Living to be 100 is still largely a fluke of good genetics and a projection of future science available to a child born right now by middle age, not actually operating in present day.
From dooms day statistics on so called ‘lifestyle related illnesses’ high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, the health concerns any and all of the above open you up to, to the largely marketing induced adoption of, love affair with our dubious clean living/eating industry, resulting body shaming it causes; criticism over benign choices that have no long term effect on our overall heath, classism, racism, character judgments, if you are not immediately on board with the latest craze, are becoming increasing common and socially acceptable. Especially if you happen to be big, overweight, obese, morbidly obese; fat shamming, around long before we called it that, has co-opted another dimension couched in getting the undesirable to look at, be close to person healthy. If you don’t agree, are unsuccessful you must have low self-esteem, be slovenly, not care about yourself if you won’t make the changes to reduce your weight thereby achieving a healthier you. Juxtaposed up against continuingly compiled research, research findings serving to do little other than confound the mystery behind ever expanding waistlines, juxtaposed against the backdrop of an increasingly fake, airbrushed, wholly unattainable Hollywood ideal that thinks Amy Schumer is fat, Jennifer Lawrence curvy and popular stars like Kerry Washington and Meghan Trainer have to blast magazines, videographers post altering their bodies for videos, covers in ways they never asked them to, some in ways they specifically asked them not to, determined to be real, authentic in a business that’s not. Contrasted, again, against famous faces battling eating disorders to either maintain control over something in their lives or to meet entertainment’s ‘ideal;’ pressured to lose weight for better roles, to keep jobs, continue working. Worse passing all individuals,’ society’s anxieties about food, health and better living onto our children, from ‘we need to relearn to enjoy what’s good for us,’ ‘reteach ourselves how to eat,’ usually modeled after French 4 course meals lasting 2 hours, to food wars over organic fruits, vegetables, free range, hormone, anti-biotic free meats, the virtual impossibility of being vegetarian, forget vegan. The first family front and center in our national fight from the first ladies efforts toward getting children to eat healthy showcasing the Whitehouse garden, her let’s move campaign promoting fun activity and daily kid exercise, to schools bad revamp of lunches coinciding with teaching 8th graders how to calculated body mass index (BMI) as part of health class, health and healthy choices awareness. It’s become America’s other never ending cycle after violence and republican political nonsense drowning us in a morass of stagnation, a never ending cycle of food and health obsession that is far removed from actually making us any healthier, reducing our waistlines, preventing, even managing, named lifestyle related illnesses. To the rest of the western world we’re drug, medication happy but not true change happy or willing, eating massive portions, addicted to fat, salt, sugar, grease and junk food, potato chips, sweets, soda, huge conglomerate fast food industries that peddle disease in the form of tasty consumables we can’t get enough of, accurate or not; interestingly as they fight their own populations’ battle of the bulge. Here entities like the FDA finally getting sane food labels that, to quote the first lady, you don’t need a magnifying glass and a calculator plus a nutrition degree to read then understand; food labels designed for how people really consume food, that they don’t take 8 ounces out of a 20 ounce soda bottle as a serving instead drinking the whole thing, small prepackaged items, bags people don’t usually stop at the marked serving size eating the whole thing at one sitting, calories reflected accordingly. FDA back to back considering what is termed healthy, relisted moderate fat content foods i.e. avocados as heathy removing things like skittles as healthy based on low, no fat content, previously disregarded sugar, chemical compounds; simultaneously releasing new guidelines on salt intake, calling on both the restaurant/fast-food industry and the packaged food industry to remove excess salt from its recipes, products. Meanwhile medicine, nutrition still riddled with its own questions about what is best for the consuming public, American, westernized populous; top ones emerging lately, could eating more fat help us be skinny, skinnier, do fasting diets, cheat day diets work? Daily life, daily reality challenging what we think we understand, or don’t, about disease, chronic conditions and the natural aging of the human body; living to be 100 has gone from an evening radio show slogan segment to a health segment on a major morning talk show. Declarations 60 is the new 40 combined with how today’s retirees are reinventing middle age, retirement and life’s second half only contribute to our perception problem Doing human interest stories on centenarians has given rise, along with awe inspiring scientific projections of what a child born this year, going all the way back to 2010 or earlier, in the U.S. could except during their lifetime, no cavities, obesity regulated with an implant, yet to be developed, to the concept that living to be 100 should be not only a goal but a part of natural life expectancy. And anyone dying younger than that from health related issues not a car crash, mass shooting, freak accident, known terminal, chronic genetic issue divorced from lifestyle influences is a great tragedy warranting more news segments allotted to wagging fingers in the faces of the American public warning them of their horrible fate if they don’t tow the national health party line; truly living life blowing that to absolute delusion to absolute crap.
