Isn’t it weird that most people are overweight in the US?

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My wife and I both grew up in cities with high obesity. Of course that led us to becoming overweight. After getting married we moved across the country to a city with almost no obesity and almost immediately lost weight – below the obesity line. The differences we noticed were that in the city we moved to junk food was seldom advertised and the friends that we made did not invite us to restaurants or BBQs but rather to go hiking, for a walk, or bike riding. Years later we moved to another city in the same state and we noticed that there was heavy obesity. As you would imagine junk food was heavily advertised, dozens of restaurants packed into a small area, our new friends invited us to eat, etc. We’ve maintained our health and habits from the last city we lived and it makes us sad to see people over indulging when there is much more to experience in the world besides food. We would never judge them poorly, it is just a matter of hoping our friends will experience a healthier life one day.


As a European living in the US, it’s got to be said that eating healthier is way harder here. American bread tastes way sweeter than European bread. It’s almost like cake. I tried to get plain granola cereal in multiple stores. It’s not a thing. Pretty much all breakfast cereals are coated with sugar, honey or are coated in chocolate. I’m stuck with having to order No Added Sugar Alpen via Amazon! Restaurants don’t have healthy options. And if they have salads they are drizzled in oily dressings and loaded with cheese. And everything gets served with bread, biscuit, fries, nachos or chips. On top of that, I’m in California where buying healthy food in a grocery store is at least twice the cost. Cheaper food options are often not the most nutritious. The other reason there are a lot of overweight people is that most people don’t seem to have learned about nutrition. The idea that a diet soda is a healthy drink is one of the biggest fallacies in the food business. Nutritionists that I’ve talked to claim that even though they don’t contain many calories, the taste buds are fooled by the sugary taste and trigger an insulin response. Californians do like to exercise, I’ll give them that. But the food options are messed up and food comes loaded with carbs.


Having lived out of the US for a few years, I lost weight immediately without much trying, and that was in the UK where beer is basically consumed like water. Even with all of the habits I’ve pushed myself to learn, I still struggle bigtime here in the US. Here are the reasons I believe we struggle – I’m leaving out the entire part of the problem where if you’re poor and can’t actually get access to nutritious food , which is a whole OTHER can o’ worms: – Life is really stressful in the US, no matter what your income level is. If you’re a high-earner, you might not be stressed about bills, but you have likely got a high stress job. If you’re not a high earner, life is just a freaking GRIND. You are always on alert, and rest is legit frowned upon, if not just plain impossible to make ends meet. Cortisol, the stress hormone, causes weight gain and a slow metabolism. And it’s just pumping through most of us constantly. When I lived in the UK, I definitely felt like the pace of things, even in high-stress London, was totally different. There was certainly stress but it didn’t feel baked into the every day of baseline living. – Walking is only for weirdos in many parts of the US. Everything is geared towards cars. In some cities, it’s literally impossible to walk anywhere. When I was living in the UK, I walked 5 miles a day, easy, as a matter of course. It was 1 mile to the train station, 1/2 mile to my office from the train, and it was normal to take a long stroll at lunch/after work. In that time, I took a business trip to Florida. I tried to walk to a restaurant less than 1/2 a mile away that my coworkers were meeting at, and it was IMPOSSIBLE. I got lost in a parking lot hedge maze and then finally found the road, with no sidewalk, and walked along it until I learned that there was a freeway in the way. In many places, nobody walks… anywhere… ever. I barely took 2,000 steps a day when I was on this trip and I was at a *convention* with no car. I genuinely don’t know how anybody gets by without a car in Florida. – We all work long hours. Breaks are regimented and you’re watched carefully, if you’re even allowed to take them. And even if you’re not watched or discouraged from taking breaks, you’re absolutely trained not to take them by our culture. If you do have a cushy job where you are “allowed” to take breaks and have perks, the perks are usually sugary treats and sodas. You work all the way up to the very last minute, clocking out at closing time is seen as the bare minimum, so you do a little longer, or even much longer, and then by the time you are able to eat, you are so hungry it is very difficult to make good choices. You have to work HARD to find something filling, fresh, and appealing. But it’s very easy to find something processed, fatty and satisfying. If you are working in customer service or at a physical job this is double. You are STARVING by the end of your shift and also mentally, emotionally and physically exhausted. When I worked in the UK, the work week was, I think, 37.5 hours. I don’t remember exactly because nobody was really counting. If you got your work done nobody bothered you about it. If you had to leave early to pick up your kid, no problem. If you left every day 5 mins before closing time because that’s when your train leaves, no problem. My experience was that most are allowed – even *expected* to work healthy eating and downtime into your life. – Sugar or Corn syrup is added to freaking EVERYTHING. We have this corn subsidy problem, you see, so we make corn syrup and add it to everything we can think of. Even things you would never dream of having sugar in them, they are loaded up with sugar. Those low-fat products? Yep, sugary AF. They have to do something to make them taste as good as the full-fat kind…


Have you ever looked at the sugar content in children’s yogurt? It’s insane. Yogurt is advertised as a healthy option, but it’s not. The obesity problem is beginning in toddlerhood with sugar filled foods, and later with lack of proper education about nutrition.


Sugar industry is one of the largest donors to both major political parties in the US.