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do you remember what Oregon did a few years go? i don't know if they still do it, but some workers in Portland were offered $25 a month if they bike to work at least 80% of the time. then they said that Oregon was the only state where obesity percentages didn't rise. i don't know many details, but it sounds somewhat effective, doesn't it?
Money is a fairly effective incentive. 25 a month, 300 a year. not much motivates people more than free money.
This is a response to a previous post, that grew so large I felt it deserved it's own thought bubble. Another user posted about a certain desire to ban junk foods so that obesity could be ended.
Obesity is a subject close to my heart because I am obease.
A lot of obesity has nothing to do with diet. For two years I subsided on nothing but plain cooked chicken, tuna, lettuce, tomato, diet bread, oranges, and apples. On special occasions I would generally go overboard and eat a bit more then I should because I was so deprived, but for the most part I was very faithful to this diet. I was highly physically active at this point. But after all of this work I was still considered to be overweight. I was still alienated as "the fat girl" and treated as if I was not human in my school because I was a size 8/10.
I was 5'2" and still am. But at my thinnest I was about 135-140 pounds. I hated the way I looked, and this was further reinforced by bullies. And according to some bullshit health measurements I was overweight at this point.
I was chunky by middle school because my parents had never been properly educated about nutrition. I was given things like Juicy Juice which were advertised as being a very healthy thing to give your kids despite having massive amounts of sugar, and not being physically active enough. I rarely had sweets and my family almost never had dessert, however I was raised largely on tv dinners, condensed soups, and lunch meats. All of which my parents thought were healthy things to give me. They are not bad parents as a matter of fact this is the only failing they have had, they are both intelligent people but they had never been given an ounce of nutritional education at public school.
When I became sick with lupus, was bedridden for about two years, and had to go on Prednisone. Prednisone a drug which got me my life back but changed my metabolism and made me gain 50 pounds in the process. That was when I became obese and have been for a number of years now.
For the past year, for the first time since I was 13 I stopped trying to diet. Because the reason why I was eating so unhealthy is because for a while I have been going on one crash diet to another, alternately starving myself and then binging on food because I was so deprived.
The reason why a lot of Americans are so overweight is because there is such guilt surrounding food that it is impossible to eat healthily. I remember staring at an apple for an hour because I thought that I was too fat to deserve any food, and when I finally got so hungry that I would eat I went overboard. I remember standing over a toilet crying my eyes out because on some level I couldn't make myself vomit the food I had just eaten up. I would make comments about myself like "Oh I'm going to be very bad today" when all I intended to do was have a little pizza and some birthday cake. I would remember not being able to sleep at night because I was torturing myself over what I ate that day. Or unthinkingly eating a cookie,. thinking my entire diet was bombed to hell at that point and going on a ravenous binge.
Even when I attempted to loose weight the healthy way it ended up being unhealthy. I was seeing a nutritionist, a personal trainer, going to the gym three times a week sometimes more, and on days when I was not going to the gym exercising at home. I was so completely disheartened by the fact that I was working so hard but was only loosing half a pound a week, that when my 8 weeks on this program were up I went back worse then usual to my eating habits. Because at that rate doing everything I was supposed to be doing would get me to my extremely reasonable (meaning I would still be overweight by medical standards) goal weight of 150 in just under two years.
I don't think most people can conceive just how much I hate my own body. It has been nothing but the source of pain, ridicule, and embarrassment.
As I mentioned briefly earlier I stopped dieting for the first time since I was 13. I realized it was something I had to do because my own self image, as well as my relationship with food is so utterly fucked up. Because every time I was eating healthy foods and exercising, the only thing strong enough to motivate myself was a pure and unyielding hatred for my body.
I would be on the exercise bike and mentally be scolding myself for being so fat in the first place. Because I knew that no matter how hard I pedaled, no matter how little I ate I would still be considered obese and ugly by just about everyone for a long time. That people would be walking on campus, think to themselves that I looked twice as large as they did and assume that I was just a slob who ate too many pop tarts.
So I took a year off, and finally I am beginning to eat like a normal person. I don't feel guilty whenever I have food, I don't feel the need to punish myself when I do. I am learning to love myself even if I never meet a weight that makes other people happy, and that makes me attractive in societies eyes. Sometimes I am eating very healthy sometimes I am not, and I can't begin to tell you how much of a relief that is after being in a lot of diets that told me I could never have sugar or fat again.
Because that is the thing I am genetically predisposed to obesity, on top of that I have been on medications which drastically slowed my metabolism, and I have a disease which makes walking painful a lot of the time let alone hard core working out. Normal people do not go their entire lives eating only plain chicken, apples, and lettuce as I did on the fucking LA weight loss diet. Normal people sometimes eat very healthy and sometimes they don't and learning this (which I know seems basic to most of you) has separated myself from a lot of the guilt I used to feel.