Take the death of well-beloved actor and comedian Gary Shandling perfectly illustrating our age distortions prompting doctors to sound off— the earliest ages for the deadliest type of heart attack are getting younger— they dropped from average median age 64, to 60. However Shandling at 66, upon death, was 2 years older than the previous median, while obviously experiencing age, or perhaps even medication, facilitated weight gain was not obese, could be maybe classified slightly overweight; facts that didn’t stop NBC’s Nightly News using him as a lead in to discuss the ‘alarmingly’ lowered number. Ironically when James Gandolfini died in 2013 there was much less talk about his health, independent his size, his heart attack cause of death, certainly not used as a talking point to disease proportions, more focus placed on his body work, his gifts to acting and who he was as a person. NBC anchor phrasing “just 60” to announce the stat, using “just 66” when earlier announcing Shandling’s death reinforcing our misguided idea it should be impossible for a healthy person to have a deadly heart attack at that age, though median life expectancy numbers remain steady at a marginal increase of 77 for men and 81 for women; decimal point loss from 81.2 to 81.1 attributed to unintentional opioid overdose, suicide and chronic liver failure associated with alcoholism. Many, many factors contributing to heart attacks, family history, individual genetics being 2 completely removed from lifestyle; exactly how long was he supposed to have lived in the first place, to side step the “just” factor when revealing his age? Yes it’s sad that he’s gone, comedy has lost one of its greats, its pioneers, but 66 is older not middle age, not prime of life. Next, idiosyncratically linking the actor’s age, potential health problems unrealized with heart attack deaths, the minimal change in deadly heart attack stats to ‘America’s lifestyle problems,’ people’s mistakenly reached notion pills can fix everything adding to the mix, they profile a woman who had already had heart bypass surgery, calling the 8 stints placed in clogged cardiac arteries her wakeup call; a self-described junk food queen, nothing listed about what she ate before going, it seems, completely vegetarian and losing 95 pounds. Whereas scared and wakeup call should have been surgery, plus being both diabetic and a heart bypass patient, meetings with a qualified nutritionist should also have been on the menu of a comprehensive recovery plan; no indications it was offered and she blew them off. But she and Shandling are both poster children for America to clean up its health habits; if you say so. It reminds us of what Tom Hanks said about his reported ‘failing’ health; at 59 he was diagnosed 2-3 years ago as diabetic recently describing his journey to control his diagnosis, making what was probably a joke, saying “he thought he could do so by removing the buns from his cheeseburgers.” Laughter aside what he said highlights a failure of medicine to treat patients with illnesses by instilling information, because once diagnosed diabetic healthy eating, weight loss takes on a new dimension to avoid blood sugar spikes, too high, too low, body changes stemming from your diagnosis; to that end diabetic teaching and consultation with a diabetic specializing nutritionist should have been his first stop after primary care. Though he referred to himself as an idiot, he doesn’t seem to be the one manifesting the biggest problem; that would be his doctor. Ignored diabetes after 40 is different than under 40, the former age indicative, the latter lifestyle, family history indicative; Hanks in his 50’s, approaching 60, is a model for what age does to a person, but patients, people are the first to be heaped with blame when anything goes wrong internally. A similar headline last week told us 1 in 4 U.S. women are obese reaching a ‘nobody wanted it’ milestone; even more telling on our current topic, is what the news clips omitted for time, space, editor preference whichever: researchers have no conclusive idea why! Again rampant speculations abounded stress, eating habits, lacking exercise a familiar refrain to people trying to do the right things, seeing no results, improvement; dominant assumption obese people are ill-educated, ignorant about heathy choices, on the contrary they routinely know them inside out, discouraged, regressing back to ‘unhealthy’ habits when the weight doesn’t come off, even the steady 1-2 pounds a week considered appropriate for a weight loss program. Never mind it’s harder now than it was in previous decades to lose weight, speculation their only go to in explaining the phenomenon; pseudo-science throwing out several answers to this newest obesity conundrum citing obesity as a hormone, gut microbe problem not a will power, character, self-control problem, posing the question do we have diabetes backwards, are the precursors to it weight gain and so on symptoms of diabetes not the cause for it? Questions we’ll never get answers to if obesity, food choice, salt intake are the only things ever harped on. Doctors do know why younger people are having potentially devastating stokes, sports injuries, hormonal birth control and undiagnosed heart problems joining the lifestyle brigade; likewise a link between