Short Answer to "Why Are We Broken?"

February 29, 2012

An interesting question was posed this morning on my favorite discussion forum:

Question:

I’m wondering something here after reading so many responses with [stepkids] that are SOOOOOO overweight. WHY? [….]

Do you think being the child of divorce made this happen or having two separate homes?

My Answer:

We are living in a society with a broken food supply. We feed ourselves and our kids nutritionally devoid foods, we develop a dependence on those foods, and we lose the ability to listen to our bodies and self-regulate. It is NOT about will-power or self control. It is about eating “edible food-like substances” at mealtime instead of real food.

The obesity epidemic among kids is not confined to children of divorce. If you watch any of those documentaries (King Corn, Fast Food Nation, etc.) you will start to see the big picture. I am so concerned about this issue (for myself and my family) that I started a blog about it.

I think my stepson is a good example of this phenomenon. He is a “husky” boy but spends 8 weeks in the summer with us and every summer he slowly loses the extra pounds. I give all the children in the house unlimited access to food, but I do NOT keep any “non-food” (i.e. junk) in the house. And it’s not diet food… it’s stuff like fruit, veggies, whole milk, full-fat cheese, full-fat yogurt, whole wheat crackers and homemade bread with real butter. We even have take-out once a week as a treat. My boys are thin as rails, my husband is normal weight and I have been slowly losing weight since we started changing habits. And like I said, my stepson slims down when he is with us.

My stepson’s main source of food at home is his school lunches and convenience foods (Kraft dinners, Tyson nuggets, Betty Crocker pot-pies, Lean Cuisines etc.). The problem with those foods is not so much that you CAN’T make a meal plan of them that fit the dietary guidelines because you most definitely could. The problem is that those foods do not satisfy. They are practically pre-digested then reconstituted to resemble real food. The fiber and nutrients that make you feel satisfied are lost. This information is not making it out to the world because of marketing and lobbyists. The government considers pizza sauce and french fries to be vegetables.

Kids can’t make these choices for themselves so they CANNOT be blamed for not having access to real food. It’s sad… but all we can do is teach them when they are with us so they can learn how to shop and cook for themselves when they are old enough.

Let me just add that I really don’t blame my stepson’s mother for any of his weight issues. She is doing the best she can with the information she has. This blog is intended to help people like her. People who do their very best, follow the rules, and still struggle with weight loss, hunger, and health issues.

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