A Sci Am blog post reported that the USA lags in efficiency of converting workers' time into money. A lot of that is because workers have chronic obesity-related diseases.
Ironically, the supply of fattening junk food at people’s workplaces is a significant cause of the obesity problem. People bring cheap junk food to share; employers supply cheap junk food at parties. It’s hard for people to resist when they are right next to it all day. Food companies are very skilled at producing hyper-palatable, cheerfully packaged, cheap - and fattening food.
Social eating is a big part of the obesity problem generally.
People bring fattening food into a social environment – like work or at a party – and cheerfully invite others to share the “goodies”. This is considered sociality in the USA culture.
And people go to restaurants to be social, and restaurant food is generally also high fat.
And if you object, you feel like a spoilsport, a grim reminder of people’s flab. I went to the barbeque of a social group, where most of the people were overweight. It was full of marshmallows and other junk food. I objected later, but I was met with an attitude of “there’s nothing wrong with eating treats now and then” and the suggestion that I must have an eating disorder! (I'm thinnish but in the normal weight range.)
If I were overweight I would consider it urgent NOT to be eating such stuff, and an unkindness for someone to tempt me with it. But overweight and very obese people are routinely exposed to this.
No wonder so many people are fat, when fattening food is associated with cheerful social occasions.
I am overweight and very tempted by fattening-foods. I know that I eat for comfort too. I need to get back to my healthy-weight. It's hard to do because of my medical issues. You are right about the social aspect of eating unhealthy foods!
I have about zero resistance to the telepathic twinkles that appetizing food emits. If I were in a bad environment with a lot of junk food, unable to control the environment, I think I would polish it off fast.
The "junk food" link has a lot of interesting stuff about the sophisticated ways that food co's make their products so popular.
Let me add something else here. You watch TV and the program breaks for commercial. Guess what. They show you food. TV program comes back on and then they break for commercial again. Someone is showing you more food. This goes on and on.
Is it any wonder that we eat and watch TV? Or that we become obsessed with food? Find a person that never watches TV and you might have a better chance of finding a person of normal weight.
I grew up without TV, one thing I thought was great about my upbringing. It makes you a bit of an outsider though. I don't have a TV and almost never watch TV.
Yes even if you mute the advertising it's still showing you luscious visions of pouring chocolatey stuff, etc. People get hours of that day after day, year after year.
I take the power of advertising seriously and avoid it - adblocker online, I shop mostly in the produce dept. of the grocery store, only one magazine subscription, Physics Today which only has physics-related ads - etc.
But many people insist they aren't influenced by advertising - which makes it possible for advertisers to influence people.
I've seen episodes of the TV show "Secret Eaters" on Youtube. They all start out with this kind of statement, then it turns out that one way or another, more calories are getting into people's diets. Even keeping logs of their eating doesn't work to find out what people are really eating. The logs represent far less calories than the actual eating, which they find out via videocams and private detectives tailing people. Which could be mean, but the show is actually rather nice and humorous about it. They show people what their personal caloric pitfalls are.
It is truly an astonishing thing to see - you would think people would know what they eat, since it involves voluntary muscles like hands and arms :) but they don't.
Almost everyone underestimates their calorie intake but overweight people underestimate it more on average.
You could try keeping track of your calories, then, and see where they come from. There's a free nutrients program online called the Cronometer.
Alcohol is a frequent culprit on the Secret Eaters show.
However, one way or another you're getting too many calories. How exactly can be figured out. It isn't magic.
It's not possible to know what's going on from a distance - only that you too obey energy conservation, and the extra calories stored as fat in your body came from extra calories in food - or drink - that you consumed.
It's quite possible that your portion sizes are simply too large, rather than any unconscious eating. There is also research about how the social environment also contributes to portion sizes - for example people eat more if they use large plates.
Dr. Mcdougall says that his very lowfat vegan diet is the only eating style where you can eat what you like without regard for portion sizes. I eat that way - no highfat foods like oils, nuts, coconut etc. - except for small amounts of chia seeds, for omega-3. I also eat large amounts of low-calorie vegetables, like a whole head of lettuce or a pound of asparagus, etc. at a sitting.
I do keep track of my calorie intake as well, and with all the bulky vegetables it is easy to stay slim.
So don't blame it on your ancestors :) there is a lot that can be done that you aren't doing.
Portion size according to bodybuilding circuit training are:
Meat the size of a deck of cards
Carbs and veggies one cup
This is the training program that allows you 6 meals daily, but only if you are actively working out which boosts the metabolism. There are no second helpings. Exercise is one hour a day none stop, but can be an hour morning and an hour evening if you are training for contests like Mr. America or Mr. Universe.
I don't do any of it anymore but taught my wife this, and she lost 40 lbs. using her elyptical or walking in place daily to her video. To keep exercise from getting boring you have to mix it up. Also, do it daily for one hour or at least workout 5 days a week. A good walking in place instructional video will work wonders for you. Steve Reeves, the original "Hercules" of 1960, was injured on the set of one of his movies. He could no longer lift weights. He invented a system of walking using small weights, stepping high and flinging his arms high and used it the rest of his life. You might say he was the godfather of todays walking videos.
I mentioned the Fitdesk in another post. It seems like an excellent way to convert one's sitting time into a mild to moderate workout.
Go to my profile page and find "photos (7)" to the left. Click on it and you find me in a pic titled "workout" from 2005. I would be much better off today had I continued to work out and eat right.
I have a pic of me (upper body) on my webpage too, from a time when I was weightlifting a lot. Seriously ripped, a mini Schwarzenegger :) I was also doing high-intensity aerobic workouts on the Concept 2 rowing machine - I found out about levels of cardiovascular fitness that I hadn't found out about when I used to run.
I'm not like that now because I've been too sick to work out, I just get exercise from bikeriding.