Our Overweight Society
Control the size of your meals and control the size of yourself.
By Travis Grubbs
February 2008 — I tend to get confused, and somewhat indignant, when I read the medical definitions regarding being overweight. The medical establishment's ideal weight for me, a man of 6' 1", is supposed to be around 180 pounds. I, along with my wife, think this would make me too skinny. I presently weigh 224 pounds, with a desire to get to 200 pounds. For me, I think 200 pounds is small enough.
While I may disagree with weight charts, etc., I certainly agree that being overweight causes health problems. I am my own example. I have also come to believe that an overweight person is not going to lose weight until they are ready to take on such a challenge. It took a type 2 diabetes diagnosis to convince me to lose weight. When I run into some one that knew me some forty-five plus pounds ago, they usually ask "How did you lose the weight?" I usually reply, "I started eating less and stopped drinking beverages that contained calories." The reaction is some thing like, "Wow, what a revolutionary idea!" When I say that I have type 2 diabetes, they normally respond: "Oh," like the weight loss was an automatic consequence of the condition, with no effort on my part.
Being drafted into the ranks of the type 2 population has definitely had an effect on me. While I now pay more attention to my eating habits, I have also become much more aware of the people around me, and most notably the sizes of the people around me. Being born and raised in the Southern U.S., I am used to seeing some large folks. Let's face it - cooking with fat, deep frying foods, eating unhealthy, etc., has been a long staple of the Southern U.S. diet. Our unofficial motto is not "Got Milk?" but more "Got Fat?" when it comes to cooking and eating.
Noticing people's sizes is an especially interesting activity when I am around fast food restaurants. I have found that larger folks tend to congregate around these establishments (especially in my little area of the world). Being one that used to weigh almost 300 pounds, I am familiar with the allure of fast food restaurants. When I was traveling to various towns doing home inspections, I could name the addresses of respective fast food restaurants in each locale. I made sure that I was well-fed when traveling out of town, even if it was killing my health and eventually led to my type 2 diagnoses, my high blood pressure diagnosis, my high cholesterol diagnosis, etc.
One conclusion that I have reached is that the retail sector, along with the fast food industry, is willing to accommodate the market comprised of those with expanding waistlines. I was out shopping with my wife this past Christmas and she noticed that one of our local department stores (a national chain store) had a plus sizes section for juniors! We were both surprised. It is just another indicator of our enlarging society. Fat is the new thin!
Part of my weight loss was due to me limiting my trips to fast food restaurants. Did you notice that I said "limiting my trips to fast food restaurants?" Like many things in life, moderation is acceptable and can even be applied to consuming fast food. Sometimes you just have to have French fries! For me, I limit my trips to fast food restaurants to two times per month. The rest of that time I eat meals that are not fried and are well-balanced. It works for me.
If you are struggling to lose weight, with little or no result, don't give up. Just give yourself time and continue to make adjustments to your eating habits. Learn to read food labels and, if possible, consult with a nutritionist. Your local hospital may have a health educator that can assist you in locating a nutritionist or other health care professional that can assist you in this life-changing endeavor. And remember, control the size of your meals and you can control the size of yourself.
dLife's Viewpoints columnists are not all medical experts, but everyday people living with diabetes and sharing their personal experiences, most often at a set point in time. While their method of diabetes management may work for them, everyone is different. Please consult with your diabetes care team before acting on anything you read here to find out what will work best for you.
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