Proximity

Pizza shop in New York City

“I need to do a six month physician supervised weight loss program before I can get the gastric sleeve covered by my insurance.” She wasn’t even that heavy to start off with, her BMI was 32. She wasn’t diabetic and did not have high blood pressure. 

“You are going to be married to a fistful of vitamin supplements for the rest of your life.”

“I don’t care. I am tired of being fat, of having people judge me.” I understood. People can be so cruel. “My friends have all had it done and they look great,” she said hopefully. “But I can’t loose too much weight right now or I won’t qualify anymore…”

We both knew she had no intention of really trying. 

Sure enough she demonstrated a nice weight gain at each visit and steadfastly refused to count her calories or exercise or do anything except to say, “I’m cutting back, Doc. Really I am. I don’t know why I keep gaining this weight!” 

I don’t know why that sort of thing qualifies someone for surgery. A barbaric surgery with lifelong consequences. Sometimes I wonder about the ethics of the surgeons doing these things and why there isn’t better after care for people undergoing the knife. Cut them up and then cut them off seems to be the plan across the board. 

She had her surgery. 

Three years later her weight was back where it started from and then some and she wanted a referral for a surgery revision. 

I wanted to say, “I told you so.” And then I wanted to call her surgeon up and give him a piece of my mind.

But I didn’t….

A few weeks ago I was at one of those giant outdoor malls. There were easily 20-30 restaurants clustered around. Right there in the midst of it all there was a weight loss clinic. 

Having just eaten at the Melting Pot myself I was so stuffed it was hard to breathe. Way too much food to be healthy but then why didn’t I just stop eating? I was too focused on not wasting anything. Getting my money’s worth. I blame my upbringing. I blame past poverty. I blame portion sizes. 

I blame myself.

Where does that come from, anyway?

At first I was offended that this clinic placed itself where it did. Then I realized it was a brilliant marketing strategy. This is what we have become, isn’t it?

Binge. Purge. Binge. Purge.

Binge.

“How’s your daughter?”

He smiled and pulled out his smart phone, flipping through pictures of a grinning, curly haired toddler. They’d had so much trouble having a baby. 

“Oh, she’s beautiful!” 

He nodded, beaming.

“How is your wife?”

His face changed in a instant. He looked stricken. “You knew she had the gastric sleeve done?”

“Yes, I had heard.”

“Well, she developed Korsakoff Syndrome.” Oh. Wow. “She got confused, couldn’t remember things. Couldn’t walk straight.”

Thiamine deficiency.

“When she said she wanted to get the surgery, I didn’t say anything. I just wanted her to be happy. She suffered so much emotional turmoil over her weight. We had no idea something like this could happen, though. If I could go back in time I would tell her she didn’t need to do it. That I loved her just the way she was. Now she is not the same person. She has to carry a book with her to write everything down since she has so much trouble remembering things and she uses a cane to get around.” 

“Mommy, I’m thirsty!”

It was swelteringly hot. I stood in line to get our fifth soda refill of the day in the $15 red amusement park drinking bottle I had purchased earlier that morning.

*Free* refills on Coca-Cola products all day!

I don’t need Coke products. My kids don’t need Coke products. Water would do just fine to keep us hydrated. But STILL…. I paid $15 for that stupid cup since I could not bring anything into the amusement park. I want to get my money’s worth, dang it. A small bottle of water costs $4.50 a pop multiplied by at least five times per person per day… but soda pop in the big red drinking bottle? Yeah. What is anyone going to pick?

So here we are.

Making money by making people fat. Making money to make people skinny again. Making money getting them fat again. Making money to get them skinny again.

And so on.

It does not ever stop.

How do we make it stop?

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159 thoughts on “Proximity

  1. It could never stop, i.e. TGIF has $10/10 items people get those( no choice) to save $ , otherwise they would dpend $15 for dinner very small items… American way try to get mist for your $! Everyone I know tgst gas gone through this process had failed or miserable.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think that you may know my story with weight loss but I will give some highlights. I perform bariatric surgery and I have work with patients who have extreme morbid obesity. The stories are as varied as the people themselves.The problems in this population are complex and difficult to treat. The bottom line is that one has to eat to live. One can live without drinking alcohol, taking illicit drugs or smoking but food has to be consumed for life.

