Adipose Nation: It's Time To Tax The Fat
October 14, 2002 9:15 AM   Subscribe

Adipose Nation: It's Time To Tax The Fat A Swiftian proposition to create a "glutton tax" for the ever-growing numbers of obese Americans. This topic is being thrown around a lot these days. Yesterday's New York Times (nyt registration req'd) presented a more factual, sober accounting of it stating yet again, that nearly two-thirds of Americans adults 20 to 74 years old are classified as overweight.
posted by ubueditor (52 comments total)
 
Yeah, it's too bad there's not already some disincentive for obesity. Wtf?
posted by callmejay at 9:18 AM on October 14, 2002


There apparently isn't really a disincentive for obesity since Americans continue to get fat, in fact become moreso every year. It's hard to know exactly why, but Americans don't give a rats ass how short their lifespans or how horrible life with diabetes, hypertension and heart disease will be. A bag of Doritos today is somehow more important. I'm not a body nazi by any means, but I have to admit that the better shape i've been able to achieve through my own efforts and hard work, the less patient I have become being trapped behind the morbidly obese as they shuffle along.
posted by shagoth at 9:33 AM on October 14, 2002


Why on earth is it the government's business what people weigh?
posted by konolia at 9:38 AM on October 14, 2002


See this (very recent) thread, on the same topic though with a different link, for discussion (a more civilized one than this looks like being).
posted by languagehat at 9:42 AM on October 14, 2002


Americans don't give a rats ass how short their lifespans or how horrible life with diabetes, hypertension and heart disease will be.

That would explain why Americans spend zero dollars every year on incredibly unprofitable things like diet aids, ab rollers and liposuction. It's because they don't care.

This is a topic that generally begins and ends with horrible results on Metafilter.
posted by Skot at 9:45 AM on October 14, 2002


Ok, what can be done to divert the topic to something that won't degenerate into name calling and venom. What does it take to help motivate people to do the right thing diet and exercise wise. Surely there is some magic key that will unlock the health potential that exists in the 60% of Americans that are overweight. I'm sure much of it's perceptual (ie. "I don't have time" or something similiar) so what can be done. Reading over the previous metafilter threads reveals that many people don't like being overweight but offers little insight into how to help them help themselves.
posted by shagoth at 9:51 AM on October 14, 2002


What does it take to help motivate people to do the right thing diet and exercise wise.

Stop calling it "the right thing" and acting like you know what's best for other people.
posted by yerfatma at 9:53 AM on October 14, 2002


Question: is this really a specifically American problem?
posted by ubueditor at 9:55 AM on October 14, 2002


shagoth:

It's hard to know exactly why, but Americans don't give a rats ass how short their lifespans or how horrible life with diabetes, hypertension and heart disease will be. A bag of Doritos today is somehow more important.

food can be just like any other addiction, shagoth; and as such, i think this sort of opinion is ignorant. people with weight problems and food addictions may be quite aware of ensuing health risks. they may be trying to stop as we speak.

moreover, one of the most pressing problems with regard to obesity in america is not our arrogant attitude, or whatever; it's poverty. quite simply, a lot of people in this nation are obese because they are poor. it really sucks when the cheapest meal you can afford is the one you buy from mcdonalds, but that's how things go.

I'm not a body nazi by any means, but I have to admit that the better shape i've been able to achieve through my own efforts and hard work, the less patient I have become being trapped behind the morbidly obese as they shuffle along.

as someone who has also, with a lot of hard work, managed to get his weight down (from my highest weight, i am down 12 pounds) and who feels much better for it, i don't feel less pity for those who are obese. it's hard to lose weight. i know it can be done, but i also know it took me several tries to get started. i can imagine that disdain is about the last thing an obese person needs to encourage them towards better health.
posted by moz at 9:56 AM on October 14, 2002


Americans buy diet aids, ab rollers and liposuction because they want a quick fix without any real lifestyle change.

Choosing to be obese is an irrational decision. It has consequences that include reduced lifespan, reduced functionality while alive, and greater pain and/or ill health while alive.

Obesity can not be "the right thing." To choose to not be obese must be the right thing, as it means making the rational decision to become healthier, live longer, and suffer less.

Ubu: not a strictly American problem, but Americans are certainly more overweight more often than citizens of other countries. Rest assured, though, that Canadians are making a sincere effort to catch up to the American lead. Sigh.

