Tag Archive | weight gain

I Speak for the Fat People: middle part

Let’s put the issue of overweight into perspective. If we look at weight historically, I’m pretty certain that from the beginning of time, there have been fat people. We have all seen the pictures of early Cro-Magnon and Neanderthal men. Even those quintessential hunters and gatherers seemed capable of packing on a few pounds. After them came Confucius, King Henry the Eighth, Mamie in Gone with the Wind, Jackie Gleason, Pavarotti, Aunt Bea, and my grandmother. Chances are your grandmother was fat, too.

English: Luciano Pavarotti in Vélodrome Stadiu...

Pavarotti Image via Wikipedia

Since our early beginnings, human beings have come in varying shapes and sizes and large-size was not necessarily an aberration of medium-size. It is good that there are large-sized people. A world without them would mean a world with fewer great opera singers, chefs, women of ample bosom, football players, construction workers, and cuddly grandmothers.

It is not very difficult to become fat. You do not have to go out of your way to try.  If Chinese youth can become fat, then anyone can. Only about 4% of the population has naturally model-thin bodies. That means that many models are starving themselves in order to be models. It also means that the rest of the size 2 wannabes are expending a lot of physical and mental energy in the pursuit of thinness. Carolyn Knapp, in her book Appetites, tells the story of a woman who describes the angst she feels putting on her stockings every morning. She wonders what she could have accomplished in her life with the time she has spent worrying about her weight.

There are the naturally skinny–and then there are the neurotically and pathologically skinny; and the metabolically hyper-activated skinny–those who sustain themselves on a steady diet of excessive caffeine and nicotine—or maybe extensive exercise. For the rest of us, the possibility of becoming overweight is just around the corner. We are physiologically and neurologically wired to pack it on. The ability to store fat came in pretty handy a time or two during our multi-millenial evolution. We have about 107 compensatory mechanisms that prevent us from starving to death.  A bunch of those certainly kicked in to save our forefathers when they were unable to kill a bison. In people who attempt to starve themselves toward thinness, the body fights back–it regains the lost weight plus more, and then absolutely refuses to budge.

In addition, we are wired for comfort. Research shows that the food habits that sustain us are those that we developed while still wrapped in the loving veil of early childhood.  Whether that happened to be gazelle, chicken soup, mashed potatoes or cheeseburgers, you will probably turn to those foods as an adult. Believe me, the corporate world certainly knows this.  The Happy Meal ensures that today’s toddlers will become tomorrow’s adult fast-food consumers.  The concept of comfort foods is one I hear a lot about during my spy missions. Women have confessed to me that they would choose a good loaf of bread over sex. The quality of the sex is not indicated in this context.

Then, of course, there are our natural temperaments as well as good old genetics.  I listened once to the tender story of a woman who was adopted as a child.  She never met her birth mother, but she possessed a very old, poor quality home movie that she believes is of her mother. Though she struggles to see the face better in search of subtle resemblances, it is the woman’s thighs that confirm her finding.  She states, “Look at the thighs. Those are my thighs.”

On top of all this, let’s sprinkle on a life change, or just daily, chronic stress. Take your pick. Break-ups, abuse, graduate school, poverty, working long hours, caregiving, depression or menopause are possible choices. And, God forbid you should simply possess a deep sensuous life-affirming passion for cooking and eating.**  Throw any of these on your plate and if your primal wiring wasn’t enough to enlist you, then current circumstances will. Even the once-thins can become the now-fat–especially in this current milieu where food is literally out to get ya. Not even the high school cheerleader is immune. Any emotional state that is heightened, increases for many, the desire to seek food for a reward. When one is working their way up the weight chart, it is because they are possessed by physical or emotional hunger or physiological changes that they can neither understand nor control.

I can hear you begin to protest that it has to be more than just this. Aren’t we soooo bad?  We ate the piece of chocolate cake (and we loved it). How could we? How dare we?  That translates into four hours of floor mopping according to the calorie expenditure charts.  That must be fair penance for the crime. As a spy, my days are peppered with the monologues and dialogues of self-hate and recrimination that people utter like a mantra before and/or after each foray into eating. The guilt is palpable. We must have all been ____________ in a previous lifetime. (insert your own response.)

(one more segment to follow)

Thank you for listening, sharing, following, and supporting my writing. Please subscribe in the sidebar to receive notice of new posts. Comments and greetings always welcome.

