As we approach the food-filled holidays, it is important to remember that
food--fast or otherwise--is not the enemy. If only trial lawyers could
figure that out.
Law suits blaming the fast food industry for making fat people, well, fat
are becoming so common that CRC Publications just launched the "Obesity
Policy Reporter" to keep tabs on the pending litigation. Arguing that the
tobacco theory of liability should apply to fast food shops, trial lawyers
are attempting to bilk burger joints for billions.
But the finger should not be pointed at the purveyors of greasy goodies; the
blame must fall squarely on the shoulders of people bringing the "fat" law
How do I know this? Because I used to be fat. Really fat. I binged on
fast food and junk food, and just about anything I could get my hands on.
Finally, I decided, "The fat stops here." So, I binged on fast food. I'll
About two years ago, a suit salesman told me that I needed a size 50 jacket.
I protested--mightily. But I was wrong, and worse, he was right. When the
tailor was marking the suit for alterations, I told him to cut it
tight--because I was going to start losing weight the next day. The 50-ish
immigrant from North Africa could sense my dogged determination. He looked
at me with sympathetic eyes, and in a think accent chortled, "Yeah, right."
Much to the tailor's surprise, and most everyone else's, I started losing
weight. Having ballooned on the high-carb, low-fat diet, a different
strategy was necessary. The high-protein Atkins diet intrigued me, but the
cost of constantly preparing chicken and steak seemed prohibitive.
as a struggling entrepreneur at the time, anything pricier than a 20-cent
package of ramen noodles would have put a crimp in my wallet. What to do?
With no time to prepare a home-cooked meal and no money to buy a decent one,
fast food became my diet's savior. Without the drive-thru lane, my Atkins
diet would not have happened, and I'd probably still be wearing a size 50
One of my two daily meals consisted of several double cheeseburgers, minus
the buns of course. Because I was too timid (and proud) to order burgers
without the buns, I had to manually separate the beef from the bun. Oh,
what a sight it was. But after shedding 80 pounds in five months, oh what a
sight I was.
The point of my plight is not that everyone should indulge in fast food.
But much-maligned fast food, unlike tobacco, can be used to actually benefit
people. If it hadn't been for the quick and inexpensive nutrition provided
by fast food, weight loss would have eluded me--leaving me at an increased
risk for diabetes and heart disease.
But in a society that revels in a cult of victimology, it should not be
surprising that trial lawyers are blaming fast food chains for the growing
girth of the nation. We have no one to blame but ourselves.
The epidemic of expanding waistlines can by traced directly to the
abandonment of personal responsibility. In a world where no one is
responsible for his or her actions, why should weight be any different?
Look at how we "diet." We want weight loss in a pill or in pre-packaged
foods designed to eliminate sacrifice. Dieting is chic so long as it still
includes low-fat cookies and potato chips. No wonder we're an increasingly
I speak from experience that eating low-fat snacks and drinking Diet Coke
does little more than soothe the conscience. Our instant gratification
society has eschewed the time-honored tradition of hard work yielding
tangible results. We still want the bigger, better, faster, more--we just
want it without sacrifice.
Even a diet containing daily doses of fast food requires sacrifice, though.
I had to avoid whole host of verboten foods, and I had to coax myself into
an actual exercise regimen--and it was worth every ounce of effort I
But if I had wasted my energy suing Ronald McDonald and his buddies, I
wouldn't have looked within myself to find the guts to lose my gut.