Sunday, October 25, 2009
Does Size Matter?
"Inside this body lies that of a skinny lady. But I can usually shut her up with chocolate."
One of my favorite CBS TV shows on Sunday morning is "Sunday Morning". Today's theme topic was Size Matters, the obesity epidemic affects adults and kids across America. And those extra pounds that weigh us down as individuals are all adding up to a big health challenge for our country. A Cover Story is reported by Seth Doane.
To begin with I was born on October 26, 1951 weighing in at a robust 9 pounds, to always be known as the largest of all five of my parent's children. My mother once told me that I would cry and make a lips puckered up sucking sound, leading her to believe that I was hungry, so she fed me. Perhaps, I was just wanting a kiss.
Now I am not blaming my mother for my rotund figure, which she had described as chunky, and even a Mae West figure. My mother was however a wonderfully creative cook, who included potatoes in nearly every meal. A tradition that I have carried on all the years of my adult life. In fact I do believe I enjoy potatoes more than chocolate.
I have never been an over eater. I know this may come as a surprise to those who can obviously see that I am obese. I have never eaten more than one hamburger at a sitting, nor have I ever super-sized a meal. If I have an appetizer at a restaurant, I never have room for dessert. I rarely eat bread with a meal, and I gave up carbonated, sugar filled soft drinks four years ago. But, soda and potatoes have been my weakness most of my life.
While growing up, I always thought of myself as fat. I had two extremely thin sisters. I now realize that I just was a different body type than them, and resembled my father's side of the family. Both of my sisters resemble our mother who was usually thin, and rarely ever gained weight.
I put on a few extra pounds during puberty, and as a young adult I was approximately twenty pounds over weight. It wasn't until after I had my first child, my daughter Jennifer that I began to really pack on the pounds. Retrospectively, I feel it was mostly out of inactivity, and snacking out of boredom and depression.
That was the catapult that led to thirty plus years of yo, yo dieting, diet pills on occasion, and a continuing process of raising the plateau level of sustained obesity. I am now exercising two to three times per week at Aquabilities pool. I have a professionally planned regimen to follow. I haven't conquered my love of potatoes, and I am not ready to even try.
I am a creature of tradition. Family traditions include family meals. Those family meals include foods that many people can eat without gaining weight, but I know that is not true in my case. My favorite family meal is a chuck roast beef, mashed potatoes, with the pan dripping gravy, and peas. I can eat proper portions without overeating.
So, I will never have the body of Sally Field. I exemplify Sally Field as she is what I would consider to be a woman of my age that I really would love to look like. Facing the truth, I never had her body type to begin with. I could however be happy with a Mae West figure, or even Aunt Bea on the Andy Griffith show. As long as I am healthy, can walk without getting out of breath, and can still fit into a movie theater seat I can be content.
When I was just twenty pounds over weight I felt self conscience over what I looked like in a bathing suit, and now that I am obese I could care less what I look like in my bathing suit. I am comfortable with my self image, I am happy in my own skin. I do love myself, and know for sure that I am worthy of love and respect. I really like the place I am in today.
I am more disgusted with the attitudes of people who wish to lump all body types into one category, who think that a buff or extremely thin body is the only beautiful or healthy body. In fact it is just as dangerous to be too under weight as it is to be too overweight.
I had a full body check up recently which included blood testing. My blood pressure is 118/80, my cholesterol level is normal, my blood sugar is normal, and the only level that was low was vitamin B12. I am presently taking B12 supplemental vitamins. I had an MRI/MRA of my brain, and I do not have Alzheimer or any other brain malfunctions, and a complete body bone scan that did not show arthritis. My only health issues are a direct result of a fall that I had in September of 2004.
It was because of these issues that I began aquatic physical therapy, and have now joined the fitness program at the pool. The injuries I sustained are permanent, and I must now learn how to live with the affects of these injuries. I know that without the exercise program at the pool, my life span would be shortened by the devastating affects of inactivity.
Once when my late Aunt Dot came to visit, we watched "What's Eating Gilbert Grape". Each time I went to put something fattening into my mouth, Aunt Dot would say, "They're going to have to burn the house down." with a chuckle.
My cousin Carol(the daughter of my dad's sister Margaret) had the bariatric surgery and almost died afterward, and then ended up with cancer of the little bit of gastric tract that she had left. She presently is terminally ill and on kidney dialysis because of the medications and infections. Although many have successfully lost weight and maintained a healthy life style with the surgery, self control is just as important as it would be in changing eating habits. Exercise is also very important after bariatric surgery.
In conclusion, I am happy with my body type, I will continue to exercise, I will try to eat more fruits and vegetables. I still love my fruits in pie, and on waffles.