazwellyn profile image

      shazwellyn 7 years ago from Great Britain

      Good Hub. It looks like society has got itself in a pickle - like spaghetti, we cant seem to unravel and go back - it seems too late. Ive touched on this subject myself, maybe you might like it. I value your comments x

      https://hubpages.com/politics/Blame-It-On-The-Pare...

    • Kimberly Bunch profile image

      Kimberly Bunch 8 years ago from EAST WENATCHEE

      Great Info! Here's one you might like: http://hubpages.com/hub/Get-Rid-of-Toxins-the-Natu...

    • Mighty Mom profile image
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      Susan Reid 8 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

    • Mighty Mom profile image
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      Susan Reid 8 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Thanks for commenting, terrimak. You really nailed one of the biggest sins of our current age. Our RELATIONSHIP to food -- we don't sit down as a a family and enjoy a meal. Gotta relearn to simplify our lives and stop multitasking....

      Cheers and happy, healthy eating! MM

    • profile image

      terrimak 8 years ago

      Great hub and very true. My blog is about creating a healthy relationship with food. Much like you, I was raised where going to a hamburger joint was a "treat", and not a daily event. But as we progressed...

      It's constant go, go, go. There isn't time to sit down, relax and enjoy a meal. To taste it, savor it and really, just enjoy the flavors of it. So I am learning.

      Thanks for sharing.

    • Mighty Mom profile image
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      Susan Reid 8 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      snoopy055 -- your avatar says it all! you are out there setting a positive example of walking with the little ones. LOVE IT!

      You are absolutly right.

      The thing is, when I grew up, parents did NOT set the model for physical activity. We kids were very active -- lots of time spent outside. Because there were only 3 TV channels and none of the other electronic devices we now have.

      But parents weren't overweight either.

      I think it's a matter of portion control. And not grabbing fast food and consuming it in the car.

      I for one am working on getting healthier by changing some simple eating habits. Thank you for reminding me and for the great comment. MM

    • snoopy055 profile image

      snoopy055 8 years ago from Mid West

      I agree with we are getting lazy because of new electronic devices. But what about the parents role in teaching kids the easy way to stay slim by balanced food intake and exercise regime. All of us could improve our health issues just by changing some simple eating habits.

    • Mighty Mom profile image
      Author

      Susan Reid 8 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Hi Will, I agree. Increasing our exercise can overcome quite a bit of the fat laden prepared food problem. The problem is we have really gotten out of the habit of walking/bike riding. Even getting up to change TV channels is a thing of the past!!

      Couch potatoes are the sedentary parents. Couch potato chips are our rotund offspring!

    • Will Apse profile image

      Will Apse 8 years ago

      I think your exercise comment above is the real issue. I used to cycle all over my home town and the surrounding country when I was a kid, just like you. I was often gone all day when I was ten or eleven years old and came back exhausted (and healthy).

      Nowadays, so many parents are scared to let their children out of their sight for an hour and all entertainment is home based. Couch potatoes are popping off the production line by the second.

    • Mighty Mom profile image
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      Susan Reid 8 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Hi Lisa HW, I love your avatar -- makes me feel healthier already!

      If fast food restaurants really wanted to promote their healthful choices, they would offer the salads on the dollar menu and charge a lot more for the fat-filled items. Hopefully, we will get there!

      Thanks for your common sense comment! MM

    • Mighty Mom profile image
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      Susan Reid 8 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Hi Lisa HW, I love your avatar -- makes me feel healthier already!

      If fast food restaurants really wanted to promote their healthful choices, they would offer the salads on the dollar menu and charge a lot more for the fat-filled items. Hopefully, we will get there!

      Thanks for your common sense comment! MM

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      Lisa HW 8 years ago from Massachusetts

      Excellent Hub (and I agree with your son's approach). There are "certain people" (on tv and selling books) who claim there is a secret ingredient. I tend to think the "secret ingredient" is the fat content. Particularly for people who tired and/or stressed out, fat can be satisfying. Carbs, of course, can boost energy. Whatever is in fast food, though, none of us has to select the worst stuff on the menu.

      Parents need to limit how much fast food their kids get anyway (because it isn't the healthiest choice); but my kids were always slender - and they didn't even eat the food anyway. All they wanted was the toy in the boxed meal. As for adults, these places serve single-size salads; and if it's fat you need two adults can always share the mozarella sticks.

