Yesterday I was shopping in our nearest town, Taree, and was shocked to see so many obese people around, mainly women. In one store there was a party of three overweight shoppers accompanied by a child who was already seriously chubby.
I don’t remember seeing huge numbers of fat people in Sydney, but as the distance increases from the city, I think the “avoir du pois” does too. New Yorkers living in Manhattan are toned and lithe because they walk everywhere. Even Mayor Bloomberg walks and uses the subway. But rural areas are another story.
Don’t get me wrong. How much an individual eats is a choice in a free society. Also, there are also myriad reasons for being overweight, hereditary to emotional. However, if we keep going the way we are, obesity is going to be our undoing – not Iran’s nuclear might or global warming.
I found a few statistics on the internet. They are for the U.S. population rather than Australia, but we can probably extrapolate:
On the average, a typical American adult gains at least two pounds per year over his or her lifetime. That probably means that approximately 100 extra calories are being consumed each day. If current trends continue, the obesity rate for American adults in 2008 will be 39%, which compares unfavorably with 31% in the year 2000. Middle age shows a great increase in the amount of weight gained. There is a doubling of body fat in this time period in both men and women living in the developed countries.
A doubling of body fat in middle age! However, the people I saw today were still young. What will they be like by the time they are my age?
In my communal household, some of us have bitten the bullet. One has been aided by Weightwatchers over the years, which uses a point counting system as a way to keep dieters honest. Another has an interesting medium-term diet in which almost-fasting days alternate with eat-all-you-want days. This has produced something like a 15 kg. loss of weight. And, another has consulted with Arlene Normand, the lean, mean diet queen, to attain a 12 kg. weight loss.
I feel fortunate to have worked out a sensitive relationship with my body through nearly 40 yrs. of yoga practice. If I go out to the Yoga Shed early in morning to do yoga, and I’ve binged the night before, I may just feel discomfort, but I might also feel mentally dull, lethargic. The idea of overeating has become a disincentive – just the very thought of future pain is enough for me to knock back a dessert.
Am I sounding like a wowser? I suppose I am, though I love good food and drink. With the holiday season approaching, we will be storming the supermarkets, shopping for delectable victuals, which we will then consume.
In what quantities? Perhaps that depends on whether we’ve signed up for a yoga intensive in the New Year 🙂