Moz: Poverty, aye. Poverty and lack of knowledge. There are a lot of people who simply don't understand that the foods they are choosing are unhealthy for them. Much to the delight of Frito-Lay, I'm sure.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:01 AM on October 14, 2002


One thing that bothers me about discussion of America's weight "problem" is that the health effects are often tossed out as a cover for what is, at heart, an aesthetic pet peeve.

But divorced from one's aesthetic disdain for how others look, the issue of weight and health seems to be merely one part of a much larger problem within our society: Preventive medicine, and preventive lifestyles, do not come easily. 20-25 percent of the country still smokes, after almost 50 years of hard evidence showing how bad it is for you. People eat far too much red meat and not enough fresh fruits and vegetables. Despite the apparent craze for exercise equipment and sports, most Americans - and particularly teens - don't get enough exercise. And it appears to me that the issue presents a pretty difficult policy dilemma: Is this failure to take care of ourselves the result of a too-successful health care system (that will save you from diabetes and heart attacks), or an unsuccessful one, in that it fails to emphasize preventive medicine?
posted by risenc at 10:01 AM on October 14, 2002


I assume that the majority of sensible idea round "taxing fat" revolve around taxing soft drinks and fast food- primarily those that are irresponsibly being promoted in middle and high schools as part of gigantic marketing and funding schemes.

Jesus, people- we have schools that classify ketchup as a serving of fruit to meet the mandated nutritional requirements. The issue to me is much less about monitoring American free will and much more about regulating corporate irresponsibility.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 10:10 AM on October 14, 2002


To choose to not be obese must be the right thing, as it means making the rational decision to become healthier, live longer, and suffer less.

Personally, I think if I had to choose between dying fat and happy of a massive heart attack in my 50's or watching my body slowly decay and wither into my 90's, I'd choose A. (ofcourse I would prefer a nice happy medium...)
posted by stifford at 10:14 AM on October 14, 2002


I was eating my lunch while reading this article. That is, until I came acrss the line "Can you not reach around to clean your own fundament?"

I'm not by any means obese, but I put on a few more pounds over the years. I noticed when i stopped thinking about it, the pounds disappeared.

I imagine it would be very hard for obese people to stop thinking about being obese. They are reminded every minute of their size.

It's personal choice if someone wants to continue being fat. There is no right or wrong way to be. We should not be dictating the quality of others' lives. When was the last time any of you flew and were NOT uncomfortable, no matter who was sitting next to you.

Here's a sticky dilemma. I work PT as a host in a small restaurant. How do you tell the big people that they cannot have that last table because in order to seat them there I would be completely blocking the aisle and preventing the waitresses from reaching anyone else?
posted by archimago at 10:14 AM on October 14, 2002


Save a cow, eat a fat person.
posted by Grod at 10:16 AM on October 14, 2002


If we started eschewing processed foods and fast foods, and eating a balanced diet of fruits and vegetables with reasonable amounts of meat, poultry and fish ... (yeah, right).
posted by chuq at 10:16 AM on October 14, 2002


XQUZYPHYR: It's a horrible cycle. Corporations are now sponsoring programs in schools. "We'll give you XXX dollars for new textbooks if you put our soda machine in your cafeteria." It's really sad that big business is buying it's way into classrooms. And it doesn't end there either. Open up one of your kids' textbooks sometimes and see how long it takes you to spot the corporate sponsorship.

This algebra exercise brought to you courtesy of MCDonalds.
posted by archimago at 10:18 AM on October 14, 2002


I don't know if 'Swiftian' is quite the word for that NY Press article. That term would seem to imply wit or irony, as well as venom.

Meanwhile - XQUZYPHYR, you're joking about the ketchup, right?
posted by hot soup girl at 10:36 AM on October 14, 2002


He's not.
posted by websavvy at 10:41 AM on October 14, 2002


Does this include fat-heads?
posted by jpburns at 10:48 AM on October 14, 2002


Save a cow, eat a fat person.

Actually, no. Eat a cow. Become thin. According to the holy words of Dr. Robert Atkins. I've been on Atkins for the past few months (since the NYTimes Sunday magazine article on how fat doesn't make you fat). I've been able to eat obscenely "fattening" things like steak and cream, and drink to my heart's content (whiskey, cognac, but not beer) and I've lost 20 pounds. No rice, bread, bananas, pasta + beer!