    I was an athlete at university (tennis player and middle-distance runner). I had normal weight for my height in graduate school and when I entered medical school. During medical school, I stress-ate my way up to 324lbs at my heaviest (morbid obesity). I carried that weight into residency and beyond. My huge size colored every part of my life.

    Three years ago, at my ripe old age, I decided to lose it. I lost 179lbs (a whole person) by eating proper portions, eating no fast food and first by walking; now distance running (marathoner). I am quite thin by American standards (going from a US Size 30 to a now Size 4). I never believed that I could do this but I did. I still don’t know exactly why I have been successful with this huge weight loss but I am.

    I understand what my patients seek and I understand how society treats a morbid obese woman. I was invisible, depressed with myself and angry that I carried all of that weight for so long. I was fortunate in that I had no co-morbid conditions but I was well on my way. I sometimes catch a glimpse of myself in a mirror and can’t believe what I see.My whole life changed, now in a great relationship with myself and my world. I am still adjusting to people actually saying that I am beautiful which I can’t believe but I thank them for the compliment.

    My patients seek the quick fix but losing weight isn’t a quick fix. It’s a lifestyle change (complete) and a change as to how people deal with food. I used food for self-medication; now, I can’t imagine how I did that. I don’t know how to break this cycle for my patients but bariatric surgery is a tool for some; not the answer but a tool. This is such a difficult problem for me but I have seen both sides.

    Liked by 10 people

    • Bariatric surgery has been life saving for a few of my patients, but I can tell you who is going to be successful and who is not before hand. The vast majority of people who receive the operation have no comorbidities and are set up to fail. It is wrong. I don’t know how you screen or follow up your patients but I suspect you do a much better job of it than the surgeons around here.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I wish I had you because I am so bad at seeing who will be successful and who will not. I have extensive counseling and screening but sometimes I am wrong. It’s so complex and challenging. I like the gastric sleeve procedure but I will be the first to say that it’s not for everyone and everyone isn’t going to have the best outcome with it. We just don’t know, like most things in medicine.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I think I can tell not because I have some mad skills everyone else is lacking. I can tell because I have struggled with my own weight and because typically I have been seeing these patients for a few years before they decide to look into surgery.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I just love you! You are so real.
    GREED is at the root of everything. Everyone wants more, more, more. More money, more food, more benefits, more time off, more television stations, more electronic stuff, more clothing, more bang for our buck, even if that bang can kill us. I am just as guilty as most. I want to be able to eat pizza seven days a week and drink Cherry Dr. Pepper AND be a much smaller size and if I think I can achieve that by gastric surgery and my insurance company will pay for it, won’t it be a dream come true? I become deaf when I hear the complications, the diet restrictions, the warnings that this isn’t going to be what I dream it will be (me eating whatever I want and being a size four, nevermind about the more than hundred pounds of excess skin that will also have to be removed) and I may not live happily ever after. I want to know, were we always a people of MORE, MORE, MORE? Or was there a time in our history where we were grateful for ENOUGH? Where most folks were content with enough. I don’t see us changing any time soon. And I do not think by regulating soda pop and fast food, it will change anything. Each person has to say, ENOUGH already to whatever their greed demon is.
    I wonder if you overcome one greed demon if it encourages you to try to overcome another? Obviously, I have never overcome my demons or I would know the answer!!! But slowly I am finding my “enough” limit. I wish I could have started years ago when I was young but even at 62, I may have some good years left to work on it!

    Liked by 5 people

    • Marketing that makes it difficult to make good choices, like at the amusement park, contributes to it. So does bariatric surgery marketing that sells the lie that it is an easy, permanent fix. Sure, there are tons of other factors that also play into obesity… too numerous to ever put into one single blog post… but after seeing my patient who just lost her job, her house, and her husband to complications from the surgery I am feeling quite angry and helpless.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I’m feeling sad just from reading this post + comments. Also wondering why I have ( am) a healthy body and so many have these terrible struggles with weight. Of course I grew up in a pre-1960s “standard” family, and marketing techniques hadn’t developed. We had a small vegetable garden, and all our meals were prepared by mom, whose work was being a mother, all day long. I’ve watched things change over the years and, like you, I also feel helpless — especially about my granddaughter’s habits. But it doesn’t do her any good –or me, or anyone caught up in unhealthy life patterns- for me to feel angry, or worse, somehow guilty because I escaped and thus survived . so I pray. I pray for and am thankful about good doctors like you . And then I pray some more.