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      Susan Reid 8 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Hi DSE901. I agree with you. We naturally exercised much more when we were kids. If I didn't walk I rode my bike everywhere. The solution is really quite simple: eat less, move more!

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting. MM

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      DSE901 8 years ago

      I don't think it's just fast food. When I was in HS I'd eat a huge snickers bar & diet coke every day for lunch. I had to walk a mile to the corner convenience store to get it and a mile back to school in the 40 minutes alloted to lunch. I could eat junk food because I walked every where I went. My kids walk to the bus stop, 1/2 mile from our house and that's about it.

    • morrisonspeaks profile image

      morrisonspeaks 8 years ago

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      Susan Reid 8 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Wetson's was the first and only fast food restaurant in Manhasset. We're talking 1960s-1970s. It's long gone now. We also had a Dunkin Donuts. And of course, pizza by the slice.

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      issues veritas 8 years ago

      I didn't know that they had a Wetson's in Manhasset?

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      Susan Reid 8 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Hey there Issues Veritas! I can spot a fellow 'gislander a mile away. Hempstead Turnpike, you say? Nathans? You and I must talk!!!

      MM from Manhasset

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      issues veritas 8 years ago

      Good hub MM,

      Wetsons, Dunkin Donut and Nathans ( I added the last one)Hempstead Trnpk

      I don't think that people are totally responsible for bad foods that they eat out.

      The government took decades before they even had shown any interest in the health aspect of fast foods. For the longest time, you didn't know what was in the foods your were eating when you went out.

      When the food industry started to use chemistry to replace real food is when the country went large. High Corn Fructose Syrup is really bad for the old waistline and that replace simple cane sugar. All the diet soda had one chemical after another to replace sugar with an artificial sweetener.

      You have to be a chemist with a PHD to read the ingredients on the foods, that is if you want to understand it. Sodium is ubiquitous in fast foods and packaged foods.

      The bottom line is that you don't have many options when you go out to eat or buy packaged meals to cook at home. The dessert foods are really filled with chemistry, yet they taste good and that is the problem.

      We don't get good information about diets and food from the government. Every week the news has another study that says this food is good or bad only to have next week's study reverse it. You can't even count on water as a safe drink, whether it is from the tap or in a bottle.

      The food companies add ingredients that make you addicted to their product. The diet label should read consume only if you need to gain weight.

      I don't crave fish as a food, but one time I decided to get the fish sandwich at McDonalds. I thought that it would be healthier than the Big Mac. Boy, that was a mistake in logic, I was surprised later when I found out that I had eaten the highest calorie food on the menu.

      Eating food out while trying to be healthy is like playing Russian Roulette with live bullets in five of the six chambers.

      boom!

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      Susan Reid 8 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Hello Debra, Thanks for stopping by and your comment. It truly is a wonderful place, our Hub Pages! Anything you want to talk about or learn about, anytime of the day or night -- it's right here!!! Good to meet you. MM

    • morrisonspeaks profile image

      morrisonspeaks 8 years ago

      MM,I like your thoughts and your approach! It is so wonderful to meet knowledgeable people here whom I can share thoughts and ideas with and learn from them at the same time.Cheers,Debra

    • Elena. profile image

      Elena. 8 years ago from Madrid

      Fabulous hub, MM! Comments are also quite an interesting read :-) Can't add much too all that has been said, in the hub and thereafter --just wanted to show my appreciation with this bitsy comment :-)

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      moonlake 8 years ago from America

      I think fast food has nothing to do with getting fat. I think you can eat fast food but you just have to watch how many calories you take in. Of course, the fat is never good for your heart. I think we just eat way to much and don't get the exercise we need. Maybe fast food is cheaper then buying in the store but how much does a loaf of bread and bag of chicken breast cost. What 2.00 for bread and 7.99 for a bag of chicken breast 1.10 for a can of vegetables. You can feed a family of 5 with that. It's going to cost more or the same for a family of 5 to eat at Mcdonld's if they have a hamburger, fries and a coke. The prices are for this area and maybe are more expensive else where. Slow cookers are great for working Moms.