To: hot soup girl. Geez, I really thought the piece was somewhat ironic, especially at the end, hence my Swiftian comment. Wow, do you really think it's not? Interesting...
posted by ubueditor at 10:51 AM on October 14, 2002


Michelob makes a low-carb beer, now. It tastes like watery Michelob, but after beer-free months under the wing of good old Doc Atkins, it really isn't so bad at all.
posted by jennyb at 10:55 AM on October 14, 2002


I personally think it is a combination of the incredible increase in soda consumption (I remember a time when there was no such thing as a two liter-unless you won it at the county fair)-and also the decline of the balanced homecooked meal. When both spouses work, both are bone tired, and people need to be fed, it is not surprising that pizza delivery or a quick trip to McDonalds/Taco Bell/Wendy's/ etc etc are a common solution. And when fastfood joints actually make an effort to serve something nutritious, most people won't buy it. Those fries just taste too darn good.

Add to that that in the old days kids would have to eat what was in front of them and now it is just easier to put the crap they will actually eat in front of them.

Finally, morning noon and night we are inundated via media with ads for food, food, food. You can't get away from it unless you live in a cave...

I could go on and on but my main point is that the entire modern American lifestyle doesn't make it particularly easy to eat correctly. And I won't even get into what my European friends say about portion sizes here- and the fact that all kinds of foods here have sugar in them (such as pasta sauce)-which leaves them furiously to ponder.
posted by konolia at 10:57 AM on October 14, 2002


Eat a cow. Become thin.

Yeah, right. People routinely lose weight on this diet, preach, then give it up later and gain the weight back. While the weight loss is temporary, the damage to your heart and kidneys is not (as Atkins himself learned with his recent hospital stay). Anyone who has read the NYT story should check this Washington Post follow-up to see how fraudulent Taubes was in reporting on the science of low-fat vs. high-fat.

And don't forget the more immediate dangers of basing your diet around meat.
posted by soyjoy at 11:06 AM on October 14, 2002


There was a proposal under Reagan's watch to classify ketchup as a vegetable (I lose track of how many kinds of wrong that is), but I don't think it ever came to pass. If somebody is calling it a serving of fruit now, well, that would be one less kind of wrong*, but I've not heard that it's actually happening.

*A tomato is a fruit. More precisely, it is a berry.
posted by NortonDC at 11:07 AM on October 14, 2002


The Supreme Court ruled for taxation purposes that the tomato be classified as a vegetable.
posted by blogRot at 11:13 AM on October 14, 2002


And of course we all know the SCOTUS is infallible.
posted by NortonDC at 11:17 AM on October 14, 2002


People get overweight because they eat more calories than they expend. In the US, this is because:
  1. There is an overabundance of food products, especially food products that are high in calories.
  2. There is a tendency to prepare said food products in an unhealthy manner (i.e., fried) that adds calories to food. This is mostly because such methods are fast, convenient, and (most insideously) often flavorful.
  3. Modern, post-industrial, service-based society Americans have a largely sedentary lifestyle. As such, we expend fewer calories than our industrial and agrarian ancestors.
Except for the most impoverished, people in the US can afford to consume large quantities of calories without physically working hard to obtain them. This problem is aggravated by the fact that a larger proportion of the available foodstuffs come prepared in forms that are unhealthy.

Blame it on evolution, in part. People eat like this because we evolved to eat like this, to take in calories when we could so that we had reserves to fall back on when times were bad. Only now things have changed too fast for natural adaption, and we find ourselves compromised by this instinct to eat. We get fat because we are successful: because we have reduced the amount of work needed to get food, minimized the disadvantages that obese people face through medicine and technology, and maximized the amount of food available.

The answer to obesity (in almost all cases) is simple: take in less calories, and expend more calories. In other words, eat less, exercise more. The problem, however, is in the implementation. Homo sapiens, by nature, don't want to eat less and exercise more. No species on the planet does.

So how do we overcome evolution and get people to eat less and exercise more? That's the billion-dollar question. Somehow, I don't think taxes are going to do it.
posted by moonbiter at 11:36 AM on October 14, 2002


Ok, in Sweden [high taxes] it all pans ot fairly simple. High taxes on cig's and alcohol as eventually the state will fork out money towards hospitals to care for cigarette and alcohol related diseases.