        Liked by 2 people

  4. My son in law had the surgery – lost the weight – gained it all back in about three years – quite frankly – because he eats crap, has a desk job and does not exercise. My daughter – stress ate her way to obesity – and is now losing it the hard way by exercising, and eating properly (which as a night shift paramedic isn’t so simple). She has always cooked healthy meals – she doesn’t want her son suffering the same fate…..but as she says – it matters little what I cook – when dad has a fridge full of junk to snack on and when I’m working – thinks pizza is the only food in the world. She’s lost a fair bit of weight – but slowly over time. She’s happy with the results and has no intention of any surgery. I myself fight with about twenty plus pounds – and I never eat out/order in or shop for food as we raise and grow all of our own. But I definitely do not get enough exercise.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Three to five years is about how long it takes to gain it all back. No one talks about that and it is upsetting. The patients who succeed long term get plugged into support groups, care about what they put into their bodies, and do well with taking all of their vitamins.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I always say – my waistline is on the end of my fork. I don’t blame marketing or anything else for my own weight. Conversely – I imagine genetics might play a role in weight gain, (though not mine) and whereas some people eat their problems – some people drink theirs and so on. Ultimately I don’t think anyone truly ‘wants’ to be fat – but if the underlying issues are not addressed along with the method of weight loss – success might well be out of reach. Support groups are the standard for alcohol, drugs etc – I don’t see why they shouldn’t be for obesity.

        Liked by 3 people

  5. I had spent the last 30+ years obese. More than 100 lbs over weight obese, but I have also spent the last 18 months changing my eating habits with my fitness pal and have lost 53 lbs. It is very very difficult, especially since I didn’t want to be hungry and have had to cut my salt drastically too. I guess my take is that most people want quick easy results, not the two to three years I am expecting it to take. I would like that too, so that is also hard, the fighting the desire to cut calories too deeply and not get proper nutrition, and to make it even harder, the more weight I lose, the fewer calories my body uses just to survive. Thankfully, the more weight I lose the easier it is to move and get some exercise to make up the difference. Because eating less than 1750 calories a day is just not something I want to do. Additionally, I have no expectation that once I lose all my excess poundage that I will be able to stop tracking my eating habits, yes I can lighten up and eat more, but I will always have to be vigilant, because you don’t put on and keep on one hundred extra pounds without having a food addiction, and it wouldn’t take but one significant emotional upheaval to tip me off the wagon if I wasn’t holding on. Regardless it is just darn hard work and there is no easy solution. I know, I looked for one for thirty years 😳

    About the money thing, I did that too for years, than somewhere I read or heard a man talking about the idea of paying for it twice. Once when you bought it and then again when you tried to get rid of the extra weight you had put on to get your money’s worth. It can also be applied to belongs that you are unwilling to part with because you paid good money for them. So you pay for them again with your time as you care for them, while all the while resenting them, rather than just letting them go. So now I can satisfy my frugal (insecure) side by reminding myself not to pay for something twice. It seems silly, but it works.

    So sorry for taking over your comments, but I so enjoyed your post. They are issues close to my heart. Belinda

    Liked by 5 people

  6. Hey Victo,

    Perhaps in a similar fashion to the Tobacco industry, all products (food especially) should carry a Government Health Warning stating: ‘Beware: purchase of this item may lead to consumerism and consumption consumerism and consumption.’ Or campaign groups could hand out free ‘do it yourself kits’ for all wannabe over-consumers at the entranceway to large food retailers: a razor blade, needle and thread, and a defibrillator. Come to think of it maybe there’s a defibrillator app already? πŸ™‚

    On a separate note…regards ‘Worn’…I’ve feeling those ill-dressed cherubs without gild trim and wall-creeping were haunting my dreams the very night after having read your post. Funny how the colours of our unrequited love-phantoms never seem to change πŸ™‚

    It’s always a delight to read your words and share in your thoughts. I read your Blog as much for the joy in your writing as I do to also gain perspective on what might lie ahead for UK habitants…I fear recent political rumblings in the UK regarding healthcare and the NHS are suggesting our system of provision is sliding ever further towards compatibility with your own. I am very anxious and apprehensive of what could follow in the aftermath of private business buying healthcare to make a vast profits. Your Blog illustrates all to often the limitations that occur in such a system: that it does not adequately provide for all, it is not affordable to all and by definition lacks inclusively. I consider healthcare to be the responsibility of government to extend a duty of state funded care to al citizens equally. Thank you for being as honest as you are: your opinion on this side of the puddle grows ever more relevant as we move closer to possibility of privatising the NHS.

