I may be jumping into dangerous waters here, but it’s summer, right? So, what the heck, here goes…

There’s been an awful lot of information and opinions swimming around the news…the Internet…Facebook…you name it—about outlawed sodas and healthcare reform lately, hasn’t there?

Obesity, they say—specifically childhood obesity.

Soda and sugar are apparently the culprits, blowing our children up into overweight, walking time-bombs.

While I’m not a fan of soda, and I agree that sugar should be in moderation (my kids often disagree), I don’t think that’s the only thing we should be focusing on.

My father-in-law (a man I loved dearly) used to hate it when he saw food going into the trash. “Starving kids in Africa!” How many times have we all heard that? Usually, this comes from the older generation—a generation that lived through the depression. Their mindsets were altered, and how can we not understand that?

But, what if… 

I don’t like to see food thrown away either, but how about only making and taking what you can eat…what you need to eat to be healthy? Eating for the sake of eating is going to put on the pounds, no matter what it is that’s going into your mouth. It’s not a hard concept to figure out. 

The next generation seemed to find their parents persistent talks about having nothing so frustrating, that they became a generation of consumption. America got bigger and better, and our desire for more grew. They didn’t want to keep their children from all the possessions they missed out on in their own childhood, so they gave willingly—maybe too much.

I want, I want!… 

Just because you can, doesn’t mean you have to! Just because it’s available, doesn’t mean you have to eat it…or buy it. 

My eight-year-old son continually asks me when he can have a TV in his room. My answer: when you’re 18! That’s when I got a TV in my room. It’s not because we can’t buy it. It’s because he doesn’t need it there. And if was there, he’d have an option to hole up in his room instead of spending time with our family.  Why does he need it?

We’ve become a society of parents who wonder why they don’t connect with their kids! Not as a whole, but perhaps as a majority. (Sigh.)

What we were left with is a generation of kids who seemed to grow up with a sense of entitlement. We became a buy now/pay later society. The population’s debt climbed higher and higher, and when things came crashing down around us in the financial markets, everyone seemed clueless as to why.

There was a lot of finger pointing. I remember—I held the title of Investment Advisor then. I sat at my desk, watching the TV, and shaking my head for months. What we’d created was NOT the American dream that everyone tried to blame things on.

What’s it really worth?… 

Today we want more, and we want it for less. At the same time we wonder why all of our work is moving overseas…we cant afford to keep the work here because: #1: Our population doesn’t want to pay the money it takes to manufacture here, and #2: Too many workers and unions got greedy over time. (You can’t expect to be paid $25/hour to screw a tire to a car! But that’s a whole other conversation.) 

When it comes to food, we have done the same. To keep things cheap, chemicals are used in mass quantity for faster and more efficient farming—these are chemicals that, in larger quantities, can be fatal to a human being. Ever wonder what that’s doing to our bodies over time? 

Companies have also started finding cheaper ways to make our food—PROCESSED food! High Fructose Corn Syrup (a cheaper, chemically-derived, man-made form of sugar), and Hydrogenated Oils (a cheaper, chemically-derived, man-made way of producing more oils for less) have become two of the most common ingredients in the products on the shelves at our grocery stores!  

Go ahead, Google it. The search results will amaze you! Ever wonder why cancer is consistently on the rise? Hydrogenated oils are actually legally banned in Denmark and New York City. When New York City banned them a few years ago I was pleasantly surprised, and hopeful that others would follow suit.

It’s appalling that our government allows our food to be processed in a way that’s actually harmful to our body. Yet, they don’t want to allow us to drink soda in large quantities! What? This is what gets under my skin. (And of course, we should all have healthcare, because they’re making us sick, after all!)

What to do?…

Educate yourself! You can’t start unless you have the facts and know where to begin. Don’t sit in a position where your fate, or your health, lies in someone else’s hands.  Don’t take things at face value—investigate and always ask questions.

Next, if you want to be healthy, start eating healthy. A couple of years ago my husband and I started paying attention to trans-fats and high-fructose ingredients, etc. We try only to buy things that don’t contain those ingredients and eat organic food whenever possible.

People tell me all the time that they can’t eat organic because it’s too expensive. Trust me, if you start eating healthier you won’t need to consume as much food in the first place. You can’t put a price on your health. Even if you don’t go the organic route, at least start by eating healthier foods—fruits and vegetables, for example. Take time to cook, and stop buying all of the “quick-fix” stuff they try to sell to the fast-paced society we have become. In the long run, it’s only going to slow you down—or maybe stop you for good.

This isn’t about what other people think. This isn’t about what society says we should look like…thin, sculpted, blah, blah, blah. This is about how we want to live or not live. It has to be about how you feel in your own skin. 

We all created this mess—citizens and government alike.  It’s time to do something about it. Some obesity is genetic and so are some health issues. There are people dear to my heart who fall into such categories—they struggle with it every day. But mostly, I think the reason the majority of American’s don’t do what they need to do to get (or stay) healthy and lose weight it isn’t because they can’t, but because they don’t really want to…they don’t want it bad enough. It’s easier to complain, and point fingers, and say you don’t have money for good food because you had to have the newest big-screen TV. The TV, of course, is symbolic—you fill in the blank.

With that being said, I gained almost ten pounds while I was at an all-you-can-eat-and-drink resort in the Caribbean about two months ago. It’s annoying, and I want to lose the weight. My clothes are a little tight, and my energy levels are down.  I just don’t feel as good as I normally do.

I know what I foods I need to eat (and not eat) to lose the weight. I know that I need to exercise, and how. But I haven’t focused on it too hard yet.

I will, though…when I want it bad enough.