So if obesity is costing the healthcare system money, well then food should be taxed. Especially bad fattening foods, like doritoes. right? Ok, fair we say we tax the obese people instead. Weigh everybody in on tax day.

Now we discover that heck, there are people out there born with things that eventually lead them to a hospital. we should tax all the diabetes prone, the 'too tall' people because they are far more likely to get heart disease, the sexually promiscuous because you know lots of illness is std's...

nope, bad idea.

What I never understood is why the state [government] doesn't help people do different instead. Want to prevent new generations from picking up the cigarette habit? How about offering all parents-to-be non-smoking therapy of choice [patches, acupuncture..] before the impressionable young mind is born? Obesity becoming a problem - why not start a community weightwatchers to encourage healthy eating?
posted by dabitch at 11:43 AM on October 14, 2002


There are a lot of people who simply don't understand that the foods they are choosing are unhealthy for them

I really don't believe this. On the train home I picked up a copy of The Sun - the biggest selling tabloid (by far) in the UK. Every time I read the The Sun there's a diet story in there. They're always the same. It's always someone who's lost about 10 stone (140 pounds) through giving up crisps and biscuits and instead eating salad and fruit and there's always a list of the foods they now eat. Actually, here it is.

Then there are prime-time programmes such as Fat Club and Celebrity Fit Club, not to mention all the weight loss features on daytime TV. I'm sure the US and most Western countries have equivalents to all these. I think if there's one thing the public is educated about, over-educated about, it's weight and food.
posted by Summer at 11:51 AM on October 14, 2002


There are a lot of people who simply don't understand that the foods they are choosing are unhealthy for them

I really don't believe this. On the train home I picked up a copy of The Sun - the biggest selling tabloid (by far) in the UK. Every time I read the The Sun there's a diet story in there. They're always the same. It's always someone who's lost about 10 stone (140 pounds) through giving up crisps and biscuits and instead eating salad and fruit and there's always a list of the foods they now eat. Actually, here it is.

Then there are prime-time programmes such as Fat Club and Celebrity Fit Club, not to mention all the weight loss features on daytime TV. I'm sure the US and most Western countries have equivalents to all these. I think if there's one thing the public is educated about, over-educated about, it's weight and food. They don't shout 'who ate all the pies' at fat people for nothing.
posted by Summer at 11:52 AM on October 14, 2002


Sorry about the double post
posted by Summer at 11:52 AM on October 14, 2002


And Reagan attempted to classify catsup as a vegetable.

Actually, if we're going to get Swiftian, why not go straight after the source? What I don't understand is why places like McDonald's and Burger King aren't being taxed for serving fatty and unhealthy foods. They're the real culprits here. These "restaurants," among many, have not only been allowed to serve unhealthy and wholly unappetizing food, but they have been granted carte blanche to spread like wildfire, destroying local character and making every interstate road stop look no more heterogeneous than a bland, unadorned wall. I dare anyone here to find a healthy meal while making a road trip. I also dare anyone here to find a nonfatty restaurant meal that's under three bucks.

The solution to America's obesity crisis is to obliterate McDonald's Crappy Meals from the face of the earth and to promote a reasonably priced and healthy meal for the masses. Of course, sometimes the efforts to remedy diets (NYT) often result in failed results -- even in organic-loving places like Berkeley. Fast Food Nation may sell like hotcakes in bookstores, but while the concern for obesity is there, the hypocrisy lives on. No one has the balls to point the finger at the real targets: the franchises who have been allowed to offer unhealthy food at cutthroat prices, spreading like an unstoppable weed through the great American swath, and the soda companies who have been allowed to infiltrate today's schools, setting up exclusive distribution deals with school districts.

Kill the restaurants, kill the obesity epidemic. But who wants to give up their fries, particularly if it's the only place around to grab cheap grub?
posted by ed at 11:58 AM on October 14, 2002


sometimes the efforts to remedy diets (NYT) often result in failed results

And sometimes they often result in successful results.