    Anyhoo, on that happy note, I’ll bid thee ‘nos da’ and wish you a pleasant evening. Take care in all ways always πŸ™‚

    Namaste πŸ™‚

    DN

    Liked by 2 people

      • Hey Victo,

        You’re welcome, thank πŸ™‚ I enjoy visiting and giving consideration to your thoughts…you always make ponder purposefully.

        Indeed yes a little to creepy for my comfort! Those cherubs were more like moths buzzing the heart as buzzards.

        I agree the NHS should remain as the bedrock for a new wholly inclusive system of healthcare provision to emerge. It is fundamentally sound yet heavily underfunded and reliant on what seems like the good-will of caring professionals. Healthy people and a fully enabled ‘workforce’ are an investment in a nation’s ‘infrastructure’ not an excuse for greed to evolve the notion into a profit making machine. An institution built on compassionate interest and purposeful intent shouldn’t be debased by capitalist thinking.

        Inclusivity in healthcare should be one key performance indicator amongst a range of statistics, including levels of child poverty, that we the people should demand from governments as proof that they are meeting the most fundamental of our expectations and we are being extended a duty of care via the provision of free high-quality healthcare made available 24/7 (for every person on planet Earth). If democracy is to work governments must come to realise that governance of its people is not an opportunity to capitalise on the virtues of compassion, kindness, and Love, but an opportunity to demonstrate inclusivity integrity strength purpose and a vision of civilised societies building a civilised civilisation on one planet Earth.

        It’ time governments woke up to the light of a new dawn and accepted the fact their world view is no longer palatable to civilisation and mostly distasteful to the majority of the worlds people. We’ve had enough of being held at ransom by ego-centric self-interest and personal whim. It’s time for a new Star to fall and lead the World from darkness into the future.

        Namaste πŸ™‚

        DN

        Liked by 1 person

  7. There is this thing called restraint because asceticism. In moderation asceticism can be helpful. Certain dishes, snacks and drinks test me. Thing is when you have disciplined yourself to not eat or drink what you consider unhealthy, too much or unnecessary you ignore and move on.

    I used to train my ass off to become a better athlete. People’s opinions did not matter, my ability to perform mattered. When I had serious jobs and even today I keep it simple. Coffee, water a decent meal suffice.

    A perfect body does not exist. An able body suffices. If beauty concerns you look up Andy Warhol and think about this: “if everybody’s not a beauty, then nobody is.”

    Life is too short…

    Liked by 2 people

  8. We went to the state fair today, and I paid $5 for an iced tea that three of us shared. Several places we went for $3 refills didn’t offer tea, or water, or lemonade refills — soda only! (And might I add, several of those places had Minute Maid lemonade in their soda machines?!? How do they justify that? Absurd.) This is how we chose where to eat. By who had tea refills. Dreadful practice. If potable water had been available, we could’ve taken our bottles, but we were none of us interested in being weighed down by backpacks full of prepackaged water bottles for a hot day in the sun.

    I’m sorry about your patient. I had no idea that memory loss thing could happen.

    I used to feel compelled to eat what was served to me, Clean Plate Club and all that, but now, I’m more than happy to take half my order home in a box for lunch. The calories listed helps quite a bit. And then there’s the whole dining-out as an experience, paying for the experience not just the food itself. Also, age has a way of shrinking our actual stomachs while simultaneously expanding the outer appearance of stomachs with fat! lol So, ya know, I can’t eat as much as I did at 25. Lawd, I would be big as a house and have the worst indigestion everrr!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I think each patient should be required to seek therapy before undergoing the surgery. Since most times food is an addiction, it should be treated as such. And like so many addictions, relapse is high so the surgery is a waste of money as well as dangerous side effects. Great blog interaction as always.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Patients are usually required to undergo psych eval prior to surgery but when my patient who is a severe alcoholic can pass the screening it makes you wonder how effective that process is. Food is an addiction for some. For others excess weight is due to medication side effects, disease comorbidity, etc. t
      The so called weight loss experts in my area push pills and supplements and do very little monitoring for side effects or results. We are failing everyone right and left.

