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Lies We Tell Ourselves

by Jeannie MacDonald  |  1790 views  |  2 comments  |        Rate this now! 

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.

About the Author

Jeannie MacDonald is a freelance writer, wife, and mother of one, who lives on the New Hampshire seacoast.

Read more by Jeannie MacDonald

2 comments so far...

  • At the gym last week, I overheard two women talking. One has a hundred pounds to lose. Her friend, who is much smaller, asked, "Why is it so easy to get fat, and so hard to lose weight." The larger woman replied, "Because gaining weight takes self-indulgence. Iit's 'giving myself this one treat'. Losing weight takes self-discipline and persistence. We're better at self-indulgence than self-discipline." However, she continued by saying, "So I've decided to view coming to the gym and eating more vegetables as self-indulgence - something nice I'm doing for myself."

    Good for her!

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by MaryP on 25th August 2007

  • Hi!

    It's true. It seems like we make a million and one excuses to NOT do what is good for us.
    Why would we do that??
    I think one reason might be sooo many of us are stressed. Even though our bodies may not have worked all day, our minds and our nerves have and they are the ones making the decisions :)
    Sometimes, when I THINK I'm tired and I get out and go for a walk, I am amazed at how my energy levels go to the top of the charts again!

    Talk to you soon,

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by on 21st August 2007