Filed Under: Big Fat Lies

Let’s Move, Not Demagogue

We’ve occasionally been skeptical of First Lady Michelle Obama’s anti-obesity initiatives, notably when she claimed people “can’t make a healthy choice” in restaurants. But as one of her recent lunch outings draws criticism, we’re calling for calm.

The first lady drew fire this week for going to a D.C. burger establishment and ordering a 1,700-calorie meal of fries, a cheeseburger, and a chocolate shake. Considering the general recommended daily intake for Americans is 2,000 calories, that doesn’t leave much room for dinner — assuming she was even hungry for dinner.

So is a figurehead for an anti-obesity initiative a hypocrite for treating herself to a high-calorie meal? We don’t think so. Rather, we agree with the sentiments of nutrition experts who say sporadic splurges are A-OK. As one Tufts University nutrition professor puts it:

[Michelle Obama] has kept her weight constant and engages in regular physical activity. An occasional indulgence is fine. For many people, that is what helps them keep on track most of the time.

What really matters is how many calories you eat and how many you burn. Weight gain (or loss) only occurs when calories “in” and calories “out” aren’t balanced.

If you order a 1,700-calorie lunch every day, it’s probably harder to stay slim (unless you’re Michael Phelps). But as long as you work off the intermittent indulgence, you’ll be fine. One meal isn’t going to make anyone fat. (People who eat out tend to compensate by eating fewer calories later in the day, anyway.)

And Michelle Obama, despite her admission that she “can’t stop eating” french fries, still maintains her famously toned arms. We’re guessing it’s because she’s sure to balance any potato pig-outs with an appropriate amount of exercise. And that’s something many of us could do better.

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