The point is, and I think this is pretty much what you were saying, that when it comes to eating healthily, there's not a fair fight between the forces of one's personal will and the forces of rampant consumerism. In my reading of that NYT story, it seems clear that the latter is what prevailed, rather than level-headed dietary choices.
posted by soyjoy at 12:17 PM on October 14, 2002


ed:

Kill the restaurants, kill the obesity epidemic. But who wants to give up their fries, particularly if it's the only place around to grab cheap grub?

no one. you convince me that the restaurants really aren't the problem; as i stated above, and as i still believe, it is poverty which is.

fast food is cheap and is available. that is the first part, i think, for why it is a bad thing. it's fine to eat fast food every now and then. i don't think you should make it a regular part of your diet, if you can help it, but some people can't.

for the second part, fast food is medicating. any food is, really. you are given large portions, and are encouraged to eat larger portions for additional savings for your dollar. i don't know if restaurants do this because they want to make you fat, but i do think that they do so because their clients say they want the option of "Super Sizing". it's this which is to me evidence that food can have addictive properties. you know, on some level, that you don't really need to super-size: but you want to.

i don't know what a solution to obesity is. the obnoxiously easy answer would be "get rid of poverty." even then, of course, i think you could only marginalize obesity.
posted by moz at 12:43 PM on October 14, 2002


I don't think fast food is cheap. A full meal deal at the local McD's here is around six bucks.

I can buy a lot of food that's actually good for me for the same price. I'm quite certain that my wife and I spend half as much cooking for ourselves, as we would were we buying crappy fast food.

However, we are smart(er?) shoppers and good cooks who take a healthy approach to portions and food groups. These days, that's a rare thing.

Didja know that half a potato = one serving? That two slices of pizza has a full day's worth of fat? That you shouldn't eat humongous heaps of pasta?

Turns out that we need far, far less food than what we're served.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:28 PM on October 14, 2002


it really sucks when the cheapest meal you can afford is the one you buy from mcdonalds, but that's how things go.

Uh... why BUY prepared meals in the first place? Why not buy natural ingredients at your local supermarket, and cook a nice, healthy meal out of that?

... and don't tell me that McDonald's is cheaper than the supermarket. It simply isn't. It all depends on what you buy.
posted by zanpo at 1:34 PM on October 14, 2002


Ed: I dare anyone here to find a healthy meal while making a road trip. I also dare anyone here to find a nonfatty restaurant meal that's under three bucks.

My wife and I drove from Wisconsin to California (primarily via I-90 and I-80) over the course of about a week this summer. We found your holy grail -- a healthy, nonfatty, under-three-dollar restaurant meal -- pretty much every time we got off the highway for a bite, even in the wilds of Wyoming or tiny towns in Montana, Idaho, or Nevada.

Every time, there was a Subway easily visible. We'd split a regular turkey sandwich on whole wheat with mustard and loads of veggies (lettuce, onion, peppers, cukes...), which wouldn't set us back more than $5.50 tops, but was the perfect size for lunch. And freshly made right before our eyes. Not only was it healthier than any other highway-area choices we could have made, it was healthier than most of the food we found when we went into towns looking for a local mom&pop place for dinner.

Granted, their ad campaign is annoying and misleading (somehow I doubt that the buffalo-chicken sandwich they've been trumpeting recently is all that healthy), and culturally they're every bit as much a homogenizer of the landscape as McDonald's or BK... but overall I think that they're a positive development. In small towns where your primary choices for informal meals are chain burger joints, non-chain burger joints, bar&grill type places, and the like, Subway just might have the healthiest options out there.

Of course, people have to choose those options, refrain from slathering on the mayo, and stay away from the "Large" options on the menu. And that's how it should be: there are choices for people who want to eat well, and choices for people who want to eat badly. That has always been and will always be the case.
posted by sesquipedalia at 1:42 PM on October 14, 2002


For a single person cooking alone, which I often am, McDonald's probably is indeed cheaper than cooking, unless you are willing to make some strange meals to deal with leftover ingredients, have a big, non-roommate-constrained freezer or live on mac and cheese (does that even count?) Not that I've been to a McDonald's in a non-road-trip context in years. I just deal with the extra expense of eating decent food because I can. But I don't understand why fast food is somehow the culprit. Fast food places are some of the only restaurants where you can buy small portions. Yeah, they push the supersizing thing, but at what real restaurant can you buy a meal the size of a fast-food hamburger? The cafeteria at my university is much worse than any burger place - you can't buy individual foods, but are required to purchase a "full meal", which is more than any grad student needs to eat or should have to pay for. A lot of my fellow students go to the McDonald's in the same building for just that reason..
posted by transona5 at 2:09 PM on October 14, 2002


I don't think fast food is cheap. A full meal deal at the local McD's here is around six bucks.