endometriosis and heart disease in young women has been found as has one between migraines and heart disease. Underscoring what doctors have known for decades, once effectively communicating to the public, underlying conditions effect whole health of a person, if you have a preexisting condition, it makes you vulnerable to secondary issues, categories of disease, problems depending on the nature, scope of the original abnormality. Yes you can stave off your chances of getting secondary complications by managing your first diagnosis well, prevent heart disease using good diet and exercise plans, pinpointing and eliminating, as much as possible, your unique migraine triggers, sugar being one often overlooked. But when you’ve done all that and develop it anyway, we don’t have an answer or a coping mechanism for that, even in the medical world apparently, yet the only thing that people can really die of, apart from accidents, violence is lifestyle perpetuated illnesses. Singular lifestyle connection conclusively found recently, shift work and greater risk for heart disease believed to be tied to sleep deprivation, unpredictable sleep schedules interfering with our natural body clocks; good luck rearranging your work life, dodging the 21st century version of the ‘get a job you bums’ chorus— republicans occupying the United States congress. NBC on a chastisement roll with their written article on cancer alleging half of cancer deaths are preventable, correlated to lifestyle bad habits smoking, alcohol over indulgence, high fat diets, not the nebulous environmental, chemical pollutants everyone is fond of fixating on today; admonishing, “Americans need to stop thinking that cancer is down to bad luck or a result of factors out of their control.” Tell that to Dana Reeve who died of lung cancer without ever having smoked a cigarette, or fellow climate watchers, to say nothing of asthma sufferers, always attributing skyrocketing rates of the respiratory disorder to air quality, forced to live with breathing difficulties because of what conservative politicians don’t want to acknowledge. Tell that to breast cancer sufferers, entire families of them, found to have the BRCA gene; people like Angelina Jolie with a known family history of female reproductive, anatomy cancers. Their conclusions a direct contradiction to 2 other stories also on the subject, this time colon cancer; one discovering right side colon cancer patients die at higher rates due to how polyps, cancer growths appear upon screening, right side looking much flatter blending in better amongst normal tissue. Lastly younger patients inexplicably afflicted with colon cancer part of an ‘alarming new trend,’ news anchor resorting to stock answers on causes for colon cancer in general when profiling a 30 something male who went to his doctor complaining of a stomach ache and was diagnosed stage 4. Absent, any mention he was obese, so much as slightly overweight at diagnosis, he looked healthy, normally proportioned in given video footage, ate a high fat diet, lacked physical activity, made significant changes after learning his diagnosis, the moment chemo effects would allow him to implement changes. Meaning the medical community presented with numbers, percentages they don’t understand will automatically default to ‘lifestyle related’ problems, illnesses; there should be something profoundly wrong with we don’t know but we’ll blame obesity, we don’t know why all the obesity, particularly in women, but we’ll say it’s because they are satisfied with a larger body size, polite code for ‘they like being fat,’ as an answer to a health crisis, health epidemic.
Despite what we admittedly don’t know as well as what we’ve uncovered about non-lifestyle related chronic diseases traced to common causes of death, still seen isn’t just fat shaming but body shaming, singular choice shaming; People magazine’s #ShareYourSize campaign, an attempt to promote acceptance while showing real people, real bodies in another place where everything seems fake— the internet, ended as news broadcasters said, anything but positive. Instagram wages war on bikinis for plus size persons, Facebook takes down an ad for plus sized clothing under their health and wellness policy and a full figured high school student was shamed by a teacher, forced to wear the vice principal’s tuxedo jacket during prom for wearing a modest dress and having breasts. It really is that scene in The Devil Wears Prada where Andy Sacks asks, “So none of the girls here eat anything?” and received the reply from a colleague, “Not since two became new four and zero became the new two” and that six, damningly, is “the new fourteen,” intervening years causing satire to come too close to disturbing reality. We’ll call out a person for their coffee choice in the worst of ways (literally labeling their latte cup ‘diabetes here I come,’ found extremely offensive to the Starbucks customer who, unbeknownst to the employee labeler, had 2 type 1 diabetic sisters having watched their struggles; a customer who was not obese and whom the ‘helpful person with a pen’ knew nothing about), but never call out the medical community, nutrition community for its endless back and forth of conflicting messages. Coffee good for you, coffee bad for you, butter, natural fats good, manmade, chemically altered fats bad, now butter is bad for you, benefits of beer, ingredients in wine that can do everything from stave off cancer to prevent heart disease, oh not so fast; there is an entire set of books centered around eat this not that the title, untold numbers more spawned from the sentiment, and we wonder why people could possibly