A set of links to follow up.....stream of consciousness thoughts....

New York Times article suggesting that bariatric surgery is the only truly successful way to lose obesity. She contradicts herself when, after noting that the obesity rate in America has gone from 15% to nearly 40% since 1976, she notes studies suggesting that obesity is strongly inherited. Among other things, it cites food cravings as a reason people who lose weight put it back on.



Yet, with bariatric surgery, patients begin slowly putting on the weight again. Given the relative novelty of the procedures and their rare use, definitive data does not yet exist. But it appears that weight begins to return after as little as two years. By year 5, they have regained 44% of initial weight loss.


Likewise with food cravings, there is evidence that they are modifiable.


Anecdotally speaking, I remember clearly in my youth that the smell or sight of a hot hamburger or warm Cinnabon used exert a huge attraction. In 1997, I returned to vegetarianism and also gave up all foods that had added sugar for taste. By 2007, I found the smell of cooking beef to be revolting and no sweets had any effect on me at all. Interestingly, when I subsequently started eating limited amounts of ethically raised meat, the appeal smell of cooking flesh returned almost immediately. Yet, no cake, cookie, or candy has any effect on me.

We wonder what is the solution to the obesity epidemic and focus on the high the failure rate, but we rarely those who are successful. The National Weight Control Registry, http://www.nwcr.ws/Research/default.htm, tracks individuals who have lost 30 or more pounds and kept them off at least 1 year.  Of these successful individuals, 78% eat breakfast every day, 75% weigh themselves at least once a week, 62% watch less than 10 hours of TV per week, 90% exercise, on average, about 1 hour per day. I suggest we study those who are successful to see what they are doing right.

 As for diet, once again anecdotally, I see it almost every day. In the grocery stores, observe the carts of the obese and those of people who are not. Likewise, my work place has a cafeteria with several venues for food. There is a noticeable difference between people at the grill, which only offers fried food and grilled red meat, and at the Subway or salad bar. Maybe the failure rate of dieting is so high because the advisors are wrong. I have noticed how addictive foods can be: there is no moderation in candies, sweetened baked goods, and sugary beverages. It is all addictive poison. This appears to apply to fatty foods also. Nothing fried is ever in moderation. At one time, I measured 26% body fat, obese for men. I have kept it off since 2005, in part, with the conviction that sugar is the enemy, frying renders everything poisonous, and all red meat demands exceptional respect.

Maybe the solution to the obesity epidemic is so far out of the conception of our advertising-shaped culture that we can no longer envision it. The "you deserve a break today" world paradigm is hedonism and materialism. It makes us obese in mind and body. Marcus Aurelius understood this when he listed the advice from people for which he was grateful: "Not to waste time on nonsense. Not to be taken in by conjurors and hoodoo artists [advertisers, motivational speakers] with their talk about incantations and exorcisms [anything that can be sold]...Not to be obsessed with quail-fighting [football] or other crazes like that. To hear unwelcome truths....To write dialogs as a student [study and write upon those studies]. To choose the Greek lifestyle--the camp-bed and the cloak." This last item is pivotal: simplicity and rigor in life, studies, and exercise.