Obesity And The Law, And How Not to Be Fat

I attempted a blog post on this subject and failed miserably. It is a sensitive subject and I have no desire to make anyone feel bad. (Note: I have since revised and posted my more controversial thoughts on this subject. This is actually my second try. It includes some things I have learned about fitness and nutrition. I am no scientist, but I have read more than a dozen of the popular books and have summarized them for you here. Hope it helps. 2/17/2012, J.B.H. )

In America, Race, Gender Preferences, Religion, and Obesity are confounding subjects. They provoke powerful emotions, generate hateful prejudices, and have maddeningly elusive solutions. I posted my views on organized religion in a note on my personal Facebook, since I believe such views are essentially personal, but obesity impacts legal issues from every angle.

West Virginia, in spite of our rugged hills, pioneer heritage, and avid devotion to sports, leads the nation in obesity, with all the resultant problems that fact implies.

In divorce, obesity effects intimacy, the health of the parents, self-image and health of the children, and in employment and insurance.

In personal injury, juries are very “judgmental” of obese claimants. Fat people usually have more serious pre-existing conditions. They are more susceptible to injury, and a fit person is much more likely to come out of a collision unscathed than his overweight counterpart.

I can turn a pre-existing injury into an advantage in a personal injury claim. I have explained that in other blog posts. A person with a bad back or knee, quite simply, is more susceptible to injury than one who does not have a weak back or knee, but making that argument is hard for a fat person, even when over half of the jury is probably significantly overweight.

I tend not to gain a lot of weight. That is a blessing. I was around 150 lb. in college and have made it as high as 180. But, that extra 15-20 lb. (I sit here today almost exactly between those two numbers), is what keeps the blood levels out of whack, appearance less than optimal, and fitness far from ideal.

When I encounter a problem; how to race a car, maintain a pond, play an instrument, run an office, or lose some weight, I tend to read a book on the subject. (Am still looking for that book to tell me how to maintain our one acre farm pond!)

That’s why I have read 15-20 books over the years on nutrition, weight-loss, and fitness.

Here is a summary of what I know:

1. Fast reps and vigorous activity increases endurance and cardio-vascular health;

2. Slow reps and heavier weights increase bulk and strength. (But, there are many gradations between these concepts.

3. People who cut way back on calories lose weight. But….;

4. Most of us cannot cut way back on calories for very long, especially if their diet is low fat (Dean Ornish, Weightwatchers, Jenny Craig, etc.). (Note: since writing this, I read an interesting article in Wired Magazine which reports that Weightwatchers has been completely revamped to a much closer approximation of a “Mediterranean” or “low carb” nutrition plan. The core of Weightwatchers is the network of support, the structure, and the social component. Not a bad idea for lots of people. 3-6-2012 j.b.h.)

5. My favorite is the Mediterranean diet; lean meat, plenty of veggies, olive oil, some butter, whole wheat bread, seafood, beans, etc.

6. Some people cannot lose weight on this diet, so they are told to starve themselves.

7. Some people cannot gain weight and even have digestive or colon issues that make it very difficult to maintain proper body weight.

8. They have tested some very unhappy laboratory rats on starvation diets, and some human beings even ascribe to these diets, and they may live an extra 10% to 20% (Those who do not put a bullet through their heads; the people, not the rats, who must simply endure.)

9. The book I read recently, “Why We Get Fat; And What to Do About It” by Gary Taubes, and “The Atkins Diet Revolution” and many magazine and Internet news articles, make one compelling point, over, and over, in many inexorable compelling and logical ways.

10. That point is that for 99.9999% of mankind’s (humankind’s) existence, there was NO OBESITY PROBLEM. People did not get fat and could not get fat.

11. Apparently, we were always omnivorous, but we ate few grains, no potatoes, and everything else “rough”. We ate the entire animal, insect protein, the fish we could catch, and anything that moved, wriggled, or grew naturally.

12. Some diets now promote this “paleo” diet. (I have since downloaded “The Paleo Diet” to kindle. I have no quarrel with it but believe there are some less drastic, more scientifically based, alternatives.

14. Since the Chinese, Koreans, Japanese, and other cultures, at least until they began to take on our eating habits, have not had serious obesity problems, the paleo diet is not the only way we can survive today.

15. Scientific studies and testing agree that Americans are fat because of SUGAR, aka, carbohydrates, aka, “carbs”.

16. Carbs are table sugar, high fructose sugar, honey, cornstarch, but also, wheat, rice, potatoes, and therefore noodles, pasta. Carbs are also sweet corn, cookies, cake, bagels, sweetened yogurt, bread, Ding Dongs, Twinkies, ice cream cones, crackers, and even beans, yellow veggies, and nuts.

17. Low “net carbs” are good? That’s because they are mixed with something called “fiber”. It is GOOD that we have to work hard to sort out the fiber from the sugar. If must take our bodies a lot of effort. I am shocked to know my Atkins breakfast bars have actual sugar. Why not NutraSweet??!! They taste like chocolaty sweet crap, but one each morning is only 2-4 “net carbs”.

18. Some time between when I was a kid and now, “they” invented the food pyramid. “They” knew that carbs are the very cheapest food, that we love the taste (think potato chips, fries, and all the stuff in Para. 16 above.), and “they” knew that food with fat in it just had to be bad for you.

19. “They” just knew that exercise will help you lose weight. Only trouble is, IT WON’T!!!” Remember when Bill Clinton jogged to McDonalds?

20. Exercise and good nutrition are good for you, but exercise is much better for keeping your bones healthy, muscles toned and strong, and heart and circulatory system healthy, than for losing weight.

21. “They” forgot that working out makes you “hungry as hell”.

22. They decided to say things like “a potato is full of nutrients, especially if eaten with no butter or salt”. How many of us want to eat a potato without butter, margarine, or gravy?? Or sour cream, or honey……… or?

23. Potatoes turn into pure sugar, even without piling on the “good stuff”.

24. If you read “Food Nation” or some other books on the subject, you will learn we eat many magnitudes of sugar than the people in colonial times.

25. More surprising is that a diet  of few, if any, carbs, and plenty of proteins and fat, is quite healthful.

26. Once we remove the carbs, the body HAS TO burn off our stored fat.

27. This is the induction phase of Adkins.

28. This part of Adkins was so controversial, that “The New Adkins Diet Revolution” stressed “the induction” phase as a temporary, 60-90 day stage.

29. Gary Taubes has the nerve to say it is a perfectly healthful (NOT HEALTHY!! We are healthy; food is, or is not, healthful.) nutritional regimen.

30. So, this is what I concluded.

     a. If you eat anything you want, test your blood and find it is optimum, then eat anything.

     b. If you like starving yourself, or eating incredibly low fat, and that keeps you at your ideal weight, feel free to do that, but don’t keep firearms at your house.

     c. If, as do most people, you can eat a reasonable amount of meat, fresh fruit (not juice), veggies, beans, whole wheat, nuts, cheese, and great stuff, and lose weight,  AND CAN AFFORD THE GREATER COST, then that’s the route to follow.

     d. But, if you just cannot lose any other way, consider the concept of proteins and fats and little, if any, carbs, and ignore the “tsk-tsk” of the “we hate fat and love carbs” people. Just be sure to have the right doctor and to monitor your health and blood levels.

     e. Whether it helps you lose weight or not!>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>.

1. Exercise your body; and,

2. Exercise your mind, read, think, write, talk, even argue; do cross-word puzzles, and drag yourself away from the t.v.

At least, that’s the way I see it.

This post was written by Burton Hunter

1 Comment

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.