      Like

    • Yes, for some, food is an addiction. For others, food is a coping mechanism. For all humans (and animals), food is necessary for life. For many of my patients, especially those who have very dangerous co-morbid conditions as a result of their obesity, this surgery can be life-saving rather than the “waste of money” as you state above. At it’s best, gastric sleeve is a tool rather than a cure in treating obesity.

      Demonizing the obese is acceptable in our society in the United States. We look at a morbidly obese person and make value judgments such as “no will power” “don’t care about themselves” “greedy”, “lazy” and many others. I have seen people in grocery stores admonishing obese people about what’s in their grocery carts (as if it’s a right to do this). This adds to the need of some people to eat for comfort which adds to the health problems. Treating the morbid obese is complex like treating addiction, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia but compassion is needed and much research needs to be done.

      Before I perform surgery, my patients undergo extensive counseling and psychiatric evaluation but no screening process is 100% perfect. As a surgeon, I want the best outcome for my patients and would love to see a day when I never perform another bariatric case.

      Liked by 3 people

  10. Wow, I had no idea that could happen with this surgery. I have been considering it myself, but am still fairly young and don’t want to jump on it just yet. But jeez.

    We got the $15 cup at an amusement park a couple weeks ago. After a couple soda refills, we started asking for ice water. It was hard not to just get the soda and get our money’s worth at that price, though.

    Liked by 1 person

    • People, even physicians, do not take the nutritional deficiencies that occur seriously enough. B12, calcium, vitamin D, iron, copper, magnesium. You are married to the vitamin supplements for the rest of your life after surgery.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I hear you loud and clear. Beyond frustrating! I used to have addiction to food. It’s not an easy thing to live with. And the more society focuses on weight, looks, and diets, the heavier everyone gets. I thought about having surgery, but realized if I didn’t address why I over ate, I’d never be able to keep the weight off. And more important than all that, was finding happiness and peace in my heart (which I’ve found).

    Liked by 3 people

  12. If your gun lobby can continue to dictate the number of guns people can own and use to kill themselves then I imagine the sugar lobbyists and the fast food lobbyists will be successful in blocking any laws the food industry doesn’t like.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. So important for you to bring up so graphically this issue. And so many complicated causes. And so hard to lose weight once you’ve gained it. The obsession with have a model-type body. The shame involved in being fat. The food industry is a big culprit. But everyone is so focused on “free choice” and profit…still, you have to take personal responsibility, something that is absent from every aspect of our culture right now, starting at the top (and how!). You have to prepare your own meals, from fresh ingredients. You need to get up and out and move around. It’s hard when you are stressed from work and family and life in general. Comfort food…it’s a comfort. You’re tired, your kids are cranky, you just want some peace and quiet.
    Still…I can’t imagine why anyone would undergo ANY surgery if there was a way to avoid it. That, I don’t get at all. (K)

    Liked by 2 people

    • Marketing is sinister and intrusive nowadays. Algorithms and AI and all of that. They know how our brains work better than we do. If they put as much effort into marketing healthy, good healthy and not the crap they pass off as healthy, imagine how the world would change. But then they would loose income from drug sales, energy drinks, and everything else that we buy to make up for the lifestyle we feed ourselves at their behest. I am already starting to teach my kids about advertising and discerning truth from marketing but it is going to be a long road.

      Liked by 2 people

  14. I have reblogged this because it important that as many people read this as possible.
    I agree with every word. I know that children under 5yrs are getting caught up in the weight and image roundabout . It is so wrong. Beauty comes from within… But no one cares about that.
    Supermarkets put extra sugar in food and fruit! Restaurants serve up large plates of calorific food, as you say free soda free ice cream top ups… Water and fruit sold at exorbitant prices..
    Has no one heard of tap water. As you say they won’t let you bring your own in and we were all taught ‘ waste not want not’ but that was then not now. I dread to think where it will all end.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I spent years working in the weight loss and then fitness club industry. It has nothing to do with people and everything to do with $. The silent marketing was the worse we made clients feel the more money they would spend. I remember on 2 different occasions I was told I couldnt leave until I made my $1000 quota. I felt like I had a lot of karma to scrub after working in the weight loss world. I have a soap-box full of answers…but that would be a soap-box rant to big for a comment box. So happy you posted about this. ❀️

    Liked by 2 people

  16. It will never stop, Doc, it is a money making machine.

    I have seen those weight loss clinics in the midst of popular restaurants, strip malls, etc. It is so telling of our culture. And that unavailable water…ugh. Carbonated drinks are like pure acid to me…toxic.

