I am ashamed to admit that my daily lunch in high school consisted of a large Little Debbie oatmeal cream pie and a can of soda. I rarely ate breakfast, and when I did I grabbed a Poptart on my way out the door. How did I function? No wonder I had some fatigue issues and some unexplainable heart problems.
What is the purpose of food? This was a question I read in a book and it gave me great pause. Obviously, the primary purpose is fuel for our bodies. Just like there are different qualities of gasoline, some foods are better than others. We know that. All of us. Yet we choose to ignore that fact.
Food can bring great pleasure. It can comfort. It draws people together and helps us solidify relationships. Even the Bible talks about the importance of using food to grow closer to one another. Food in itself is not bad, but the abuse of it is the problem.
Obesity is the second leading preventable cause of death in the United States. There are an estimated 300,000 deaths per year from the obesity epidemic. Results released in January from a Gallup poll state that 36.1 percent of Americans are overweight and 26.2 percent were classified as obese. That’s a lot of people.
My husband works for a medical device company and he often has to watch doctors doing procedures with their products. Many of the procedures he watches are a result of people abusing their bodies by smoking or overeating. He has seen some true horrors. Trust me, you don’t want to be the one on the table.
Our bodies are finely tuned machines. Much can go wrong when we fail to respect them.
I was profoundly affected by a recent post by Ann Voskamp. You can read the whole post here if you want, but the line that most stood out to me from this post about her recent trip to Africa with Compassion International was this, “too many North Americans diet for a hobby, and too many Africans die for a meal.”
What is wrong with us? People in the world dying of starvation and we are killing ourselves by consuming more than we need?? I include myself in this because of past habits, and ones I fight daily to overcome. Good food choices are such a struggle. We pop pills, detox, try this diet and that, and even wrap ourselves up in order to lose weight or give the appearance that we have done so. I don’t think these are the answer, because it isn’t all about the appearance of being thin. Although I don’t struggle with weight issues, I have not been kind to my heart which is far more important.
So what do we do? This post is going to be a first in a series of small steps you can take to make better decisions about what goes into your body. My husband and I started with one step at a time. He lost over 30 pounds as a result and has kept it off. It was and is a learning process. Our opinions change, but we have come a long way toward a healthier lifestyle. Won’t you join us?
Death Statistics 2010:
- Heart disease: 597,689
- Cancer: 574,743
- Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 138,080
- Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 129,476
- Accidents (unintentional injuries): 120,859
- Alzheimer’s disease: 83,494
- Diabetes: 69,071
- Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis: 50,476
- Influenza and Pneumonia: 50,097
- Intentional self-harm (suicide): 38,364