I have been fascinated by this anonymously published paper/series of articles about the obesity epidemic. Part I, covering mysteries about obesity that I did and did not know about, drew me in. The authors’ thesis, which isn’t presented until Part III, is that chemical contaminants are the primary cause of the epidemic (not why individuals gain weight, but why obesity in entire populations increased dramatically since 1980). I’m not sure I buy that, but it is an interesting argument to consider that I had not previously given any weight to.

I was interested this that work because I am struggling with my weight again due to the pandemic. Since January 2020, when reading the news from Wuhan caused me to have a a panic attack about the coming pandemic (I was right, unfortunately). When COVID panic hit the US, and the store shelves were bare, businesses and sports leagues were shutting down, and we were afraid to leave our houses, I started to eat sweets or drink beer (just one a day) as a way to cope with the uncertainty and stress.

I gave up the beer last September, but giving up sweets entirely has been impossible for me thus far. Sugar is a habit I have given up several times in my life, but I always go back to it when I am feeling very bad, like if I get sick or if stressful situations last too long. The pandemic has basically never stopped being stressful for me or my family. Dealing with that stress takes a ton of energy away from me, and I end up eating extra food—sweet food—for the boost of energy it gives me. I feel a chemical dependence on it now that is stronger than I recall it being at any point in my life. I want to give it up, and am trying to find the mental resolve to do so this week.