      I also grew up in the 50's an 60's and we weren't fat. We had desserts every night. I got many of my good sweet recipes from my Mom, grandma and Mother-in-law. But.....we also walked everywhere and we ate three meals a day with no snacking. No soda in the house. Meals were put on the table early. We weren't allowed to just eat at will our parents couldn't afford it.

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      Lizett 8 years ago from The Great Northwest

      Great hub and so many wonderful comments from everyone too. Child obesity gets to me the most because they don't know any better than what their parents teach them, especially toddlers and they are that young and obese- and have health stats of a 40 year old.

      I never heard of fast-food until I was 7 and we were moving from two states away so late one night we had to eat at a fast-food joint because our house wasn't ready yet. I got sick for two days after that. What I still find odd is that I can never smell regular restaurants passing them driving down the road, but I can always smell a fast-food joint right away.

      The secret ingredients are MSG, corn syrup, and all the other toxic preservatives I can't pronounce. I was raised a health nut so my taste buds have healthy preferences.

      Cooking instead of eating out is all about planning ahead. I cook a couple meals ahead on Sunday and/or cook meat one night and use leftover meat for the next night paired with healthy sides like baked potatoes and veggies or brown rice. Even if I have to use an instant rice (without additives of course) I will. It's still better than greasy fast-food. Although I do like Taco Bell every once in a while so don't tell me what goes into their stuff, I don't want to know.

    • Mighty Mom profile image
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      Susan Reid 8 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Interesting! I always associate Dr. Seuss with Santa Rosa, where his museum is. Did you know there is a hand-drawn Dr. Seuss pic/plaque at the geyser in Calistoga? His widow much have traded in the wine country for the temperate climes of SD in her retirement. Go get her. I would suggest showing her my Green Eggs and Palin poem, but probably not the right political sentiment for the clients you are seeking:-). Cheers, MM

    • TheMoneyGuy profile image

      TheMoneyGuy 8 years ago from Pyote, TX

      MM,

      Yes she is real, the other one that blew me away on the list was Dr. Seuss's widow.

      I was unable to obtain either one as a client, if I do you will know, because I won't have time to be writing on here. :-)

      Thank you for all your great hubs as well.

      TMG

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      Shaun Lindbergh 8 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Hi MM, Excellent hub. My wife was never health conscious but a couple of years ago she agreed to join me at a health spa for a few days. She got fired up when she saw the difference a healthy diet made to her energy and sense of wellness. When we got home she started to prepare more healthy meals and we have never looked back.

      Two tips for the hectic lifestyle;

      1. Priorities and not programs should dictate the pace of our lives. What's the point of rushing headlong to an early grave? What's the point of never savouring the moment because you're too busy? Slow down, it really is a choice. Our kids also learn to organise their lives better.

      2. If you have to have TV dinners, prepare healthy ones yourself. Just cook four meals every time you cook and freeze three portions. When you defrost just add a salad and/or some fresh veges and you have a healthy meal.

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      Susan Reid 8 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Pepe! I'm so honored you were thinking of me in the context of lawsuits and obesity! I will go and check out your photo forthwith.

      TMG, Now that is one interesting analysis. Did you end up getting Jenny Craig as a client -- IS there a Jenny Craig or is she like an icon like Betty Crocker or Aunt Jemima? Man, get her, Colonel Sanders and Mrs. Fields together and you've got yourself quite a power shake! BTW, I really like your hubs and the way you approach business. Thanks for sharing your knowledge with us.

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      TheMoneyGuy 8 years ago from Pyote, TX

      So I was working as a Financial Advisor and got this Idea I would do a search of the Richest people in San Diego, in order to figure out who my clients should be.

      Low and Behold miss Jenny Craig topped the list.  That got me to thinking.  There is a whole lot of money in them fat folks.  Then I got to looking further on the list and crunched the numbers.

      75 percent of the top 25% of wealth in San Diego has to do with food and diet.  What a partnership half the rich folks gets everyone fat and the other half is selling them something to get them skinny.  But the point is it takes twice as many calories per step to move a 200 lb person as a 100 lb person.  That equals twice the consumption or 200% profit for the people selling the food be it from a supermarket or a fast food joint. 

      TMG

    • Christoph Reilly profile image

      Christoph Reilly 8 years ago from St. Louis

      Ok. It's at the bottom of my Lawsuit hub (under the video).

