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Obesity, The New Norm

Here’s quite a reality check – I’m not the norm. How? I am fit, healthy, and have a lower body fat to muscle ratio. What is the “norm”? Sadly, being overweight or obese has become the “norm” and until we reverse this trend, it is going to cost us. 43 percent of Americans will be overweight or obese by 2018, and the nation will spend $344 billion to address health-related problems.

The Fat Gap, a new term coined by British researchers, refers to a discrepancy between how people see themselves and the number on the scale. What constitutes being overweight or obese is now considered the “norm” because those around us–friends, family and colleagues—are overweight or obese.

In a British study reported September 23, 2009, in the Telegraph, only one person in 10 identified themselves as being obese, when in fact one in four was obese (roughly 30 or more pounds overweight). The result, people are unaware they are obese because being fat is now seen as the ‘norm’. This lack of awareness places individuals at risk for medical problems triggered by obesity.

In Carole Carson’s article on this subject in the Huffington Post, Weight Loss: The Fat Gap, Generation Gap And Appetite Gap, she writes “Lest you think I am judging these individuals for their lack of self-awareness, I hasten to add that when, at five feet one inch, I tipped the scales at 183 pounds, I did not see myself as obese. Even though I was 60 pounds overweight, I saw myself as slightly pudgy. Besides, I didn’t think I looked any worse than the people around me. I was trapped in the fat gap and was in the 90th percentile for risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes. If I hadn’t lost weight and got fit, I would likely have become disabled or died.”

Dr. Nick Yphantides, author of My Big Fat Greek Diet says, “you have to change the way you see before you can change the way you look, and this certainly applies to how we see ourselves.”

So, why are we becoming a society of “fat people”. Processed/junk foods that are part of the average person’s diet was not around in the 1920’s or 1930’s. Many of the high calorie foods we eat have been scientifically engineered to appeal to our love of foods that are sweet, salty and fatty. These high calorie foods go down fast and we never have a sense of satiety. If food doesn’t trigger a sense of having eaten enough, individuals keep eating even though they may already have consumed more calories than required to maintain their weight.

Not only are we consuming foods that have little or no nutritional value, we are also unknowingly consuming more calories. To add more gasoline to this fire, most people are what has become known as couch potatoes, therefore, not burning/utilizing the calories we consume.

As Carole Carson stated in her article, “We have choices, and we must make them in full knowledge that our future is at stake. If we want to enjoy longer, healthier lives and reduce our burgeoning medical expenses, we’ll have to find or create ways to close the gaps.”

The answer to all of this is very simple, but is too hard and complex for most people. Be aware of the foods you eat. Before you order a meal, ask yourself if what you are choosing to eat is healthy and good for your body. Healthy, nutritious foods aren’t bland and boring. Be aware of how much food you consume in a sitting. Get off the couch and exercise. The human body was not designed to be sedentary, and the fact that we are going against nature, is costing us dearly not only in our own personal health, but as a country.

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  1. 8 Comment(s)

  2. By Carole Carson | Reply

    You’ve done an excellent job of forwarding the discussion about how ordinary people (like me and hundreds others like me) can make changes that make the difference in the quality and length of our lives. Thanks for writing such an insightful article.

    Carole Carson

  3. By sharifitness | Reply

    Carol
    Thank you so much for your comment on this article. You are such an inspiration and role model to everyone 🙂

    ~Shari

  4. By Darvis Simms | Reply

    What a great article. If the new norm continues for very long we will start to see the length of life expectancy decrease. It’s a shame because each of has the power to change this and we haven’t.

  5. By sharifitness | Reply

    Darvis,
    Thanks for the comment. Glad you liked the article. Wish more and more people would get the message. Feel free to spread the word and share this article.

  6. By Chris Gessner | Reply

    Excellent article. Its not hard to eat more fruit and vegetables. Maybe they don’t like the taste. Is it to expensive? To time consuming? Can Americans afford to eat healthy? The junk food and unhealthy stuff taste good to most and therefore makes the individual eating it feel better. Its an easy way to feel good. No effort is required to open a candy bar. I hope things change. Healthcare is way to expensive.

  7. By sharifitness | Reply

    Hi Chris
    Thanks for your comment and feedback on this article. I’ve mentioned this in another article I wrote but I do feel as though the food industry has brainwashed people into thinking healthy foods are bland, tasteless, boring, expensive, difficult to eat, etc, which really is far from the truth. Also, too many people are sedentary, however, the unhealthy foods do zap your energy from wanting to do any physical activity.

    It is the select few who have finally made up their minds to change their unhealthy habits to healthy ones. You have to want it.

    Shari

  8. By Theresa | Reply

    Do you mind if I quote a few of your posts
    as long as I provide credit and sources back to your website?
    My blog is in the exact same area of interest as yours and my users
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    Please let me know if this ok with you. Regards!

  9. By sharifitness | Reply

    Yes Theresa, you can quote my posts provided you do provide credit and source back to my site 🙂

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  2. Oct 4, 2011: Obesity, the New Norm ? | Fun. Fit. Chic.

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