Monday, June 30, 2008

Hmm, could it be?

As we look back in time and look at pictures from late 1800s and early 1900s what we normally see is people of normal weight.  The obesity of our nation really did not begin until the last 70 years or so.  Some would argue that it really did not begin until the late 50s or early 60s.  I have a very clear thought as to why this is.  I am sure I am not the only one who has said this and there are minds much greater than my own who could pin down more specific dates and look at the average diet over that time.  But after my weekend it was made extremely clear.  People "back in the day" worked.  They worked until the job was done.  Many times they did this for survival not for money.  The plowed and shoveled and did hard manual labor.  Many men did this their entire lives, and in that time while the men were out working the fields the women were tending to children, washing clothes by hand, and doing everything we do today... by hand.  Imagine taking the clothes you wear during the week and washing each individual item on a washboard.  We cannot imagine it.  This weekend was as close as I have gotten to real "labor" in many years.  My dad and I hand graded a spot in his yard for a shed.  We then put in a frame and then move 1500 lbs of pea gravel from my truck to the back yard.  So while I did not get the the gym this weekend I am pretty sure I burned as many calories working and I would have in the gym.  I think maybe it is important to try to do a few more things by hand and just be more manual about the way we go about our day to day lives.  I love modern convenience as much as the next guy but modern convenience has also led to and overweight nation.

6 comments:

Johnny said...

Hey Matt, great post, and great points made. I often think that it would be well worth it to get out and do more...we might not ever get to the place of our agrarian forebears, but we'll definitely appreciate it in the long run!

goodbyetoallfat said...

Very true ... but I am trying to get my head round how that relates to the "posh" upper class people of 100 and 200 years ago -- the ones who had servants do everything for them? Why were they not obese?

Hmmmmm ......

TB--Milwaukee said...

Eat like your grandparents used to. I think that's from a Michael Pollen book, but I'm not sure.

Convenience foods sure have made life easier, but we've made the price.

Matt Keeling said...

Good Question by "goodbye" I am not sure about it, but I am not sure that they were not obese. I would also guess that "tb" makes the valid point that everyone was eating natural food back then as opposed to the processed foods we tend to eat now. Just some thoughts anyway.

Rick said...

Great Post Matt! I think goodbye makes a great point and I wonder why if you look at pictures from the late 1800's and early 1900's I think you will see the that the ones overweight will be of the politicians but the wealthy like Rockefeller, Getty, etc are not????????

paul said...

I think you have a point on the physical labor. It also doesn't help that there's a fast food restaurant on every corner, and vending machines, and...