surinenglish

The problem with expanding the waistline

There's a Spanish saying that goes, 'dentro de cien años, todos calvos' (literally 'we'll all be bald in a hundred years' time'). 'Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die' could get the same idea across in English: basically our days are numbered; sooner or later we will all be dead.

Perhaps now though we could use a more specific time period to create a new saying: in ten years' time, we'll all be obese. Or even, if we continue to expand our waistline at an increasing rate, it could be five years.

For hundreds of thousands of years, give or take a month, man was accustomed to going hungry. The day there was food was a celebration. And that's why they made sure not to leave any leftovers as they never knew when they would get the chance to fill their bellies again.

As our genetic memory is prepared for hunger, even though now we can eat our fill from Monday to Sunday, we still stuff ourselves as if we didn't know where our next meal was coming from.

Obesity has become the main public health concern in the Western world. In one of life's paradoxes, in the so-called first world, people are dying from eating far too much, while in the third world, starvation kills mercilessly all those who have nothing to put in their mouths.

The rule for controlling our weight is quite simple: don't eat more calories that you burn. But, who is going to put the zip on our mouths? Flesh is weak and we succumb to the siren call of that juicy steak or that chocolate cake in the baker's shop window that seems to be begging us to devour every last crumb.

And so, as we are what we eat, in Western society the number of people suffering from obesity per square metre is growing, and we're having to squeeze in like sardines in a tin.

In order to combat the evils of obesity, we ought to follow the advice that recommends less eating and more walking. In other words, we have to get moving as if our lives depend on it (which they do), do physical exercise and avoid binges.

We are watching people around us eat themselves into the grave, but as we never learn from others' mistakes we continue with our own feasts. Then we feel bad about eating all those extra cakes.

A sedentary lifestyle is a time bomb that will end up going off in our hands as we stuff our faces and drink (and not water) as if suffering from an insatiable thirst.

Eating too much could cost us our lives. Watch those calories!