LIFE AS I KNOW IT: Odds stacking the scales against us
GEEZ no wonder we are all getting fatter. The odds are truly against us, particularly when you are dining out as you tend to do when you are away from your own kitchen.
For a start, the portions being served up are out of control. The measuring stick for what's deemed a normal-sized meal these days starts at jumbo and then moves up the herd to double and triple jumbo, before being promoted to gargantuan and monstrously huge. Then it's just the planet-sized meal left to dominate. You can upgrade to that out-of-this- world serve for an extra $1 at places I don't care to mention. Even when you try to do the right thing and search for the word 'healthy' or 'salad' in the eatery's title, you still get enough fat and sugar in it you may as well go straight for the ice-cream burger and cut out the midriff man.
Gorging out seems to be the only way to consume meals these days, as the platefuls being served up are overladen with generally cheaper, unhealthier contents to perhaps justify the high calorie prices they charge. And if you don't finish your meal, it contributes to the massive amount of food wastage that goes on in this country.
This kind of menu basically boils down to meaty products, fried potatoes, flour and water and buckets of cream or other taste-masking sauces that contain more sugar than one extracted from molten jellybabies.
This approach to food isn't just resigned to those fast food chains either.
An old favourite is the 'all-you-can-eat' buffet, which at least isn't trying to fudge what it's selling.
Gluttony is encouraged in these food free-for-alls, the particularly impressive places are those that set challenges at knocking off half a cow so you can win a free tilt at the all-you can eat dessert bar, or a vomit bag, depending on the end result.
Supermarkets are just as bad with most of their shelves packed with mass-produced takeaways and boxes of scientific ingredients that come in an array of unnatural food shapes like teddy bears which are cute for a nanosecond before you snap its head off .
A lot of this food falls into the treats category but who follows that rule any more in this world of constant rewards and instant gratification. Faux treats are twice as bad as they are disguised within an inch of their genetically modified lives to not appear like one. Other calorie thugs include sauces and cereals, breads and dressings, packets of spice and 'health' bars, there's a treasure trove of ingredients you've never heard of lurking amongst those things which should really be relocated to the lolly and biscuit aisles.
Even if you head to the place where the food seems to come straight from the ground, it is either covered in plastic or brought out of hibernation six months after its long flight from Spain. And of course you have to pay a premium for that 'fresh' stuff.
Which bring the topic full girth again.
Whenever talk of obesity or overweight epidemics crop up, so too does the term 'fat-shaming' which I reckon was created by some clever PR company representing the food and beverage industry in order to make you feel guilty about bringing it up. So you don't, which suits them just fine.
The view we have about what constitutes food today and what a healthy portion size looks like, is now is so distorted that people believe if they don't feel as full as a goog after every meal they haven't eaten enough.
Once you get to that level, it's hard to go back to just feeling satisfied. From there the problem, and the midriff, just keeps growing.
And while businesses continue to make lots of money from this kind of eating including those gleaning from the epidemic like the fitness industry, drug companies and the medical fraternity to some degree, they are not likely to change their habits, so unfortunately it's down to us to cut back on eating the crap they are serving and selling as food.
Maybe next time try sharing a jumbo meal or asking for a smaller serve and save that extra dollar? Set a challenge to avoid food in a box and bottle for a week. You may feel like crap to start with (it's called withdrawals) but if you persevere you will feel a lot better than anticipated seven days ago.
It's tough going when there are enemies at every corner aisle but the future is scary, big, and scary.
With so much money tied up in this battle with obesity, so far it's been a losing one, and unfortunately, it will be health care system that will continue to bear the brunt of that loss.