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Food Then and Now: Part 1

Posted on February 17, 2016 at 12:06 PM by Lia Bahls, RD

As a dietitian, I often hear my patients complain that it seems it’s so much harder to lose weight today than it was in the past. Why is this? Has our culture and corresponding lifestyles changed that much over the past 40 years? The simple answer is yes.

So what has changed? Well, a lot. But I have broken it down into four major lifestyle changes and habits that have caused us to gain weight and less likely to be able to lose it. Make sure to follow our blog as I will post one of these four changes each week.

Let’s take a look at the first major change:

We value in-activity: Consider technological advancements. Technology has allowed for us to move from an active farming society to a culture in which we spend most of the day sitting at a desk or in our cars driving to and from work and home. In the past, putting in a hard day’s work was admired; now it seems that doing as little as possible is lauded as an indication of intelligence and status. Sitting at a desk means “success”, while “working for a living” is associated with undervalued manual labor.  Technological advances certainly have done great wonders for our society, but it has also affected our activity level in a very negative manner.

Even though our society is becoming more and more technology-driven, we have to take it upon ourselves to get creative to continue to be active, even when working a “desk” job.

Consider some of these options to get in more daily activity:


  1. Make it a point to move around at work. Set a timer and get up and walk around for a couple of minutes every half an hour.
  2. Consider getting (or nicely asking) for a stand-up desk.
  3. Take the stairs and park farther away.
  4. Consider a gym membership and commit to attending at least 2-3 times a week to walk on a treadmill or ride the bike. Group fitness programs are motivating and have more community (and accountability) support.
  5. Go for a walk. Whether over lunch or after dinner, make a point to get outside for even a short walk. Bundle up on cold winter days, but don’t let that stop you. Fresh air will help invigorate you and ask your co-workers or family members to join you.


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