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Please don't super size me

03/10/2014

One night last week, my friend Patrick and I visited a fast-food place for dinner. As usual, I ordered a small combo meal and couldn’t even finish the whole thing.

“Why is everything so much bigger now than it used to be?” I wondered out loud. “Why is a small drink like, 22 ounces?”

“Because this is America,” Patrick said as he grabbed a handful of fries. “Bigger is better. More is better.”

I thought about that as I drove home that night. At what point does something become excessive? How much of a good thing is too much?

When I was a freshman at the school I transferred from, my health class watched the 2004 documentary Super Size Me, in which Morgan Spurlock ate nothing but McDonald’s for an entire month and answered in the affirmative every time he was asked if he wanted his meal super-sized.

I do usually eat the college student’s diet right now, which consists primarily of pizza, Ramen noodles, and anything from Taco Bell. But let’s talk about real life for a minute. Fast food exists so that when we as Americans are on the road, we can grab a quick bite to eat in place of the food that we don’t have time to cook. It’s supposed to hold us over until we can have an actual meal.

But these days, thanks to triple bacon burgers that come with a pound of fries and a gallon of soda, people are building their diets around fast food.

You know this. It’s a major factor in the obesity epidemic. It’s the reason Michael Bloomburg wanted to set a size limit on soft drinks sold in New York City last year.

Think about it: the size of soft drinks is an issue that government officials have been dealing with as recently as six months ago.

This is what happens when we as individuals lack self-control. Fast food is the obvious example, but really, excess is everywhere: we have to drive bigger SUVs, live in bigger houses, have more memory on our phones and tablets so that we can hold more music and more movies and more photos. We are never content. If a bigger product is out there, why not opt for it?

In July of 2012 I flew to Tegucigalpa, Honduras, to volunteer at a home for orphans. Each night before we went to bed, the other Americans and I would sit outside on the roof and talk. Immersing ourselves in a third-world country with real problems and real daily struggles helped us all to evaluate our lifestyles.

That’s the one thing that’s really stuck with me since then. As much as I love the fast-paced American lifestyle, I can’t justify going overboard. Excess leads to waste, and there’s no need for that. There are people not just in Honduras but even here in Calhoun County that have trouble putting food on the table each night and can’t afford to be wasteful. Be thankful for what you have, and don’t ever think that what you have is not enough.

Just something to think about next time you hit the drive-thru…

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