Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Sugar-Free Mints

Do you want me to get fired up?

Forgive me…I might rant a little today.

Everyone has a topic that gets them fired up.  I have several…abortion vs. pro-life, my Catholic faith, and Eating Disorders.

Companies, big and small, all over the county, are buying into a new “Healthism” approach.  Recently, I witnessed a company use a weight loss tactic on its employees.  Every person was given a “goodie” bag full of health foods and health tips.  The idea of promoting “health” is great – don’t get me wrong.  But for this company, the focus was on weight loss.  Even though we’ve been brainwashed to believe it, health and weight loss are not equivalent.

One item in this goodie bag was a container full of mints.  The container was an over sized orange prescription medicine bottle.  The label read: 

“Directions: Use these sugar-free mints to help take your mind off your non-level 3 hunger (the level at which your stomach is rumbling).  One mint will often help you realize you are not as hungry as you appear.”

They should have put a warning label on it that says, “May cause dizziness”.

Reading the label on this bottle made me so angry.  There is so many things wrong with that message.

First, it is in a medicine bottle, subconsciously inferring that these are doctor’s orders.  But, the person that put this together does not have M.D. after their name.

Second, sugar-free mints contain a chemically enhanced sugar (Aspartame, Splenda, or Nutri-Sweet) that is detrimental to your body.  Among other harmful side-effects, the fake sugar can act as a diuretic leaving you dehydrated and hungrier than when you started.  I am too lazy to give you links right now, so you'll have to look up the facts for yourself.

Third, what the heck is “non-level 3 hunger”?  The term “non-hunger” seems to imply that everything you knew about hunger is wrong.  There is no scientific study on the stages of hunger, only personal studies on this topic, so this phase is completely subjective.  The technical use of this term, however, indicates that they know more than the average worker so we should just take their word for it.  Lower your head and don’t cause trouble, right?  Sounds like a frustrating company to work for.

Fourth, if your stomach is rumbling, you are hungry.  Eat something.  Eat real food.  Have a banana or an apple, or at least something your body can use to turn into the energy that you need so badly to get through a day of work.

Fifth, the phrase, “you are not as hungry as you appear” infers that you cannot trust your body’s natural instincts or your inherent hunger signals.  This label is saying that you must trick your body because your body has no idea what is good for you and what is not.  Even if you did have years of disordered eating habits, continuing to trick your body is not an effective way to attain health.

Soon there will be penalties that employers can inflict on employees if they do not comply with their “healthism” standards.  This is flat-out prejudice.  There are so many studies and results to prove that the focus on losing weight will not make you health – it actually causes more health problems.  (I will write more on this later, but again, if you want to look it up yourself, you can.)  And considering the weight loss methods that our culture uses today, most people cannot lose weight no matter how hard they try.

The focus should be on listening to your body and figuring out what is good for it.
Weight loss is a possible result, but it shouldn’t be the main goal.
It is like a business focusing on making money rather than improving their product.  Eventually, the product will suffer because it isn’t getting the right attention.  And if a company has no product, then the money will disappear.  Then what?  The business goes under or they start over from scratch.

Some companies are using weight loss as a way to pay less for insurance.  The insurance companies are only enabling this belief in the weight loss gods.  We need to get the facts right if we are going to talk about lowering insurance rates.  Insurance companies need to do their research and see that optimum health has so much more to it than weight.

I think that the focus on weight is easy and that is why our culture is so attracted to it.  It is a measurable number.  You only have to take into account one factor.  An experiment with only one variable is quite the easy experiment.  Focusing on weight is a cop-out.  It is distracting people from focusing on what really truly will help them attain health.

Body diversity should be accepted just like race, cultural, and religious diversity.  It seems to me that our society is trending toward a Utopian race, where everyone looks, acts, and weighs the same.  It is an eye opening experience, and a little scary, when you realize what our world is headed to.

I don’t mean to be a Debbie-downer or a doomsday preacher today.  I believe in Hope.  When it comes down to it, there is a lot we can do to help ourselves become healthier.  However, there is also a lot that is out of our control.  Even if we do everything “right”, we still might have health problems to deal with in the future.
Ultimately, God is in control and He determines whether or not we have to suffer with health issues, be it mental, emotional, or physical.  God even allows us to falter with our will-power and fall into sin.  God gives us suffering not because He likes to point His finger and laugh.  God allows us to suffer because He knows it is good for us.  Accepting suffering from God will help us get to Heaven; Eternal Life is our main goal.  Weight loss is NOT our main goal.
Painting of the day:

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