I heard the producer of the upcoming HBO special, The Weight of the Nation (Confronting America’s Obesity Epidemic) speak on NPR last week. Of the many things discussed on the show, was the fact that the quality of food in America is greatly compromised with vast amounts of sugar, salt and fat (not to mention chemicals), all of which may taste good, but are HUGE factors in the obesity epidemic in our country. It was stated that over the millennia our bodies were designed to store fat in the event of food scarcity. This may have been a problem centuries ago, it’s not today. Today, food scarcity is anything but a problem. Making matters worse is the epidemic of stress. Stress produces the stress hormone, cortisol, which promotes an increase in adipose (fat) tissue. Combined with this the fact that food producers market incessantly to your ego, with subliminal and not so subliminal messages to eat and eat and eat. One more fact to consider: the use of high technology (from Ipads to merely driving a car an hour a day) has made our culture VERY sedentary. The bottom line is this; if the calories consumed are greater than the calories expended, weight gain will most certainly occur. The factors for obesity in the country are many and quite complex. The consequences of chronic health issues associated with obesity (from heart disease, diabetes and cancer) are monumental and quite complex, all of which endlessly spins the obesity and stress cycle.
Stress Tip for the Day:
So.. how does one get off of the obesity and stress cycle? Begin by unplugging from the intravenous tube of marketing: the television. Make a habit of getting outside and walking each morning for 20 mins (see link below). Read food labels (see photo) and shift your diet towards fruits and veggies. If you eat at restaurants (and do this infrequently), ask for outdoor seating (indoors they turn the AC on which affects appetite, making you eat more). Shift away from mindless eating (eating out of boredom or stress). Eat more organic foods and less processed foods. Try to be more conscious of what you eat, how often you eat and how to expend more calories. As my financial experts reminds me about my retirement funds, “Don’t feel guilty, just start where you are and move forward.”
Links, Books and Movies Worth Noting:
Here is a link to an interview on Fresh Air about the merits of walking… a good read:
I would also like to recommend the book, Mindless Eating by Brian Wansink as well as the book, In Defense of Food, by Michael Pollan.
Quote for the Day:
“If it’s made by a plant, eat it. If it’s made in a plant, DON’T eat it.” — Anonymous
Photo for the Day:
I took today’s photo off the Internet. For something as simple as guacamole: avocados, tomatoes and perhaps some sour cream, look at all the ingredients in this mixture of guacamole. Don’t look to natural to me. Don’t sacrifice convenience for good health. Please make a habit of reading all food labels. And…as the saying goes, if you cannot pronounce it easily, you shouldn’t eat it.
Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D. is an internationally renowned expert in the fields of stress management, mind-body-spirit healing and stress and human spirituality. He is the author of over 12 books including the bestsellers, Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water, Stressed Is Desserts Spelled Backward, The Art of Calm, Quiet Mind, Fearless Heart and Managing Stress (7e)and the newly released, A Beautiful World: The Earth Song Journals. He can be reached through his website: www.brianlukeseaward.net
© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.