Thursday, May 24, 2012

Is your house making you fat?

Oh my. The lengths (and breadths!) people will go to, in order to blame their weight issues on something other than garden-variety gluttony! This article is hilarious and I just had to fisk it. Listed below are the top 11 reasons why your house "could be tricking you into chowing down and gaining weight."

1) You painted the dining room red (Conversely, blue suppresses appetites)

Fact: no, it doesn't.

2) You don't have a pantry (You are on the see-food diet; if you hide food, you won't eat it)

Fact: gluttons will seek out food WHEREVER  it is in the house, even if it's on the topmost cobwebby shelf of the cold storage room in the farthest, darkest corner of the basement. If all snack food in the house has been exhausted, and the glutton is not in a mood to bake something, she will eat chocolate chips. The ones hidden in the pantry.

3) Your kitchen is the hub of your home. ("Try changing the way traffic moves through your kitchen...people who pass through the kitchen during the day tend to eat 15 percent more than people who don't.")

Fact: Hahahahaha. Just ask Mrs. Beazly about this one. She has like FIVE doorways in her kitchen. As for mine, I live in a stupidly designed 1975 split level. If you want to avoid my kitchen, you have to go outside and possibly climb in some windows.

4) There are too many chairs and couches (which just encourage people to, you know, sit down. Remedy: have a treadmill in your TV room)

Fact: After a long day on my feet, I have yet to convince my husband (or myself) to relax on a hard wooden bench... or the treadmill.

5) You never planted a garden (What-- only at #5, and we've already run out of things about the house? A garden is not a house. It's outside. OK, I'll let it go) Beyond the obvious fresh veggies angle, herbal aromatherapy is suggested:
Peppermint aromas are known to suppress appetite; in one study... people who smelled peppermint once every two hours for a week consumed 1,800 fewer calories in a week
a) it is possible for the glutton's fridge to be full of fresh veggies, but she eats mainly carbs and candy (because you don't have to wash, peel, and cut up and/or cook them); four weeks later, those veggie are still there, but they are even greener than before.

b) Peppermint: mmmm... chocolate-covered peppermint patties...  Candy Cane Bark... Junior Mints... mint julep... mint jelly on roast lamb... Chocolate Mint Chip ice cream...

6) Your dishes are too big. (Smaller plate = smaller portions)

Fact: your plate doesn't tell you when your stomach is full; your stomach does. If you listen to it.

7) Your bedroom is no sanctuary (people who sleep less eat more)

Fact: I do lots of both.

I agree with the article's suggestion to make your bedroom a place exclusively for rest and relaxation (including banning electronics), but sometimes it's hard to do, depending on the size of your house and the stage of family life you're at. I would LOVE a home office, but I'll have to wait until about four more kids leave home. When a deadline looms, sometimes my bedroom is the ONLY place in the house where I can write. Three cheers for laptops. What does this have to do with food again?

8) There's too much mood lighting.  Low light encourages bingeing. On the other hand, according to this article, too much light does too. What's a lab rat to do?

Fact: your stomach is not sensitive to light.

9) You have a Great Room. (Expansive open-concept living means we are climbing stairs only to go to bed at night.)

Fact: I live in a stupidly designed 1975 split level (FIVE levels). I don't even have one moderately mediocre room, never mind a 'great' one. I am running stairs all day. You can outeat your energy expenditure, even in a 5-level-split.

10) You're letting the machines take over. (The accompanying illustration shows a laundry room)

Fact: Sorry, but I just don't have a stream nearby where I can go beat my pleated nightdress on the river rock. Get real! The article says to forego the use of your blender? (Pray, what Victorian-era hand-powered device could you use to make smoothies --or margaritas?)

11) You have a killer entertainment system (music and TV stimulates appetite)

Fact: By today's standards, our TV is pretty modest (a mere 42" screen).  I have seen some amazing home theatre systems in magazines. However, I have yet to see one that includes arm and leg restraints, or any sort of mechanism that force feeds the people watching TV.

Calories consumed; calories expended.  It's that simple. The vast majority of us who are overweight are overweight because we eat too much. That's called gluttony. The reasons we overeat may be complex, but the issue itself is not. Coping strategies and tricks are fine and the article does contain some good suggestions for behaviour modification, but until one gets to the heart of the issue, it's bound to be same-old, same-old for most of us chubbies.


  1. I know for a fact, mine is!

  2. On spot, Mrs. Pinkerton. Blame your great room or no room, the internet, your lousy job, your mother whose responsibility for your diet ended 25 years ago, your wife who brings home donuts or your not having a spouse at all, too many cable channels or nothing to watch while you're on the uncomfortable exercise bike in your dark basement, the WalMart going up in your neighborhood, the weatherman's wearing a red tie on Tuesdays, the annoyance of (my flimsy excuse here). The justifications never end, and they all find their 'solution' in a third butter tart.

    The good part is that WE CAN CHOOSE SOMETHING DIFFERENT, and we can do it right now.

    Well, now you all know what's been occupying my mind in place of stuff to blog about.