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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Devil In Disguise: Why late Night Food Commercials Should Be Banned

The Devil In Disguise

You know how it is, we have all been there. You have been sticking to your diet for the last month and you are seeing wonderful results. You are feeling better and better about yourself, you look better too and people are beginning to notice. It’s a Saturday night at 10pm. You ate a filling low fat, low carb, low calorie meal, around 5pm. You are not hungry, but lets be honest, you are craving things.

That’s when it hits! The late night food commercials. Visions of pizza, and succulent burgers dance across the screen. Huge juicy steaks, golden stacks of French toast with maple syrup and whipped cream, butter dripping and oozing from every little curve and indentation, not to mention the sour cream topping baked potatoes. Mmmmm!! You moan and flip the channel and there it attacks again, more late night food commercials, this time it is KFC chicken and Taco Bell fare.

It’s enough to make you cry, or run to the phone and call the nearest Pizza Hut. Or even worse, out of sheer frustration you take that big bucket of your favorite ice cream out and sooth your frazzled taste buds with a big creamy cool portion, only to return again and again out of guilt and frustration over the entire diet dilemma you find yourself in.

The next morning you wake up bloated and miserable hating yourself more than ever. You get on the scale and it groans ominously. You are afraid to look. Just like a bad car wreck you don’t want to look but something compels you to do so. You peek between your fingers only to find you gained four ugly, fat drenched, pounds. Could that be right? Is it possible to gain four pounds of fat from a half a bucket of ice cream? Did that entire bucket of ice cream even weigh four pounds to begin with? How can this be? Once more you shake your head and vow never to have a bucket of ice cream in the freezer again, but you know that sooner or later, as if by magic, the ice cream elves will sneak in another bucket when you are not paying attention.

We live in a time when food is plentiful and cheap. Never before have so many people had so much to eat. When food was scarce, being plump was considered a sign of beauty. However, our idea of plump and the definition of plumpness years ago are two different things. When most women were starved and looked like the gaunt super models of today, normal weight women were probably considered “plump”. So you see, fat has never really been accepted. In the end what was most accepted was a healthy weight. Not starved, not overfed, but healthy.

Starved super models are not healthy, and the big beautiful women, BBW, are not healthy either. Healthy is what real beauty is and was through out the ages. Take any time in history and you will see the ideal feminine beauty represents this. We are naturally attracted to what is most healthy. Why? Because a healthy woman has the best chance to reproduced successfully and raise their young to their own reproductive age, insuring the continuation of the species.

All this is interesting, but it does not help much when we want to stay on a diet and late night TV commercials ruin it for us time after time. Many people are not even aware of why they overeat. They are just caught up in it like a big fish in a net, and like that big fish they feel helpless. We can find one excuse after another, but in the end your degree of fatness is no ones fault but your own. No one else can eat for you, and no one else can lose the weight for you. That sounds unsympathetic but its true, and one needs to see the problem to get to the cure.

If it were up to me, late night food commercials would be outlawed, but I doubt that will happen. There is no reason why a healthy adult needs to be eating late at night, and nothing packs the weight on faster than eating and going right to sleep. So, what I do is tape my favorite shows ahead of time and fast forward the commercials. That way I am not tempted. I need every bit of help I can get. Out of sight is often out of mind.

America is struggling with an obesity epidemic. We have to change the way we think about food and eating if we are ever to get a grip on the problem. Outlawing late night food commercials should be seen in the same vein as outlawing cigarette commercials. Billions of dollars are spent every year to treat fat unhealthy people. The biggest heartbreak of all is how being overweight impacts daily life. No one who has a fat problem can enjoy life the way a person of normal weight can. Indeed, the thing loved best, food, is not even enjoyed in the end. For the overweight, food becomes nothing more than a constant source of guilt and frustration.

There are millions of diets and diet plans out there. Tons of pills and potions and weight loss exercise equipment. Almost all of them are useless. Ask yourself this question, “If there really was a weight loss pill out there that worked, why would Oprah still have a weight problem”? That’s the question I ask myself before I spend money on weight loss products and in the end I usually past them up, because no pill can do for you what you must do for yourself.

At least one can take comfort in knowing there are millions of other people out there trying to lose weight. It is a struggle that many of us will have to contend with the rest of our lives, unless science comes up with a pill that really works, but I am not holding my breath. Twenty years ago it looked like there would be a pill coming out any day that would put an end to the weight problem for good. Twenty years later there are more overweight people out there than ever, and more late night food commercials too.

I don’t know who is responsible for those food commercials, but I wonder how they can sleep at night. Like the cigarette commercials of old, these late night food commercials are creating a world of pain and suffering for millions of people.

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