Related Posts:  I Speak for the Fat People: First Part and I Speak for the Fat People: Last Part

In health, Elyn

Related Resources 2010: The end of overeating. Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite (David A. Kessler, MD); Born Round:  A Story of Family, Food and a Ferocious Appetite (Frank Bruni)


Magic Doughnuts–The Nutritionist’s Nemesis

A photo of 12 Original Glazed doughnuts from K...

Image via Wikipedia

It is time to raise my rates. The stakes are higher, the work is harder–Krispy Kreme is coming to town.

Looking back I can see that the signs were there, the portents. A few weeks ago, the lab technicians in the medical office where I work, hid a photo behind a cabinet door. The photo portrayed four very naked women standing in chorus line formation, clad only in sashes emblazoned with the words Krispy Kreme Donuts. The jolly foursome cumulatively weighed about twelve hundred pounds. The lab techs led me to their surreptitious closet and awaited my reaction. Oh, did we guffaw. But then I went back to my desk and stared out the window, contemplating the meaning of my life as a nutritionist.

It was only a matter of time then until my husband, aware of my prurient interest in all things fatty and sugary, sidled up next to me on the couch to announce the upcoming opening of the area’s first Krispy Kreme franchise.

I shouldn’t panic yet. The new store is to be located a good twenty miles from where I practice. Certainly, none of my client base would be able to procure any of these scrumptious confections. But, what was that? Local gas stations will also be carrying them? The story got worse. As my husband read to me from the article in the business section of the newspaper, the words and images were almost surreal.

According to the article, a “typical Krispy Kreme store opening will draw hundreds of customers who will wait several hours to buy hot doughnuts. In South Bend, Indiana, a customer camped outside of the store for seventeen days awaiting a store’s opening.” The statistics are baffling. Get this. Weekly sales for a Krispy Kreme franchise average about $58,000. This is up from $28,000 a mere four years ago. North American Krispy Kreme stores produce five million doughnuts daily. Daily! The little devils are even making their way into wedding receptions. Probably as invited guests-dear friends of the family.

Apparently, business experts credit this boom to “one of the most effective marketing strategies in the history of the restaurant industry.” However, “both franchisers and company officials say the enthusiasm is the result of the quality of their product-it has such a magical quality about it.” Was it the same combination of commerce and magic that had enticed four very large women to stand in their own doughy glory singing the praises of Krispy Kreme?

I could stand no more. I have been rather accustomed to waging a pathetic fight against the big guys and their Madison Avenue associates, but now they were playing with magic and using stainless steel cauldrons. I have not a chance. In the match-up between the company’s ‘Hot Original Glazed’ and me, I have as much pull as a stale biscuit. As if they knew I’d be reading this, they threw one more punch–right to the gut. In response to concerns about the low-carbohydrate trend, a company official is quoted in the article as saying; “even people trying to avoid sugary baked goods will make an exception for a Krispy Kreme.”

The following day I headed back to my office. I dreamed that there would be lines of devotees waiting to see me. That people would now realize that they were being seduced by an evil pudgy ball of dough, a wolf in sheep’s clothing, and would come in droves seeking my aid to protect them. I would be Super Nutritionist. But no one was there. Disheartened, I settled into my desk. I might just as well tell my clients to take two doughnuts and call me in the morning.

I guess I should just be patient. Eventually, the hoopla will have to die down and the magic will have to fade. The masses, those mere mortals, will be sorry then. Even the company officials and franchisers will have had one Krispy Kreme too many, and they will regret it. That is when they will come knocking on my door (or pulling up to my drive-thru window.) But, I don’t have any magic spells to undo the ravages of that enchanted edible. They will just have to work harder to lose that big doughnut they are now carrying around their middles and I will charge them more to do so, for I will have already raised my rates. I may even become the national spokesperson for Hole H.O.G. (Hot Original Glaze) – a doughnut victim compensation program. Well, we’ll see. They haven’t opened yet.

*Source-Sweet Smell of Success, Jeremy Boyer, Albany Times Union, Nov. 30, 2003

Thank you for listening, sharing, following and supporting my writing. Please subscribe in the sidebar to receive notice of new posts. Comments and greetings always welcome.

Related Post: Kicking Butt with Krispy Kreme

In health, Elyn