Sunday, September 14, 2008

Fat, fat, water rat=Americans

OK Americans are fat....I'm fat. I'm not "chubby, chunky, pleasingly plump (God, how I hate that phrase) or full-figured", I'm fat. I'm not happy about it, but at this minute in my life I can't do anything about it. Right now, as I sit at the computer writing this, "I'm fat!". Maybe later I can do some jumping jacks, or lift some heavy weights, but for the moment, "I'm fat!".

I don't have anyone to blame (damn it!) but myself. I eat too much. Yeah, I know I could blame it on: heredity, thyroid, pituitary, liver, pancreas and probably a slew of other excuses, but the bottom line is, I'm fat because I eat more calories than I use up. Is that so hard to understand? Yeah, I know all about how hard it is for women to lose weight, and I don't deny that, but I also know that I shouldn't be eating enough for three people at every meal.

I went to a nutritionist a few months ago. The meeting was a group thing with folks who were there because their doctors had told them to go. Those folks had serious health issues they were dealing with as a result, mostly, because of their diet. I was there because I thought, "What the Hell, I've tried all other kinds of weight loss programs, let's see what this is".

The whole idea of the program was to educate about the nutritional values of the foods we eat. Now, honest to God, most fat people I know are pretty astute about nutrition and what we should and shouldn't eat. Most of my fat buddies are in the same spot as I'm in, we know what we're supposed to do but WE DON'T DO IT. That being said, I have to tell you, I was shocked by the experience I had at this program.

We had to do a bit of paperwork and some psychological testing, nothing difficult, just some things to understand our, "inner soul". (I knew I was in trouble right then). The very knowledgeable dietitian explained to us that we were to attend meetings on a monthly basis but we were to be weighed and measured every week. "No sweat"...I thought, typical of all weight loss programs. I guess I was one of the only folks that felt that way because the amount of groans and grunts that went through the group was incredible. I turned to the woman behind me and said, "What? No one thought they were going to get weighed at a weight loss program? What's the big deal?" Apparently I was on the outside of this group, I felt all eyes peering through me, and I'm sure I heard some growling coming toward my way.

The dietitian explained she was passing out a list of the foods we should try to incorporate into our diets on a daily basis, and the things we really needed to reduce from our diets. I looked at the listings and thought they were pretty good. There was nothing on either list to make me go berserk.

Little did I know I was in a group of fat older folks who have apparently never read a nutritional book, gone on a diet or read the back of a food label. I heard one woman say, "I've never seen the label on the back of a can before". Where's she from? Mars? Then the real objections started. I sat there and listened to some of the most ridiculous comments I've ever heard from supposedly intelligent folks.

"Oh my God! I couldn't possible eat three vegetables or fruits a day". "Does eating fruit flavored Pebbles cereal count as a fruit? I eat two bowls of that every morning...." This woman was in her 60's; not one bowl, but two... Then another women raised her hand and said, (no lie) in a very cultured voice, "I'm sorry, but I don't think this will work for me. I have many restrictions in my diet and I only eat 6 things". To give the dietitian her due, she was really much more calm and collected than I was. She looked at the woman and said, "Well what are the 6 items you eat, maybe we can work something out with them". The woman, with all seriousness said, " Well...I only eat Velveeta cheese, white bread, white rice, tomato soup, grape jelly and peanut butter". Honest to God, I was waiting for a punch line. This woman was dead serious. The Dietitian, looked like she was about to faint. For crying out loud, I thought I was about to faint.

I still can't get over the fact that these folks were all fat, most of them fatter than me, and they had no clue about what made them fat. Nor did they think their diet had much to do with their health issues. My question was, how did they live as long as they did?

As the weeks progressed, most of the folks dropped out. A couple of them had heart attacks and became food Nazi's after their brush with death. Some, like me, got pats on the back for knowing why I was fat and what I needed to do to lose the weight. I received gold stars for knowing the nutritional values of foods and why we needed certain minerals etc...(Man, I'm good....ho hum).
I lost weight and belly fat, which was the goal of the program, and a few others stuck it out and learned some things that will help them with their health issues. But the majority are still out there living in La La land, eating all the stuff normal folks know will kill you if you keep eating like you're 25 instead of 65+. They wonder why they don't feel good....geesh...

The main thing I learned during this program: don't assume things about others. What I thought everyone knew about nutrition and foods is dead wrong. I guess there are many folks out there who never read a newspaper, magazine, listen to a radio, watch TV, read the literature their doctors give them, talk about weight loss, or maybe it was just the folks who attended that program . Gosh, I sure hope so, because if everyone out there is as uninformed as the majority of these folks, we better get some more funding into Med schools, because we're going to need more doctors.