Take Responsibility! Your Kid is Fat. It’s YOUR Fault.

What scientists call "Overweight" ch...

Personal responsibility is a character trait increasingly hard to find in people of this country. The people of the United States have completely fallen for our “leader’s” efforts to “help” you every time an accident happens, or a negative trend is discovered, or a problem occurs. It’s always someone else’s fault.

A growing and popular topic of discussion in this country is childhood obesity; a problem so pervasive and threatening that we could be raising the first generation ever to have a shorter life expectancy. It’s a war that has drawn the attention of former President Bill Clinton, current First Lady Michelle Obama, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and many others. It’s a serious problem. But if you want to find who or what’s responsible for your child’s heft…go no further than the nearest mirror.

CBS News reported yesterday that a key drug used for adults with Type 2 diabetes, Metformin, was largely ineffective in treating children with Type 2 diabetes. The drug is supposed to help control sugar levels in blood. Obesity is a leading cause of Type 2 diabetes in kids and adults. Since 1980 obesity in children has almost tripled, to over 12.5-million. In the CBS report the studies Director says “If we can prevent them (children) from getting diabetes that would be far preferable than being in a position of treating it.” Doctor Robin Goland correctly points out that historically kids didn’t get Type 2 diabetes. When, and if a child got diabetes it was Type 1, which has little or nothing to do with obesity. Diabetes creates a host of medical problems including poor circulation, blindness, and kidney disease.

In related news a new study reported on by the New York Times discloses that the claims of urban residents around our country being nutritionally disadvantaged because of a lack of stores providing fresh fruits and vegetables is an urban myth, not urban desert. The urban food desert myth was given lots of credibility by…wait for it…First Lady Michelle Obama.

First Lady Michelle Obama

First Lady Michelle Obama (Photo credit: West Point Public Affairs)

I for one am glad Mrs. Obama cares for us all and emphasizes healthy eating and physical activity. It would just be more helpful if she knew what she was talking about. The article in the NY Times reports that two recent studies have been done about the supposed lack of nutritional foods in poor urban environments, “But two new studies have found something unexpected. Such neighborhoods not only have more fast food restaurants and convenience stores than more affluent ones, but more grocery stores, supermarkets and full-service restaurants, too.” So with availability no longer an issue who’s to blame for kids lack of proper diet and their subsequent obesity? Here’s a hint…they got their money for that McDonald’s Super Sized Bic Mac Meal from Mom or Dad, same as yesterday, and the day before and the day before that.

City Road McDonalds The famous golden arches b...

And lets stop blaming McDonald’s and other fast food establishments for our kids being fat. As Bill Wittle explained in a video blog we posted a couple of weeks ago called, Why It Sucks to Be Conservative, all McDonald’s does is open up for business. It’s something they have been doing with largely the same menu for sixty years. Remember when we were kids and Mom and Dad took us to McDonald’s? It was special and exciting? Why? Because it didn’t happen all that often. For me if I got McDonald’s food twice in a month I was fortunate. Now, it’s not unusual for many families to visit the drive-thru two-three-four times per week. We can’t do that to our kids and not have them suffer the ill effects. Let me remind you, they don’t have the money or the car to take them to McDonald’s. You do. You are also the one whose responsibility it is to say NO when the kids ask. Grow a backbone and do so.

Years ago I heard a news report on the radio in which the anchor told the listeners of a study, a multi-million dollar study that concluded obese people were obese because they ate more than the rest of us. Do we really need a study to come to this conclusion?

Used to be a common refrain from social critics was “how much time kids spent in front of the tv”. Well, I don’t hear that too often anymore, though I suspect its more of a concern. Between sitting in front of a tv show, video games and computers your kids are probably more inactive than they used to be. Combine that with the fear of letting them out of your sight and your kids are zombies compared to our youth. And we watched tons of TV, didn’t we? Telling your kids to “go outside and play” may seem like a punishment to them, sometimes. But you are doing them a big favor.

In this as in most all things your Mom or Dad were right when they told you “all things in moderation”. I personally don’t have a problem with buying my kids “junk” food, any kind of junk food. But eaten in moderation it’s not going to kill your kids. Too much of a “good” thing definitely will. And I certainly don’t mind being the bad guy (when my kids were younger) and telling them to go outside and play. The life you create for them through a little more attention being paid to the things you limit will be so much more healthy and full filling and they’ll be thankful too.

Thanks for visiting. Comments are welcome.

My Weight Loss Frustration

Sucking in the gut

Sucking in the gut at about 240 lbs.

There is no doubt that one of the most frustrating things I’ve ever attempted to do is lose weight. And it’s not for a serious lack of effort.

