trans fats, banning smoking, mandatory calorie listings on
we inviting nanny state control over the civil liberty of
keep hearing the argument against the so-called "nanny
state" accompanied by the sarcastic drone of how dumb
we must be that we need the government to make decisions for
us. The tongue-in-cheek innuendo that we are indeed "smart"
enough to make our own choices, but the government treats
us like idiots by banning unhealthy things that "everyone
knows" is bad for them. - It's a common response to news
stories about government bans and regulations that intend
to affect our health.
I get the civil libertarian thing. I understand that my grandfather
took bullets at Normandy in WW II and witnessed his fellow
solders die to defend our right to live in a democracy that
grants us our personal freedom. Yes, that is personally true
and I really do get that. Enter background dramatic music
building to a crescendo where a boisterous voice-over advocates
that free speech and freedom to make our personal choices
is the very rock that our democracy is anchored to. Yawn..
or indeed legislating for healthy living is about preserving
health. I'm not towing the line for government, We all know
that overspending and under performing seems to be the very
nature of an administration top heavy government initiative.
arguments for and against personal freedom to choose and government
nanny state debacles do become entangled in the process and
more often than not divert the focus from the real concern:
Is there or is there not real harm caused by whatever it is
that is being banned / controlled.
end up arguing about the underlying philosophies of what encompasses
the ideal balance of governing a democracy. "Hello? ugh,
yeah, I came here to talk about removing or not removing synthetic
transfats from our food supply, but maybe I have the wrong
room.. you all seem to be talking about passed wars, proliferation
of the nanny state, and freedom to choose, but not a word
about trans fats." The room responds, "Get out!
Only those who understand the real issues are invited."..
I simply walk away. It's like watching two people argue where
both believe the best way to get their argument across is
to yell louder and talk faster.
time I checked about 60% of the population was overweight,
and this number grows annually. Type II diabetes is on the
rise, childhood hypertension is on the rise. The rise
in these numbers does not illustrate that people are exercising
their intelligence in a way that benefits their health.
the real issue the way I see it. I get this prospective from
talking to people one on one for over 20 years about why they
make healthy and unhealthy choices, from reading research
on the subject, and on a personal level thinking about what
has motivated me to make healthy and unhealthy choices.
buy into the completely false notion that what tastes bad
is healthy, and what tastes good is unhealthy. Tied to this
ideology is that to choose to eat healthy equates to eating
drab cardboard and living the boring life of a half-witted
hippie throwback who lives on the proceeds of busking and
spends their weekends protesting on the government front lawn.
many the idea of making a healthy choice means making a personal
sacrifice that will depress the fun factor and increase the
chore factor in their lives.
we have naturalized the idea that to be healthy is to be boring,
restricted, and monotonous. In stark contrast to that we naturalized
the idea that overeating is a reward, and that non exercise
recreation is a reward. No, I'm not against personal R and
R, I'm all for it. The distinction I am making is that exercise
is not perceived as something you do with your time off; if
you do exercise it's a chore you squeeze into your tight schedule
here and there.
or thoughts and feelings that are along the same lines, is
the perspective of the majority of the population. The majority
of the population is overweight and out of shape. Go figure.
I tell people I can't wait to eat salad with nuts and berries
in the same way many will salivate over steak and lobster,
most will cut me some slack because as a trainer and fitness
enthusiast, these "corny" traits are expected. But
really what most think, and I know this because I've asked,
is that I limit my personal enjoyment by making these choices.
That I am woefully lost in my anal control of eating and exercising
consuming my life. And that this is the myopic plight of all
who make healthy choices. Just a bunch of spandex wearing
tree huggers who mechanically dose out enjoyment with strict
limitations. Sigh.. Oh, pardon me for a moment, it's noon
and I have 10 minutes of enjoyment scheduled. I have to go
enjoy myself, I'll be right back.
haven't hugged a tree lately, but I did wear my spandex yesterday.
It's a little on the snug side.
know, something funny happens to those who harbor these beliefs
when they eat healthy and exercise right. They lose weight,
have more energy, and feel like they are being relieved of
the burden of being unhealthy. They can walk up stairs without
getting out of breath, their blood test results come back
with lower cholesterol making their doctors happy, which makes
them happy. They like the feeling of not feeling guilty after
eating too much and instead felt good about eating right.
Wait a minute.. what's going on there. Did a person get a
sense of reward and relief by lowering their cholesterol?
And they didn't have to hug a tree or wear spandex? Their
happiness came from something other than overeating? No kidding.
Maybe there is something to all this "healthy stuff",
and maybe, just maybe, living healthy, despite it's unpopular
public review, is actually better than what the reviews say.
kind of like a movie getting total crap reviews in the press,
but ends up being the best, most moving, award winning flick
of the year. Who would have thunk it.
here's our challenge. As a society we have not yet naturalized
our internal motivation to be aimed at making healthy choices
where eating and exercise are concerned, but we are capable
of making such fundamental changes. Smoking used to be the
thing to do if you were cool, or simply just part of the majority.
