Day 155 Question 155:
Should the government have a say in our diets?
It should not come as a shock to you that I think the government is WAY too involved in the lives of the American people. It has become quite ridiculous. I feel like we are becoming a nation being watched by Big Brother (if you don’t understand the reference I recommend reading 1984 by George Orwell). I do not believe that the government could have a say/control our diets BUT I do believe the American people have become out of control when it comes to diet and exercise…and not in a good way. What I do believe the government should do is educate the people and encourage the people to live a healthier lifestyle….but they should not control the people. I believe that once a person is controlled than the result is going to be rebelling.
The news is constantly showing stories about obesity become an epidemic in this country. I can relate to this subject very closely. I have struggled with my weight my entire life and it took me 31 years to finally get my act together (and it is still a process). I am the lowest weight I have been in a long time and I am still working on getting the rest of the weight off. It is a hard road to be on but with determination I know I can do it. I had to educate myself and I needed to push myself…I really didn’t have anyone there to guide me. Unfortunately mean and insulting comments also gave me that push. No one should have to endure comments like some of the one’s I received…and I am sure many other boys, girls, men and women have. These comments pushed me to change my lifestyle….some other people end up falling in the opposite direction.
We live in a time where technology is everywhere. We see that obesity is becoming a HUGE problem but very little is being done about it. I truly believe that schools (starting in kindergarten and continuing every single year) need to implement lessons on the importance of healthy eating and exercise…and teach kids that there are options out there. By options I mean healthy foods other than lettuce and just vegetables and exercises besides just running and push-ups. Kids are losing motivation because (us) adults are allowing that to happen. Nutrition and healthy habits need to start in the home (like most things do) but it takes an IMMENSE amount of dedication and with the hustle and bustle of everyday lives, people don’t want to take the time. I do not have children but I know with every ounce of my being that I would not want them to have to go through the same physical and mental struggles that I did because of being overweight. I would start them at the beginning of their lives learning the importance of health…in all aspects.
I wanted to share an article I found about the mayor of Oklahoma City. Don’t get your panties in a bunch over the title…he doesn’t actually put the entire city on a diet by law. He instead gives them all a challenge that they can choose to accept or decline.
Oklahoma City mayor puts city on a diet
No more fried steak? Citizens challenged to lose 1 million pounds in 2008
OKLAHOMA CITY — With a button-popping spread of cornbread, sausage and gravy, chicken fried steak and pecan pie designated as Oklahoma’s official state meal, it’s no surprise that Oklahoma City’s mayor wants to put the city on a diet.
Mick Cornett has challenged the city to shed 1 million pounds as its New Year’s resolution.
Prompted in part by his own struggle to lose weight, Cornett wants to end Oklahoma City’s dubious distinction as one of America’s fattest cities.
“The message of this obesity initiative is that we’ve got to watch what we eat,” Cornett said Thursday. “Exercise is part of it and the city is trying to change into a city that is less sprawling, has more density and is more pedestrian friendly, but you’re not really going to take on obesity unless you acknowledge that we eat too much and don’t eat the right foods.”
As part of the initiative, residents can sign up and track their weight loss on a new Web site, http://www.thiscityisgoingonadiet.com. More than 2,600 people had registered by Thursday. They’ve lost more than 300 pounds.
Besides a body mass index calculator, the site includes recipes and links to metro-area fitness centers. Plans call for expanding the site to include the opportunity to blog and network with other participants, Cornett said.
“It’s always easier if you’re doing something hard if you have other people to do it with,” he said.
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The mayor timed the start of the weight-loss program to the beginning of the new year, when many people begin exercise programs after holiday feasts.
Oklahoma City ranked 15th in a 2007 survey of America’s fattest cities conducted by Men’s Fitness magazine. The survey examined lifestyle factors in each city, including fast-food restaurants per capita and availability of city parks, gyms and bike paths.
“I can’t tell you exactly where you rank in our 2008 survey, but I can tell you that Oklahoma City is in the top 10,” magazine spokeswoman Jennifer Krosche said. “That’s not good.”
The Oklahoma Legislature designated an official state meal in 1988. The menu also includes fried okra, squash, barbecue pork, biscuits, grits, corn, strawberries and black-eyed peas.
Cornett, 49, stands about 5-foot-10 and weighs 183 pounds. He began a personal fitness initiative eight months ago when he weighed 217 pounds.
“I would like to get down to 175, so I’ve made a goal to lose 8 pounds over 8 weeks,” he said.
Carrie Snyder-Renfro, a 44-year-old teacher working out at a fitness center Thursday, said she made a resolution last month to eat healthier and exercise. While she was unaware of the mayor’s Web site, she said she would consider signing up.
“Last year I dieted and lost about 10 pounds a month for three months, but I left out a key component,” she said, huffing and puffing on an elliptical machine. “I didn’t exercise regularly. I ended up losing muscle mass instead of fat, and I ended up gaining almost all of it back.
“Now I’m making it more of a priority to put everything in balance. I have to get the eye of the tiger back.”
Cornett wants to make exercise more attractive to residents by increasing the number of bike trails and sidewalks in the sprawling city, where public transportation is minimal, most people are wedded to their cars and outdoor activities for some might be limited to watching a football game.
“In Colorado, you ski, you climb, you run … something,” said Karen Massey, community nutrition coordinator at Integris Baptist Medical Center. “In Oklahoma, we’re either involved in competitive sports or we do nothing. We’re spectators.”
No, I do not believe the government should control of regulate what we eat and how we live our lives. We do not need our hands held for every little thing we do. I have faith in the human population and believe we have enough competent adults in this world that can make smart decisions. Just because you have been overweight or are overweight does not mean that change is impossible. The government should encourage and challenge but never control. Schools should INSIST on teaching kids at a very young age the importance of a healthy diet and exercise. Again, not control but encouragement. We would see a huge decline in medical care costs as well as tax payers money being spent on various treatments that come the end of the day would not be necessary if someone practiced a healthy lifestyle. By no means am I preaching because for a very long time I was obese (I hate that word but it is the truth and I can’t hide behind a lie). Because of this obesity I was on the verge of being diabetic and I had mildly high cholesterol. Along with these health concerns, my emotional state was complete chaos. I dreaded putting on any clothes or even looking at myself in the mirror. I was mad at myself for allowing myself to get to the weight that I had. I didn’t give up though. I charged forward and decided to take control. I dedicated time to reading health articles and healthy dieting. I wanted a lifestyle change…not a quick fix. I have now maintained my weight (well actually I am still losing weight) for the last 2 years and my physical and mental state of being is better than it has ever been. I would encourage ANYONE to start a new healthy lifestyle today….start educating yourself and start practicing different healthy techniques one by one. Find your niche in the fitness world and create delicious menus that are not overwhelmed with fat grams and calories. Trust me…if I can do it then anyone can do it…and I would help anyone I possibly could throughout the journey. :0)