Looking to the Past for Some Answers to Obesity?

” Simply stated what we have being doing in the last few decades didn’t work as intended, so why not start a trend back towards habits that did, both dietary and political?”

I was stunned by this sentence concluding a long email discussion with a renown forensic coroner who loves not only medicine, but also politics, fashion, cultural developments, and corsets. I often consult with him on medically-related questions that arise when I am coaching a waist-training student, or regarding some new article I’ve read about nutrition or the body.

We were discussing obesity, and a recent article I’d run across that claimed that grazing, that is, eating more than three times a day, was not all that effective to ensure a svelte figure. I’ve written about that topic before.

He went on to point out that “babies are born with a sense of hunger and thirst. When a newborn  is given breast milk, the first milk is watery, then if the baby is hungry it continues to suck, and the milk become fattier and more satisfying.  When we feed with a formula it’s the same from end to end, so to what extent are we teaching numerous youngsters to ignore the normal  appetite sensations and control mechanisms? ”

There’s something to be said for eating when we feel hungry, but “feeling hungry” seems to do with watching all those delicious food commercials on tv, boredom, stress, and being an at-home worker and near the refrigerator, as much as it has to do with any simple bodily sensation. We can’t get rid of at-home offices or the refrigerator, but we can become conscious of all the non-natural forces that pull on us to move this way or that, eat or overeat, and try to stop from being an automaton in how we move through life.

Consciousness, living in the moment or for the day, seem to be one of the main keys. But so too, looking to the past for some possible answers also makes sense.

Continue today to do the same thing and expect different results than one has achieved, is the definition of crazy, right? So why not look backward? What was it in the past that we did, that we could reasonably replicate today, that kept our population svelte (and our  nation deficit-free and on solid monetary footing?) And was “svelte” all that healthy? Those are big questions, deserving of serious research and thought.

Middle class Americans did live closer to the land, grow more of our own food, and prepare meals plus eat together as a family. I remember my maternal grandad raised chickens in the far back of his yard behind his big home in Bluefield, W Va where they lived. I used to love going into the chicken house to collect fresh, brown eggs with thick creamy golden yokes. I know, because I dropped a few on the way to grandma baking homemade cookies in the kitchen.

We also ate less refined sugars and wheat, more wheat bran and wheat breads or cornbreads. Of course there were meat and potatoes in abundance in my home, simple foods. Why didn’t cholesterol seem to bother our extended family? The only one to have heart problems was my paternal, skinny aunt!

The topic is worth a lot more discussion. I’d love to hear your thoughts!


Filed under General Waist Training Information, Hot Topics on Health

2 responses to “Looking to the Past for Some Answers to Obesity?

  1. There’s certainly a lot to be said for Actual Food, as opposed to chemical-laced processed food stripped of most of the nutrients, but people back in Ye Oldeny Times were not that healthy. Not having access to vegetables and fruits year-round, as well as a general suspicion of them, meant they were a good foot shorter on average than today. They also had a whole range of malnutrition-related diseases that are much more rare today.

    Both eras had their serious diet-related problems. It’s unwise to romanticize the past to such an extent that you copy the common diet of, say, the Victorian time period, but neither should you copy the common diet of today (processed food, chips, soda, Hot Pockets…). I think the answer is to take the best parts of each and discard the worst. Real butter and cream are better than whatever the heck it is they put in Totinos pizzas and Banquet potpies.

  2. They say the reason why celery is considered a “negative calorie” food is because the energy it takes to digest it burns more calories than you consumed. One thing I’ve noticed is that when you eat a lot of fast food or overly processed food it generally goes right through you. Which suggest to me that not only are you consuming high-calorie food, but it’s also nearly effortless for the body to digest and pass the waste. I think this causes people to easily pack on weight regardless of exercise. If you want to work that food off, you have to compensate for a process your body is supposed to do naturally.

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