Thursday, February 23, 2012

New Diet Drug

For some, this is a repetition of every arguement I have ever given for weight loss and the obesity problem in the US.
This morning on GMA, they were discussing a new weight loss drug that has been approved by the FDA. Apparently it was not approved and then they changed their minds. The list of side effects from this drug are severe but they felt that losing weight was more important because of these this drug is to only be used by those morbidly obese. If you look up what is considered obese - it's not that much weight. It doesn't take long before the charts list someone as obese and even shorter to go from that to morbidly obese.
It makes me crazy when this subject comes up and people start saying things like - all it takes to lose weight is xyz. The truth is - it's not that simple. I am a fat person and I will admit that my weight has steadily gone up over the years. Four years ago, we lived in the country. To eat out was a major affair so I had to make every meal. We rarely purchased quick foods because our life allowed me to stay at home most of the time. We grew a decent garden and I canned or froze the excess. We had neighbors with gardens so we could swap with them. I walked because it was easy.
Then we moved to the "city". We live in an apartment. I can have a small garden plot for a price but the last two years have been fairly unsuccessful (the first year due to poor soil conditions, the second to poor weather conditions). I no longer have a large pantry space so I have to be careful of what I store and our budget has reduced drastically due to the extra cost of living in the city. I, also, don't walk much any more.
The other problem was that we now had easy access to fast food. In fact, I can feed my family more food at a fast food restaurant than I can making something from scratch on some occasions. That's where the real problem lays.
I have to depend on my grocery store for food at this point in time. I have $100 a month that we get in food stamps. Our income is so tight that we are struggling to come up with the extra $30 a month to purchase a bountiful basket so we can have produce. We have very little extra funds for groceries.
I go to the store with my $100.
I prefer whole grain bread to white bread. I can buy a loaf of white bread for $1. If I am lucky I can purchase a healthy loaf of wheat bread for $2.50. Note that I said healthy. I can buy a wheat bread for $1 which is usually the same brand as the white bread but the ingredients tell me it's not really wheat bread. I struggle to find a wheat bread that has whole grains not just a little wheat flour so they can call it wheat bread. Some of the best breads can cost up to $5 for a loaf.
I can make bread at home. I can usually find all purpose white flour for about $2 for a five pound bag. Wheat flour - no less than $3 and I have paid up to $7 to have a five pound bag.
Let's talk salad. I can pick up a bag of iceburg lettuce salad for $1 on many occasions. If I find a good sale I can pick up spinach or romaine salads (which are more nutritionally dense) for $2.
The leaner the hamburger - the higher the cost. A store, not in our community, is currently advertising their great hamburger price for 81% lean hamburger - $2.49 a pound. Chicken thighs and drumsticks have been about $1.25 a pound (don't even ask about boneless skinless chicken I cry every time I want to buy some).
Then add the research that everything we know about diet food is wrong. Skim milk is actually causing people to gain weight (or not lose it) because they add stuff to the milk to make it more appealing to the public. Artificial sweetners actually increase appetite and prevent the body from knowing it's full. Low fat diets actually cause people to consume more calories.
Most diets fail because they are meant to fail - that's how they make money. If everyone who tried a weight loss product lost all their weight and stayed thin - they wouldn't need diet products any more. Add that to the lack of access to inexpensive healthy foods and that's why we have an obesity problem.
It's hard not to be fat when your diet makes you feel sluggish and tired. You work harder so you can provide better food but then you are over stressed and have no energy. We have a society set up to make us fat and until that changes, I'm sorry to say, we will continue to be fat.

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