    • Christoph Reilly profile image

      Christoph Reilly 8 years ago from St. Louis

      Hi, MM! I'm writing to you here because it was your mention of the McDonald's lawsuit that inspired my lawsuit hub. Then....you left a comment about the bee in your lemonade and said you had thought of me. That's funny, because I was looking for some pictures and came across one that made me think of you and this hub and I saved it to show to you. Since you can't send attachments through the hubpages email system, I will figure out one of my hubs where I can put it and then let you know. See ya later!

    • Jewels profile image

      Jewels 8 years ago from Australia

      MM, you're right, I remembered that after I posted. It is much cheaper to buy takeout in the US than here. I hope that doesn't change.

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      Susan Reid 8 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Hi Dineane, Congratulations on your restraint today! Sounds like a good warmup for the big feast with family on Sat. And I do hope your daughter escapes the family tendency towards heaviness.

      Boss #1 you make an excellent point about overweight people actually not overeating. Dieting is so bad for us. And eating nothing for breakfast and lunch then overloading at dinner just messes with our metabolism. You're absolutely right. Fuel your body regularly. Six small meals are better than three larger ones. And get MOVING!

      Jewels. It sounds like there is a built-in disincentive on takeaway (here called takeout). With $1 "value menus" and $.69 tacos fast food really is cheap eats.

      Pylos -- Thanks for stopping by again! You are funny:-). Maybe we should all take a snack break. Healthy snacks only, of course!!!

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      pylos26 8 years ago from America

      hi mm...i'll warrant that the smokin' gun is handed by "fast foods" with no easy fix in the forecast. i do declare!!!...you wonderful people must surely labor night and day on these true works of art. (uhh...hubs)...py

    • Jewels profile image

      Jewels 8 years ago from Australia

      Is fast food really less expensive? I thought it was the opposite. I avoid fast foods, not only cause excessively eating it is going to make my stomach bigger, but it's really expensive. It was mentioned that Time was factored into the expense. Isn't that just a matter of being more organized? Even if you're travelling, eating out of a supermarket is much cheaper than using a fast food outlet. Much cheaper. If you're running out of money in London, find the fruit and vegie stand, eat banana's -less than half the price of fish and chips.

      Fast food advertising is encouraging you to have an easier life, by them doing it for you. Yet you are really paying a high price for it. Not only is it more expensive buying KFC instead of a casserole with vegies, the nutritional value decreases tenfold. Both mum and dad working - get fast food, it's easier. But is it? What price do you put on emptier pockets and living beyond your means. Takeaway once a week is a good treat, every night is a diabetic disaster waiting to happen.

      There is something said for getting back to basics, and if your a working mum, then get dad to pull his weight. Teach your kids how to cook basic things too. I'm worried cooking is becoming a lost skill in favor of junk crap food. Imagine a life where junk food is the norm. I think that's already the case.

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      Boss Number 1 8 years ago from Stayton, OR

      Obviously lifestyle and food choices have made staying active and eating right more difficult. People don't understand anymore what food choices constitute a normal & healthy diet, & on top of that, there's the never-ending cycle of denial, guilt, and self-restraint followed by over-indulgence when it comes to food consumption. The fact is, many overweight people actually do not over-eat. They have cycled themselves through so many diets that they've lowered their metabolism to a point where almost any food consumption will result in weight gain. I know this sounds crazy, but it's true: dieting, when done without simultaneous exercise, will result in a slower metabolism & an eventual increase in body weight.

      It's what we all know: to lose weight, you have to eat right & exercise. It's just fact. And, eating right means EATING. Fasting or skipping meals, or overindulging at a single meal all are signs of DISORDERED EATING.

      And what does "eating right" mean? It basically means eating foods that are closest to their natural forms: fruits, vegetables, meats, beans, grains, etc. Can we indulge occassionally? Of course, but that's not once a day...maybe once a week.

      And if you're going to lose weight, you have to be active. College students who gain weight (I just did a HUGE research paper on this) have the SAME DIETARY HABITS as those who lose or maintain weight. The only difference is that they stopped exercising as much. That's a HUGE deal. By maintaining an exercise program, even if you don't change your eating habits initially, you'll be more likely to fend-off weight gain.

      Anyway, sorry for rambling...great topic, great hub.

