Taking the Credit

Isn’t it odd how responsibilty shifts when something positive is achieved?
Taking the Credit

    Earlier this evening I was watching a programme about a guy who lost a load of weight. These programmes seem to be in abundance nowadays. To be fair to the lad, he did well and managed to get down to 90 kilos (198 lbs) from 118 kilos (nearly 260 lbs) in 7 months. I will talk more about him later.
    Recently I have been watching lots of these types of things and listening with interest to the opinions of some of the different parties involved- the overweight, the experts, the fast food companies and the processed food producers.
    I am actually quite annoyed by the programmes and the mass media at times if the truth be known. We seem to have a huge blame culture in this country- nobody takes responsibility. I am fed up of hearing that junk food adverts and fast food companies are to blame. I struggle to remember ever hearing a weaker argument in my life. Adverts and fast-food companies are to blame? If you are overweight (without medical or mental health reasons) and are blaming adverts and fast food companies, listen to me now, because I don’t want to repeat myself too often…
    YOU bought the food. YOU ate the food. YOU have not done the required exercise to get rid of the fat. The adverts and vendors of crappy foodstuffs are NOT to blame.
    I am not sure if I can make it any clearer. I see adverts every day for pet food, for alcohol, for hair removal cream, for credit cards… I could go on all day- you get the point.
    Does that mean I take dog food sandwiches to work, in my new expensive car whilst I am over the limit thanks to all of the alcohol I drunk after waxing my legs? Of course not. I buy my sandwiches from the local bakery. I drive a Ford Focus with scratches and bird crap all over it. I have hairy legs. I don’t really drink very often. Can you see what my point is? We all see adverts for various products every day of our lives. It doesn’t mean we are all brainwashed into buying these items. It is called the power of rational thought and is something I would (perhaps wrongly) credit most adults with having.
    There is a recent push towards healthy eating and using organic produce. These products are also advertised every day. Can somebody please explain to me why if the people who had to eat unhealthy food because the adverts told them to, don’t also have to eat the healthy foods for the same reason, the adverts? Surely if you are impressionable enough to be forced into eating bad foods because the adverts made you, then you would be impressionable enough to be made to eat the healthy foods advertised too?
    If the junk food adverts are to blame, then why are we all not obese? I will tell you why, it is because they are not to blame- they are 60 seconds worth of footage of a burger or something similar. It brings us back to blame culture again. I get the feeling these people can’t accept that they might have a teeny-weeny role in their current size. The phrase ‘you are what you eat’ in many cases holds true. There is no secret.
    Don’t think that I am defending the food companies- far from it. Some of the stuff they produce is hardly fit for human consumption. They can’t defend themselves by saying their food is healthy or nutritionally balanced. A clever ape is bright enough to know if you fancy a cardiac arrest or a mild dose of obesity, there are certain food choices you can make to help you on your way. Morgan Spurlock and Jamie Oliver have both done more than most to raise awareness of the health affects poor food choices can have.
    Some of you may be thinking that I am acting ‘holier than thou’ as I sit here typing, munching my salad and drinking iced water. That is not the case at all. I eat processed foods too. I have made plenty of trips to the kebab shop in my time, often eating almost twice my own body weight in Doner ‘meat’. The difference though is that when I put on fat, I don’t blame the kebab shop for being open. I blame myself, because nobody forced me to eat the food. I did it. You won’t see me on the 10 O’clock news calling for kebab shop opening hours to be slashed, or complaining to OFCOM. You will see me in the gym, training hard and eating better.
    I am fit for a reason- I work at it. I eat a very good diet most of the time. Being fit doesn’t happen by accident. It takes a bit of dedication- it doesn’t just happen overnight. Strangely enough, it’s the same with getting fat. Lets look at the numbers. There are 3500 calories in a single pound of fat. In order to be 20lbs of fat over what is considered healthy, you would need to have consumed 70,000 calories over your requirements. At a gain of 1lb of fat per week, that would still take you 20 weeks! To gain 1lb of fat per week, you would have to consume 500 calories per day over your requirements. I think I am making it clear that just watching a few adverts or making one or two trips to the drive-thru will not make you fat. It takes a lot of time and effort! It is no one-week wonder, the path to obesity.
    Anyway, back to our friend on the programme. He was one of these people who blamed the adverts for making him fat. He said it was ‘too tempting to resist junk food’ and that ‘if the adverts were not on, he wouldn’t have put on the weight’. He blamed the adverts! Next came something that inspired rage and fury in me that is only seen when people try to say Frank Lampard is a better midfielder than Steven Gerrard- he took the credit for the weight loss. ‘I am so proud of MYSELF for losing the weight’. So he blames outside factors for him being fat in the first place, but when it comes to taking the plaudits, its all ME, ME, ME. Isn’t it funny how when there is acclaim he is there to take the credit? Tubby couldn’t take the blame for being fat though could he? No- it was all the TV’s fault!
    The thing that baffles me with the guy on the show is that apart from his dietary and exercise habits changing, nothing else in his life did. He had the same job, he lived in the same house and he had the same friends. He didn’t live on some isolated island where he couldn’t be tempted by the horrors of adverts- he saw the same adverts he did as a fat man, therefore successfully proving that he was full of shit blaming the adverts in the first place. He was fat because he made poor food choices and did no exercise.
    As I said earlier, the man did well to lose the weight. He looked much better and obviously would feel better and be healthier. I am pleased for him that he did it. I can’t help but feel however that he is just a shining example of the blame culture for the obesity crisis we are heading towards.
    Before anyone decides to flood my inbox with hate mail, let me point out that I do appreciate there are a whole bunch of reasons why people do put on weight, be them medical, mental health related and that not all obese people just suffer from plain laziness. What I am trying to say in this article is that adverts and fast food retailers are very rarely two of the reasons for obesity.
    By the way, I am not being paid by any major advertisers or companies for this, in case there are any cynics among you!
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