Florida is a strange state. My wife and I just left Pensacola, Florida visiting with family, and are now in Sarasota, Florida visiting old friends. The contrast in the two parts of Florida is telling. Pensacola, home of Naval Aviation and where all the Navy and Marine Corps aviators begin their training, is also the home of some of the most overweight older people I have ever seen. We went out to lunch and dinner a few times and the food was deep fried and greasy in most of the restaurants. They promoted “Country style” everything. I guess this means deep fried in the thickest and heaviest batter I have ever encountered. Oh yes, it tasted good. But the end result was a lot of very thick and heavy people.
Of course Pensacola is really Southern Alabama. It’s two hours south of Montgomery, Alabama and less than an hour east of Mobile, two of the true “deep south” cities. Maybe that explains it. Yet boiled “greens” are a big part of deep south cookin’ too, so at least there is some hope.
We saw very few runners or cyclists on the roads. Most towns and cities have runners everywhere on the sides of the main and side roads. Sadly, we saw very few in Pensacola. Maybe they’re all at the beach.
I am finalizing this article from across the state in Sarasota, Florida, where it seems people are a bit leaner. We’ve only been here a day but I’ve seen no truly obese people, certainly not the size we saw in Pensacola. Sarasota is not “deep South” even though it is considerable further south than Pensacola or Alabama. In the short time we have been here, we have seen a lot of runners and walkers everywhere. And while I’m sure I’ll see signs promoting “deep fried southern cooking”, I haven’t seen any yet. What a difference a few hundred miles makes.
The real point of all this is simply a reminder that what you eat is the main determinant of body composition. A lot of fat greasy foods put fat on your body. When there is little exercise to go with the fat greasy food, the result is an overload of obesity. On the other hand, where the food is more healthful and people run and walk, the bodies are leaner and trimmer, and people seem to be alive with much more energy.
This is not to denigrate very overweight people. It’s just to reinforce what most people already know, that the make up of what you eat determines, in large part, the shape of your body, and that it is the choices you make that determine what your scales tell you.
Thank you for reading.