In the BodyForLifeWomenOfColor Yahoo group a woman recently posted a conspiracy theory rant regarding the government and the big-profit food industry in regards to the safety of artificial sweeteners. She also decided to blame those two groups and the food pyramid for the obesity problem in general.
> Date: Wed, 27 Oct 2004 15:52:07 -0000
> Subject: Re:(was: motivational article) artificial sweetners & sugar addiction
> I take anything the government and professionals regarding how food
> affects someone psychologically and physically with a grain of salt.
> Those same professionals you’ve quoted are the same professionals who
> along with the FDA and government have recently admitted 40 years
> later that they had the food pyramid wrong. Their recommendations to
> eat more grains/carbs over veggies ect since the 1950’s is why there
> has been such an increase in obesity, type 2 diabetes, and other
> health problems.
This was my response:
Now as far as the food pyramid goes…I agree that a higher percentage of protein than was recommended by the pyramid would be beneficial to a lot of people, but I wouldn’t go so far as to blame “obesity, type 2 diabetes, and other health problems” on just an outdated food pyramid and governmental errors. How many of us even paid attention to the food pyramid in making food choices in our pre-BFL diets?
I know I didn’t.
I couldn’t even tell you what was on the pyramid now even though I used to walk by a poster of it every single day in the cafeteria in elementary and middle school. I doubt that the majority of Americans could, either.
I ate what I felt like whenever I felt like it before reading BFL, which was pretty much raisin bran, milk, and two eggs for breakfast, a quick 6″ Subway roast beef sub and chips for lunch, a bit of candy or some chips as a snack, and rice and a stir fry dish from my own kitchen for dinner. Looking back on it now, I’d guess that my average daily intake was around 2000-2200 calories, 60% carb, 15% protein, and 25% fat. Combine that with a sedentary desk job, no regular exercise, and a bunch of sit-on-my-butt hobbies and you get a 5’6″, 145 lb gal who fits comfortably into size 9-12 clothing. Not obese by any means, but not sleek or trim, either. My portion sizes were reasonable, and I didn’t have any eating disorders or food-related emotional issues. I was on the high end of “average” for a 29-year old working female in America. I know that many others would probably be happy to get to where I was back in May, but I knew I could be a lot more fit and a lot less fluffy, and I didn’t blame the fact that I didn’t look like a fitness model on anyone but myself.
*I* chose not to exercise for 4 years. *I* let the annual gym membership from my father expire without stepping foot inside the local World’s Gym. *I* decided to have Pop Tarts from the vending machine for breakfast and chips for snacks instead of fruit. *I* raised my hand for pizza when the bosses asked us what we wanted for dinner on late work nights. *I* let years go by without learning more about healthy eating and exercise. *I* elected to spend my free time reading books, working on the computer, and playing video games instead of hiking, cycling, or rockclimbing. *I* chose to eat entire restaurant meal servings even though I was already full halfway through the meal. *I* talked myself into a fourth, gut-busting plate at every Chinese buffet because I wanted to “get my money’s worth.”
ME. Not the government. Not the food companies. Not the food pyramid.
People become overweight and possibly ill through the exercise of their own free will in a dozen little ways each and every day from the moment they wake up until the second they drift off to sleep for the night with 3500+ calories in their bellies and nothing more strenuous than a walk to their car in their activity tally.
Obesity isn’t an external problem brought on by government/food manufacturer conspiracies. It is a matter of personal accountability and responsibility. Big Brother isn’t standing there next to us with a gun pointed to our heads when we gobble down our fried chicken, Big Macs, apple pie a la mode, homemade pork and beans, and Bloomin’ Onions. He isn’t blocking the doorway into the nearest gym either. We make our own choices. We make our own fat. You have to accept responsibility for your own condition before you can make a real change in your habits, because accepting responsibility is the same as declaring that YOU are in control of your body and can therefore change it for the better starting with your very next meal. If you persist in blaming your weight troubles on external forces like genetics, the food industry, the government, an unsupportive family, a busy career, and the friggin’ phase of the moon on the day you had planned to start your diet, you’ll never get a true handle on your problem because there will always be a reason to quit, to give only 50% effort, and to get lackluster results.