Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Journey: Why is obesity an epidemic in our country?

While I was on this journey last year to lose 45 pounds,
 not only was I learning how to count calories,
 how to fit exercise into my already bulging daily schedule,
how to plan ahead and list out my snacks for the day,
how to accept that loneliness, frustration, and boredom were emotions that were fueling some bad snacking habits,
but I also had to learn how to control my portions!!

It was another enormous "ah-HA" moment for me when I began paying attention
 to what a REAL serving size is.
I was a little ashamed when I realized that I was often eating enough for 2 or 3 people!!
It takes an enormous amount of self-control to only eat one piece of pizza when you're STARVING!
(Well, for me anyway!)
But that's just it.
I had to learn the foods that were "diet busters" for me and either:

1.  Avoid them completely until I wasn't starving
2.  Manage my hunger better with a salad or something ahead of time so I didn't gorge

I started thinking about this idea of self-control a LOT!
I thought about the way the American culture is overloaded with huge servings!
We want everything "super sized"
and instead of treating it like it is...enough servings for several people...
we eat the entire thing!!

I don't think we expect to go into a restaurant these days, and get anything less than 
a wheel barrel full of food on our plates.
And we wonder why obesity is such a problem?

 Americans are becoming more comfortable with and accommodating to being such an unhealthy size.
Have you noticed that clothing sizes are different/bigger than they used to be?
I'm convinced that the size 10 jeans I could buy today are waaaay bigger than the size 10 jeans I
used to buy 15-20 years ago.
They have such a large selection these days of clothing for the larger person,
as well as so many accoutrements to accommodate them.
I heard recently that the number of bariatric surgeries has just skyrocketed!
Obviously, we have a problem with obesity in this country,
but we want the quick way out of the problem.
We either live in denial (that hamburger isn't THAT big or I'm not THAT heavy, I'm just pleasantly plump!),
or want a quick-fix!

Why can't we be content with just one serving?
Isn't that all we really need?
Am I using my food to be my comfort?
Am I so overwhelmed with my responsibilities and daily stresses that I turn to that box of cookies?

Why am I not turning to the Lord with my burdens?

"The Lord is my portion, saith my soul;
therefore will I hope in Him."
~Lamentations 3:24

"I cried unto thee, O Lord:
I said, Thou art my refuge and my portion......
Attend unto my cry;
for I am very low:
....Bring my soul out of prison,
that I may praise thy name."
~Psalm 142:5-7

I get that obesity will not become completely extinct in our country if we all learned portion control.
I know there is so much more involved.
But I have observed that Americans eat way more than they need to,
and that the driving force behind that should be addressed.

Sure, it's genetic.
Because my parents had bad eating habits passed down to them from their parents.
And where did my grandparents learn unhealthy eating patterns?
From their parents.
That's the genetic link.

It became so intensely clear to me that my children learn how to eat
and why to eat from.....
I want them to learn that finding a quiet place to regroup when the frustration mounts,
or that a hot cup of tea or coffee with some sweet, lovely music can calm the soul
better than that bowl of ice cream.
I want them to learn that beginning their day in the majestic and peaceful presence of the Lord
will make all the days pressures pale in comparison.

"My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever."
~Psalm 73:26


Laura said...

Brenda, I am on week 2. I mistakenly thought the first week would be the hardest. I'm struggling more this second week. I guess after eating how you want for almost 40 years, it takes awhile to re-train oneself. I have thought of you often and told myself if you can do it, so can I! Do you remember how many calories you ate when you first started? I assume it goes down the more ones loses.

Brenda said...

Hi Laura,
Hang in there, girl!!! YAY for making it to the 2nd week without giving up!! Just be patient with yourself and let yourself learn the ropes. You're right. It does take time and several mistakes before you get in a good groove. Just stick with it and get back up when you fall and keep going. Isn't that just how the Lord is with us? He stays with us and gently leads us along. He doesn't rush us. And He always forgives us and pours His grace out to us when we mess up. I finally realized it's a gradual process and that it's easier if you don't rush yourself.
Because I was pretty heavy, I started out at 1350 calories for the day. After I lost the first 18-20 pounds, my body size was smaller, so I didn't burn calories as fast, so the program lowered my daily calorie target to 1200. They suggested when you reach a plateau to try going lower still but by only 50-100 calories until I started loosing weight again. It's a stair step process, but it's worth it!!! Keep up the good work!!