Posted by: topher274 | July 27, 2010

I’m upset that I’m obese

It is an upsetting thing to be obese. A conflation of factors all seem to come together in a perfect storm to make my life into an obese one. And that’s not remotely cool.

Now it seems clear that obesity is no one’s goal (except Homer Simpson in that one episode), and that everywhere we look in advertising and movies that the social pressure is to be, if not thin, of a healthy middle rage of weight. I know that the standards are different for women as for men, but for a man, the ideal is not to be too small, nor too large.

But this social stigma is not really a problem for me. I dare say I am quick-witted enough. outwardly focused, and friendly so as to make my way socially even if I don’t ‘look the part’ so to speak. My real concern is for my health.

I have a family history full of cancer and diabetes, and being obese very much increases my already high risks. I read today on WebMD that being obese as I am, I am 50%-150% to die of any cause as someone who is in a healthy weight range. I really would love to not die young, but I suppose I’m frustrated by a number of factors:

1) Genetics. There are some people who just come from thin families where obesity isn’t really something worried about. A professor of mine in college once told the story that is stick-thin wife had freaked out because she had gained 10 pounds. He didn’t quite know how to console her because many in his family were morbidly obese and 10 pounds coming and going meant nothing to them. That some have to work harder than others for the same physiological result is annoying.

2) A Culture of fat-ness. As is well known, the US is (for all intents and purposes) the most obese country in the world. The more and more we have gotten away from, y’know, actual food from the ground, and have applied the lessons modernity to food-making, processed food and all its health-terror is the most cost-efficient and convenient sources of food around. That is also frustrating. The pull from doctors on the one hand, and the hawkers of happy meals and fast food, with all its convenience and deliciousness on the other – that tug-of-war is an uncomfortable feeling to say the least.

3) Everywhere health-quackery. As there is no shortage of Dollar Menu items, so there are no shortage gimicky and scammy weight loss and fitness pills, machines, diets and infomercials. The body is a complicated thing, and trying to figure out just what to do to get it in line seems a subject everyone wants to chime in on. And, being a form of news, nothing delights health writers more than debunking “myths” a.k.a. what the last expert told you to do. I once read a whole 10 page Newsweek article about how a vigorous exercise regimen causes you to gain fat instead of loosing it.

So what conclusion is there? The basics of weight loss are simple. Burn off more calories than you take in. Adjust intake and workout to net a loss of 3500 calories per pound. I suppose I am just taking a moment to step back with furrowed brow at the masterful co-ordination of grocery shopping, meal preparation, bankroll, schedule manipulation, gymnastic perseverance and the mental fortitude to reject the pervasiveĀ torpitude of the internet age.

Whew. I think I need to go outside



  1. Hear, hear.

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