be confused. Independent our health, nutrition climate, what all of humanity has yet to learn, obese people are stupid, behind in intelligence and, considering the latest retro becomes new approach encompassed in sugary drink taxes signed into law this time, need all their decisions made for them; don’t achieve living to 100—IT’S YOUR FAULT! not genetics, not your medical history, accidents affecting your body, things that go all the way down to the cellular level. Want further proof we’re missing something, pay greater attention to the next centenarian story you hear; centenarians who dank, smoked, ate bacon, had minimally, low impact activity lifestyles, acted like regular people and voilà100. Only beginning to call out the clothing industry for skewed sizing, lack of uniformity in gender sizing influencing how people feel about themselves, their choices; exemplified hilariously, containing a bigger message, by the boyfriend who tired on the clothes in his girlfriend’s closet haphazardly noticing some of the clothes she was giving away, donating were an extra-large; incredulously exclaiming ‘my girlfriend is not an extra-large.’ Hardly the first time size and style discrepancies have been commented on by consumers, parents of tweens asking, when shopping popular retail stores Wal-Mart, target and others, where the fabric was holding up Daisy Duke style shorts, shorter and shorter skirts, literally the only thing on the rack, up alongside a standard pair of boy’s shorts in the same size, age group. Should be enraging is not singularly the hospital director (video/link 12) calling a section of the country ‘the obesity belt,’ but what’s more; the pregnant woman featured having to spend 6 days in the hospital with her child due to her weight and potential complications has a thyroid problem, and no one ever thought to connect her thyroid problem, the predictably inadequate treatment of that problem, with her larger size, with her likely life-long weight battle. Never voiced maybe just maybe we need better, different thyroid medications, to simply tell the patient, because you have condition X limit these foods A-F to once a week, once a month. Instead they focused on her, the growing number of patients like her, necessitating a bigger bed, more hospital staff help held up beside bemoaning the cost of obese patients, equipment i.e. hospital beds, but presenting it in a ‘non-shamming way’ makes it perfectly ok. Disregarding realities this is medicine, your job is to treat sick people and do whatever it takes to render that treatment possible; forgetting, hospitals, diagnostic tools, like not so long ago feminine products were designed for a size 8 while the average size of a woman alone, mind you, is 14-16. Men can be shaped and sized like Shaquille O’Neil, Djimon Hounsou, Yao Ming. As to risks of excess weight and pregnancy, my friend is a normal weight individual suffering preeclampsia (gestational high blood pressure) with her youngest 2 children; however, to properly assess a patient you have to know they are pregnant. Contrary to what should be a basic medical questionnaire and standard procedure for a woman confirming she’s sexually active, first her doctor told her she was anemic, thankfully she hates the taste of iron pills and was put on prenatal vitamins (a high source of iron) instead, then she was told she had high blood pressure given the salt intake lecture, medicated, told she was diabetic, after years of hypoglycemia, not finding out she was having a baby until going to the ER with abdominal pain; decreasing the inarguable obesity relates to, effects everything distortion, preeclampsia is a common pregnancy problem whoever you are—feature woman’s child average size. Her prolonged stay in the hospital easily to the benefit of her baby regardless of the potential health problems a fat mother opened her up to if we recall the ‘90’s trend of shipping mothers and their newborns, especially those without insurance, out of the hospital in under 24 hours, the sometimes life threatening genetic and other complications not found, that would have been with a single days basic monitoring. People can’t even enjoy the shared birth of a child anymore, too many rushing to judge the mother of ‘the mini sumo wrestler’ boy calling her a chunk; she looked like, shocker a woman who just had a baby, and saying his condition was the result of gestational diabetes and a mother who didn’t control their diet, no mention of that at all, only one commenter marginally helpful advising parent, readers to be on the lookout for a list of genetic disorders based on their family experience with double digit pound newborns. Obesity in children is often more complicated than the stock answers of unhealthy habits of their parents, economic factors limiting good nutrition, poor infrastructure limiting exercise, remember Anamarie Regino removed from her parents and unceremoniously dumped into foster care due to her weight to garner exactly zero progress while there later diagnosed with a hormonal genetic predisposition? Or the 12 year old finally given gastric sleeve surgery after her parents initiated a Go Fund Me page post the girl having a brain tumor removed and developing hypothalamic obesity, but her insurance would cover no additional treatment. Surgery deemed appropriate for her, but you know it’s bad, we’ve obviously missed something when international diabetes groups are recommending more gastric bypass like procedures to control weight gain and type 2 diabetes, sans investigating if there are non-invasive ways to change gut flora and hormones the way bypass does, what got the hormone and flora in the negative sate it’s in; that global groups agree eliminating this as primarily ‘an American problem.’ Early puberty, declining ages for starting puberty (associated usually with good, abundant nutrition), known medical condition called precocious puberty originally linked to hormone, brain changes stemming from obesity, hormone laced meats, environmental pollution has been seen across the globe in places where obesity is infinitely less common, in children here who are not fat, never mind obese, in infants just eating solid food; one boy (4) had a tumor removed from his hypothalamus (gland) giving him his childhood back. Referencing my friend’s kids once more, her oldest (boy) began typical teen, puberty associated body odor at age 9, slightly underweight; though he currently takes psychiatric medication, mood stabilizers related to autism, they only brought his weight up to normal, a higher percentile of growth, first signs of puberty beginning before any medication was added and within the ‘revised’ age parameters. Adjacent causes identified and known medical mysteries baffling doctors, yet obesity becomes a catch all for what’s ailing our nation, whole swaths of the western world; deeper medical exploration, investigation, marking root causes abandoned for telling people to lay off the sault lose the processed sugar, packaged foods, stop eating out and lose the weight.
What isn’t a mystery, what our food obsession is doing to the next generation on the opposite side of letting them ‘eat themselves to death,’ super heath consciousness can backfire just as easily into dangerous habits, bizarre all-consuming rituals; orthorexia, not defined in the DSM-5 (2013-the standard psychological diagnostic desk reference) but is recognized by the National Eating Disorders Association, described in its literal translation as righteous eating and characterized by an obsession with eating foods deemed heathy and an equally unhealthy avoidance of foods believed to be harmful. It goes hand in hand not only with anorexia and bulimia but with pressure placed on young people to meet magazine ideals; a few years ago children as young as 9 where informally reported to be on a diet, now that number is down to age 7, who couldn’t be moved by the story of the 12 year old watching America’s Top Model and began eating paper? Making all the more important celebrity pushback against airbrushing and excessive alterations; Kerry Washington’s nearly unrecognizable appearance on the cover of Ad Week bringing to the forefront just how much mega alteration goes on in Hollywood, the magazine industry. Washington taking to social media saying it was weird to see herself on a magazine looking so different than she does in the mirror; deepening opposition to common Hollywood habits, last year fans were the first to notice and howled with understandable outrage alleging her skin had been lightened for the cover of In Style. Past unrealistic, past promoting the unattainable, the other end of unhealthy, there was nothing about Ms. Washington that needed changing, never mind so drastically. Neither was Meghan Trainor so ugly, so the antithesis of stardom she needed the artificial body makeover; a break out star, she hit the music scene with her body positive message via the song All About That Base and her newest release off her most current album fell in line with that after the popular No; still videographers felt the need to edit the star’s waist down to size (who knew you could edit video that way) in Me Too causing her to cry, remove the video for Vevo and YouTube approving the original version showing no deletion of her obvious curves. Topping off the egregiousness of supposedly subtle body shaming, body changing is when Glamour up and decided to include Amy Schumer’s interview in their edition highlighting influential plus size ‘women who inspire us’ without asking/informing her to boot; Schumer having none of it sounding off on the magazine’s total lack of manners post telling them she fluctuates between a size 6 and 8, very aware young girls are watching her stating it doesn’t feel right they should view that as plus sized. And it hands down shouldn’t be, regardless of how much weight she ‘looks like’ she needs to lose for her shorter stature, cognizant plus sized in modeling is 14; 14-16, not size 6-8, is the average size for a normal American person accounting for better nutrition over the last 50-100 years, larger bone structures, growing height, not merely expanding waistlines and acceptance of unhealthy fatness. Stories all that have only increased in the odd years since we first heard the words obesity epidemic; latest celebrity to open up to the public about her eating disorder battle Ginger Z of Good Morning America, Dancing with the Stars fame; while her issues began in childhood growing out of coping with her parents’ divorce, it tells of the enormous pressure put on women to look a certain way, how our obsession with glamor vanity, youth and thinness hurts everyone. Internet spawning a new category of wholly unscientific methods to determine if you meet body ideals, need to lose weight, are perfect, desirable to your peers, often started, engaged in by teens, tweens, middle and high school students; enter the belly button challenge, where you reach an arm behind your back and around to touch your belly button; success means you’re thin enough to reach around yourself, really more a feat of flexibility, so you must be ok. The thigh gap challenge, your thigh gap is the space created between your inner thighs, when you stand with your feet together. According to the theory, lacking this gap is a sign of obesity, as every