June 6, 2010

Dear President Obama, Why Haven't You Made Me Skinny Yet?

I was watching a show the other night called One Nation, Overweight, on MSNBC. It was very interesting. At one point I my blood pressure began to rise a little bit. I rewound and rewound so I could write down the man's exact words to share with you. Of course I ended up throwing that paper away a few days later by accident. This is the gist of what he said:

If we don't combine personal responsibility with corporate responsibility with governmental responsibility where obesity is concerned, our nation is going to be at risk of losing our stature at an international level.

Hmm. Weeeell...

If by corporate responsibility you mean companies changing the ways they make their products, then I disagree. Chocolate chip cookies are bad for you. If you eat a bunch everyday you are going to be fat. However, chocolate chip cookies taste really good and if you eat one from time to time over the course of 6 months, you can still lose 50 lbs. I did. I don't want Nestle to start making their chocolate chips out of skim milk just so someone can eat a bag of chocolate chips and not feel as bad about it. That type of thing is not going to solve the obesity problem in America, people!!

And if you mean the companies should change the ways they market their products then I totally disagree, AGAIN. Here's an idea mom's who can't tell your kids "NO" to candy at the grocery store: turn off the TV. The companies aren't forcing kids to watch these ads, the parents allow it and let's face it--it is not corporate America's job to raise my kids.

And if by governmental responsibility you mean...well, I think the government has enough to worry about right now. They have given us healthy nutritional guidelines (which is the eating plan I follow), they have required nutritional information to be displayed on the foods that we buy, and they are offering health care for EVERYONE. (Sigh) So thank you government, but that is all.

Now, I try to be an open-minded person. In fact, I think this is the first post I have ever done that might be a bit controversial. So on the flip side, if by corporate responsibility you mean companies offering healthy lifestyle programs for their employees then I say go for it! If by governmental responsibility you mean more health education and perhaps healthier meal options for our public school lunches then I say go for it!

The thing is, I tried to pass the buck for too long where my weight was concerned. If we wait for everyone else to get on board to solve this obesity problem, we're gonna be obese for a long time. Personal responsibility is where it begins and if we each help a couple of other people along our journey, that could take care of our nation's problem with obesity.

Your thoughts? Keep it civil.
Photobucket

22 comments:

Michelle said...

I think we can pass the buck so to speak to the government or the corporations or whoever we want but all in all it comes to to personal responsibility. I knew that eating fast food and pizza and ice cream and all the other crap I ate without exercising was going to make me fat, but I did it anyway. I think we're all informed enough and sometimes even too much about what is and isn't good for us. The choice is ours to make, good or bad.

cmoursler said...

amen and amen

Googie said...

I agree!! Let's start a movement!! I tried creating a healthy lifestyle club at my work and no one showed up!

Alexis said...

I absolutely agree with you. It is without a doubt a personal responsibility. You can only play a "victim" for so long and put your issues on someone else before it blows up in your face. I too tried to pass the buck and placed the blame of me being fat onto something else.

I thought this was a great post and very interesting thoughts from the president.

Romantic Comedee said...

I completely agree with you. It wasn't a corporation or the government that made me use food as an emotional crutch through many years of my life. I DID THAT.

It's my responsibility to change it. I think if I had taken control earlier in my life, I wouldn't be in the situation I am in now, but now "healthy" version of my go-to, bad-for-me snacks or the government taking soda out of my school would have changed the way I was.

Still, I do appreciate a push for a healthier education. I like that restaurants have to provide nutritional information. I like that schools and businesses are pushing to develop healthy options for their students and employees.

But it needs to be a personal responsibility. An education that begins at home when we are very young. And a real look at WHY you develop unhealthy habits. It's different for everyone. Corporations and government agencies are not responsible for that.

Sylvia said...

We do have a responsibility to take care of ourselves, with that I agree!

I do believe that advertising is evil though. When Shrek is on the cover of every "bad" food enticing kids to take a bite it's difficult to resist those things. Yes, you can teach your children to make better choices and you can also say no, but sometimes it's not enough. I can control what I purchase for my kids at home but there comes a point when kids (maybe teens?!) start to veer off on their own a little bit. As much as you try to mold them and guide them to what is appropriate they will also experience pressure from outside sources. Not just with food but with drugs and sex and the whole other world out there. At that point you can hope that they will chose what is right but it doesn't always work like that. So my point is....the less temptation is staring them in the face the less opportunity to choose the wrong path. Advertising is enticing!

I watched the same program when it aired and thought it was appalling that the high school featured on the show would sell candy at 9am to the students for fundraising efforts (for sports teams...wow...that's strange). The principal kept saying that there were other "healthy" choices but I honestly didn't see one when the camera scanned the table. :( It was interesting that students were purchasing these items several times a day and this was a major source of income for the school. I only mention this because it just goes to show that kids will "go for it" and you don't have control as a parent at all times.