    There are so many things in your post that I didn’t know about gastric surgery. Thanks again for your brutal candor…it may just save a life.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Good creative non-fiction. My answer would be not eating out so much, not drinking those sodas and not getting those surgeries. If insurance companies did not pay for them this might help to avoid the temptation to get the surgery. You made a good point about the binge/purge cycle with the consequences of participating in it.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Been there, done that, but thankfully would not consider surgery as I am responsible being the one putting the food in my mouth. Weight programmes are big business.
    I stalled and the weight’s going back on, but at least I know why. My friend is still losing, now over half a stone below target and having TO PAY to try and put some back on. She doesn’t understand why and nothing is making sense, especially as she has had all the tsts under the sun and the results have all come back clear. Both of us are getting nowhere, but in different directions if you see what I mean.
    So sorry for your patient though and the added stress on the family. The ‘gurus’ don’t understand that and just push their products or quick fix solutions (my opinion of course).

    Liked by 1 person

  19. I have a dear friend who had 2 surgeries — bypass and a sleeve afterward because she gained again. She blamed it on carbonated beverages. Now she can only eat tablespoonsful at a time. She does weigh less but she is not thin. She is still a good 30 lbs. overweight for her size. Her friends (me included) tried to talk her out of it but to no avail. When you have something set in your mind (accompanied by a vision of yourself as you would like to be) you don’t listen. Some people do need this and they should be able to get it. However, it’s a last resort because it forever changes your life. Forever. As in can’t go back.

    Liked by 1 person

    • There were times I contemplated surgery. Sometimes you hurt so much you will do anything to make it better. Fortunately I figured out what I needed to do and life is much better now but dang if I didn’t not spend decades wrapped up in self loathing.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. It is indeed a vicious circle and there’s too much money involved to hope that it will somehow stop on its own.
    I think one of the major problems is that to many people no longer cook at home, from scratch. It’s so much easier to buy cheap junk food and spend the time in front of the screen instead. So sad…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Time is hard for us, too, what with school, job, homework, etc. I really limit what my kids do extracurricularly because of that. Making food at home and eating together is more beneficial than a soccer team in my opinion. The family is the team and physical activity does not do any bit of good if it is increasing fast food consumption.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, we are so busy, and yet we find time to all kinds of activities that are not necessarily as important. Cooking at home doesn’t have to be seven days a week, and there are lots of quick and nutritious recipes out there. It’s mostly a matter of priorities, especially when it comes to young people who don’t have that many responsibilities.
        If it was up to me, I would add a mandatory cooking class in elementary school. πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

  21. I’ve noticed when doing pre op on our Bariatric surgeon’s patients, they are all diabetics that have been monitored for 6 months before he will do surgery. But then, I think to myself ‘ Dude, you make sure they can lose a certain percent of weight on their own… have you every considered helping them go the rest of the way without a major surgery?

    Liked by 1 person

    • The surgery in diabetics can have the benefit of putting diabetes in remission or greatly reducing the amount of medication required independent of the amount of weight lost. So in my insulin dependent diabetic who is noncompliant and poorly controlled there would still be potential benefit from the surgery long term.

      Liked by 1 person

  22. Working in various food service jobs was a real look into the business of portions we serve to the masses (and what they come to expect). Especially in an ice cream parlour that I won’t name. But serving up huge triple extra-extra-large bowls of ice cream in waffle cups dipped with chocolate and sprinkles–it suddenly hit me on the insanity of the American food system. And then the customer gets their choice of free toppings that they can laden their ice cream with. (Note: I used to be a voracious eater myself, until my metabolism slowed down as I aged.) Now people go from dining out on huge meals to huge buckets of ice cream to movie theatre foods. I hadn’t been to a movie theatre in a long time due to my lack of funds but someone gave me a gift card. I felt that I’d landed in the theatre from another planet. Movie theatres have always been notorious for upselling, even when I was a kid, but I was blown away by the “consume, consume, consume” message. Over 150 different soda/drink options. And not just popcorn, which was a luxurious indulgence growing up: chicken wings, pizza, nachos, and, of course, all the candy. I forget what else, but when compared to my frugal lifestyle even when I’m not broke as sh*t, it was just mindblowing. I haven’t visited Europe in a long time, but out in public Americans just seem to be surrounded by food–a world that is insisting that we eat, eat, eat all the time. Now, I do portion control eating, and I find that I’m contented with my little portions. Now, when I go out to the gelato shop and they give me a small, I’m like “Are you serious? That’s huge!” And I even get two flavours. In Europe, I remember getting a tiny cone with just a thimbleful of gelato on top. And it was perfect. I hope it’s still that way, now.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. This is a great post. I have a friend/colleague who had the band done this past November. She is doing really well, and managed to reverse her diabetes. She had a million health problems, and has been far less sick since losing weight (about 70 lbs). Still, she knows that there are consequences. She, unlike so many, went in with her eyes open.

