Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Dumb or Diseased?


America’s obesity epidemic is of great interest to me. Having just recently graduated with a Masters in Health and Physical Education, I have seen the efforts being made by schools and universities to enhance a childs physical education. However, I have served in a steakhouse for over 7 years, and have been privy to the efforts families make to enhance their waistlines. As much as the educator in me wants to believe that people don’t blatantly disregard the overwhelming warnings about poor eating habits and the value of healthy eating and exercise, the server in me has seen people do it too many times.

Sweet Tea, Coke, and other soda options were not an option for me as a child as water was my only choice. More often than not, I see parents allow their child to suck down 6 glasses of their sugary drinks, probably because they are only concerned with receiving their 7th refill. The amount of sugar and calories in these drinks have been well exploited. I would also like to add that even though you ordered diet coke, after drinking 4 glasses, it is no longer a healthier option. PS…ordering water for you and your kids will save you about 2.50 a drink….which could be used towards the tip…water is easier to refill than Mr.Pibb…

Cheesefries have never nor should they ever be ordered as a meal for any person, let alone a child. Especially when the salad ordered from them contains only iceberg lettuce (the lettuce that provides absolutely nothing to your body..aka the redneck lettuce), extra cheese, ranch, and crotons but NO tomatoes or cucumbers. Basically, any excuse to eat ranch dressing. Sometimes people just forgo even the lettuce and just ask for cheese and crotons.

More often than not, these are the families that had to request a table because a booth isn’t large enough for them or had to ask for a large booth that should seat six but will barely accommodate their family of 4.

Older generations, such as my parents, didn’t have the education that so many people do now about portion control, exercise, and calories. And yet, this is the fattest generation we have ever seen and it is only getting worse. I am a firm believer that the root of childhood obesity can be traced back to the parents. Portion control shouldn’t have to be taught. If you eat fried foods and cheeseburgers every day, how in the world would you not expect to gain weight?? Americans used to understand that. So my question might be, as we as a country get fatter, are we also getting dumber? Test scores from around the world might indicate that we are.

If you are reading this and don’t know me, you might be thinking I am some skinny bitch who has never dealt with weight issues. You would be right about the skinny bitch, but I have definitely had weight issues. Currently healthy at 105 pounds, I remain in shape by running and using portion control. However, in college, I gained 30 pounds because I chose to ignore my education, and decreased my activity level and increased my greasy food and beer intake.

After college, I conveniently remembered everything I had been taught over the years and started using my common sense. Running and a healthy diet, with definite occasional splurges, allowed me to shed the weight over the course of a year. I believe this is a dying practice

Look at the ways more and more Americans are trying to lose weight. Gone are the days of shedding pounds in a healthy way over a longer period of time. People want to lose weight quickly and much like they did on their journey to becoming obese, they disregard the harmful effects of their actions on their body. I believe the dangerous stomach stapling surgeries, cleanses, and diets that are so currently popular have been sending out a very risky and powerful message: “It doesn’t take hard work to get what you want.” And unfortunately, I think it is obvious that this is the mindset so many Americans have begun to encompass. Many people want to lose weight fast or get rich with minimal effort. Younger generations feel entitled to instead of working hard for some of the creature comforts we all desire. Although I know it still exists, that American spirit of working hard for what you want is quickly diminishing.

I was at a water park outside of Atlanta a few days ago, and I still haven’t figured out if I had more fun on the rides or people watching. I feel like I was watching a showcase featuring America’s most unhealthy families. I am not being critical when I say we were in the minority by not being overweight or obese. I actually thought to myself, “Americans in general are a terrible looking population.” I know this is obviously a very small demographic but it was still very disconcerting. The south has some of the highest rates of obesity. Seeing these people walking around in bathing suits with no apparent concern for the excess weight displayed made me ask the question, “when did it become normal for people to be so fat?”

I know it is incredibly important to have a healthy self image. People need to be comfortable with themselves and their body. But where should the line be drawn? Now considered a disease, allowing these obese people to be comfortable with their body is like encouraging a smoker to keep lighting up.  

Americans have become desensitized to the dangers of obesity. Allowing it to be so common that is now considered a disease should be a huge warning sign to those of us concerned with the state of our country. It appears that the concept of self control is being lost.  People are more willing to lose limbs from the complications of diabetes or endure a possibly fatal heart attack rather than stop going to McDonalds.

My education is in health and wellness. Prior to receiving my masters, I earned a bachelors degree in Health Promotion and Behavior. I am well aware of the difficulties that can cause weight gain. I know that unhealthy food is almost always cheaper to purchase than healthier options such as fruits and veggies. I know there is varying combination of factors that can allow people to become obese. Is there too much empathy for the obese? Should we continue to enlarge seats and increase weight maximums to accommodate the growing obese demographic? Are the accommodations and modifications being made for the obese actually encouraging people to not change?
I work hard to maintain my weight. I try to eat healthy. I indulge in double quarter pounders. I almost understand how obesity first emerged due increased portion sizes and decreased activity. But what I am still trying to fathom is why it is only getting worse.  