Not only do I disagree with food advertising but I also think the way other products are presented is damaging as well. Perfume, makeup, clothing, Barbie?! You mean I have to look like that airbrushed model to be appealing to any one else? It's just not realistic. My poor 8 year old is already getting a complex and she is stick thin!!

All in all, advertising does what it's meant to do....it sells products. As hard as you may try, some advertising will affect you in a negative way and that is sad. As an adult, if you have "lived and learned" you are able to make educated choices but as a kid (even with strong guidance) you may be persuaded.

I grew up with a health nut for a mother who fed me all the healthy things that are out there. Chips in my house...I don't think so!! Then I grew up...and guess what....I ended up fat. ;)

Ok...sorry for the novel but you asked for opinions. :)

Keelie said...

I appreciate your opinions, Sylvia.
I was appaled at the candy sales at that school also. Totally irresponsible!

What did you think of the treadmill workstation???Love it!

And the CEO who pays for his employees to get healthy--that is a brilliant business mind.

Slimming Down for the Gown said...

I think taking ownership for our own weight-issues is the only way we're actually going to see weight loss. I could blame a lot of things for my weight, but I know it was all my decision to eat what I did.

The only thing I believe the government (local, state, & federal) needs to better control is food in schools. Watching Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution really opened my eyes up to what kids are (and aren't being fed in school). I don't believe a 5-year-old has the cognitive ability to make healthy food choices and there are some parents who don't have time or money to send their kids lunches.

But other than that, I totally feel the way you're feeling!

Fluffy said...

Well said! I couldn't agree MORE!

Nicole said...

great post! I agree!
Your pictures on the side are so fun! You make a great model :)

{Absolutely, Positively} Josie said...

i super agree with everything you said except the part about the government offering healthcare for everyone. i characterize what's gone down as more of a FORCE FEED.

thanks for the insight!

klg0816 said...

The only thing that I have to say is this...I grew up in a school where I was always working out, running, lifting too much weight probably and the like. I moved on from that and continued to eat AS THOUGH I was still working out with the same intensity...but I wasn't. I got fat, still fat actually. The problem I have is, were I to follow THE guidelines (aka BMI) I'd need to weigh about 145lbs to be considered a healthy weight. That's simply not possible...literally, NOT possible. So if the government wants to reform guidelines, such as BMI, then great, I'm for it. BMI is a joke IMO. As for corporate responsibility, other governmental responsibility, etc...I call BS. I keep eating like I've always ate...I keep getting older and my metabolism has changed given my (fairly) sedentary lifestyle. So, it's MY fault and I refuse to blame anyone else for it. The truth is, and not to be so psychological, but WHY did I turn to food for comfort in the first place? That's the real question and it has nothing to do with government or corporations.

Although, I have to say, those pizza's in high school were awesome! lol

klg0816 said...

The only thing that I have to say is this...I grew up in a school where I was always working out, running, lifting too much weight probably and the like. I moved on from that and continued to eat AS THOUGH I was still working out with the same intensity...but I wasn't. I got fat, still fat actually. The problem I have is, were I to follow THE guidelines (aka BMI) I'd need to weigh about 145lbs to be considered a healthy weight. That's simply not possible...literally, NOT possible. So if the government wants to reform guidelines, such as BMI, then great, I'm for it. BMI is a joke IMO. As for corporate responsibility, other governmental responsibility, etc...I call BS. I keep eating like I've always ate...I keep getting older and my metabolism has changed given my (fairly) sedentary lifestyle. So, it's MY fault and I refuse to blame anyone else for it. The truth is, and not to be so psychological, but WHY did I turn to food for comfort in the first place? That's the real question and it has nothing to do with government or corporations.

Although, I have to say, those pizza's in high school were awesome! lol

Sylvia said...

My first thought on the treadmill stations was "wow, that's brilliant!!" Then my second thought was "I wonder how many times a day I would fall off that thing if they had it at my office?!" lol

I loved the entire program. I thought it was sooo eye opening on many levels. I have to say that I was shocked and saddened by the gentleman from the beginning though. The one that had gastric bypass. :( So sad!!! It still makes me upset to think about that situation.

Lindsey said...

What about all the children that have lazy, ignorant parents?

What about the parents that don't actually know what is good for their kids or not, because their parents didn't know and so they are just going with what THEY know?

Kids eating crap, and sitting in front of the TV and not getting any physical activity.

It's one thing to take responsibility for your own obesity, but many obese adults are products of their childhood.

Im Canadian, so I can't really comment on whats going on in your country, but I feel that there could be a heck of a lot more going into educated parents and children here.

99ToGo said...

Ooooh, what a fun comment-versation you have started!

As a rule, I don't watch MSNBC...