    • dineane profile image

      dineane 8 years ago from North Carolina

      The weight problem in Am is almost as mysterious to me as gas prices! LOL. I stuffed myself with too much turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, peas, stuffing and cranberry sauce - a minimual menu today for just hubby and me. (We will have the BIG SPREAD at my mom's Saturday, but I wanted to have leftovers so I cooked a "small" t-day menu for us.) That's all I've eaten today. Granted, it was a huge plate, at least by my normal standards. But I remember going back for seconds and thirds at the holidays when growing up. I simply cannot eat like I used to, but I can't keep the pounds off either.

      I feel extremely fortunate that my daughter is very slim and trim - in spite of her tv and computer addictions, and in spite of obsesity in my family tree. I agree MM, it's a problem with multiple causes, and will take some figurin' to solve.

      Good Hub, as always!

    • Mighty Mom profile image
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      Susan Reid 8 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Isn't it amazing when we need organizations and programs to retrain us how to eat properly? Boggles the mind. But I think mostly all here are agreed. Too much fat, salt and carbs and grease and too little exercise are to blame.

      Rodrigo -- thank you for pointing out the "US-centrism" of my hub! I definitely meant NORTH Americans, but not even Canadians. Just us blubbies in the good of US of A!

    • profile image

      Rodrigo Saenz 8 years ago

      From which of the Americas are these Americans who are getting fatter? North, Central, or South!

      Oh, you mean USAmericans...I see

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      thejimster 8 years ago

      It's the fast food and the easy life. I've gained some weight myself in the last few months, because i started eating junk food.

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      linkqueen2008 8 years ago from Philippines

      Great hub. This can give us the realization that despite of the busy lives that we have, we should spend time eating healthy foods and better to share eating with the family.

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      Susan Reid 8 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Hello all you health-conscious hubbers! The emotional connection to eating also can't be overlooked. As you point out, cnielson, and debbie bruck, what is the core issue behind our overeating? I don't believe one overeating pattern fits all. Do agree for sure that diets are a crazy idea. But people who write diet books and sell diet pills are making millions. Americans want the quick fix, don't we?

      I suggest we all head over to Lita's for salmon, rice and fresh veggies. That sounds good to me!

      Also thanks for the reminder that food and eating have become secondary in our lives. We seldom take the time to sit down and enjoy a real meal with our family. That leads to mindless meal consumption and mindless junk consumption. Before we know it, we've popped thousands of extra calories in our mouths!

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      tring-sandra 8 years ago from UK

      Good hub for fat people who never cares for theri eating habits.....Good effort to make people alert the way they live

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      Jason Menayan 8 years ago from San Francisco

      I think more people need simple culinary education from you, Lita. ;-)

    • Debby Bruck profile image

      Debby Bruck 8 years ago

      Great hub for getting people and especially teens thinking about the way they eat. Americans definitely eat way too much, not just quantity of food, but salt, sugars and fats in their diet. It would be interesting to find out WHY we crave those flavor enhancers so much today. Check out that hub on ten videos to exercise! Think about working on the emotional motivation to slim down. See if there is a homeopath who may suggest an energetic approach that gets to core issues, relationships and family dynamics as a source of the problem.

    • profile image

      Leta S 8 years ago

      Livelonger-I promise, it is the truth, :). I cook this all the time, and we are not rich. The salmon is frozen (wrapped individual filets), but wild caught, a bag of rice can be bought here in the middle of the dessert for a couple dollars if you play your cards right, and the vegetables are just down the road fresh at a farmers market or can be frozen, too.

      I wrote a hub on this, actually--takes approximately 30 minutes or so baked on tinfoil in the oven--about the time it takes to run to a fast food restaurant. Not to mention, McD's now has really good chicken salads which are great--just got to choose them.

      I DO understand this whole situation--although I've always been fairly thin, I put on a little weight while working in a office because I had to eat somewere quick--I always knew I did have some choice, tho, about what to consume.

      Caveat here--I am an inveterate walker and runner and I consciously think 'health' with almost everything I put in my mouth--for years. The same can be said with finding bargains and living inexpensively--something I have concentrated on for years.

