Tuesday, March 31, 2009

#35 Chocolate Covered Anything

It's been a while since I wrote about food/food issues, and although some friends and family members would say this is good, since they think I obsess about food too much anyway, others maybe wondering if I'm "cured". Well I'm not, but thankfully, other things besides food have been on my mind lately.

Last night I went to a Bat Mitzvah party. Since my daughter turned 13 this year, we've been attending many of these events. One thing for sure, there is always a lot of wonderful food, and the cocktail hour is a favorite time of mine. Thus, I tend to over indulge during the cocktail hour, under indulge during the meal and am always good for a bite or two of dessert, but last night I thought I was in hog heaven. You should have seen the smile on my face when the waiter placed a plate of dark chocolate covered pretzels and dark chocolate covered marshmallows in the middle of our table.

As usual, I limited myself to a tasting and enjoyed every bite, nibble and finger lick. As my kids will attest to, dark chocolate covered anythings are my favorite treats. Truthfully though, when the end of the evening arrived, I began to fantasize about stuffing my evening bag with chocolate covered leftovers. Unfortunately, the size of my cell phone prohibits much more than lipstick from fitting in my purse, so that was that. [Note to self: buy bigger evening bag]. Talking about fantasies, I recently read an article in Ladies Home Journal about a women in Weight Watchers who decided to eat everything she wanted in a one day gobblefest. As she stood in line anticipating getting weighed, she looked around and became annoyed at all the skinny people she saw. In a fit of, well, I'm not sure, she decided not to get weighed and instead headed for all her favorite foods and food haunts. She started at Dunkin Donuts, worked her way through a malted and cheeseburger for lunch, an afternoon turtle sundae with extra sauce, and then a huge steak dinner with all the fixins. After I finished the article, I went back to the first page to see who the author was, and it was only then that I read the smaller print under the title that said, ..."author imagines what it would be like to act out some extreme food fantasies". I felt duped! Not that I would have picked her food choices, but it was kind of a by proxy sort of splurge for me. I'm sure SHE carries a large evening bag....

Reading this article comes on the heels of watching an Oprah segment earlier in the week on extremely obese people. It was heartbreaking. One young man who weighed over 700 pounds asked that obese people not be judged. The road to obesity, he said, was not the same for everyone. Another woman, who was once 600 pounds and who loves to go dancing and "partying", said that obese people have very good ears and can hear the mean and hurtful things being said about them. In the Good Housekeeping article the author also alluded to how fat people are seen by "normal" people.

I decided to share the article with some friends [not letting them know that it was only a dream binge]. Some were grossed out and couldn't believe a human body could pack away that amount of food. Some were surprised that she didn't stop halfway through the day out of sheer self disgust. And some were jealous that she just let go and went berserk for the day. How did I feel after I read it? A little jealous, a little disgusted and a lot worried.

My worry is for our future generations. At least once a week I read an article or hear a news report about the growing number of obese [American] people. We know so much and yet we are still filling ourselves with over processed, over salted and over sugared foods. Billions of dollars are being spent on taking care of weight- related illnesses. Restaurants continue to serve Herculean portions and the fast food industry is still a conveyer belt deliverer of high fatty meals to our youngsters. Thankfully, some restaurants have chosen not to cook with hydrogenated oil and others are starting to list the calories and/or ingredients on their menus. I've also heard about schools that have started healthy food and exercise programs to try to give children "life lessons". The hope is that the children can integrate these life lessons into their lives and those of their families'. This is great, but it makes me think about our country's current fuel crisis. Are we perhaps doing too little and doing it too late? Eating healthy and exercising has to become PART of a person's lifestyle and not something you ADD ON intermittently when you want or need to.

So, for those friends and family members who say that I obsess, I say perhaps more of us should. Dr. David Zelitch, the creator of Trevose Behavior Modification http://www.tbmp.org/, said that you can either obsess about food in a bad way, as in "I shouldn't have eaten that" and "I'm a fat pig" -- or you can obsess about it in a good way, as in "I need to have the right foods in my house", "I am going to count my calories", and "I am going to bring my own snack to the movies". My vote is for the latter obsession. Dr. Zelitch lost 100 pounds doing it this way. What I'd like to see in our future though, is a nation of people who are at healthy weights, not morbidly obese. No one should get near being 100 pounds overweight. For my children and the generations to come, I would like to see the healthcare industry spend a lot more time, money and resources supporting events and programs on how to live a healthy lifestyle versus spending so much time, energy and money taking care of people with illnesses related to bad nutrition, obesity and couch potato life styles.

Quote of the Day: "The chief cause of failure and unhappiness is trading what we want most for what we want in the moment." Anonymous

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