What would you give up to be thinner?

Obesity. It’s one of those things that is always in the news (despite the fact it’s not news). People are fat, we all know this. If it’s something everyone knows, then it isn’t news.

With that said, I came across a list of “20 Things You Didn’t Know About Obesity” in Discover Magazine. The list itself was compiled this past summer, but it’s “things you don’t know,” so I think it’s still safe to comment on.

Here are a few things that were on the list:

According to a study at Yale, nearly half of the “4,000 people ” said they would give up a year of their life rather than be fat.” Here’s a look at how that could play out.

Grim reaper: “So Mike, just sign this form, and I will make you thin if we can move up your death date a year.”

Mike: “Sounds great, I’ll do it.” As he drinks a glass of butter. Mike signs, poof, he’s thin.

Grim reaper: “Now that everything is in order, you’ll have to come with me.”

Mike: “Wh- Why?”

Grim reaper: “Oh, because you were supposed to die 364 days from now.”

According to that same study, “between 15 percent and 30 percent also said they would rather walk away from their marriage, give up the possibility of having children, be depressed or become an alcoholic rather than be obese.”

To me, that’s striking. I’m sure it sucks to be obese, but people would rather be lonely by leaving their spouses or sterile or an alcoholic instead of being fat? Why would you want to trade one horrible thing for another?

They should have seen how far they could take the survey. Like, “would you rather spend 10 minutes in a cage with a panther or be fat,” or how about, “would you rather not eat so much food and work out a little bit more or be fat?”

Granted, some people are genetically dispositioned to be fat, but I think many use that as an excuse. Maybe a person will be a little bit bigger, but that doesn’t mean you should eat an entire birthday cake because it won’t matter anyway. There also are people who are genetically dispositioned to being alcoholics. We don’t glorify it. We don’t go, “Hey, Bill, that’s great, that’s who you are. You’re not a drunk; you’re just dry-livered.”

Trans fats are the new cigarettes. Over the next few years, I believe that we are going to see lots of propaganda and legislation trying to ensure we eat healthy. Not that it is a bad thing that people promote healthy eating, but like with anti-smoking ads, I think much of the information will be distorted. It’s not going to hurt anyone to have a biggie sized triple at Wendy’s every now and then.

And when they talk about portion sizes, who are they kidding? It’s a bottle of coke, and it says 2.5 servings per container. Who goes by that? How is 8 oz. even a serving? Let’s not lie to ourselves and pretend that a 4 oz. piece of chicken is a meal when it’s not.

I think we have more obesity now than in our parent’s generation for three reasons: We eat more fast food than they did, we drink more soda than they did and we are less active than they were. If people would cut back on fast food and soda and be physically active, I don’t think it would be nearly the problem that the media tells us it is. If you did those three things, I think you could get away with eating the occasional birthday cake and still not being fat.

Send comments to Josh Benner at [email protected]