But, going from what's been said about that particular broadcast:

Government is here to keep us safe from the imposition of other countries. That's pretty much it, Constitutionally speaking anyway. But the Constitution hasn't been paid attention to for a while now, so, we need band-aids for the problems that we've created.

First, school lunches are junk, junk, and more junk. The fact that my tax dollars go to destroy the health of local children just kills me. How can government guidelines mention whole grains, when school lunchrooms wouldn't know a whole grain if it hit them in the eye?

Second, part of tax-funded education should include dietary education. Taught by a real-live registered dietition, perhaps. Then very few can claim ignorance.

Third, if we're actually going to move forwad with Obama-care, there may need to be some sort of incentive for folks to stay healthy. Kind of how auto-insurance offers incentives if you go a period of time without a car accident. How you add an incentive to something that's supposedly "free" though...I'm not sure. Another give-away, I suppose?

Private insurance companies already do this, in some way, by charging higher premiums sometimes for obese customers. (Or smokers, etc).

Other than that, we need to be responsible for ourselves. If your heart calls you to be the light for others, then go out and volunteer as a mentor who shares the amazing benefits of good nutrition and exercise with kids.

It's time to stop expecting government and companies who are in business only to make a profit, to do what we must do for ourselves.

Kelly said...

I missed the TV show, but I'm not sure I would have watched it anyways. I really can't stand to listen to that man talk.
I am really glad that you explained the gist of it here and I couldn't agree with you more.
I do believe that it's a personal choice. We must choose life. We must choose to be healthy. And I loved the part where you said we don't need corporate America to raise our kids. That, I have covered. It's amazing how making the lifestyle change really changes your outlook on EVERYTHING.

Great post Keelie :)

Tammy said...

Personal responsibility...spoken like a true Republican! Do we share the same political views? that would be AWESOME. :)

Tammy said...

Personal responsibility...spoken like a true Republican! Do we share the same political views? that would be AWESOME. :)

Xina said...

Wow, what an interesting topic of conversation! I agree with you wholeheartedly by the way. Personal responsibility is King and part of that is taking the time to educate yourself about what goes into the food on the shelf and what goes into your child's body.

That being said, I agree that school lunches were horrible when I was in school and have gotten worse in the 20 years since. Soda machines, candy bars, hot prezels, ice cream, cookies, French fries, pizza... all are in our high school's cafeteria. I was a substitute teacher for a while about 5 years ago and trying to find a vegetable in the cafeteria was very difficult. Found out that they count fries as a veggie. So those guidelines need reform in a major way.

I would like to see more realistic "serving size" dietary information on packages. I hate when I get a microwave bowl of soup that says in bold print on the front "100 calories per serving!" only to find out on the back that they consider the package to have 2.5 servings in it. And it's only a 12 ounce container. I mean really? Who eats 5 ounces of soup and stops?

And as I've educated myself a little about what goes into our foods, I've become appalled at all the added sugar and trans fat that have only been a part of the "American" diet in the last 30-40 years. Now I'm not going so far as to say that a company can't use whatever recipe they feel is best and tastes great yadda yadda yadda....But there should be a law about adding sugar to "diet" food, which is what they do to nearly every low-fat product on the market.

Instead of Obama-care I would much rather that money be spent on programs that would help American's get healthy. How about free counseling with a nutritionist? Tax credits to use towards a gym membership? Smoking cessation programs? Subsidized preventative care? That would do more to bring down the costs of healthcare than anything else.

Ha look at me! I wrote a book too. As I said it's an interesting debate. What we need to do is start a movement. People need to be educated. It's not just about looking good. Obesity is a disease and a pervasive one at that. Left untreated it is fatal. If we were talking about any other epidemic that was affect one in three people, we would do something.

So while I guess I agree with you in principle, I also think we need to take a step back and look at the big picture, not just what is going on in our own home. Yes we should eat fewer cookies... but I also think something else must be going on here for it to be so out of control nationwide and that is something that the government has an obligation to address.

Keelie said...

Right--I just am afraid that my ideas of how government and corporate America can help is different from what they may think will help.

Education? As I said, all for it! Reformed school lunches? Yes, absolutely! Love, love LOVE the idea of free nutritional counseling. These are all things that can help.

But those are things that are difficult to do. It is much easier for the government to tell companies how to run their stuff and make a law about it than to roll up their sleeves and get to the heart of the matter. If they want to do that then great.

At the same time, I agree with 99toGO--that is not really what our government is here for--never was.

Anyway...:)

Keelie said...

And yes--we do need to start a movement. I am kind of flabergasted that obesity is not really treated as the evil killer that it is. Truth be told, we probably have no idea how many deaths obesity causes INDIRECTLY each year. It creates SO many health problems. And the interesting thing about it is, we already have a cure for obesity! No need to raise billions for research, etc. We coudl raise $ for the types of things that have been mentioned in this string of comments. People just need to be educated on how to treat themselves.

Hmmm...