Americans Aren’t Fat Because They Lack Willpower; They’re Fat Because They’re Broke

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Americans are fat, no doubt about it. Over the years, many people have attempted to speculate why. Some have suggested that the food pyramid is fucked up. Others have accused fast food restaurants citing the typical amount of trans fat in an order of French fries. Still others have blamed thyroid problems, psychological disabilities, and low self esteem. While I’m sure that some of these theories do play a part in the rising obesity epidemic, they carefully ignore the main reason lot of us are shopping in the fatty department of the clothing store.

Most Americans are fat. Most Americans are also broke and/or living paycheck to paycheck. Am I the only one who notices a connection there?

To put it simply, a lot of people struggle with their weight because they don’t have enough money to stay thin.

Celebrities aren’t wearing size 00’s because they possess more self discipline or willpower than you. They’re wearing those sizes because they can afford a personal chef, fitness trainers and motivational speakers to come over to their houses to babysit 24-7. These people aren’t better than you. They’re richer than you and it’s likely that they spent more on their bodies than you made last year.

Being thin is an investment and if you don’t have the extra cash to spend, you’ll likely remain overweight. Don’t believe me? Take a trip to the grocery store and buy all the fixings for a fantastic salad. You’re probably going to spend somewhere in the neighborhood of $30. Now spend that same amount of money on Ramen noodles, Mac & Cheese and hamburger helper. See the difference? In one case, you’ll have enough food for the day. In the other, you can eat for a month. Furthermore, veggies only stay good in the fridge for two or three days. Ramen lasts in the pantry for years. You can’t buy fruits and veggies in bulk.

If you only have $5 in your pocket, you can’t afford to buy a piece of grilled salmon with a side of steamed asparagus. But you do have enough for a value meal at McDonalds, don’t you? I’ve never seen a fruit cup for sale that cost under $3. But I can buy a candy bar for 50 cents.

Am I getting through to you people yet?

I am not trying to imply that if you don’t pull in a few million dollars a year in income, you’re destined for morbid obesity. On the contrary, I pull in significantly less than that and I can still manage a healthy lifestyle. I have just arranged my financial priorities a little differently from the average person. For example, the outfit that I’m wearing right now cost me $45 including the shoes. However, I spend double that, daily, just to fit into it. The car in my driveway is seven years old, but I do employ a personal trainer. I spend more on food in an average month than I spend on the mortgage of the house I’m currently living in. My body is, by far, my biggest expense. The second I cut back on that investment is the same second I gain weight. Fuck, sometimes the millisecond.

Around this time of year, people spend a lot of time resolving to lose weight. But what dooms them to failure year after year is that they don’t set enough money aside to accomplish that goal. It’s inevitable that they’ll fail and when they do, it’ll be a tremendous blow to their self esteem. What they haven’t realized is what it would have cost them to succeed.

I know a morbidly obese girl who informed me one day that losing weight was the most important thing in the world to her. I asked her how much she planned to spend to achieve her goal and she told me that she joined a weight loss program that was going to cost her around $300 a month. I laughed and told her that it would likely cost her triple that to take the pounds off. Horrified, she said that she didn’t have that much money to spare.

I said, “Well, sell your car and move back in with your parents.”

Even more horrified, she said, “I can’t do that!”

“Why not? Isn’t losing weight more important than your car?”

“Well….yes….but….”

“Are you saying that losing weight isn’t more important than your independence from your parents?”

“No….it’s just that….”

“Well, how bad do you want it?”

“More than anything, but I think I can keep my car and my apartment and still do it. See, this program that I’m in….”

She kept her car and she kept her apartment and she’s still a good 350lbs. The moral of the story? You can’t have it all, people.

It’s either cable television or being thin. It’s an Ipod nano or a slender body. It’s a big screen television or a pair of size 4 jeans. Make your choice now and quit beating yourself up over it. Outside of being filthy rich, the only other feasible way to have both is to invest in some stellar health insurance, pick up a fork, and eat yourself into morbid obesity. Then you can go to the doctor and get your stomach cut out. Hey, it works for some people.

If you don’t want to take such drastic measures, you have a choice to make. You can either live a healthy lifestyle or you can continue to compulsively consume more and more junk. If you choose the latter, all I ask is that you quit with this low self esteem bullshit. Instead of mentally branding yourself a failure, say:

“The reason I’m overweight isn’t because I lack in moral fortitude. I just chose to financially prioritize my life differently from someone who is a smaller size. To me, a new computer and a swanky townhouse are more important than living a healthy lifestyle. The pleasure I get from junk food and reality TV is more than I’ll ever get from running a mile.”

Then, buy a pint of Ben & Jerry’s, waddle into your den, and comfort yourself in front of your high definition big screen television with the surround sound speakers.

Hell, it’s the American way.

*A lot of people misinterpreted this article. You can read my clarification here.

This article is one of my most popular posts.

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