Friday, June 10, 2011

Maybe I'll take the stairs today

While I was reading chapter twelve’s section on choices that are made on what would require the least amount of effort, I continuously thought of personal situations where I’ve made choices solely because it would not be asking too much of myself. I was reading how there is a trend for people in today’s society to be overweight which according to the body mass index (height/weight^2) over weight is having one’s BMI 25.0-29.9. The book also noted that society is on its path to becoming mainly obese, which is a person who has a BMI greater than 30.0. If anyone would like to calculate their own BMI to see where they fall, you can visit this website:

An explanation they have found for the increased obesity is that humans now have more energy than they did in the past, however they do less and waste their energy. Humans used to live a more primitive lifestyle that would require a lot of a person in regards to hunting and basic survival without the technology and industrialization that we have now.

I related a lot to the section of behavioral economizing because we all live in a face paced time, where we all agree there are not enough hours in the day. I, like I am sure many others, always try my hardest to save the most amount of time and effort. In Britain there was a case made that the energy imbalance was the result of slothfulness, otherwise known as giving the least amount of effort. Following industrialization humans created machines to do work for the; even manual construction jobs now days the individual just has to sit behind the wheel and push a lever. Instead of chasing down prey and preparing foods themselves, many individuals now hop in their car, drive to the local market and pick up the precooked burgers. Some of those individuals live right in my household.

The book notes that fast-food only means that the time taken to make the food is extremely low and extremely fast. In that sense any meal easily and quickly prepared can be considered fast-food. In my household there are 2 parents and 3 adult children and no one fully knows how to really cook. Simple things like spaghetti or scrambled eggs are about the only things ever cooked in the house. Usually we have the ShopRite rotisserie chicken or my mom will bring food home from the local diner or Chinese food. The main reason we get fast food is because everybody works and/or goes to school full time with different schedules and it is just easiest to ensure everyone at least eats something.

When the book referred to the individuals who chose to walk across the freshly cut beautifully laid grass as opposed to the longer route of strategically laid concrete I instantly thought of myself and even my boyfriend who has called me a dummy for not cutting corners and taking the shortest distance. Actual way-finding experiments showed that participants actually preferred the paths the required the shortest, most easily completed distance to their destination. This goes back to the beginning of my post on how humans are becoming obese, it is because of these decisions to take the short cut as opposed to the long walkway, or to take the elevator as opposed to climbing up or even down two flights of stairs. After reading this I think I’m going to try to actively make better decisions to put out the extra effort, it’ll add up to make a healthier me in the long run anyways.

1 comment:

  1. really enjoyed reading this post. The part i liked the most was about the issue with people eating fast food. I just started dating someone and their dinner is usually taken out from a pizza place or they go out for dinner. His mom never cooks and if she does it's only breakfast.
    It was so crazy for me to see this because I live in a house where there was a nice cooked meal every night. The only nights we would MAYBE go out for dinner would be the weekends and even then it was a slim chance that would happen. I try to tell the guy I am seeing that it's not healthy to keep eating out but he says that's all he knows and all he's grown up with.