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I saw the following article in the NYT about “Celebrity Weight Battles”.  Now vanity is something I know about. 🙂

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/31/fashion/31fat.html?hpw

Important points from the article:

“Many experts counsel obese patients to lose about 10 percent of their weight rather than aim for an ideal number. For a 300-pound person, that’s 30 pounds.”

“About seven years ago, Dr.David A. Kessler, a former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, was watching Oprah Winfrey’s show as a woman berated herself for eating even when she wasn’t hungry, calling herself “fat” and “ugly.”

It’s no wonder she ate compulsively, Dr. Kessler said. His new book, “The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite,” looks at how the brain, beginning in childhood, is stimulated by foods loaded with fat, sugar and salt.

“Celebrities perpetuate the idea that we have a handle on this, that we understand what is driving our behavior,” Dr. Kessler said. But resisting certain foods “is not an issue of willpower. This is not about shame and humiliation.”

I also read some interesting research by Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, which concluded that a parents influence on their children’s eating habits was much less than thought.

http://www.jhsph.edu/publichealthnews/press_releases/2009/wang_parent_child_dietary_intake.html

“Child-parent dietary resemblance in the U.S. is relatively weak, and varies by nutrients and food groups and by the types of parent-child dyads and social demographic characteristics such as age, gender and family income,”

“Factors other than parental eating behaviors such as community and school, food environment, peer influence, television viewing, as well as individual factors such as self-image and self-esteem seem to play an important role in young people’s dietary intake,”

There many components to the issue of weight and obesity.  Health should be the focus, appearance seems to take center stage.  My guess is that this obsession with appearances is more of a cultural problem, and even when a parent tries to instill healthy eating habits in their children, outside influences are just as much a factor.

Most of my childhood I was told I was too “skinny”.  I am 5’10” and weighed 130 lbs when I went into the Army, 1965.  I stilled weighed about 135 until I was in my 40’s.  I then put on about 40 lbs over the next 15 years. 

When I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes I was 175.  I had no choice but to change my eating habits.  I lost about 1 lb a week until I went down to 155, I have pretty much stayed at that weight since.  The key is while I did dramatically drop carbs from my diet, I lost weight gradually.

Our bodies do not like to be shocked, and losing 50 or 100 lbs too quickly is very bad for your health.  Yo-yo dieting is probably worse than doing nothing and staying “overweight”.

I suspect the billion dollar diet industry understands the psychology that drives this unhealthy obsession with appearance better than anyone.

As long as we listen to idiots like Oprah Winfrey, and Kristie Alley, for our health advice I doubt there will be much progress on the healthy eating front.

My hope is in our evolving a better brain.  However, as long as we continue to feed our brains all the sugar, fat, and salt, that we do, we may be in for a very bleak future.

Any suggestions as to the best way to change our diets and our unhealthy obession with appearance?

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