Using the eyeball test alone, we can assume a lot of Americans are fat and happy.
They have no great burning desire to lose weight. We in this group have been enabled by Golden Corral buffets, Super Big Gulps, super-sized burger and fries combos and king-sized Butterfingers.
This contention about the aimless majority goes against the seasonal impression that nearly all Americans are pinching their gut, pushing the cookie plate away and vowing to get in shape, lose weight, etc.
New Year’s resolutions! This is the time, isn’t it?
Yet the fact is too many of us have fairly low expectations for change, having profoundly disappointed ourselves countless times in the past.
Because of this self-knowledge, we may not even indulge a fleeting introspective thought about needed reforms for the New Year.
Previously vowed iron-fisted discipline in finances, charity, fitness, relationships, all have come a cropper.
Being a regular at a local health club, I know the months of January and February bring dozens of new members, all vying to use the treadmill at morning, noon and night.
This burst of enthusiasm won’t last until pass Valentine’s Day for most of them.
Others will plop down $1,200 for 24 sessions with a personal trainer who will look over their shoulder and lead them through lunges, overhead presses and crunches in the interest of getting their client in shape for the “after” for a poster-sized testimonial.
Their considerable investment, one assumes, will keep them engaged for at least 24 training sessions.
Is the problem that we make ambitious resolutions and we fall woefully short? Or is that we make resolutions that are just too tough to meet?
Speaking of Americans and obesity, I see that some pundits are saying the problem is contrived, a simple myth to make money.
In an opinion piece headlined “Our absurd fear of fat” published in The New York Times, Paul Campos says “there is no reason to believe that the trivial variations in mortality risk observed across an enormous weight range actually have anything to do with weight or that intentional weight gain or loss would affect that risk in a predictable way.”
I’m OK, you’re OK. Let’s hit the Golden Corral buffet, what do you say?
Maybe I have a little too much Puritan in me still, but I think we need to expect more of ourselves and our fellow Americans. There is no way we should be content with the current state of affairs.
The hard-to-hear truth is that the Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys say 69% of adults are overweight or obese, with more than 78 million adult Americans considered obese.