I lost weight in Mongolia and in the week or so before the trip: about five pounds. So now that I am back home, I am stuffing food down my gullet as though I were a goose being bred for pate…but fasting, attending parties that only offer red meat I won’t eat and skipping meals, because I am too busy catching up, definitely do not help gain weight. I still have almost three pounds to go!

So here is a NY Times article suggesting that the ONLY reason Americans are overweight is because we…they…eat too much. Pigs at the trough. What do you think?

Hard Truths About Our Soft Bodies

I was steering my cart through Costco the other day, wondering whether to waddle to the aisle where they sell cashews by the quarter-ton or to the one with thousand-piece packs of chicken thighs, when an epiphany pierced the fog of my gluttony.

Actually, two epiphanies. The first? I needed to have kids, four or five or better yet a baker’s dozen. Only then could I take full advantage of the savings around me.

The second? Costco as much as anything else is why the land of the free and the home of the brave is also the trough of the tub o’ lard, our exceptionalism measurable by not only our G.D.P. but also our B.M.I. That’s body mass index, and our bodies are indeed massive.

I don’t blame Costco per se. I blame what it represents: an American obsession with size, with quantity, that manifests itself as surely in supermarkets and restaurants as it does on our highways. We drive minivans and sport utility vehicles; we rip into veritable feed bags of potato chips and wedge our steroidal Thanksgiving turkeys into refrigerators more capacious than some European cars. This doesn’t redound to our benefit.

And while the notion that we weigh too much because we buy, order and eat too much may be obvious, it’s increasingly obscured. Study after study and report upon report looks at more particular reasons for obesity and excess pounds, focusing on the edges and the aggravators of the problem instead of the flabby core. And the number and variety of these investigations, not to mention the prominent showcase we in the news media give them, create the impression that alchemy, not appetite, is our enemy, and that if we could just fine-tune our daily schedules, rejigger our protein-to-carbohydrate ratios or wallow sufficiently in fiber, all would be well.

It’s as if we’re micro-focusing on less daunting and less damning culprits to distract ourselves from the one that’s most fearsome and difficult to change, which is the sheer volume of food that many Americans are accustomed to consuming. Read the rest of this entry »

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