Sunday, May 24, 2009

Wake Up.. Suddenly…. You’re Fat

Fat Belly Man I guess the main reason was that I got extremely tired of accidentally catching my own image in a mirror, or any very reflective surface, and seeing a fat man's body with my head attached. The shock and wince that followed were always momentary but increasingly more frequent. So, I decided, with my fatty heart in hand, to lose some weight.

To misquote Tolstoy, every thin person is the same but every fat person is fat in a different way. I carried almost all my extra load right in the belly. This, researchers now tell us, is the most dangerous kind of fat.

Previous studies have linked an apple-shaped physique to a greater propensity for diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Researchers suspect that belly fat cells are the worst because of their proximity to major organs. They ooze noxious chemicals, stoking inflammation, constricting blood vessels and triggering other processes that may also damage brain cells. "There is a lot of work out there that suggests that the fat wrapped around your inner organs is much more metabolically active than other types of fat right under the skin," Whitmer said. "It's pumping out toxic substances. It's very potent toxic fat."

So, apparently, not only am I surrounded in a layer of fat, but the fat is poisonous. Lucky apple-shaped me. In fact, my weight had been, for the last ten years or so, steadily accumulating, at first imperceptibly but now, where the actual increase from month to month is observable. And, let's face it, that's pretty scary. A slow motion body explosion!

For one thing, I don't exercise, and I mean, ever. I still associate exercise with Physical Education class and sweaty yard work. In the past, most of us used to walk a lot more. Now, if I walk down the street, I return home panting as if I had climbed Mt. Everest. With a fearful pounding sensation in my neck, I pretend to be some kind of martyr. How did I get to be so lazy? It is killing me and yet, given a choice of the stairs or an elevator, I would with a moment's reflection, wait an extra  minute on Z floor to get to the first floor.

The other reason is food. Dear dear food. The only way I could possibly gain weight faster this last year would have been to cram handfuls of sugar in my mouth from noon to midnight. But then again, cola is perhaps the easiest way to do this.

While I was in the USA this autumn, I noticed two things. Food tastes better- better than it should- and there are so many more choices. Walking the aisles in a typical supermarket takes on a dream like quality when compared to the paltry selection in the average Turkish market. There are just too many irresistible choices. People are not made of stone, after all. You look at some new product and think, "What the hell is ...THAT?" and nearly the next second, "God, I wonder how that tastes? What the hell." And before you know it, you find yourself stowing it in the fridge or on your pantry shelf. You simply cannot live long enough to sample every intriguing morsel and, by the very nature of obesity and the ill health it brings, you are positively guaranteed to be robbed of time for that pleasure.

Besides, I came from a family whose motto was "Self-denial? What's the point?" I heard my mother say probably a hundred times, "Food makes me happy. What's the point of living a long time if you are miserable all the time?" Fair enough. However, as I discovered when I quit smoking, there is a flaw in this idea. It is problem with all addictions. the law of diminishing returns. Addictions, like a first date with a cheerleader, promise a lot but withhold complete satisfaction. The more often you attempt to reach nirvana, the less likely you will be able to attain it. The best you can expect from an addiction is a repeat performance as good as you remembered.

But an addiction to food is a different sort of beast altogether. After all, one doesn't need a daily allowance for alcohol or cigarettes or heroin or crack, but a food is a requirement. It forces us to monitor, to ration and to curtail, when necessary, our intake. And if you ignore this prohibition, you have only yourself to blame if you wake up one drizzly morning wearing a goose-down jacket of poisonous fat.

Okay, models are rumored to live on air and three olives a week, but unless you wish to become a cadaver on the runway, you need some kind of nutrition, you must masticate, and swallow and digest and finally poo.

So, it appears the only solution is to diet. I am trying the Atkins Diet because, if I have to deny myself the pleasures of sugar and every bit of starchy carbohydrates, ( fare thee well, baked potatoes, goodbye, white rice and adios, macaroni! I loved you all!) then meat and deep-fried whatever does offer some degree of greasy comfort. Wish me luck.


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  1. I'd like to loose some weight. But I always think that it should be very hard to keep your hands away from the fridge when you are hungry. I gues I have to make some research about that Atkins diet.

    BTW is that your pic on the top?

  2. I believe ones eating habits stem from ones family and how one is brought up as a child. I have twins that are 9 and I am proud to say, they are very fit and lean. However, I can not say the same thing about their classmates. Already at the tender age of 9, there are plenty of fat kids that shouldn't be that fat at that age. :(... you just know, they are heading for a disaster.... a life time of weight control, a life time of food obsession and a life time of self image problems...

    As a Turk, I grew up with real food. Food that my mother made. Not pre packed, not microwavable, not full of junk. Just real food with real veggies and meat. That is how I feed my children, plus plenty of excise is essential for my husband, me and them.

    The problem of obesity in the US is at an alarming rate. Maybe lack of choice is not a bad thing after all... :) :) :)

  3. The strangest thing is in some countries it is the richest segment of the population that is obese. In the USA, it is quite the opposite. As you point out, Nevin, a lot of that may have to do with building good eating habits at a young age. Kids today spend too much time in front of a TV or a PC. When we were kids, we never stopped moving. Now doctors prescribe medications for children with too much energy. Meanwhile everything they eat is crammed with sugar.

  4. Good luck with the diet.

    Just to let you know Dr Robert Atkins died of heart disease, which leads me to believe when your numbers up skinny people die just as fast as fat people.

  5. Despite my private ambition, it appears morality seems inevitable. The grave beckons regardless of your waist size. But surely there can be some kind of happy medium between gargantuan and emaciation. Thanks for all your comments and support!


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