Martha's big adventure -- Fat like me - Martha Carr

Human beings are great at tinkering with things. Sometimes, this turns out splendidly and we end up with penicillin or fuel-efficient cars. Great minds set out to improve on what was available with the intention of bettering mankind's chances of living longer and helping the planet to survive.

However, sometimes we don't think things through, and we end up with a consequence that was worse than the original problem. The obesity problem in America is a great example. I'm right in there with most of America, as usual, with about 50 pounds to lose, which is going to require a lifestyle change and not just a diet.

That's not just because I'll need to adjust how I eat after the pounds are gone, but because it's a lot harder to stay thin in America. While personal responsibility is going to be the only way out of this mess, perhaps it will comfort a few readers to know, it's not just you, you had a lot of help.

Way back in the 1970's,when we were more gung ho about fixing everything that appeared broken, it was thought that we had too much fat in our diet. If only we could reduce the amount of fat, we would all have healthier hearts and live longer.

Manufacturers were happy to oblige by removing the expensive fat from fabricated foods and replacing it with the much cheaper, government-subsidized corn. Not only was it quicker to feed a family with processed meals in a box, they were cheaper. However, hidden within each mouthful was the equivalent of more and more sugar.

The result is we now consume 22 teaspoons of sugar every day instead of the recommended maximum of six teaspoons for women and nine for men, according to the American Heart Association, who is advocating cutting way back. That's ironic considering that as the middle aisle of grocery stores lost the ballyhooed bad fat forty years ago, it was gaining the sugar.

Ah, the good old days.

There were a lot of responsible parties who helped us grow fatter by taking advantage of a growing trend toward quicker, easier, cheaper and leaner. There were also the consumers who were happy to eat first, ask questions much later. That's my category.

Nobody was really paying attention, until the fat was staring us in the face. Soda machines crept into public schools,along with chips and cookies as recess was eliminated to increase class time. Giant muffins became an acceptable breakfast food as we slowly grew to resemble a muffin top.

Today, the cost of dealing with obesity is estimated at $147 billion dollars and growing ever higher, according to the Weight of the Nation Conference held in Washington, D.C., last summer to address the problem.

We've all grown so fat that there are national conferences on the topic and the first lady, Michelle Obama, has just announced this past week a new program to address childhood obesity. We may be fat,but apparently we're trendy.

Well, this is one trend that I'm jumping off of, and with a little help. I've tried starting running programs before, which any reader knows, since I've talked it up at least twice so far. This time, though, I'm looking for help and keeping a public record.

Brad King, a recognized health and fitness instructor and an expert contributor at www.LiveYourBigAdventure.com,has given me a sensible diet and exercise plan, which starts today. Not only that, we're keeping a video diary of what he recommends along with my progress that we're going to make accessible to the general public at the same web site every Tuesday, starting February 16th.

My goal is to become healthy again and stay that way. Brad King's goal is to help more people get help that they can fit into a busy schedule and achieve the same thing. We're going to chart my course over the next few seasons as I work at changing my lifestyle in the face of so much temptation.

This will turn out to be one of my smarter ideas, or a good way to get millions of people to tell on me. Write to me with your own stories, and I'll share them with America. More adventures to follow.

Martha's latest book, "Live Your Big Adventure," is available at www.MarthasBigAdventure.com. E-mail her at: Martha@caglecartoons.com.