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Creeper Said WHAT?!?!?!?

One of the best parts of growing up in the 90's was watching some of the decades best pre-teen shows and from them, formulating the utterly perfect and practically impossible experiences that I would enjoy while I grew up . Boy Meets World convinced me that I would meet my best friend in 6th grade and that I would be able to seek advice from my neighbor and principal. The Fresh Prince led me to believe that regardless of the trouble I got into, a quick wit and rich Uncle woulld always rescue me. High school was going to revolve around friends and fun with tests few and far between as so perfectly demonstrated by Zack and the Gang.
These shows, along with many others, also planted the seed early on about one true loves. Zach and Kelly and Corey and Topanga were my role models and idols in regards to relationships. But alas, middle school, high school, and even college came and went without even a trace of a 90's like relationship. Although I am now finally in my first serious relationship, I learned a long time ago that love is rarely found in your 7th grade world history class. Maybe its taken me so long to find my current relationship because these shows never showed me what to do if I didnt meet and fall in love with Zack Morris. For example, what happened to Lisa Turtles love life?!?!?!

Social media and advancements in technology have obviously changed the way we meet and interact with people, especially in regards to dating. Most of us who remember these shows probably still hope and expect to meet someone the old fashioned way. But when that fails, online dating websites are now some of peoples most popular back up plans.

I tried one a few years back when I was living with my parents after graduating from college. I was in dire need of social interection with someone under the age of 30, as most of the residents on Amelia Island were well over the age of 50. Coupled with the "winking" and overwhelming amount of UF gator fans, I quickly deactivated my account. In hindsight, Florida probably wasnt the best place to begin my online dating search, where men think jean shorts are cool and that hair gel fixes any bad haircut. Beyond that, I couldnt believe what guys would say and then assume I should become immediately enamored with them. I cant remember specifics, but I thought I was just looking at the wrong population of men.

Until recently. A couple of good friends of mine recently decided to try online dating. In Georgia, where men wear flat front khakis and hair is free of gel. However, it seems as though, men can be creepy and weird anywhere. Does sitting in front of a computer give men less of a filter than being
in a dark bar after a few shots? It just might. As my friends continue their search, they have given me permission chronicle some of the completely ridiculous things men say in my new project:

Creeper Say WHAT?!?!?!

Talking with a new prospective date, my friend discussed one day learning how to play tennis. The creepers response, asking for a picture by saying "Haha-I want to see u lookin pro as a tennis star". CREEPER SAY WHAT?!?!!? This was also mentioned after he suggested they take a Beach trip together!! They havent even met!!

Around the same time, my other friend was getting asked "how flexible she was". CREEPER SAY WHAT?!?!?!

I was only given permission to write about this if I could one day write a highly successful book that would eventually allow us to retire to the beach. So keep the creepy stories coming...

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Faking it

My profile mentions that I am a single mid twenty year old. I guess I should update it. Last august, not only did my age take the plunge, so did my relationship status. I officially turned 28, making me "late twenties" by everyones definition but mine, and I became involved in a full time relationship. I know I was a bitter person before, but being in a relationship might have made me even more bitter. Why? Because relationships are harder work than studying for an organic chemistry test at 3 am after a sunday funday. Multiply that times ten when your "significant other" has a 3 year old. Muitiply that times 100 when you both are still working as servers and you have a masters degree, but he has a child. 
Read this and tell me to break up with my boyfriend. But read this and tell me with 100% honesty that your life is all roses and breakfast in bed. As depressing as this might sound, I enjoy reading all the happy go lucky statuses of people "lucky in love" only because I know in 3-6 years, they are going to be divorced, miserable and broke. Its all fun and games until you cant fake it anymore.  I am a firm believer in that the happier people seem on Facebook, the more miserable they are in real life. I know that you believe you married the best man on the planet and that you are the luckiest woman in the world.IT WAS IMPLIED ON THE DAY YOU MARRIED HIM WHEN I WITNESSED YOU TWO EXCHANGE voWS!!! The more your daily updates remind me of that, the more I believe all you two are really doing is fighting over dish towels and blowjobs.
Social media makes everything easy to fake. A few words on Facebook, and your life is PERFECT. A picture on instagram and everyone is ENVIOUS. Even 3 seconds on snapchat and your life can become a fairytale. I think that is what I am so scared of. That somehow I am faking my own happiness. I dont broadcast it on facebbok, or post it on instagram, only because my happiness is so fleeting. 
I applied to today for an internship at an internet magazine. They encourage women to lead "confident, happy, and healthy lives". I offered a different perspective. I am still searching for that life. One day I might be healthy, but not happy, and the next vice versa. I would like to explore and discover different ways to become all three. And i think the magazine would benefit from my point of view.  Who knows how it will turn out. But maybe if I get the job, I'll post a status about it on Facebook. And if you are anything like me, you'll be waiting for the post about how "it didn't work out".