    It starts so young — I see your comment above about your daughter. My great-niece/goddaughter is 10 and tall and slender like a giraffe. She has been told by kids at school that she is fat, and was devastated. Crazy.

    As an overweight person, I struggle. I have the added bonus of having problems eating all the things that would satisfy me and help me lose weight make me double over in pain (although I cheated on my crohn’s diet just now and had a salad for lunch. It was wonderful, but I will pay.) But I know that when I put my mind to it, I can and will lose. It’s just flipping that switch. I am close, though. Of course I have no friggin’ idea what I will eat!

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Pingback: The Mirror Lies. | willowdot21

  25. You have to get off the ride and realize diet culture is BS. I’m dealing with chronic health issues exacerbated or possibly even caused by the stringent regime I was putting my body through. I WISH I could walk a mile now let alone run a 5k. My goals are ars dad more activity oriented now, not weight loss. I see that as a possible side effect of health, but no guarantee. Hell, even health is a guarantee, but I’m trying to make that better πŸ˜•

    Liked by 1 person

  26. This hits home. My wife weighed 365 lbs, in the 1990s, and had out-of-control blood pressure. Even her blood pressure meds weren’t working. She had gastric bypass in 1999 and lost over 150 of those pounds within a year. Her blood pressure has been beautifully low ever since, so I believe the surgery may have saved her life. However, she still must struggle to keep the weight off. The surgery is no magic bullet. She also struggles to keep her iron levels up, along with certain vitamins, so you are right about being married to a fistful of vitamin supplements.

    My stepdaughter also had the surgery at about the same time. She was about 400 lbs, and dropped about 200 of those pounds. But then she gained it all back and then some. It also affected her mind. She was already a little crazy, but she went even crazier. She got herself into all kinds of trouble. Eventually she developed blood clots in her legs from psych medicine and died of a pulmonary embolism at age 32.

    So there’s one semi-success story, and one full failure story for you, regarding gastric bypass. This surgery should NEVER be taken lightly.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Seeing through the strategy of greed and recognizing their hypnotic illusions are half the battle, whether the greed is being perpetrated by the food, big pharma, big government, big religion, medical, or any other industry.

    We’re given all kinds of great choices, they say! Republican or democrat? Cubs or White Sox? Coke…or Pepsi? McDonalds or Carl’s Junior? Brand name or “generic” drugs? Hey, how about super-sizing that meal? Your super-sized trophy cup shows everyone your prowess as a smart consumer–just like those ridiculously priced celebrity-endorsed pair of shoes or that name-brand luxury car in your driveway that you can’t really afford. Buy them now..you’ll get so much more for your money!!

    Those are the choices? Really?

    Enjoy those wonderful choices at your own risk. You can enjoy those super-salty, grease-laden fries all the way to your nearest ER or mortuary!

    We’ve been so thoroughly programmed as a “modern” society, that we give very little thought to what we’re really paying into when we spend our money, our energy, or our time.

    Once we begin to understand the true motivations of the industries and institutions around us (and it’s always money, control, and power), we can finally start breaking through our programming and start making truly informed choices.

    Once enough of us wake up and begin making better choices for ourselves, the industries and institutions will have to change–or they’ll be replaced by those who are more in line with our more enlightened choices!

    Wake up people…look at the man behind the curtain and see what’s really going on…then start making wiser choices. You really are worth it!

    Love Always,

    Stargazer

    ❀

    Liked by 1 person

  28. It’s a horrible yo-yo. I had to be a member of the “Clean Plate Club” when I was growing up – it has taken me decades to get to the point where I can leave food on my plate. My weight will always be a concern, but now I think it’s more important to exercise, while of course not overdoing. You can forgive yourself for the occasional splurge, right? As for the soda, maybe stick to the sugar-free if you have to have it? I’ve always thought I could excuse pizza with a diet Coke!