healthy woman should have one. However, according to fitness trackers, “The thigh gap isn’t directly related to body weight. In fact, only a small percentage of the population can actually have one. Rather than the thickness of your thighs, the gap is dictated by the structure of your pelvis, which won’t be affected by weight loss.” The collar bone challenge—people balancing coins above their collarbones to see how many they can stack without the whole row toppling over. The more you can balance, the sexier and skinnier you are, according to Chinese news sites cited by ABC News spread by the same social media machine that brought you the belly button challenge and equally as dumb. It takes an 8th grade student’s brave personal story and slightly longer essay on a class assignment to reorient our sense of reality, when she eloquently informed her teacher why she would not be calculating her BMI, no, not that the math was too difficult or that the number was too embarrassing; rather recognizing her own body image issues, always being ‘the big girl’ already feeling self-conscious about her body to the point of wearing 4 bras, trying to cover back fat and wrapping ace bandages around her stomach to be skinner when the assignment came down, recounting for her instructor a trip to her pediatrician orchestrated by her mother seeing this potentially problematic behavior. A pediatrician that ran tests finding her to be perfectly normal, a fit active athlete busy with softball, height and weight where they should be calculating age; BMI’s biggest detractor, no differentiation between muscle and fat. Concluding her essay thus, “I am just beginning to love my body, like I should, and I’m not going to let some outdated calculator and a middle school gym teacher tell me I’m obese, because I’m not. My BMI is none of your concern because my body and BMI are perfect and beautiful just the way they are.” (Who says students today can’t write; Unworthy absolutely correct— mic droppingly great answer) And if people dare call out Hollywood’s unattainable, wholly unrealistic standards, our public perceptions adjusting to stick thin as ‘normal’ and curvy, a little meat on your bones plus size, fat, you need to go on a diet, medically defined obesity or morbid obesity summed up in the crude joke, did you eat a whole other person, dare challenge an inherently flawed, outdated calculous for determining body mass health, they are normalizing obesity. The young girl who wanted cartoon characters that looked similar to real people was met with a scathing lecture on, if you want obesity princess, you better prepare for diabetes princess, cancer princess…when what she asked for was normal, compared to the stylized figures in the popular animated film Frozen, which could have quickly doubled as an educational YouTube video on anorexia; body shaming known to lead to weight gain. Not lost on anyone many of these social trends negatively impact women, one speculation about the 40% obesity rate for the fairer sex isn’t just they are comfortable with a larger size, ‘like being fat’ elaborating blaming advertisements, celebrities appearing in commercials for unhealthy products; experts calling for more balanced ads and the farfetched notion they’ll begin hocking eggplant. A word from an advertising consumer, the only thing seeing gorgeous food ads causing my mouth to water ever made me do was finalize my already in the works decision to order take out that night, google the name of an appealing restaurant to see if one had come to my town, keep in mind what new thing to try the next time I visited Burger King, Taco Bell, go by a McDonald’s next time I’m in town, owing to a sale on favored item X. Question, are these the same experts who have been given hundreds of millions to unlock the secrets of obesity, create better weight loss drugs and have come up with exactly goose egg, nada, nothing? Unfortunately effecting medical care, just listen to the last video link, the comments about a patients weight, personality, laughing at her belly button, surgeons irritated she didn’t appreciate the 2 week wait for hernia surgery; her non-winning personality irrelevant to fact she needed a medical procedure, too often what happens when those charged with overseeing our health are fixated on one thing, i.e. weight alone. Likewise don’t believe men unaffected; they aren’t immune, paying a heavy price for ripped bodies, trying to look like Thor- Bigorexia, muscle dysmorphia where you’re never buff enough, exercise regimes built around getting Chris Hemsworth’s body. As Salon skillfully researched, “working out too much can actually be just as harmful for one’s health as working out too little. Researchers in Denmark found that “people who push their bodies too hard may essentially undo the benefit of exercise”…Extreme fitness programs can be dangerous in a variety of ways: They are bad for your body, decrease life expectancy, and are associated with a high rate of injury. As fitness instructor Erin Simmons argued in a 2014 article on CrossFit, crash exercising can be a gift to doctors because it “means job security for medical professionals…”and who believes they need more work?