(single patty) burgers are under a buck in my area, and large fries are (i think) a little over a dollar. a full meal, that is including a soft drink, would easily be under four dollars here. perhaps under three, if you get all medium sizes. (mcdonalds, and many other fast food restaurants, have largely seemed to stop producing small sized portions.) i am basing my information just as you are, sadly (that is by anecdote): i can't seem to find prices for mcdonalds food online, so i apologize for the could-be-i-think-maybe response.

zanpo:

Uh... why BUY prepared meals in the first place? Why not buy natural ingredients at your local supermarket, and cook a nice, healthy meal out of that?

... and don't tell me that McDonald's is cheaper than the supermarket. It simply isn't. It all depends on what you buy.


fast food is pretty fast to receive. (not everyone enjoys the prospect of spending half-an-hour cooking at the end of the workday.) part of the problem with comparing supermarkets with mcdonalds or j. random fast food joint is that prices differ quite a bit from region to region. how could we convince ourselves, short of a visit to the local mcdonalds and supermarket? even then, one must be wary. you couldn't visit any downtown mcdonalds, for example, for you're quite likely to pay higher there for your food.
posted by moz at 2:22 PM on October 14, 2002


Wait just one second. Kill McDonalds for our own good? I thought Prohibition had already been proved a poor solution.

I work out 4-5 times per week. I eat some kind of green vegetable for at least one meal every day. And if you ever try to take away my occasional purchase of the unhealthy toxic greasy goodness of McDonald's fries, I will hunt you down man. I. Will. Hunt. You. Down.
posted by synapse at 2:27 PM on October 14, 2002


Fast food places are some of the only restaurants where you can buy small portions. Yeah, they push the supersizing thing, but at what real restaurant can you buy a meal the size of a fast-food hamburger?

Honestly, a McDonalds hamburger isn't that bad. I'm on weight watchers, and according to the restaurant supplement I have, one hamburger is only 6 points, about the same as the average diet tv dinner (weight watchers, lean cuisine, healthy choice, etc), or a bowl of pasta with maranara sauce. With about 25 points for an entire day, six for one meal isn't bad at all.

The problem is that 99% of the people who eat at McDonalds aren't getting a hamburger. They're getting a big mac (14 points), or Quarter Pounder with cheese (13) and topping it off with an order of fries (10 points) and a non-diet soda (4 for a typical medium). Even on weight watchers, which is just about the most lenient diet plan around, one value meal is more points than I'm even allowed in a single day.
posted by Kellydamnit at 2:41 PM on October 14, 2002


the unhealthy toxic greasy goodness of McDonald's fries

No, dude, Mickey D's fries are all healthy now!
posted by soyjoy at 2:43 PM on October 14, 2002


YAAAAAAAAAAY!
posted by synapse at 2:49 PM on October 14, 2002


Actually one thing that hasn't been mentioned here is when someone eats is as much a factor as what someone eats. When I started working I gained weight, not because I was eating more, but because I wasn't eating during the day. I would get something quick on the way to work, I often skipped lunch altogether or had only a snack, and then became starving on the way home. As a result I ate a lot at night, when I was no longer active. Once I started packing lunches and healthy snacks, I found that I lost weight even though I was consuming the same amount of calories.
posted by miss-lapin at 5:53 PM on October 14, 2002


Hey now, missy, let's not be dragging logic into this.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 5:56 PM on October 14, 2002


moz: Very good points and exactly the inference I was trying to make.

synapse: I don't know about the Prohibition. The price spike in cigarettes seems to be having an effect a slow but steady effect on smoking, including yours truly, who quit four months ago.

sesquipedalia: Good work on the road. But not everyone maintains that kind of modesty or asceticism, particularly after driving for six or seven hours and remaining in a ass-plastered position. But if you were to present Americans with a very easy opportunity to have fresh, healthy, tasty and affordable food, they'd flock to it like wildfire. The success of In 'N' Out Burger (and the current slump of McD's) demonstrates that a company can continually expand and make a profit based off of a higher quality franchise burger and fair employee wages and benefits. It's a step in the right direction, but much like Subway, the chain is problematic when it comes to health and homogenization.
posted by ed at 6:00 PM on October 14, 2002


