When the World Hands You Lemons, Make Sugar-Free Lemonade


My, aren’t we negative today . . .

A report released yesterday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated that Americans are getting fatter and fatter, with obesity rates reaching 30 percent or more in nine states last year, as opposed to just three states in 2007. That means that 2.4 million more people became obese between 2007 and 2009, bringing the total to 72.5 million, or 26.7 percent of the population.


Worse, the CDC believes the numbers are actually much higher because the results were based on a phone survey in which 400,000 participants were asked their weight and height instead of having it measured by someone else, and people tend to say they’re taller than they really are, or weigh less than they actually do.

I’m actually quite surprised, given all the efforts to combat obesity. However, the CDC acknowledges that “past efforts and investments to prevent and control obesity have not been adequate.”

A town in California is banning further construction of fast-food joints. Baldwin Park, home of the first-ever drive-through restaurant – an In ’N Out Burger – has banned construction of new ones for nine months in an effort to curb obesity. The In ’N Out Burger chain came before McDonald’s. But Baldwin Park is now home to 83,000 residents with a median income of $42,000 and 17 drive-thru restaurants.

I don’t know if 17 is a lot, but for a town that size, it sounds like it just might be. Still, the restaurants aren’t making people drive up and consume their goods. Who’s to say the same people won’t seek similar high-fat, high-sugar carbs at the local grocery store?


It’s so frustrating to read stuff like this, because the solutions just make no sense – something to which I can relate.

I used to run a website called WellSister.com, dedicated to health and wellness news for African-American women. After a year or so I shut it down, because the information was consistently grim. There simply wasn’t enough positive information available to offset the negative, and despite the bright colors and dynamic design, it became apparent that I wasn’t accomplishing what I’d set out to do.


I was hoping to offer solutions to health and wellness issues. While there were a handful of those, they were far outnumbered by breast cancer, obesity, diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

Sometimes, that silver lining can be really hard to find, especially when constantly being beat down by statistics and stereotypes. It’s a wonder more of us don’t just give up and give in.


I prefer to press on. It’s truly difficult sometimes; I’m not going to lie. I deal with stereotypes and racism more often than I care to admit, and being overweight certainly doesn’t help in those situations.

But I press on. I have to, because the alternative is to be weakened by the negativity, the unfairness, and all the other “un” words out there.


It’s important – crucial – to spin positive, to seek out what’s good in every circumstance, even if it’s just a lesson on the failings of human nature.

Me, I’m going to expect things to always go the way they’re supposed to, and be grateful and give thanks in advance for all the great things coming my way.


That includes a great outfit I saw the other day, in a size smaller than I am right now, LOL.

I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.  ~  Jimmy Dean


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Leslie J. Ansley is an award-winning journalist and entrepreneur who blogs daily for TheRoot. She lives in Raleigh, NC.

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