It was something we did, it was something I did.
the years the truth that smoking is deadly for us and is a
very, very dumb personal decision, has become more widely
accepted. Through yes, government initiatives, smoking is
slowing dying out, just like many who smoked have already
died from the habit.
you really believe that without regulations and public awareness
campaigns through government and NGO's that smoking would
have reduced as much as it has over the past 20 years?
strategy has paid off. Hopefully the reasoning behind smoking
bans - smoking kills - will reach the inner workings of our
minds and we simply will have no incentive to smoke, and smoking
will be eradicated because it is simply recognized as purely
stupid to cause harm to ones self in this way. Smoking bans
are not in place because government do-gooders needed to fulfill
the requirements of a money trough make work project with
no meaning, smoking does kill. That is the incontrovertible
truth. I have no doubt that at some point money spent on anti
smoking should have and could have been spent more wisely,
but that fact does not invalidate the fact that smoking is
like what happened to Galileo when he presented evidence that
the earth is not the centre of the universe. A lot of people
were married to the idea that the earth was the centre, and
so Galileo was branded a heretic.
trans fats are a cheap way to add flavor and extend the shelf
life off foods. Trouble is we've discovered this frankenfat
we concocted in our labs does not benefit us in any way, and
in fact is very, very unhealthy even in small doses.
serve, in many of our most popular restaurants, fat laden,
sugar laden calorie bombs with over 1500 calories per serving,
with the extremes rising to over 2500 calories- in one sitting.
We know for a fact that eating such meals causes endothelial
dysfunction - not 10 years later - but at the time you
eat that one huge meal. We also know eating like this causes
insulin resistance, and yep- fat gain. We also know that eating
like this causes an adaptation of our hormonal system resulting
in requiring more food to feel satisfied, and to feel hungry
more often. Is that good?
got the proof. We know this stuff is hurting us, and killing
us. It's costing health care billions and causing individual
pain and suffering, even amongst those who oppose regulations
to try and curb these growing social trends.
get off the pedantic philosophical arguments and get to the
point. We screwed up. We invented synthetic trans fats to
save money and increase food quality - nothing wrong with
that, but this one didn't work. Didn't know it at the time,
but we know it now. So let's get rid of it.
too many people continue to overeat and become overweight
as a result. Clearly 1500 to 2500+ Calories is well above
and beyond what is scientifically understood to be of any
benefit, and even though we can experience immediate gratification
because the food tastes good, we know that eating this much
at one time harms our health. It's great that restuaranteurs
want to add value with voluminous servings, and yes it's true
that many customers want to pay for the perceived reward of
eating this much food. But hey, we screwed up.
got caught up in overeating and now overeating has surpassed
being an every now and then habit to being part of daily life
and social expectation and we are unwittingly killing ourselves.
So let's fix that. Let's not hide behind the skirt of "it's
my right to overeat" denial based knee jerk defiance.
Let's make moves to list the total calories on plates served
in restaurants and yes, dare I say it, make it very clearly
known that any restaurant that knowingly serves you a 1500
Calorie plate obviously does not give a rats rear end about
your health and ought to be called on it. Just like each of
us ought to make an effort to realize that wanting such a
meal is deleterious to our health.
give me that one sided illogical "personal responsibility"
argument that is aimed squarely at the consumer, but not at
the vendor. The vendor is excused from the personal responsibility
of serving food that doesn't cause your arteries to stiffen
up? Everyone has responsibility for these issues. Corporate,
consumer, government, NGO. In fact aren't we really fooling
ourselves by making that separation? Does anyone really believe
that when we say, "corporate" that doesn't include
the very same people who are also consumers? Restaurant owners
don't go out for dinner? We're all consumers at some point.
Is that not a human being in the kitchen making my meal? Is
that an emotionless, friendless, automaton business robot
back there? Nope. That's a person with their own passions
and everything else that makes one human, and that human is
not excused from exercising personal responsibility.
off the divisive diversions. Health regulations, when evidence
based, are good. Do we need checks and balances to ensure
superfluous regulations are not passed and that reasonable
regulations are not eventually perverted? You bet.
away stop signs, red lights, and what the heck, take away
police and firefighters. You really think all us smart, personally
responsible people are going to get along just fine? We're
not there yet people, and who knows if we ever will be. Until
there is evidence that the majority of the population actually
does make the right choice in critical situations, and of
their own volition, we have a responsibility to ourselves
to govern ourselves where needed.
why we have laws. Where do you think the safety of our food
supply would be if we didn't have food safety laws and regulations?
Do you think that we would all just get along and wash our
hands and go through the expense of storing foods at the right
temperature etc. etc.? Not a chance, and you know it.
rid of trans fats, the more smoking bans the better (for the
most part), and the more we can influence people not to eat
to extremes, the better off we will all be. Call to burn me
at the steak if you like, but there is solid proof to back
the reasons for these currently controversial regulations.
I don't like mindless government spending and I am not a socialist.
I am though, very concerned about the health of our population.
2009 Cris LaBossiere Rhino Fitness