War, famine and toe fungus are scary. Scarier still are the lies we tell ourselves.
Take our national obesity problem. Fast-food outlets pioneered the concept of “supersizing.” Suddenly, burgers weighed half a metric ton and soda was served in gallon drums. What am I, Hoss Cartwright from “Bonanza”? Do I really need that much for lunch? Could I maybe burn 9 calories walking in, vs. doing the drive-up window?
Same deal at food courts, where everything but the plastic forks are breaded and deep-fried. Remember what a slice of pizza used to look like? Now, it’s a massive slab of cheese-stuffed crust topped with mounds of mozzarella, pepperoni, sausage, bacon and 20% of California’s annual mushroom crop. But on our way home, we congratulate ourselves: “I only ate one piece of pizza!” Too bad it had 1200 calories!
Eventually, after gaining a few pounds (and needing industrial-strength lubricant to get into our jeans), we join a gym. Before long, we’re lying to ourselves again. We “don’t have time” to work out. We’re “genetically cursed” with a “sluggish metabolism.”
Oh, really? Take a look at some old family photos. Your ancestors look like Dickensian orphans. It’s hard to get pudgy splitting logs or walking four miles to school. Your genes are inherited. Ordering Mexican takeout twice a week is a choice. As Aldous Huxley helpfully noted, “Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.”
Much as I’d like it to be true, splitting a suitcase-sized brownie into teeny tiny pieces can’t alter the fat content. Spooning Chunky Monkey while standing at the sink? Gravity doesn’t burn calories. And unless you’re a marathoner, pasta carbonara’s gonna make you puff up like a tick. Even if you down it with Diet Coke.
At some point, we all vow to start eating right. On the 1st of the month. Unless that new rib place opens on the 5th. Then we’ll diet …after that wedding on the 14th. And since the year’s practically half gone, we’ll do Atkins once the holidays are over.
The tragic reality is, fat-free cookies still have calories. If we eat 47 of them, our hips will “out” us in the morning.
Yet we live in a world where portions are enormous. Movie theater popcorn comes in tubs. Donuts are fried in oil, filled with chocolate, drizzled with icing and blanketed with sprinkles. Pass the Bloomin’ Onion – an appetizer (!) that’s big as a Hummer and a mere 2200 calories with dressing. Paging a sense of proportion…stat!
Two-thirds of Americans are overweight and we got there one party-sized bag of Doritos at a time, my friends. But I’ve got an idea. Instead of lying to ourselves, or laying blame, let’s find someone to save. Our supersized, artery-clogged, truth-starved selves. That way, we can model healthy eating for our kids and maintain our superfoxiness, too.