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The Gray Iron Fitness Newsletter, Issue #349. Fat Nation
June 01, 2023

Fat Nation

Recent data show that in the U.S. 43 percent of Americans are obese. Not just a few pounds overweight, but obese. Forty-three percent! Comparatively, in the U.K. the obesity percentage is far lower at 25 percent (still not a percentage to be proud of).

Why are we, as a nation, so fat?

One reason: When comes to food, many people don’t know what a healthy portion size is. In restaurants, for example, the main portion of a meal is often big enough for two or more people.

Watch television commercials. More and more overweight people are being shown, which of course conditions us to think that being oversized is normal. In fast food commercials, hamburgers are huge! Do we really need two patties of meat, in a triple bun, plus bacon, and cheese, and topped off with sodium-filled dressings? Add an order of fries and a big sugary soft drink, and how can a nation help but be fat?

In the U.S., we do not eat enough vegetables, fruit, and whole grains. And, unfortunately, we make up for it by eating far too much sugar and highly processed foods.

Americans, on average, are not only consuming the wrong kinds of foods — we are simply eating too much of everything. A December Wall Street Journal article on health and fitness included a graphic to emphasize this point: It showed an average-size bagel from two decades ago, which was 3-inches in diameter and 140 calories, alongside an average bagel sold today of 6-inches in diameter and a whopping 350 calories. They weren’t picking on bagels. They used them to illustrate the widespread trend toward bigger and bigger U.S. food portions of all sorts.

Years ago, when I was working out like crazy, I would eat three moderate meals per day along with two or three between-meal snacks. I won’t get into the details, but when you are super-active, that’s fine. It works for younger people pushing workouts to the limit while piling on muscle. But as we get up in years, and are less active, food portions must shrink. If not, we become part of that awful 43-percent obesity statistic.

Here is a healthier pattern.

The people of Okinawa are among the longest-living and active elderly in the world. Okinawans claim an eating habit called the “80-percent rule.” They stop eating when they feel 80 percent full.

Years ago, here in the U.S., there was a saying that the best exercise of all is to push yourself away from the dining table. Apparently in Okinawa, they still do that. Nearly half of Americans don’t.

I have seen people take off unwanted pounds with programs like Jennie Craig, Weight Watchers, Nutrisystem, and others. Their formulas work simply because followers are taking in fewer calories.

My own method for keeping excess calories at bay is here. I’ve seen it work for serious, dedicated people.

Stay healthy. Stay fit.


Senior Exercise Central

Photographs: Subscribers have asked when the newsletter photo at the top of the page and my website pictures were taken. The photos were taken when I was a mere 70. I’m 86 years old now. Though I remain active, I am no longer nearly as muscular as I was 16 years ago. —LF

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Newsletter Policy

The Gray Iron Fitness Newsletter is a free publication sent twice monthly to subscribers. The purpose is to provide honest and realistic fitness information for people age 50 and above.

I have never been paid or received compensation of any kind to write a positive review or endorse a product. If I say that I personally use a product or service, it is because I find value in it and have paid for it with my own money.

Like newspapers, magazines, and television, this newsletter and my website contain advertising and marketing links. Naturally, I am compensated for these.

The newsletter and website provide information to help users establish and maintain a fitness lifestyle. But fitness information is not the same as fitness advice, which is the application of exercise and dietary practices to an individual's specific circumstances. Therefore, always consult with your physician for assurance that fitness information, and your interpretation of it, is appropriate for you.

Your comments and questions are always appreciated. Simply click on the "Reply" bottom.


Logan Franklin
The Gray Iron Fitness Newsletter

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