Further, surpassing the continuous, constant shift in health information disseminated to the public represented in food studies, nutritional, medical waffling on what is or isn’t good for us, foods we can and cannot eat while watching our weight or being health minded, the fad eating programs, exercise guides generated from social media to Hollywood hunk superheroes, how to mimic images of the character du jour, studies claiming what we know, what we’ve been told about exercise is wrong, eating after 8PM could be responsible for that extra 2 inches on your waist, utterly dependent on your routine eating schedule not the time of day or night, is the exact evidence unequivocally telling us gimmick, fad weight loss ideas, television show tactics don’t work. Putting an even bigger black eye on the longest running weight loss completion reality TV show is a round of revelations over several months exposing methods The Biggest Loser used to obtain high drama and jaw dropping results; tactics that went beyond warnings, some issued through my own articles, about what public reaction might be in terms of panicking thinking about their health, starting an exercise, diet program sans consulting a doctor, injury to people in poor health already from doing too much too fast, which viewers quickly saw on their screens in participants who passed put, ended up in the hospital, suffered stress fractures. Beyond manipulated production schedules some ‘weeks’ coming out to 5 days or as long as 2 weeks, Jillian Michaels getting caught during season 15 breaking the rules by giving her team caffeine pills, bad enough for a show supposing to be about health and saving obese people’s lives, structuring it around a competition to give them motivation to succeed, not to mention keep people watching. Producers, show doctors resorting to dangerous, should be illegal, certainly counts as several ethics violations, if true, actions including telling one women she must gain weight prior to allowing her on the show to the tune of 30-40 pounds, once she became a contestant pushing her to ingest baking soda one week to affect her weigh in, presumably to retain water weight—she rightfully refused; Bob Harper allegedly guilty of something far worse, giving his team drugs e.g. Adderall, stimulants containing Pseudoephedrine, FDA having banned ephedrine years ago. Detailing trainers personalities stating they were ‘completely demonic’ when cameras were turned off, saying, communicating in texts things along the lines of: you’ll die before your children grow up, you’re gunna die just like your mother, we’ve already picked out your fat person coffin; sad but not wholly surprising since plenty of people, myself included, found Jillian Michaels and Bob Harper, every trainer ‘demonic’ enough with the camera’s on, vowing never to continue going to any trainer who treated us that way. Other contestants talked to media and amongst themselves post-show about the toll grueling workouts and restricted calories took on their bodies; one man so dehydrated he was urinating blood, a woman whose hair was falling out, whose period had stopped, sleeping only 3 hours a night, thyroid problems developed after the show, serial viewers not forgetting controversial winner Rachel Frederickson seen losing too much weight, trading one obsession, food for another, extreme exercise. Diets not centered around cutting out junk food, sugar, substituting bad fats for good ones, increased quantities of fruits, vegetables, beans, less meat and portion control along with different types of exercise geared toward heart health, muscle toning, endurance, but caloric restriction so bad it qualifies as a crash/starvation diet, season 1’s big winner describing the starvation tactics he used to achieve that finale. Methods rising to so unscrupulous this month the Los Angeles sheriff’s department launched a probe into their operation. These latest secrets on top of uncontainable and unforgivable for a doctor, nutritionist, health specialist of any kind engaging in this—what science just made public studying former Biggest Loser contestants and what the show’s Dr. admits he was aware of; up to 6 years after the show a majority of winners and contestants alike have gained some or all of their weight back, a few heavier than before. And no, it’s not from going back to junk food and doughnuts, steak and potatoes, fat and grease (readily assumed thanks to every stat on health, obesity, sugar exc. delivered over a background, video footage showing a mountain, table, room piled with burgers, pizza, hotdogs, bacon, eggs, stake, sausage frying on a grill; nice subliminal message) rather going back to eating like a normal person, exercising like a normal person, all the skinny, moderate weight people you’d see at any gym, yet they couldn’t maintain, gaining not just a little weight, small amounts one might attribute to their age, 6 years natural toll on older individuals, but huge amounts, all of it back. Why, their metabolisms, normal comparative to size at the start of the show, markedly slowed down forcing them to ingest hundreds of calories less than a person of their size to maintain current weights. Piling onto the problem extremely low levels of Leptin a natural, secreted by the body, hormone responsible for apatite control causing elevated hunger; bodies subjected to The Biggest Loser treatment, weight loss regiment following a biological imperative to try to get you back to your former weight after such a shock mirroring starvation. Results shocking to the contestants, the public, troubling in their severity, to researchers but the phenomenon is not new; in fact web source Newsy reported cited documents saying their outcomes should have been expected. Circling back to the doctor’s response, according to Newsy, they were aware of the possibility it could happen hoping the metabolic shift wouldn’t be as severe. So to recap, you compelled people to gain weight for drama before the show, manipulated their bodies in unhealthy ways, drugs, baking soda and food reminiscent of a concentration camp during the show, played fast and loose with