Diet, and dieting aids, is a multibillion dollar industry in the United States. This should come as no surprise because many, many studies from both government and private researchers have documented the rapidly rising rates of obesity in almost all segments of the population.
These two facts seem to be at odds with each other. On one hand, we seem to be obsessed with how much we weigh and are willing to spend vast amounts of money on almost any product or service that claims to help us lose our unwanted pounds. Yet, on the other hand, there are a great many credible reports that, nationally, we continue to grow fatter.
I think the disconnect between the two is that even though we desperately want to weigh less than we do, we are unable, or unwilling, to make the lifestyle choices necessary to not gain weight in the first place. As a culture, we seem to want to live a life of culinary abandon and eat everything we wish and then be able to purchase a thin body without fuss or muss.
As circumstantial evidence, I point to a recent article in the New York Times. The article itself is an examination of the continuing popularity of the faddish HCG diet despite any real evidence that it actually works. The author reports on one woman who injects herself daily with HCG as part of a 500 calorie a day diet.
Briefly, this is crazy in the extreme. Any reputable dietician will tell you that a middle aged female requires somewhere around 1,400 calories daily to maintain current weight and will begin to lose weight when calories are restricted to about 1,100 daily. For the woman outlined in the NY Times article, she doesn’t need HCG at all, at 500 calories a day, she’s starving herself already.
The answer to losing weight is not spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on questionable “miracle” programs. The answer is to choose to stick with a reasonable and healthy diet and not ignore the nutritional needs your body has.
Put another way, our species has developed over tens of thousands of years and has survived more than a few challenges along the way. Our latest challenge, at least in the west, is that we do not get enough exercise and don’t eat at all correctly. That is, what we need for the body to function well.
Typically, we ingest way too much red meat, too many carbohydrates, and too much sugar. We don’t eat nearly enough fruits, vegetables, whole grains, or fish. Instead of preparing our own meals, we too often head off to the closest fast food vendor. Instead of exercising, we sit on our couches and watch others play games.