Obesity and Orwell

English: Picture of George Orwell which appear...

English: Picture of George Orwell which appears in an old acreditation for the BNUJ. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Reality check time here!

Last week I mentioned a widely reported article in the British Journal of Sports Medicine which claimed that ‘physical activity does not promote weight loss’. The article was taken down by the journal last week due to ‘an expression of concern’. It remains offline as I write this, but the controversy rumbles on. At the risk of further upsetting the low-carb community (who seem particularly antagonistic to the doctrine of ‘calories in, calories out’), I am returning to it today.

Let’s start by looking at a series of blog posts by Jason Fung of Intensive Diet Management that have been doing the rounds on social media. He, too, argues that ‘there is no measurable association between obesity and physical activity’. In his first post, he argues that people are exercising more than ever and yet are becoming fatter and fatter. The positive correlation between obesity and exercise, he says, shows that physical activity really doesn’t make much of a difference.

OK, we’re exercising more than we ever did, huh? When? During the commercial breaks on that long walk the fridge to get another beer?

Look, don’t get me wrong, I love our modern devices with all of their advantages, but I know I don’t get the exercise even my father did, let alone his grandfather.

A quick example, after he retired, Dad decided he needed a bit more exercise and the electric bill was too high, so he decided to heat his 1800 sq ft house with wood, using his Heatilator fireplace. he found that in a normal winter, he would burn about a half to three-quarters of a cord per week, about an eight-foot pickup bed, level full, per week. Given his woodland, that’s about two trees, that he felled cut up, split by hand, and hauled to the house, every week.

No, he never went to the gym. 🙂 But I’ll tell you something else, he was forty years older than me, and I played football, and he could easily outwork me, and that’s before he retired to do physical work, instead of being in the office. And do it irregardless of the weather.

Yep, it made me feel like a wimp, but you know something,? Now I’m the age he was then, and the same thing is true, there are very few 25-year-olds that can keep up to me, and I mostly sit on my butt, running a computer, and have for years.

That’s something I’m proud of but, likely not in the way you think. It means that my generation, like my dad’s and like most (at least since the founding of the Republic) have made the life of our fellow countrymen better, or at least easier. And that really is something to be proud of. It takes less of your money (proportionately) and/or physical effort to house, feed, and clothe your family than it ever has.

I know that’s true when I look around one of our job sites today, the tools we use every day, would have turned my dad green with envy, let alone his dad. Yes, my family has been doing electrical work since Edison, Tesla, and Westinghouse were active in the field, long before Fein invented the portable drill motor.

That’s true in nearly every field, but most of our ancestors were farmers, and it is especially true there. The guys that were instrumental in getting electricity on the farms of America thought that the single addition of the fractional horsepower electric motor was worth more than one man per farm, and that has nothing to do with the locomotive tractor, or all the other things, including the personal computer.

It simply revolutionized farming, in the same way, that steam power revolutionized industry, and transportation.

The article I linked below also says this:

In his 1946 essay, The Politics of Starvation, George Orwell noted that the average Briton was eating ‘about 2,800 or 2,900 calories a day’ despite rationing and a shortage of food that was on the verge of leading to civil unrest. This would be enough to fatten up most Britons today, which is why we are advised to eat just 2,000-2,500 calories a day.

This was not journalistic licence on Orwell’s part. Two years later, the British Medical Journal published a study which found that the average Briton lost weight if he consumed fewer than 2,900 calories. Unless you believe that human metabolism has evolved dramatically in the last 70 years, the only explanation for our grandparents eating more yet staying slimmer is that they burned more energy in their daily lives.

Why are we getting fat while exercising so much? Try reading George Orwell – Spectator Blogs.

To which I say, Yup!” For me, now, even 2000 calories is pushing it, I try to stay about 1500, or over time I start to gain weight. But I, like most of u,s miss that 2-pound T-bone and the big baked potato, and dessert, and a six-pack of beer.

So, again like most of us, I cheat but, perhaps unlike most of us, I realize I will have to either work it off or not eat so much for a time to even it out.

We never had it so good

and we haven’t learned to live with it yet.


About NEO
Lineman, Electrician, Industrial Control technician, Staking Engineer, Inspector, Quality Assurance Manager, Chief Operations Officer

2 Responses to Obesity and Orwell

  1. the unit says:

    Obesity and exercise. You know I never thought to look up a picture of George Orwell. In my mind he looked like Orson Welles in some old movie. I guess in their time the thin man was the way it was, exercise or no. This said about H.G. Wells on Wiki…”Wells speaks of constantly being hungry, and indeed, photographs of him at the time show a youth very thin and malnourished.” (They should have visited Walmart)
    Yep my dad was always trim. When he built our home (very nearly by himself,hiring a couple of carpenters to help) in ’48 he put natural gas logs in the two fireplaces, saying he was done cutting wood. He worked though physically building some more houses for years.
    Exercise for me was letting my fingers do the walking through the yellow pages, until Windows 95 came out. Now a bit arthritic fingers can still exercise on the keyboard. Maybe having it so good ain’t so good for us. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • NEO says:

      Dad pretty much built his as well, with some help from my sisters, in 50. I do the same things as dad but, the job is so much easier that there is no comparison, never thought to ask if it was much tougher for his dad, would have been interesting to know 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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