I’m Fat. Is it My Fault, or the Culture’s?

Snack-Food Stores, Insulin Resistance, Health and Weight

Sharon Johnson
Human Parts
Published in
5 min readOct 19, 2023

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Meditating on junk food — John Hain on Pixabay

I have lost 40 pounds in 4 years in retirement. Yup, that’s really darn slow. I had resolved, when I retired, to eat better and exercise more. The near elimination of stress was a major factor that supported my focus, as was available time. I can look at the line in my Fitbit chart, and see where my weight loss spiked up to weight gain during a stressful six months. I knew that stress was a factor in overeating, but the Fitbit chart proves it.

I moved when I retired to Portland, Oregon, which has more vegetarians and more natural food stores, and more foodie culture — emphasizing fresh ingredients, whole foods, independent restaurants. There also is an emphasis on the outdoors, which includes walking and hiking. My son, who lived in the Midwest in his young adult years, said that his physique was more like an “Oregon” physique than a mid-western physique. He is lean, buys his clothes at REI, and embraces healthy foods and an outdoor lifestyle.

When I first moved here, I was put off by the extensive organic sections of grocery produce and the somewhat higher prices at the farmers’ market. Now I embrace both, and my purchase of processed foods is minimal. The growing season here is longer, and the Willamette Valley is filled with truck farms, instead of fields of sugar beets and corn. Minneapolis has many food cooperatives and Whole Foods stores, so it is not that the options were non-existent. They just weren’t as mainstream as it feels here.

I was jolted by two recent news stories. One was on CNN and stated that companies are reviewing their strategies in the wake of Ozempic and other weight-loss drugs. Food companies may have to rethink how they sell food and create smaller portions. Smucker’s recently bought Hostess, the maker of Twinkies, but reports that there will always be a place for sugary snacks. Walmart’s data says that Ozempic users buy smaller food baskets.

While this story makes it sound like corporations follow customer choice, corporations also shape customer choice. I’ve been appalled when I am traveling and at a small service stop, I only have a choice between fast food or snack aisles. Sometimes the nutritional choices are among sugar, fat…

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Sharon Johnson
Human Parts

Published in literary magazines. Retired health & human services leader. I'm a grandmother who walks by the river. Blog: www.common-sage.com.