Is Your Weight Your Worth?

Affording real food in America

America and other Western nations -- and even some poorer ones -- have broken out of the historical pattern that says the rich shall be fat and the poor thin. Here, food, especially low-nutritional-value, fattening food, is plentiful and cheap while commodities advertised as "solving" the problem of excessive weight gain are not. In 2006, Forbes magazine surveyed the costs of ten of the most popular weight-loss plans. Not surprisingly, all of them added significantly to the dieter's weekly food bill, with the median increase pegged at 58 percent. The Jenny Craig plan was the most expensive, boosting food costs by 152 percent. Atkins was number three, with an 85 percent increase. Nutrisystem added 109 percent, Weight Watchers 78 percent. The strategy of eating low-fat sandwiches at Subway restaurants, heavily publicized on TV, was the cheapest, adding 26 percent. (Stan Cox, Pluto Press)

As America's economy shrinks, its citizens bloat. One reason is that we spend 90% of our food dollar on processed food. "Food" is an analogous term. Real food is grown, processed food is manufactured. But real food costs more than imitation food-like substances. So we eat manufactured goods out of boxes, plastic , styrofoam and machines.

If you ask most people under 30 what "regular" food is, they will usually respond with what has been advertised. They will say potato chips are "regular food." No, potatoes are regular food; potatoes diced, sliced, spiced and overpriced by boiling in oil and placed in bags and shipped across the country do not really qualify as "regular" food.

One of the helpful functions of an Enneagram coach is to make you conscious of the unconscious motives we have for doing what gets us in trouble. When advertising is most effective, it reaches our unconscious and manipulates our unconscious. That's why the food industry advertises so heavily to small children. Or did you think McDonald's bribes children with trinkets just because they're nice? Try "cost effective."

But McDonalds, Burger King, Subway etc are cheaper than real food, especially when you factor in the cost of cooking and the time spent doing that.

On the other hand, they are not cheaper if you factor in the cost of being obese. And the poorer you are in America, the heavier you are (as a general rule). One of the several reasons for that is that we are not eating real food because we can't afford it.