The usual prescription is for more exercise and cutting the calories. The basic prescription has at its base the biblical idea of gluttony and sloth. If you are fat, you feel shame. I'm going to row against the tide on this one with something called "common sense".
I will start with the single principle that all humans are animals and that the basic principles of being a living being applies to all living beings. The idea I wish to bring forth from here has to do with eating and this idea is this: animals eat because they are hungry and they stop eating when they are not.
Now you could bring up various animal experiments about fat mice and rats and how they will eat long after they are so fat that they can't stand and other bizarre displays but I didn't mention obesity. I only said that:animals eat because they are hungry and they stop eating when they are not. I didn't mention obesity because I don't think it's relevant to the discussion. Obesity, I have come to believe, is a symptom and not a cause.
If obesity is not a cause but a symptom, what's the cause? Hunger! Yep, hunger. I'm putting forth the proposition that we are in the midst of famine.
My youngest boy is exhibit A. He was a poor college student who went to school in his hometown so he was able to scrounge food from family and friends. His typical procedure was to arrive for dinner and then try to eat - forever. He would sit and eat until he was full and then, not knowing where his next meal was coming from, would continue to try and put food away. It was horrible to watch. He would slowly chew with a mild revulsion on his face then swallow. No matter how hard he tried, he could never seem to get beyond a few fork fulls before he had to give up.
This isn't news. Eating after you're full is very hard and the thought of doing it over and over again makes you feel green. Try it. You can't do it. But you might say that you've seen people overeat all the time. Once again, stick with the idea. I didn't say people don't overeat. I said that it is nearly impossible to eat, if you aren't hungry.
I am exhibit B. For the last thirty years, I have been a bike rider. What ever I had to do, I would try to do it on a bike. I would put somewhere between four thousand and five thousand miles a year on a bike. I ate carbs like crazy in order to do this because carbo loading was the thing to do when you were putting in a lot of physical exertion. My reputation for absolute gluttony is based on this. I was never fat but I could eat plate after plate of food. I ate until my stomach was full and then ate some more but I remained hungry. This was my life. I couldn't stop eating because I was famished.
You can't diet, if you're hungry. It will only make you hungrier. You can't excercise when you're hungry because your body cuts back on motion. You can, however, grow fat because there really isn't a connection between appetite and obesity.
I hear the experts talk about empty calories, large portions and too many snacks but rats, no matter the density or type of calories, would stop eating. Hunger is basic and at a level far below regard.
Now I'll say it again: we eat because we are hungry not out of some lascivious need. What we are seeing now is hunger, one that isn't slacked by eating. Something has gone wrong with our diet and we are now hungry at a level that causes us to eat in search of a satiation which we can't achieve.