How I Lost 12.5 Pounds & Regained My Soul

Naked, as in truth, and uncensored, I share my daily quest to survive as a woman and artist, while dealing with the complications of a full life, meddling in politics, loving my children to excess, totally permanently married and on a never-ending diet. While my soul is in constant need of repair and redemption, I struggle to do the right thing. In the meantime, let's all double the love. (Love, not sex, you fool). All posts are copyrighted material.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

More fatty fuming...




When my son was born, he quickly became plump on breastmilk, and in great concern I asked his pediatrician what I should do about it. Although I lost all the weight I had gained in pregnancy, he 'knew' I was a fat person passing. He said, "Apples don't fall too far from the tree". What can one do? Genetics rule I thought.

The next pediatrician, years later, wasn't concerned about his weight at all and responded a little differently. He asked me a few questions. "Does he get along well with the family? Does he have friends? Do you like his personality? Is he liked and even loved by people?"

Of course, I told him what a great kid he was and how everybody adored him, that he was extremely popular and a super person. A little extra weight didn't seem like it was going to ruin his life, but I was concerned about my little one's healthy

The doctor responded to my concerns by saying, "Well, if the weight is important to you, take him out to one of those camps in the mountains. Tell them to feed him nothing but bread and water for three weeks. He'll lose weight, but you may not like his personality when he comes home."

Okay, so I listened to that doctor for many years until a very petite, tiny pediatrician we began to see a few years later when we moved said, "This kid is overweight. He needs to lose." He said this in front of my son, which I found hurtful and cruel.

I recounted how he ate a good diet, no junk really, perhaps a little Taco Bell fast food, but nothing like the cake, cookies, sodas and junk food I saw other kids eat with impunity. Our family ate vegetables and salad, and he would eat lettuce with a drop of Italian dressing if I sprinkled some Parmesan cheese on it.

I told the doctor we had tried to trim him down, but he had always been built like a truck. The doctor told me to cut out dairy and I said Are you kidding? Then he got annoyed with me when I asked, "What about his bones?" so he recommended I see a nutritionist and gave me a name.

The nutritionist interviewed us both separately and together and decided that diet was not the problem. She suggested that we get him exercising an hour to an hour and a half every day and that would solve it. I said, "An hour and a half more than he does now?" And she said, "Yes".

Nobody asked what the kid already did for exercise. Let's see. That little bumblebee of a kid played soccer, racquetball, football, basketball, went swimming, running and walking with me. He was larger than most kids his age in height and weight and muscle mass and bone size. He was just a big kid.

Oh, and all that physicality was in addition to Physical Ed at school and general play with his friends at recess. So what did we do? We put him in a four-hour morning soccer camp for the summer in addition to everything else he did.

Well a few months later, his weight had not budged, but his knees were killing him when he ran around. It turned out that too much exercise while he was a growing adolescent had caused him to develop Osgood/Schlatter disease.

The disease is characterized by bony knobs that grow on top of the growing bone to protect it from overuse and eventually will cripple a kid if he or she doesn't get treatment. Lots of kids with a future in professional athletes ruin their chances because their parents are not cognizant of their need to rest at least a few weeks (or even months) a year to allow their bodies to grow properly.

The orthopedic surgeon was furious with me, of course. It was probably unbelievable to him that any mother could be so stupid as not to know about O/S disease. Anyway, he gave me a tongue-lashing I will never forget, and when I told him a pediatrician and a nutritionist had told us to do the 'additional exercise'? He looked at me like I was an idiot for listening to them. And you know what? He was right.

I knew my kid better than anyone else. I knew he was in very good shape and that he would one day grow taller and everything would match. I also knew that the extra weight was a genetic inheritance. The famine metabolism, we call it, and that is what it really is. An inherited survival mechanism so that when the world famine hits in future generations, our descendants will be able to live on dandelion greens and water.

Well, fortunately, we did keep the kid from exercising for what ended up being three or four months until his bones recovered, and then we were more reasonable in what we expected from him. The doctor had told me he only saw this kind of disease in Junior Olympic hopefuls whose parents pushed them to exercise to the extreme while they were growing. Luckily, our son wasn't damaged for life.

I guess I got rankled by that stupid NY Times article and its irritating conclusions and presentation. In a country that is supposed to value individualism, I find it insulting that they are always trying to turn everybody into one-size-fits-all.

The real fury, however, comes from knowing that there are going to be other young people, including kids, who through no fault of their own are overweight or maybe even obese at some point in their lives. If a fat person, God forbid, is their role model in some way is this going to cause them shame? If their parent is fat, are they supposed to despise the parent for fear of contagion? If they become fat, are they going to live with self-loathing or perhaps even kill themselves?

Let's hope not, but let's get serious. We are creating something with this fat-bashing that has many results. Those out there who think we should be shamed? They should be ashamed for being such arrogant little d*cks.

I loved one uncle more than I could ever describe. He was built like Humpty Dumpty and no one in my family ever mentioned it. Candidly, he was such a beautiful person none of us cared. I never noticed anything except the beautiful smile he always had, the wonderful hugs he gave and the loving way he treated everyone he knew. Of course, as he was dying he finally lost weight. (One of my grandfather's lost a leg in World War I and had a wooden leg. We didn't care about that physical flaw either.)

Anyway, my uncle's funeral had thousands of people walking in the streets in his honor. He had held a high public position, but it wasn't that. It was his heart. In his long life he had touched everyone he knew and was as close to a living saint as an Irish cop could be.

Somehow I feel like this obesity crap serves to denigrate his memory and that of many others, including the Buddha, who dared not to be diminuitive. And what about Santa Clause, huh? Are they going to demonize even this fiction for little children? Will they now be afraid to sit on his lap? Just think, it won't be because his breath smells like alcohol and garlic, or his beard has soup in it. It will be because he is fat, fat, fat!

This subject is why I started writing editorials in the first place, and I am sad to say the prejudice in the last fifteen years has only gotten stronger.

Of course fat people should all lose weight and be healthier, as even 10 or 15 pounds on most people will dramatically lower their health risks for diabetes and heart disease. But while I'm getting on my High Horse, I would also say that people shouldn't drink to excess, or smoke cigarettes, or go sky-diving, or white water rafting, marry an *ssh&le or speed or even drive a car.

All those things seem to be much riskier than being overweight - at least in the short term. So lighten up, America, and leave us Chubbettes alone so we can hang with our loving family and friends and wait for the next Ruben to discover our outer beauty.

That's my last word on this subject for a while. Promise.:)

Clark County Diva

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