    Liked by 1 person

  29. I shot up to 240 lbs in my 20’s. In my 30’s I finally started working. And I mean working, on weight loss. Fortunately it worked. And for a long time I kept it off. Unfortunately as I age and my body has been broken in so many ways….it is a constant battle. I exercise every single day and I try to watch what I eat. But I don’t have the same ability as I did in my thirties….my body cannot do what it used to do because of the damage of injuries. It’s a struggle. And emotional. This has nothing to do with the surgery….just the emotional battle with weight. Thank you for this.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Your thinking is absolutely right. Your question opens the door for deeper thought. I think the media is really to blame, with every show and commercial focused on slim, and fast food. Combine that with someone who has low self esteem, or is in a difficult time, and there you go.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. It depends on each person really. I was raised pretty much with the same ads and food all round me, but I just had this notion in my head to read about food and health. I learned so much that when I worked part-time at a French restaurant known for their desserts and they were generous to us college student summer help, I was very health conscious. I had internalized what I’d read about sugar and processed foods that I decided to eat only wholesome, nutrient rich food. Even now, I have a hard time overeating although I appreciate good food very much. I think if people read more about food and health, some of that stuff might stick in their heads. So, I guess it is education is what would help in the long run. Day one, when you start feeding your baby solids, give them food with little or no sugar and salt. We have to train them from the beginning. It works because my kids will eat McDonald’s only as a last resort. The quick go to is almond nut butter and whole grain bread or hummus. If we show them how simple it is to make a sandwich and always have healthy snacks around, then they won’t hunger for what they wouldn’t miss in the first place. After having them get used to good food and habits then I introduced them to fast food so they won’t go crazy on their own, but I would explain why such a food item is best not eaten much, if at all etc. If someone is on a budget, buying beans and .brown rice and some greens are cheaper and they go a long way to keeping one satiated. Oops, excuse me for writing too much, but as you can see, food and health are so important to me.

    Liked by 2 people

  32. They also make healthy foods so crazy expensive it’s hard for many to afford to eat as healthy. I have no answers on how to make it stop that’s for sure.

    Made me think of the show Botched where people are willing to risk their lives for “one more” plastic surgery procedure. It’s so sad really.

    Liked by 1 person

  33. A thoughtful discussion and I wish it would stop. Sometimes it goes the other way and youngsters eat too little. I’m a bit worried about my eldest daughter as she is eating ‘healthily’ but has lost so much weight. She was anorexic to begin with and looks so pale. Where is the happy medium?

    Liked by 1 person

  34. There is no easy answer. I just don’t eat at fast food places. I watched a ‘Botched’ plastic surgery revision with horror last night. If the young woman had chosen Weight Watchers instead of liposuction and a tummy tuck she would have been saved years of pain. My deceased alcoholic bridesmaid had Korsikoff’s syndrome. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.

    Liked by 1 person

  35. This time last year I was 94 kilo (207 pounds) I put on the weight when I stopped smoking some years ago. However, 207 pounds is not so bad and I stayed at that for a while. Last year I decided I wanted to lose weight, so I consulted my doctor and went on a diet and I have steady and gently reduced my weight down to 82 kilo or 180 pounds. I have no problems. I get up early, get dressed put the leash on the dog and out we go. In the morning I walk about 3 klms and the same again in the evening. I watch what I eat and eat a lot of fruit and salad. As I said, I have no problems and if I get down to about 70 kilo. I shall be quite happy, but I am in no rush. I agree dropping from 207 to 180 does not seem much in terms of this post, but it is a lot for me and it makes a great difference to the fitting of my clothes ( and keeps my dog happy)

    Liked by 1 person

    • A weight loss of even 10-15% of your body weight can reverse high blood pressure and prevent diabetes and greatly reduce cardiovascular risk. You don’t have to have a “normal” BMI to have those benefits.

      Like

  36. It took me a while to want to say something about this but there is too much for me to respond here. The comments reflected a true sense of the ambiguity of this issue. Part of the problem and will not change is people’s perspective of fat = lazy, stupid, ugly, and worthless. Your six year old is already feeling it.

    Liked by 1 person

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