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In our culture, and in other similar ones, there is a jumbled mess of factors contributing to overweight and obesity, with the broad ones being that modern life demands less movement and offers nearly unlimited calorie-dense food.
There are socioeconomically disadvantaged places in the United States with little to no access to fresh, wholesome food, restricting choices to an overabundance of pre-packaged and heavily processed food. But even in moderate- to high-wealth areas, conglomerate economics put a slew of processed food even on the shelves of high-end “wholesome” supermarkets.
We also move less. Our environment, technology and work generally give us little reasons to move. Our entire salary can be earned from a chair. Our meals can be hunted, prepared, and served to us while we sit, sipping on chardonnay. We can play an entire game of sport on 3 dozen cable channels, all from the comfort of our own couch.
No longer do we sit down to dinner with friends or family, but we mindlessly eat dinner while watching television, surfing the internet, or doing the bills. Distracted eating can be a strong contributor to overweight and obesity.
Some of us (very few of us) are lucky to have active jobs, live in areas that encourage walking to places, enjoy robust access to wholesome food, or are even born with genetic cues to move or to stop eating when we’ve had enough.
Many of us, however, must build into our life external cues to get up and move and to stop eating when we’ve had enough. We have to find ways, however contrive they may seem, to move more through the day — outside of even formal exercise routines — and to avoid overeating.
I’ll continue to discuss the social practices that contribute to overweight and obesity, and how IF can directly or indirectly address them. But, for the year 2011, The Lean Saloon would like to focus more on simple action items that help us to lose or manage body weight.