All I know is that every time I've decided I'm going to stick to Weight Watchers (I've been a member off and on for the last 4 years, with the current stint being the longest--I've kept 25 pounds off for a year, but have a lot more to go) and I've purchased fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats, and nutritious breads and pastas, my grocery bills have skyrocketed. If I buy convenience foods, my bill is much smaller. And I'm only one person. I can't imagine buying food for an entire family.
posted by eilatan at 6:57 PM on October 14, 2002


miss lapin:

Actually one thing that hasn't been mentioned here is when someone eats is as much a factor as what someone eats. When I started working I gained weight, not because I was eating more, but because I wasn't eating during the day. I would get something quick on the way to work, I often skipped lunch altogether or had only a snack, and then became starving on the way home. As a result I ate a lot at night, when I was no longer active.

those are really good points. i did the same thing, or similarly so: i decided to eat larger lunches than dinners when i could. on days i eat out for lunch, i eat only a marginal dinner. i can't do that every day, but i do try to eat more at lunch than at dinner as often as possible. it really does help, and i'd suggest it to anyone trying to lose weight. (the reason why is not only that you may be more active, but also that your body's metabolism is highest in the morning and slowest at night -- as a general rule, the earlier you eat the more calories you will burn that day.)

ed: thanks!
posted by moz at 7:23 PM on October 14, 2002


One of the things that needs to be noted is that the diet/execise/weight connection is a bit more complex than is usually stated. When I trained for a half marathon I dropped exactly 10 lbs and stabilized at an overweight 195 with a bit of a belly in spite of increasing my track time (and getting faster and stronger). Unfortunately there is that added extra variable that attempts to keep weight constant.

But there are a few other issues here including the upsizing of drinks (the small water I got today at hardies was a 1/2 litre). The failure of the fitness craze to get results. But also the focus on weight goals rather that fitness goals and the constant fat bashing is probably not helping much.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 8:49 PM on October 14, 2002


A note from my experience: a suburban lifestyle is also possibly a contributing factor regarding obesity in the US.

I live in Boston and I walk or take the T (subway) just about everywhere. Even grocery shopping is a workout because instead of unloading the cart into the back of a car, I carry everything home. When suburban friends come to visit, they're always surprised at how much walking they do.

But I'm devoted to city life, so I'm biased.
posted by swerve at 9:50 PM on October 14, 2002


This is the song that I'm gonna rap about
It's called that "I'm Sorry That I Got Fat (I Will Slim Down)"
This is the song that is reminding me that I'm fixing to lose weight and go on a strict diet

The first time when I got fat, I was eating those fatty hamburgers, fries, and all that
That's why I'm gonna do something about it right now
And this is the song that I just wrote about "I'm Sorry That I Got Fat (I Will Slim Down)"
So here it goes right now

Before I got fat, I was slim
That was this time when I was eating McDonalds
I kept eating McDonald's for five years from 1987
To 1991
That's when I became fat; a year later, I'm doing something about it

I'm sorry that I got fat
I'm sorry that I got fat
I'm sorry that I got fat
I will slim down

I've been trying to lose weight
But it's time-taking
It's been time-taking, but I'm fixing to stay away from Wendys, Burger King, and McDonalds, plus White Castles
That's what I'm going to do, and that's that

I'm sorry that I got fat
I'm sorry that I got fat
I'm sorry that I got fat
I will slim down

I'm getting tired of eating McDonalds
That's the same as I'm tired of eating Wendys, Burger King, White Castle, and other places
Let me tell you when and how I'm losing weight

I'm sorry that I got fat
I'm sorry that I got fat
I'm sorry that I got fat
I will slim down

From now on, I'm staying away from fatty foods
And eating healthy foods
And going on a strict diet

I'm sorry that I got fat
I'm sorry that I got fat
I'm sorry that I got fat
I will slim down
I'm sorry that I got fat
I'm sorry that I got fat
I'm sorry that I got fat
I will slim down
I'm sorry that I got fat
I will slim down
I'm sorry that I got fat
I will slim down
I will slim down
I will slim down
I will slim down
I will slim down
I will slim down
I will slim down
I will slim down
I will slim down
I will slim down
I will slim down
I'm sorry that I got fat
I will slim down
Thank you
posted by timecube at 8:08 AM on October 17, 2002


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