I’m embarrassed to admit that Baby Boomers, as hard-working as we are, are not adverse to a quick fix. After all, we’ve spent our youth eating too much junk food, exercising less over time and now we find that we haven’t the energy, time or money for the programs, products, trainers and equipment for a major overhaul. After all, who invented the concept of “up-sizing” your burger order? I’ve done Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers and Slim Fast. I have a room crammed with exercise equipment in the basement. I’ve got scales that measure food portions, books that calculate proteins, carbs, and fats, and a variety of blenders and food processors. And here I sit at the highest (non-pregnant) weight in my life. I have Lupus, Fibromyalgia, and chronic digestive problems. I’ve decided to become proactive.
I was a fat child. Oh, the family lovingly called it “chubby,” but I had to buy my clothes at Lane Bryant. I weighed 167 pounds at age 11. I’ve tried almost every diet with varying degrees of success. Some of my favorites were the grapefruit, the cabbage soup and the “eat everything you can in one hour” regimen. As a fat kid sports were never fun--they were work. The only team I was ever enthusiastically chosen for was called “Pompom Pull Away.” If you’re unfamiliar with this game, Pompom Pull Away was a quick 15 minute activity often organized at recess when I was a child. You split the kids into two teams, link arms and then run against each other and try to break through the line. The team that prevents a breakthrough wins. I could stop a Mack truck.
As I read the mounting stories of teenage suicides over bullying, I think back at how cruel pre-pubescent teens were. Being taunted with names like “Fatso,” “Two-Ton Tilly,” and chased home by boys snorting like pigs leave a lasting impression. Society doesn’t help. The worship of pencil-thin bodies and the creation of size zero clothing have been constant reminders that few of us ever measure up to the ideal.
On the positive side, being an outcast has its benefits. I developed empathy at an early age. I had to find a way to make friends. I wasn’t popular or good-looking. I discovered that, over time, being kind, understanding and loyal made for lasting friendships--and a great marriage. I still cannot stay at one weight for more than three hours. I still eat in all negatively charged situations. I still feel the need to over-achieve at every task. And, I still find it hard to take a compliment.
So, why am I telling you all this? I want to set the stage for an ongoing discussion on KathyChat about living longer and healthier, weight loss, self-esteem and arriving at a good weight and emotional place. If you feel the need to change, I’ll provide the information to help you make the best decision. KathyChat is going to be about how you can feel better physically and emotionally.
You are likely going to live longer than your parents, but what you eat and your level of activity will play as much of a role as medical science and longevity research. I want to expose weight loss and beauty product scams, share ways to “commit” to a little exercise, give you facts eating habits, talk about products that work and shed light on all the fabulous research that is being done across the globe. Legitimate studies tell us why we are overweight, what is “normal,” what weight loss methods work for some and not others (and why), how changing habits can improve health, as well as eradicate or reduce symptoms of many illnesses and even reverse aging. I find watching the Biggest Loser and taking pride in weighing less than 440 pounds doesn’t have an enduring impact.
Stay tuned for our running commentary. In the hope that we can actually find a “quick fix” we’ll begin tomorrow with an examination of some popular pills and powders on the market and see if they live up to their claims. If you have had a good, bad or indifferent experience with a diet or product, I welcome your feedback. Send me a quick note at email@example.com.