Society of overeaters upset Food Labels aren't helping. | Writing | Food Newsie

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Society of overeaters upset Food Labels aren't helping.


Society of overeaters upset Food Labels aren't helping.

I’m good at a dozen things and of those 16, math isn’t one of them. Still, a few days ago when the rules for food labels changed to include added sugars, it’s easy to see that when a 20oz Coke catapults to 130% of your daily sugar intake, you should throw five ounces away as readily as you threw your buck-seventy-five away on a secret drink formula that makes you thirsty. In April 2010 when this blog started, the 19th if you’re celebrating, no one knew anything about food. Now, thanks in large part to more diligent food bloggers, there’s so much to know about food it’s essentially paralyzing.

There are conspiracies, poisons, lies, chemicals, genetics and so many earworms about health, diet and nutrition that it makes perfect sense to throw it all out the window and revert to reliance on a label.

Despite being inundated with food news the last five months, this author has conducted a personal experiment to do with that oft-scoffed number that plagues the minds of all who see it: The BMI. The Body Mass Index, while backed by international and supremely funded organizations and overseen by scientists around the world, is the bane of all people who it calls fat.

The primary objective of the BMI is to spur people to put on their thinking caps and discover new excuses to justify ignoring the results. It works! Just last year alone, I looked up my BMI an estimated 2.7 million times at 190 pounds with staggering results: I was talkative, contrary, witty, full of emotion and able to stand happily in mock judgment of skinny people – YTD, the same group performed the same action only 1.2 million times at just 165 pounds with little to no effect! I found I was at odds with nothing in the results and I was making less food available to me. There was more time for productivity, socializing, reading and still more time after all that for new hobbies and socializing away from food (which feels strange).

That 20 to 25 Pounds

If you told me now to carry 20 to 25 pounds around all day, I’d tell you to kiss my butt. But 20 to 25 pounds ago, I was more jovial about the concept and would laugh a little even through the chronic back pain. Now that my back hurts less, I’ve had more time to concentrate on things: When you’re more aware of your body, you’re more aware of your food; labels being beside the point. Everyone knows what their skin is good for, so lots of people go out of their way not to cut it open. It’s a real trend in today’s society.

No one’s saying obese is synonymous with ugly. That’s a frequent misdirection in media today. The solid note on that is that ugly’s just ugly; obese is unhealthy but it provides curves and all through time, we’ve always liked curves. So certainly, obese isn’t ugly; but consider the role all those curves have on your heart… The most direct route anywhere is a straight line and your heart totally prefers an easy time of things. It’s hard to know when curves are out of control, but here are some questions anyone can answer even without being fully away of their body:

When you shower, are there still dry spots when you’re done?
When you wear a funny tee-shirt, how much do you have to straighten it out for others to laugh (at the shirt)?

It’s unlikely that any food label in the world will change society’s thinking – with all the information science can throw at us about Nutritions, Body Masses, and Proteins per Gram, we’re not aware of our bodies in a way that makes eating cautiously make sense. We’re no good at being hungry, even for five minutes. We’re unsure how to socialize normally if there isn’t food nearby. We can’t sit still and watch a movie for two hours without a full day’s worth of Calories, candy and soda that comes in deeply troubling sizes that can only lead to bladder and kidney strain if not through storage (God forbid you get up to pee during a movie) then through diabetes later.

Changing minds changes overeating

Overeating in this American environment is a devilishly hard habit to break. The only route, then, would be to demonize eating all together. That might force it to normal levels. Speaking now as a “Normal” BMI person, it’s tough. Cities seem to be 90% restaurants. When I get gasoline, there’s food. Meeting friends is most convenient where there’s food. Coffee shops now have deli’s and bake shops. It’s impossible today to get away from the influence, so let’s change the impression society has of that influence. Let’s call overeating a weakness.

A weakness of character; a weakness of society – we eat like pack animals, so let’s start culling like pack animals. Smokers (to their benefit) have been through this: The ridicule, the ostracization, the humiliation, having to dive underground as a once friendly society turned on them. When we see obese people drinking 20oz sodas in public, let’s make gurgling sounds as we pass by – let’s ask where they’re going to put that?

Let’s not target the obese, let’s target the habit. Because fat isn’t bad or ugly, it’s just fat. Bad is bad and ugly’s ugly. Because obese is just stored potential; let’s acknowledge that we know that – we just want to see what they’re going to do with it now. We don’t need anyone to store more potential. Those cities, fat with restaurants will have to switch up as eating places close giving newly Normal BMI people places to sell the wares they suddenly have the time to create. Entire economies and art villages will come into existence and, thankfully, the rest of us will have places to meet friends that don’t involve food!

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