Last week my trusted assistant Jason Barnes and I were on a 3 day photography assignment in Battle Creek, Michigan, just outside of Kalamazoo. The architectural photography encompassed photographing the interiors and exteriors of a Fairfield Inn by Marriott. As always, we moved about efficiently and swiftly, and above all, had good fun doing so.
Now, I live in the Midwest, in the Chicago area at that, so one should think that I am somewhat accustomed to the visuals. However, it totally blew me away to see as many overweight and apparently out of shape people as I did there. A person that was not over their “normal” weight by at least 20 or 30 pounds, stood out of the crowd as an anomaly. Weight and ratio proportionate, this observation unfortunately also included kids.
During the past 20 years, there has been a dramatic increase in obesity in the United States and rates remain high. In 2010, no state had a prevalence of obesity less than 20%. Thirty-six states had a prevalence of 25% or more; 12 of these states (Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and West Virginia) had a prevalence of 30% or more. To illustrate the dramatic increase in the US, here some trend setting and eye popping comparisons.
to the Mexican restaurant, where we dined for three straight evenings because all else seemed to tailor to the unhealthy fast food kind of fare, windows of various eateries prompted large banners promoting unlimited gorging at minimal and affordable prices, i.e: “All you can eat pancakes at $3.95…” displaying a dozen pancakes with over abundant syrup dripping down.
I have always been fascinated, intrigued and baffled with a life style that inevitably and ultimately has to result in uncountable and perceivable cumbersome experiences. Simple tasks and activities such as pulling up your pants, putting on socks, tying shoes, getting in and out of a car, walking up five or more stories of stairs or 1+ miles at a fast clip, sitting down on the toilet and particularly getting up again, clipping ones toe nails ok, ok… you get the picture, seem like major projects when in the possession and discomfort of an excessively heavy body.
So what is it that allows people to get excessively large? To essentially play Russian roulette with their health, and yes, their lives? We all have heard it, information about it is available in abundance: Heart Disease, Cancer and Stroke crown the top three spots for worldwide causes of death, and obesity is unquestionably a major contributing factor. Not to mention the financial burden on the already debatable health care insurance system.
And please don’t give me: “Oh…it’s hereditary… hereditary my butt!!” I am no expert on this topic by any stretch of the imagination, however, I would venture to say that unless you are a goner, or clinically and hopelessly depressed, or just don’t give a hoot about your health and your appearance, you can change that. So please, wake up, because at the end of the day it all comes down to choice, as with everything else in life. What, how much and why do I put it into my mouth…? And in this case, equally important, how will I burn it off? E x e r c i s e!
A standing ovation and more power to everyone who has recognized the need for making a prolonged and sustained behavioral change in their lives, on any level, food, booze, drugs, nicotine, sex, shopping etc. And specifically, congratulations to all of you who are changing their eating and exercising habits in a disciplined fashion for the better. To those who want to live a more energized and conscious life, embracing mobility and endurance. People who know that if nothing changes…nothing changes. Bravo!!! Stay with it, you will love it, it may not be easy but it is so worth the effort.
If you need to count calories and are in need of some tools, check out this: http://www.calorieking.com/foods/ . Anything you may need to know about foods can be found here http://ers.usda.gov/ and specifically about obesity, causes, stats etc. at the United Nations’ http://www.fao.org/FOCUS/E/obesity/obes1.htm The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has a ton of information about health and obesity here http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/trends.html
And as for the exercise portion? Here too, there is a ton of information readily available. If nothing else, begin with a brisk walk every day and build up your distance and pace. Certainly a good start…move your bodily vehicle, that is one of the aspects it is meant to do.
Now, you may ask what does all this have to do with architectural photography? Or any photography for that matter? Well, while subjective, to me it is all about aesthetics, flow of energy, achievement, satisfaction, happiness and well being.
And who knows, if you are one of the heavier people, are comfortable and love the way you occupy your body, more power to you as well…