As I continue to learn about my body, food, exercise, nutrition and a whole bunch of other stuff, I’m amazed at how little I knew.  I’m a smart girl who used to be completely food and body stupid.  I’m still not the brightest crayon in the box when it comes to food and body, but I’m learning!!

The thing is… I never thought I ate all that poorly.  I mean, sure I had my days, but all in all I never thought I was eating too much.  I’d look at how much food other people could eat and still remain at a normal weight and I’d wonder why. I just didn’t get it. Of course, 25% of the human population can eat whatever they want and not gain weight.  (Oh boy do I hope you appreciate what you’ve got!)  The rest of us must focus on consuming fewer calories than we burn.

My entire life has been a struggle with weight and while I have always been vaguely aware of calories, I never fully understood how many calories I’d been consuming.  Sure, I can read the labels on the packages, but the main culprits in my weight gain (I’ve found) have been the items which don’t come labeled. I never realized how calorie dense meat is.  I still don’t know the amount of calories in some of my former favorite restaurant meals.  Serving sizes continue to shock me.

The gist of it is… I never thought I really ate all that poorly.

It’s realizations like this which make me angry when I hear someone talk about overweight people the way Ron Reagan was Tuesday night on his show on Air America.  Sure, let’s do something about the obesity epidemic, this would be great.  But when a caller suggestion more education Ron basically said “Why do we want to put people into rooms and TALK about fitness?  How about we just get them moving and exercising?”

Sure Ron, that’s the way to do it.  How about you just chain us all up in a line and then whip us until we run our fat asses into shape.  That’ll fix us fatties!

This is such a common line of thinking by so many and I can’t help but wonder if these people are the same ones who were raised in homes where good food, minding what you eat and exercise were taught to them.  These are the people who assume EVERYONE gets such an education.  These are the people who have never really been out of shape, who don’t know what it’s like to detest vegetables because you weren’t exposed to them until you turned 25 and realized your obesity is threatening your health.

Of course, this doesn’t even begin to touch on those of us out there who are physically active and yet are still overweight/obese.  I once trained for a JDRF fundraising bike ride.  I rode 100 miles through Death Valley, I trained for months.  Even at the height of my training, even on the day of my ride… my weight wasn’t healthy. Does that mean I’d just be chained up and forced to run longer? Gosh… wouldn’t that be unlucky for me!

My point here is this: We cannot assume everyone receives the same education on health, nutrition, calories, exercise and how to maintain fitness.  Those of you who feel it’s common sense probably were taught it at home, where gosh, it wouldn’t have been a sit down lesson.  Not everyone gets such a thing.  And, even if we give obese people a better education on food, it’s not even touching on the addiction side of the problem, the coping side of the problem or the problem of someone being so overweight exercise is brutal and humiliating.

The problem of childhood obesity may have grown due to an increase in video games and a decrease in playing outside, but the problem in adults is much deeper.   Suggesting we just all go outside and get moving isn’t going to fix anything.