Obesigenic Environment

A common term among researchers is that we’re living in an Obesigenic Environment. This is not an exaggeration at all if you simply observe the world around you. Unfortunately, the opposite extreme does exist in other parts of the world, but most developed countries are a virtual Candy Land.

While I don’t deny that many of our labor-saving technology and food abundance (or the illusion of it) have obvious benefits; we have to consider the consequences to our health and well-being.

Humans are built from the inside out to alternate between periods of “feast” and “famine”, and to sustain a high level of physical activity . When you move these variables to favor either extreme (starvation on one end and extreme Obesity on the other) you get harmful consequences.

With rare exceptions, extreme starvation and the emaciation of lean tissue are not a concern for most people; but on the other hand, diseases of excess are.

Without getting too scientific; just know that everything around you favors excess: not only is it your biological drive to eat food when it is available and to conserve as much energy (i.e. be lazy) as possible–but your environment, social pressures, emotional responses to stress, and even mental perceptions (such as not wanting to waste food) play a big role in influencing your actions or lack thereof.

The important thing is to persevere. You’re up against a powerful force but many have overcome it–you need to be aware at all times that it is a battle and most importantly take action. I will cover more tips in a future post, but here are two important habits that stand out to me since most of us fall into a usual “weekly routine”.

  • Grocery shop only for the things you will be consuming. As simple as it sounds, it takes serious commitment because once you walk into a store or market, you are vulnerable to that environment and the influence of beautiful displays and special deals. This can be challenging if you’re feeding a family, but take inventory of your fridge once in a while to find out what items are going to waste.
  • Exercise regularly. You don’t need to join a gym, although it is a highly motivating and supportive environment with a lot of options, if you eventually do. Physical activity is the important part. Go for a walk, have fun, get moving. If you don’t feel like changing into workout clothes, do something in street clothes. You’re only limited by your creativity and will.

2 responses to “Obesigenic Environment

  1. Dear Jason,
    good stuff as always. A correction should be made to “Grocery shop only for the things that you will be consuming: I generally prefer “clean” food (close to its natural state) for 90 % of my intake but 10 to 20 % should be reserved for crap/junk if only for the psychological benefit (a little bit of shit more frequently prevents diet and rigid pattern induced binges).
    I personally think that such indulgence should be consumed at a restaurant and not bought at a grocery store, as it is so easy to get lured in by the taste and then “hunt” for more crap if you eat it alone.
    You wouldn´t order loaves of bread, 3 desserts etc…at a restaurant, unless you want funny looks from the wait staff and your friends.
    So : “Grocery shop only for “clean”/nutritious things you will be consuming. Incorporate “free meals” depending on the time of year (obviously precontest dieting is dieting and as such the diet should be all out but I am referring to off season stuff).”
    Kind regards,
    Marcelo Diez

  2. I too agree with indulging in restaurants or similar establishments because you are limited in portion size either from what is served or what you deem socially acceptable. It’s easier to eat a cup of ice cream at an ice cream shop vs. having a whole tub at home from the grocery store.

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