If the government wanted to get serious about helping obese people they would not ban junk food, which would only lead to underground twinkie rings.
First and foremost they would stop calling it an epidemic. The disease I have is decidedly not the fact that I am obese, it's lupus.
Second they would actually spend time educating people about proper nutrition. This includes teaching people how to cook so that they won't be relying on tv dinners and take out.
Third they would ban certain chemicals from production. No more giving cows growth hormone, no more adding corn syrup into every product imaginable because they can, the list could naturally go on for a while.
Fourth they would make incentives to go to gyms, like making them tax deductible, or covering some of their costs so that they are more affordable to everyone. Also they could give tax breaks to companies which had gyms for their employees to work at during their break.
Fifth they would put strict controls on how food could be advertised, so that the general consumer would be more aware of what is healthy and what is not.
Sixth they would demand that fashion magazines, runways, and yes retail stores would cater to people of all body types and sizes.
Because I can tell you from experience that there is nothing more disheartening in this world then going to a sports store to buy work out clothing only to find that in an entire superstore full of stuff they did not have so much as a single pair of sweat pants above a size 12. Yea breaking down crying in Dicks Sporting Goods was not one of the highlights of my life.
I bet a lot of obesity or otherwise unhealthy eating could be prevented if the standard of beauty went back into the realm of the realistic. It sickened me when Juliane Moore, a very talented actress admitted that she lived only on granola bars, and that if you were an actress you essentially had to be hungry all of the time. If people could get it though their minds that you do not have to be any specific size to look beautiful there would be a lot less people out there going through crash dieting, which in the end usually makes you gain more weight.
I know my thoughts are jumbled in this post but this is a topic that I am too closely associated with to be calm and rational about.
i really love this post. i do realize that weight isn't always about diet. i watched an hour-long video just last night about Prader Willi, and i really should've mentioned that in my post. also i know that banning unhealthy food wouldn't solve any problems, i just left that in my post to show my thought process and progression. please keep up your good posts!
If i were the surgeon general i'd make so many rules. i mean, i hate the idea of restrictions, but many Americans don't seem to be able to take care of themselves. part of me wants to change this. the libertarian part of me wants to let them essentially kill themselves, since they seem to determined to do so.
This thought started this evening when i was walking across campus. i was behind three boys (highschoolers, probably), and each of them...all THREE were easily three times my size, and i am an "average" girl. in their defense they were taller than me, but they were undeniably obese. (i was amazed that they all had almost the same body dimensions.)
My first thought was, 'if i were President i would make Pop-tarts illegal'...then i realized that (1) that's probably not something a president would do, and (2) Pop-tarts aren't the leading cause of obesity. i wish i could outlaw foods that have such negative effects on our bodies. i admit that i consume a lot of sugar, but i rarely eat anything fried (maybe once a month). also i'm a vegetarian and i try to eat healthy. a big problem is that unhealthy food is cheap, and addictive of course. think about 'honey buns' or a Krispy Kreme. how much are they?? 50...75 cents? compare this price to a salad, sandwich or anything remotely healthy (with the exception of individual fruit).
i guess outlawing unhealthy food wouldn't solve this problem. People would be outraged and even more determined to eat this food. BUT, people would cut down on unhealthy food if it was more expensive than healthy food. what if we created some kind of stupid unhealthy food tax? i admit that it would be totally lame, but at least our kids won't be monstrously FAT.
Chew on these thought-nuggets:
- Not all obesity has such a clear correlation to diet.
- I think that laws restricting what you can do to yourself are more characteristic of conservative politics where religious folks try to stigmatize nonreligious people. A think that a more progressive and compassionate solution would be to just cram lots and lots of education down people's throats.
- If more laws were passed to protect people from unhealthy lifestyles, I'd rather they be aimed at factors out of the person's control, like companies that advertise candy to little kids, unhealthy restaurants that advertise their food as being fit for regular consumption, and parents that get their children terribly unhealthy with objectively bad food. In a perfect world, people won't try to brainwash young and uneducated people into eating the awful food that they're selling, but we'll have the freedom to eat whatever we want.
unfortunately, that could be discriminatory to those who physically cannot, in this case, bike to work. also, distance is a factor, and i don't think my boss and coworkers would want to see me (and smell me) drenched in sweat after a long bikeride beneath the hot sun.
other than that, it's a good idea. although i do believe that people should take care of themselves regardless, not just when they are rewarding for doing something they already should be doing. but this is america for you.