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      countrywomen 8 years ago from Washington, USA

      MM- I wish there was a such a machine (as they say in physics energy can neither be created or destroyed only transferred and if i transfer some money they burn energy then the transaction should be able to take place)...LOL

      Btw great noble tradition and hope you complete that 5k race in good time. Iam planning to do a seattle to portland bike race next year. I do 2/3 mile on treadmill every alternate day and so far I have been doing ok. I did volunteer in a marathon earlier this year and ever since have been inspired to participate. Now I have another person like you who is inspiring me. May their be more kind souls like you in this world. I wish you and your family a very Happy Thanksgiving. May God bless us all with health, wealth and happiness.

      Amen.

    • livelonger profile image

      Jason Menayan 8 years ago from San Francisco

      Lita - I have a tough time imagining salmon with rice and vegetables costing less than fast food, unless you caught the salmon yourself! And besides, cost is not the only concern - convenience is, too.

    • pylos26 profile image

      pylos26 8 years ago from America

      well...there is one"lighter weight" result from shorter lives...less weight on social security...(just kidding, te he)...

    • cnielson profile image

      cnielson 8 years ago from Exeter, Rhode Island

      This is a great hub and yes Americans are clearly getting bigger and obesity is getting way out of hand on a big scale.

      Yes with people thinking they are Just Too Busy ... They Have Mistakenly Put Eating Properly at the bottom of their list....... and just treat eating as a necessary evil.... and do not view it as the 'number one priority' for ones body to be properly fueled/nourished.

      ****Perpetual Diets

      With Obesity in Young People then leads to perpetual diets throughout their lives... going from one diet to the next and the next.... and never keeping the weight off.....  WHY

      WHY?  Because DIETS do NOT work .... they do NOT solve the Underlying Problems of WHY one is Overweight, A Compulsive Eater or a myriad of other reasons why one is Eating More and Enjoying It Less.... and then finding themseves overweight and wanting to Look and Feel Better..... and then they then look to diets....

      Unfortunately once they go from Eating Improperly as a young person and then phase into the adult compulsiveness issues caused by their younger days of bad eating habits ...which is losing the weight and looking and feeling good.... They have now embarked on a life long Diet Focused Life....

      I have found that there this diet based obsession cycle has effectively born a new generation of Diet Focused People.... who have Finally Realized that Diets Do Not Work.... and are truly looking for the true solution to their life long problem and compulsive issues relating to food and their bodies.

      Many have found the solutions... and they are not Quick Solutions.... but they are in fact..... Solutions That Do Work..... and Each Person Personally Must make that choice ....

      ...as to if they truly want to get off the Diet Jumping Game....

      There is s brand new site being developed focused on Identifying Alternative Solutions to Diets and Weight Loss and Overcoming Compulsive Eating and finding ones Natural Body Weight Naturally ( Without Dieting )

      ..... and Allowing the Body to determine what its Natural Body Weight Should Be...

      and not be artificially influenced by some body look you want... or some ideal weight you want to be.... because in the end it is your body that determines if the weight loss is achieved.... and if it it sustainable.

      Losing the weight is difficult.... and is NOT the Answer.... Beacause Keeping it Off... is the hardest part......

      and when you Diet.... You are Setting Yourself Up For FAILURE...

      Why?? Because By Definition "DIET" has a beginning and an End... and once You End your diet...... having reached your goal or objective.....

      The Keeping it Off Goal has now begun.....and it is well documented that very few people can or do suatain that weight they lost.....

      and thus by definition getting ready for the next diet... the day they Stop the One thet are on....

      Check out this site.... will be ready soon and just maybe you will find something that will help you got off the Diet Jumping Cycle.... and find a solution that will work for you and truly change your life in the process.

      In conclusion, there is no one universal cure for solving the Obesity Problem in the United States...

      Each person must make that personal choice... to start with acknowledging to themselves that they have an obesity and eating related overweight problem... and that they have learned from experience that Diets Do NOT WORK... and that Diets are NOT the Answer.

      Once they accept and internalize deeply these two FACTS... will they be in a Good Place to begin their journey out of their Diet Based Weight Loss Compulsiveness...

      http://www.Stop-Dieting-Start-Living.com

      and do remember this Very Very Important Slogan that will follow:

      Start Living Start Losing --- because once you Stop Dieting and Start Living...

      the Natural Process of Weight Loss Will Kick In!