way in’s, compelling people to resort to anything to win, couched conveniently in saving their life/health, telling them this is what losing weight getting fit/skinny takes, knowing all the while you were in essence carrying out a vast experiment, using them as Guinea pigs fully aware what the consequences might be— some remove this ‘doctor’s’ medical license. Final no here, no these people are not looking for an excuse to go back to their old ways, dismiss their fat and their failure, they were looking for an explanation as to why after appearing on the show, losing the weight, going home and maintaining a healthy diet, incorporating exercise into normal schedules around jobs and family, ceasing 5 to 8 hour a day work outs but continuing to work out, they not only couldn’t maintain the weight loss but gained at a rapid pace, now they have it and obesity treatment doctors have an additional window into solving a complex problem, hopefully curbing shame and judgement along the way. Extensive studies are equally revealing in the things identified as, as important diet, exercise, not smoking, quitting smoking impacting health; stress a key one pertaining to high cholesterol. Loneliness capable of taking years off your life, importance of a strong support system, family network, social ties seen in non-western cultures, who revere aging and the aged, don’t ‘abandon their loved ones to a nursing home, people who socialize regularly into their golden years unto end of life.
Hate to break it to you but the 60 is not the new 40, less for the emotional/social reasons listed by the Wall Street Journal, changing social structures derived from years of better medicine, nutrition, knowledge, people living better, able to do more in later years, not just living longer, the sobering prediction our chronically obese kids may have shorter lifespans than we do/did because of it, and instead due to median, average life expectance ages not having moved that much. 40 is considered middle aged precisely because the average life expectancy hovers around 80, give or take 5 years; for 60 to have gradually become the new 40 the life expectancy numbers would have to top out in the 120-125 range. Oldest person on record an Italian, who died recently, was 116. Speaking solely about America momentarily, people here, if you believe the latest retirement preparedness commercial, are living into their 90’s; which would put middle age at roughly 45, not 60. Secondly looking at the last years of so called super centenarians, those passing 110, most are toothless, constantly nodding off and can’t walk well, if at all, dependent on neighbors, friends, family members for the bulk of their existence; that is in counties where they aren’t placed in a care facility less due to younger family member selfishness but having no living family, the extent of care required for the person at their advanced age. This isn’t The Lord of the Rings where Bilbo the hobbit wants to one up the longest living of his kind, the old Took; this is life and who wants to spend their final years like that when their doesn’t seem to be any avoiding it, tracing through the lives of people who maintained good health well into their 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, painstakingly slowly succumbing to the frailty induced by time, body wasting away, heart still beating. It’s rarely the 107 year old dancing in the Whitehouse with President and first lady Obama; medicine for all its certain advancements leaves more holes than for people struggling with obesity. Though most patients facing end of life, picturing that time in their life regardless of current age report they would prefer to die at home, peacefully in their sleep if at all possible, taken quickly by a heart attack or something not likely to leave them lingering in pain or incapacitated; contrary to repeatedly stated wishes in every survey of its kind conducted, a staggering majority of patients clearly looking at end of life die in hospitals, hooked up to tubes, machines untold hundreds of thousands spent on last ditch efforts ordered by distraught loved ones and consented to by doctors to avoid lawsuits and sooth unprepared family members. Focus on cost to government programs i.e. Medicare/Medicaid removed for a moment, people featured are left in a kind of modern medicine limbo between what would have killed them years before if not treated, high blood pressure, heart disease, heart failure and where advanced medicine has left them whole enough not to die, unwell enough they can’t really live. Wall Street Journal onto something more than the author knew when he talked about investing post retirement, golden year energy into the truly young people, the legacy and future coming after, surviving them not on being/looking younger than you are, the new fad proving you’re the picture of longevity, upping the ante living your entire life that way, utilizing the time you have rather than bargaining for more—Especially by eating ‘rabbit food’ never touching meat, eggs or milk, viewing bread as the enemy, occasional doughnut, movie popcorn, French fries or cheeseburger as edible death. As for relearning what’s good for us, taking pleasure in nourishing foods giving our bodies what they need, take a good look at the photo gracing the top of that article and tell me that baby is going to get a foodgasm from that broccoli instead of pure revulsion; foodgasms about gastronomy, the science of gourmet dining, blending aroma, texture, quality food, taste and presentation to produce an experience not merely gorging one’s self on high calorie dishes—what I intend to do and not do respectively.