America The …

Absurd is the first word that comes to mind.  I mean seriously, we live in a culture that goes to extremes and is the land of excess and gluttony.  No wonder we all have weight issues; and that doesn’t just apply to those who are overweight.  I have mentioned, only half jokingly in this blog, my body dysmorphic disorder; but millions of us whether we are overweight or stick figure thin or something in between those extremes have a poor relationship to food.

jerseyAnd now I know why.  I was walking down 42nd street the other day and America never ceases to amaze or should I say stun me. I am never in that neighborhood but I was on my way to meet with DiGa entertainment.  They wanted to meet with me about doing one or more of my television shows and I could not have been happier about that.  After all, they are the people behind such fantastic shows as Jersey Shore, The Hills, TRL with Carson Daly, Teen Mom and countless other trash reality tv – my dream career.  In fact, while I was waiting to meet them, I was sitting directly under an autographed photo of the cast of Jersey Shore – I literally was in heaven.

That’s not the point. The point is that while I was walking there, I spotted two things that just epitomized the health problem in this country. The first was a Cold Stone Creamery.  As many of you know by now, ice cream is my favorite food in the world; yet, I eat it only about four times per year.  That doesn’t mean I won’t look at it by visiting freezer shelves in grocery stores just to say hello and make sure ice cream still exists.  But, there was a line outside the store filled with obese people and on either side of the line were obese people eating “gotta have it” size jugs of ice cream – at least five on each side. It was like pigs at a trough.  I was flabbergasted.

The second thing I spied was a McDonalds that took over one of the famous beautiful old theatres and used the marquee to advertise the poison that they sell – in bold bright lights that zippered.  I didn’t think fast food could get more grotesque and obnoxious in its ploy to win over the hearts (or should I say “still” the hearts) of Americans.  If you read any of my posts on facebook or twitter this week, you would have seen an article about just how fat America is.  I just want to quote one statistic before we get to the good stuff of this blog (i.e., my riff on the week in television). In 1970, Americans spent 6 billion dollars on fast food; in 2000, we spent over 110 billion and counting.

I bet you won’t see all that fast food in Morocco – and what you really shouldn’t see in Morocco are the Real Housewives of New York City.  They have become true caricatures of themselves and quite frankly are ruining the reputation of my fair city.  It is as if none of them have ever traveled outside of this country before.  Sonja is just an embarrassment with her line: “Oh, I’ve never been here before but I have friends who have houses here so it must be fabulous and luxurious.” Quickly followed up by Ramona, that Pinot Grigio swilling nut case saying: “I am seeing poverty all over and it’s dusty, we must be on the wrong side of town.”  Can you say Ugly American?

mcDmarqueeOh, and why did RHONY and America’s Next Top Model both choose to shoot episodes in Morocco. That wouldn’t have been so bad if they didn’t shoot them in the same hotel – what Morocco only has one.  That is one of my biggest pet peeves about Americans – their utter lack of travel and ability to maneuver through anything that appears foreign, different, or strange.  I will often tell people I am Canadian when I travel abroad because I am so embarrassed about how we behave.  Get a life.  Get a passport.

It is an embarrassment of bitches.  Speaking of which, have you been keeping up with Mob Wives?  Renee is the best character on television right now.  With lines like: “a typical Sunday dinner at my house does not usually involve fist fighting and hair pulling” to, “My ex is going to Yale – oops, I mean jail.” It is hard not to love her.  She is currently trying on line dating and she calls her potential beaus: Sammy Salami and Bobby Badabing.  This has nothing to do with anything but I couldn’t resist – sorry I get off topic sometimes – ok all the time.

Back to task: The same logic can be applied to food choices.  We have to be able to come to terms with making the right decisions when it concerns our health.  So many of my patients, especially at the beginning of the program are often overwhelmed and don’t know where to begin despite giving them sheets and sheets (yes, I am embarrassed by how much paper I give them) of information on the do’s and don’t’s.  Many of them call back throughout the first week and we expect that because like some of the girls from RHONY, I am asking people to move out of their comfort zone and when that happens, chaos can ensue.

I am asking people to learn how to order differently from a menu, choose different eating establishments, and make healthier choices.  And most importantly to realize at the moment of impact when that chocolate touches your lips, you have got to stop the behavior then; not regret eating it later or a few days later when you can’t fit into your clothes.  To become healthier, you are going to have to leave your comfort zone; and, maybe get ugly for a while until you understand and become more comfortable with your surroundings.

We are all just human and are bound to make mistakes but as it was so eloquently said on Game of Thrones, only by admitting what we are, can we get what we want.  So, admit you are overweight and/or unhealthy and move on and get what you want and do everything in your power to achieve that goal.  I will always be that obese little boy inside and when I look in the mirror, I see that face staring back at me; or as my mother liked to say, “I have fat eyes.”  I admit that I am an obese person now trapped inside of a thin body. I want to overindulge everyday.  Those feelings will never go away; but they don’t stop me from getting what I want.

Oh, I almost forgot about this week’s contest.  It’s a real simple one so you will have to give me the full name of the character and the show’s title.  Here goes: Whose hobbies include:

  1. Plastic surgery
  2. Injecting sh** into my lips
  3. Visiting men in prison
  4. Baking cakes with files in them

And you’ll be happy to go I got my new ipad2 and they have the most incredible app called HBO2GO – it lets you watch HBO anywhere on your ipad and any episode from any season – it is too good to be true; pinch me someone; am I dreaming? Just started watching Treme – all I can say is amazeballs!  So, even in television, America goes from the extreme ridiculousness of Hoarders and Sister Wives to the incredible writing and acting in Treme.  We simply can’t help being a country of extremes.

So while America may be the beautiful, it is loaded with contrasts.  And, contrasts that can often take us down roads that may not lead to health.  Our society is not set up for us to be healthy – in fact, just the opposite. So, keep that in mind when you are watching TV and that craving for something to eat kicks in – just do what I do; add another show to your DVR list.

Until next time…