A friend just shared a NY Times article about the people who lose weight on the television show “The Biggest Loser.” Turns out their bodies fight like the dickens to get back to–or even above–their original weight.
Well color me shocked.
I am obese.
I was an unusually skinny child, a constant source of anxiety to my parents, who survived World War II in Europe. My pediatrician tried to explain to my worried mother that I didn’t need to eat quite as much as she did, and she tried, but often failed, to serve me child-sized portions. I remained thin, despite a steady diet of fried chicken and pork chops, potatoes mashed with whole milk and real butter, regular desserts, and gobs of sugar on my cereal.
In my late teens and early twenties, I began dieting because I was sure my hips and thighs were enormous. From age twenty to age thirty, I gained 75 pounds. I had two babies, and never lost any of the baby weight from either one. This despite walking so much that I shredded my Achilles tendons.
You read that right. On fried eggs and bacon I was ridiculously skinny. On Diet Coke and skim milk and high fiber, I got fat.
In my thirties, I read a weight loss article about some women who had lost weight by practicing prayer. One woman profiled in the article said that prayer helped her give up her usual breakfast of six eggs, half a pound of bacon, and six slices of toast and allowed her to lose weight. Would prayer, I wondered, help me give up my bowl of Cheerios with skim milk and banana? So I could eat what instead, exactly?
Today, my doctors think I make excuses. When I describe my daily intake, they don’t believe me. In the past ten years, I’ve given up sugar, sweetener, carbonated beverages, the whole concept of ‘dessert,’ bread, rice, pasta, and potatoes. I eat grilled meat and lots of fresh vegetables and fruit. I remain fat.
Right now, I’m hopeful that my new mouth guard, intended to address my sleep apnea, will offer my metabolism a boost. I’ll believe it when I see it.
The other culprit: I took lots of antibiotics in my early twenties. I suspect that I killed off too many of the good bacteria. I’ve been taking probiotics for ages, hoping to improve my balance of gut flora.
Neither remedy is likely to get me back into my 32W 32L Levis. But it would be nice to be able to burn off the extravagant apple I eat each day for lunch.