Before I tell my short story let me request that all my many friends who peddle weight loss plans and programs withhold your personal invitations to try your product. I know who you are, and when the time is right I’ll seek you out.

See if my story doesn’t mirror yours in some ways.

My latest frustration came when I stepped on the scale this morning and found that I’ve gained 5 pounds this week. This is frustrating for the following reasons: During the holiday season I fully admit to eating generously, drinking frequently, and ingesting everything that is supposed to be bad for me. From Thanksgiving to New Years Day I didn’t lack for pies, cookies, candies, mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, creamy sauces, and fatty meats. And through this month-long gorging of myself I didn’t gain weight; unless 2-3 pounds counts as gaining weight. I don’t think it does; especially since I started at around 233 pounds. Were I the size and weight of an average man, about 170-180 pounds; 2-3 pounds would be more significant. I gained this five pounds in spite of joining my neighborhood LA Fitness gym and seriously stepping up my regular workouts this week.

As in all things context is king. So here’s my context. I’m 47 years old, 6-foot 1-inch, with a fairly heavy build. I’m a big guy. Bigger than most, anyway. I grew up an athlete and physically fit. As a 18-year-old high school football and basketball player I was 185-190 pounds. By age 23, when I got married, I had added a lot of muscle through weight training and weighed 205-210. For most of the past 10-15 years I’ve been pretty steady at 235-240. Like a lot of men, if not all, my excess weight is carried between my arm pits and my hips.

A funny thing about my weight gain is that it was actually endorsed by a few people around me who I love. A few years after marrying my wife of 25 years I was about 220 lbs. My wife’s 80+ year old Grandma who we all affectionately call Granny always referred to my size by saying, “Now you look like A MAN!”.

At age 39 after remaining fairly active through my 20s and 30s I noticed how my body was frequently experiencing lots of aches and pains. It was particularly acute in my hips and knees. I attributed most of this to playing catcher for my teen daughter who was a fast-pitch softball pitcher. The bending and stooping to help her training, combined with age, took its toll. So I began a regular exercise routine. I’ve religiously stuck to that exercise routine of weights and treadmill work for the past eight years. Every morning I’m up at 5:30am working on generating a sweat. The routine helped tremendously with my aches and pains but did nothing for my weight and shape.

So last Spring after reaching my all-time high weight of 245 I decided, for the first time in my life, to really try to lose weight. My efforts were mostly directed at my diet. I began eating off salad plates instead of the larger dinner plates, which I always piled high with my wife’s delicious and filling cooking. I made a concerted effort to eat more leafy vegetables and began taking fiber supplements. Progress was slow. So at the behest of a couple of friends who’d had some success with the Advocare diet and nutrition program I went on their 10-day challenge. I dropped six pounds. Shortly thereafter I was down to 230 pounds, and was looking and feeling better.

This is the point where my frustration began to grow. At my best point in the past eight months my digital scale showed me at 230.00 pounds. It really grinded my gears that I couldn’t dip into the 220s. I know its silly but 229.99 would have looked and felt so much better to me than 230.00. At least three times in the past 5 months I’ve stepped on the scale and seen 230-point-something. Each time I got excited and practically starved myself for a day or two trying to nudge that scale below that torturous 230 mark, only to see it climb back to 232-233-234. WHAT! God must want me to be fat. Or so I thought on a couple of occasions.

This whole experience has made me a far more compassionate person toward those who battle weight. I know what I’m doing. And I know I’ve improved my eating habits and maintained a regular exercise routine. But I have so little to show for it.

The good news is I maintain healthy blood pressure, blood sugar levels, and believe I’ve taken steps to lengthen my life. I’ve also realized that I need help. I’m always resistant to spending money on things and services I feel I can do on my own. But I’m now going to find a diet that will knock off the 15-20 pounds I really want gone.

Weight loss is more than a vanity exercise for me. It’s a life decision. My father died at 64. His father at 65. His brother, my Uncle, at 61. They were all overweight. Though like me my Uncle was pretty active. But when he died nearly 2 years ago I was struck with a fear I’d never felt. The idea of only living on this planet another 18-20 years seemed like a desperately short amount of time for all the things I still wanted to do. I want to see my kids continue to grow and succeed. When the time comes that I’m a Grandfather I am eager to see my grandkids grow into adulthood. So, ya, I want to look and feel better. But I want to live longer. And sadly, I’m now at the age where I have to entertain such thoughts.

So for the others out there also struggling to look and feel better. You have my heart-felt sympathy and support. Like me, you can do it. I can do it. I won’t quit. My life depends on it. I’ll keep you posted.

Thanks for visiting. Comments are welcome.

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