Sunday, December 17, 2006

Obesity labels

Dr. Wes has a great blog post today about "obesity labels". Labels put in clothing sized for fat people about obesity; it sounds along the same lines as the warnings on the side of your cigarette package.

I agree with him - labels are not going to help people lose weight, if anything it might harden some people's resolve to maintain their unhealthy weight just to buck society.

Here's something you might now know - I am fat. I'm 5'6 and 239 lbs (or there abouts). This summer I participated in a media event with 3 other people called "Fitness Fantasy". We were covered for 3 months during the summer in the newspaper and on the news each week. The goal was to lose weight, gain muscle, get healthy and end up winning a trip to Brazil. I lost about 20 lbs of fat, I gained almost 10 lbs of muscle, I dropped 37 cm all over my body. I ended up winning that trip - 10 days in Brazil and am taking it sometime in March; it's a 7 day trip to just outside of Rio to a resort, a health spa or something.

Back on topic though, I know I'm fat. I have a multitude of reasons why I'm fat.

Obesity runs in the family, especially my mother's side. My uncle weighs over 300 lbs at 6'5. My grandmother is 5'11 and almost 300 lbs, my mother is 5'1 and weighs just a few pounds more than me.

I didn't have a weight problem until I hit grade 10. I moved from a small town where I walked to and from school up a hill every day and often times home for lunch. In the city, I got a ride to school and home and because I wasn't able to make friends easily (really shy) I spent 90% of my time on the computer playing games and chatting.

Our family while rarely eats out and always makes home made meals, has huge portion sizes and usually eat until we're ready to burst.

I'm a "grazer". I never was when I lived at home, but now that I'm on my own I very rarely eat scheduled meals. I eat throughout the day which is not good.

Two doctors think I suffer from "insulin resilience syndrome" as well as PCOS - I'm waiting to go get the blood test to get it confirmed.

I never really cared about my appearance. It was made plainly clear to me throughout school that I was not attractive (by other kids), that I was not desirable as a girlfriend or a friend. So I focused on school (more or less) and my home life than on looking for a boyfriend.

We were never encouraged to be "girly" at home. My mother didn't even want to teach me how to shave my legs, so she never bothered to help do my make up or anything; we were never told to be attractive to guys or look pretty. Yet now, my dad rarely forgets to tell me that I'll never get married because no guys like fat girls. Doesn't matter that I dont WANT to get married. He thinks I should because I'm a woman - different rant altogether though.

I have/had depression. I was diagnosed when I was 15 with major depressive illness and social anxiety disorder - neither are, at this time, treated because I haven't been back for any assessments and for the most part feel fine. But with that, it also made me care less about what I looked like or how healthy I am.

With all of this - do you honestly think a label is going to make me want to change? I smoke, only at work so a max of 2 cigarettes 5 x a week, and the warnings don't discourage me. Yes I know it's bad for me, yes I know I could end up dead in a few years, but that still doesn't make me stop. Sure, I quit for a while, then I pick it up again.

Labels telling me the dangers of being fat are not going to entice me to lose weight. I already know the dangers, I'm living them. I have plantar fasciitis because of being fat. I can't buy 'normal' clothes because I'm fat, my hips, knees, shoulders, and ankles hurt every time I get up from sitting too long, I get winded easily - though I'm still able to bolt up a few flight of stairs or run to catch the bus or train without too much of a problem, it's the cause of PCOS or one of the causes, unless I try really hard I don't look good. I'm sure there's more problems but I dont know of any. My blood pressure is normal, and the blood tests will be done in a little while as soon as I get my care card back.

I know I have to lose weight.
I'm just a wimp. That's all there is too it. It's too hard to lose weight. I've been on every diet known to man and the only thing that worked was those 3 months of exercise 3 x a week and eating next to nothing (even though I was supposed to eat 3 meals a day). But it's not feasible with my life style to keep it up all the time. For December I work at 8 am and get off at 4 pm, I'm usually up at 5 am so the last thing I want to do when I leave work is go to a gym. I usually fall asleep some time during the work day as it is. Weekends I usually use to clean my place or my family is in visiting me.

My only saving grace is I walk absolutely everywhere. I have to walk 10 min to the bus, 5 min up the hill to the hospital and anywhere else I go I have to walk or take the bus and rarely the bus stops right in front of where I want to be. So that's been helping keep some of the weight from finding me again.

Labels won't work.
It's a silly idea, nice if it would work but it won't. I hope no one wastes the money on this.


DrWes said...

Great post. I wish you the best of luck at this tough fight. Your openness will help others. I like the positive incentive of the Brazilian trip...imagine if Medicare gave those away - there might be a lot of weight loss out there! :)

Yvonne said...

I also have PCOS/IR and I'm going to tell you, it's EXTREMELY difficult to lose weight with IR.

I've been on every diet known to man and when I get around 200lbs I stall out permanently. I don't cheat, I don't eat huge quantities, my body resists losing weight due to the fact that the insulin works incorrectly.

I REALLY recommend the book "It's My Ovaries Stupid" by Dr. Elizabeth Vliet. Its EXCELLENT and answers so many questions.

I have a lapband now and have managed to lose 85lbs but it's "harder" than many. I have to be super vigilient about what I eat but am FINALLY losing weight.

Good luck to you, I understand exactly where you are at!!

Francine said...

I was pretty close to hopeless too -- you might want to check my website, -- it worked for me; it could be the answer for you!