freedom and control

by Andrea Elizabeth

He shouldn’t have, but George gave me an Apple Watch for Mother’s Day. Like with all these new-fangled gadgets, one doesn’t think one needs one, and then one finds them useful. Now I don’t have to ask Alexa, a gift from George’s brother, to time things for me. You have to be in the same room to use her, but she was easier than walking to the oven timer. I have to time everything from pool maintenance to laundry or I’ll forget and disasters will happen.

It also measures heart rate. Having that continual reminder has made me more mathematically minded about losing weight. Its feedback to my response to activity and non-activity keeps me more mindful of effective moving. The calories-burned counter though is very inaccurately overestimated, but it did make me want to keep track of that too. So I reactivated my Lose It app to count my calorie intake. Lose It asked me questions and gave me a daily limit and a projected goal date. Counting or weighing food changes everything. It’s like when you think you have realistic ideas about what you need and you have trouble affording it. I now have the luxury of not having to count pennies as I shop at Walmart. I’m like a naturally skinny person that way in that I don’t want more than I can afford. But I’m not a naturally skinny person. I want more food than I need and more than my body burns. So I have to keep a weight checkbook* balanced and at hand, sadly.

But so do more than half of Americans. Going into debt, though often done, is looked on as more of a character flaw than eating too much. Being moderately or slightly overweight is looked upon more aesthetically displeasing than morally bankrupt, as it were. Food and eating are seen more aesthetically too as a work of art or an entertaining, pleasurable experience, rather than balanced, healthy sustenance. “Eating healthy” is more of a lifestyle option for paranoid control freaks. Something you trade a really good, carefree time, alone or with friends, for feeling slightly better when you move, or looking a little better, maybe a lot better, for other people.

And there are the words control and freedom. We want to be free to eat what we want, when we want, and in the quantities we want. Back in the day this was balanced by manual labor without the ease of modern technology, and growing your own food which made you plan and conserve food much more carefully. So since we’ve swapped this natural life for a technological one, technology has also provided the means of regulation. Fitbits and other wrist devices are really taking off. So a wrist machine now tells us when to move because the other computer machine says stay still all day.

Progressive car insurance came out with a monitor to put on your car to check your driving habits and reward you financially for good behavior. I know there are already discounts provided by some health insurance companies if you answer a questionaire with healthy answers. I suppose the next step is insurance companies monitoring your heart rate and caloric intake/expenditure to give you discounts. I wonder how skinny millennials will be if they get paid by the step.

Here’s some interesting statistics:

Obesity is one of the biggest drivers of preventable chronic diseases and healthcare costs in the United States. Currently, estimates for these costs range from $147 billion to nearly $210 billion per year.1 In addition, obesity is associated with job absenteeism, costing approximately $4.3 billion annually2 and with lower productivity while at work, costing employers $506 per obese worker per year.3

Healthcare Costs of Obesity

As a person’s BMI increases, so do the number of sick days, medical claims and healthcare costs.4 For instance:

  • Obese adults spend 42 percent more on direct healthcare costs than adults who are a healthy weight.5

  • Per capita healthcare costs for severely or morbidly obese adults (BMI >40) are 81 percent higher than for healthy weight adults.6 In 2000, around $11 billion was spent on medical expenditures for morbidly obese U.S. adults.

  • Moderately obese (BMI between 30 and 35) individuals are more than twice as likely as healthy weight individuals to be prescribed prescription pharmaceuticals to manage medical conditions.7

  • Costs for patients presenting at emergency rooms with chest pains are 41 percent higher for severely obese patients, 28 percent higher for obese patients and 22 percent higher for overweight patients than for healthy- weight patients.8

Not only this, but I’d like sjw’s who decry fat-shaming to think about the impact to the environment, cleared wild spaces and associated animals, and farm, actually factory, animals who give their lives to provide entertainment and emotional and physical highs to fat people. To me it’s a bigger sin than a Wall Street capitalist buying the nicest Tesla. Or the military buying the biggest bomb, if correctly used or not used.

The Church says that overcoming/controlling the passions gives you freedom over them. It’s of course counter-intuitive because we want to be free to exercise our passions. It’s depressing to count the costs. Controlling ourselves is not as fun as controlling all the food. To a fat person the idea of giving food that you want away is soul-killing. But death is the gateway to life, they say. Which life do you want?

*Is the checkbook or weight loss app or heart monitor machine controlling the healthy person? I suppose not if it’s done voluntarily. It’s like hiring a servant to keep watch over something for you. The car insurance monitor is voluntary. If the government demanded that everyone be monitored that would be Big Brother. This is one reason we shouldn’t go single payer. If the government gets serious about mandated affordable healthcare and a balanced budget, I don’t see any other way to do it because health care costs are out of control. If a private insurance company mandates it, then you have the option to switch companies.