Enough of Too Much

One in a series of posts on my struggles with maintaining a healthier weight, starting in early 2019 and working into the present day

: 252 lbs on Jan. 20, 2019

I’d had enough of too much.

On January 20th, 2019, I wrote the following:

I’m sick of being fat. Thus, this fat journal, where I track my weight, explore why I’m fat and think about how I can get un-fat.

The easy answer for why I’m fat seems simple. I eat too much. I eat compulsively sometimes, to be honest. I eat when I’m stressed, depressed or just when I want to relax in front of the tube.

So, the solution looks simple to a lot of people, often including myself. Just stop eating so much!

Yep, simple. So, so simple.

Since my 30s or so, I’ve struggled with weight. I’ve been thinner at times. Down to 200 or fewer pounds, which is a more reasonable weight for a guy who stands around 6 foot 2 inches.

But I haven’t always been that thin, of course. Not by a long shot. In January 2019, I was 252 pounds according to my bathroom scale. That was pretty close to my all-time high. Even worse, my bathroom scale is generous compared to my doctor’s scale, so that bad news was probably worse than it appeared. I was starting to feel is was both dangerous and dumb to be that heavy.

The National Institutes of Health website site was telling me that if I were at a “normal” weight, I’d be anywhere between 145 to 193 lbs. Mind you, it’s hard for me to even picture myself at 145 pounds, which I don’t think I’ve weighed since I was a sophomore in high school. But 193? Sure, I could envision that.

Okay, so being overweight isn’t exactly the end of the world, right? Well, yeah, but I was overweight and into the obese range. Just to stop being obese, I’d need to hit 232. Then I’d only be “nearly obese.” Yay.

I could claim that the whole “body mass index” (aka, BMI) is a kind of unscientific hoax perpetrated by, well, somebody. Michelle Obama, maybe? The folks who run the fat farms? The bathroom scale makers themselves?

Ah, so many possible conspirators. Should I just stop worrying about it and tell the fatphobics to fuck off? After all, it’s just a social construct. Fatphobia ruins peoples lives, and there are plenty of fat-acceptance activists who are fighting for the rights of people like me so that we aren’t stigmatized. I support their cause.

In fact, I very much wanted to just stop worrying about it.

Except for one thing: my body was telling me I couldn’t ignore it anymore. I felt lousy, my head was foggy, my energy not-so-hot. I could just sense that I was on some sort of edge over which I could easily slip. Slip into what, exactly? I guess any of the usual haunts of abysses. Death, disease, despair.

Cardiovascular disease is the one I fear most, partly because it runs in my family. I’ve seen it up close. But also because of all the studies out there connecting obesity to heart disease. Here’s one representative snippet:

[A] study published in April 2018 in the journal JAMA Cardiology concluded that adults between ages 40 and 59 who are overweight or obese have a significantly increased risk (ranging from 21 to 85 percent higher) of developing cardiovascular disease as compared with their normal weight peers. Individuals who are overweight, defined as having a body mass index (BMI) between 25 and 29.9, or are obese (a BMI of 30 or higher), also have a much greater risk of developing cardiovascular disease at a younger age. The research showed that individuals who are obese had a shorter lifespan.

Guess I’ll end the post with that sobering and, to be honest, deeply annoying thought.

Featured image from https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/images/assessing/bmi-adult-fb-600x315.jpg 

Big: An Introduction to My Weight-Loss Journal

The first in a series of posts on my struggles with maintaining a healthier weight

Back in January 2019, I started keeping an unusual kind of weight-loss journal that was also part treatise on today’s obesity pandemic. It documents my attempt to understand how I originally became overweight and how I might maintain a healthier weight.

What it doesn’t document, however, is everything I ate and how many calories were in it. That might be helpful for some people, but it’s just too tedious for me and, in my case, not as helpful as trying to understand myself better.

A lot of it deals with my thoughts about food and with our natural human yearnings to eat enough food to fuel our big, energy-hungry brains.

I’m a researcher by trade and a bonafide nerd by nature. So, it made sense for me to delve into the world’s obesity problem as a way of explaining my situation to myself. In truth, every fat person has their own story to tell. But I suspect most overweight people also share much in common, often including modern cultures where their condition has become the norm and where there are plenty of conflicts over issues such as body image, fat-shaming and more.

Now I’m going to turn some of that weight-loss journal into a series of posts in a way that I hope will be helpful to some other folks.

The first post up is Enough Is Too Much.

Featured image: An fMRI image of the human cranial region, showing the different parts of the brain anatomy, by DrOONeil