Thursday, October 28, 2010

Does Being Fat Really Mean You're Unhealthy?

In a word, No.

You hear it all the time on the radio and TV. Get fit! Be healthy! Well, I'm sorry health gurus of the world- I'm fat, and I'm healthy. If you look at my medical charts, I'm darn near perfect, at least concerning blood chemistry.

Take a look in the dictionary- the definition of healthy is having good health; well; sound. in fact, in my edition
(Websters New World Third College Ed.), it even says large and vigorous! That last one surprised me a bit.

The definition of fit is to be the proper size and weight; in good physical condition; healthy. Yes, it does say healthy, but if you look under healthy, you do not see the word fit.

What I'm not is fit. And there's a huge difference, if you excuse the pun. I can only run so far before I get out of breath, and I'll never win a triathlon at this weight. But being thin doesn't mean you're well, and that's where the problem lies. I can run circles around some of my thinner friends. Just because people are thin (though they may look good), doesn't mean they're fit. But people tend to lump together fit and healthy as if they're the same thing, and that's just plain wrong.

Let's take a look at my medical chart. My blood pressure is low/normal (I forget how it goes, but it's either 80 over 110 or 100 over 80) and my heartbeat is 60-70 beats per minute. In some health circles, that's close to being athletic! That is, if you don't look at my weight.

I have no issues concerning blood chemistry- sugars, cholesterol, triglycerides..all that good stuff is within the norm. I'm just under the bar concerning iron, but a little spinach or broccoli can fix that. I also have hypothyroidism, which means my thyroid is a lazy bum and won't do it's job- so I have to take a supplement to compensate. It contributes to being overweight to a certain degree, but it isn't the only factor.

And my weight? I am a svelte 312 pounds. Do I like being this big? No. Am I working on losing weight? Yes. Am I unhealthy? Absolutely not! And I know there are others out there just like me.

I walk two miles a day taking my daughter to and from school for a total of ten miles, and as a family we go for walks when we can on the weekends. I do eat more than my metabolism can handle, but I eat very little junk food. I cook at home (so I'm aware of every ingredient) and we have veggies and fruit aplenty in the house. In fact, I'm eradicating as much sugar from the menu as possible, and limiting how much my kids eat of it.

And thank the Lord, I'm hardly ever sick. And my family is healthy too. And I'm the only one who isn't a normal weight.

We need to realize that words have power. They can be used to manipulate others into thinking the wrong way about things. Being fat isn't the best body type to be, but that doesn't mean that person suffers from a ton of health issues. Being thin doesn't mean you don't suffer from health issues! In the past, insurance companies have stopped fat people from getting health insurance (or any kind of insurance for that matter), without even glancing at their medical history. All they saw was the weight and crossed us off as a risk. Laws are being passed now to stop this, but it will take time before people understand we are not a walking health hazard just because we're fat.

I'm not saying that there isn't an epidemic of weight gain in this country- I'm not saying that everyone should be fat, and that fat is wonderful- or that it doesn't carry some risks. I would love to be thinner- but I'm not going to starve myself to do it- or take diet pills, or skimp on meals. That would make me unhealthy in the long run! I'm just pointing out that 'fit' and 'healthy' are two very different animals, and should be treated as such.

My Daughter is on Youtube!

My daughter was asked to sing in church again! My darling husband loaded it into Youtube- isn't that cool? Here she is!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Life In the Fat Lane

I have to get a little serious here folks. There's something that's been on my mind for some time, and I wanted to share this with you.

Maybe you're seen my facebook photo. Maybe you're heard me talk about my weight in the past. But the simple fact is, I'm fat. And people seem to have no problem pointing that out to me- like I don't know. Being fat is something I deal with all the time and don't need to be reminded of, thank you very much.

Kids are especially insensitive, and though their comments hurt, I take them with a handful of salt instead of a grain because they're kids- and kids tend to blurt out anything that's in their heads. It's their nature.

It's the adults I want to smack upside the head sometimes. People really need to think before they speak, especially in front of others.

Here are some of the insensitive things that have been said/implied by strangers and friends that you should never utter to a fat person:

"Wow, you must eat a lot."- as subtle as this statement is, I overeat for my metabolism, but I don't actually eat a lot. I consume just as much as my husband does (he's a normal weight), but he has the metabolism of a jackrabbit.

"Is something wrong with you to be so...heavy?" - I suffer from hypothyroidism, which means my thyroid isn't producing enough stuff to make my metabolism work right. It doesn't help matters, but it's not the only reason I'm fat. Thanks for asking.

"Do you really think that will fit?" - It might, if I could wedge myself into that closet-sized dressing room. If I'm holding an item of clothing to try on, chances are I think it will fit. I'm usually a better judge of that than you are.

"You're eating an awful lot." If I asked you to be my diet buddy, or requested the assistance of the food intake police, this statement would be quite appropriate. However, it's not appreciated when I'm paying for my own meal and you're with me as a companion.

"Wow, you've gained weight!" Thanks, I never noticed. I was 110 lbs. this morning. Darn bee sting made me swell up. People who make this particular comment should be required to wear a fat suit for a week.

Some people use subtle gestures or body language to express their feelings about your weight. They might not actually say anything (at least until you bring it up), but a gesture is worth a thousand comments. Here are a couple of examples:

At a party someone was serving chips to those who were sitting around the room. She offered the chips to the person to my left, then walked past me and served the person to my right. "Excuse me," I said with a practiced smile. "I'd like some please." Only then did she offer me the chips, muttering "You don't really need these, honey." I don't really need to attend your party either, and I don't really need to give your daughter an engagement gift. Offer me the dang chips and mind your own business.

Sometimes I get dirty looks when I have something yummy like ice cream. It didn't matter that I hadn't had a cone in two years, or that I had just lost twenty pounds and decided to splurge on a few calories, but that people thought I was still 'too fat' to enjoy ice cream- like it was only for thin people. It makes me want to sit on their skinny little stick legs and break 'em. Or eat a bean burrito right before I sit on them- either one would work nicely for me.

(But I digress, that's a judgment on my own part. Skinny leg bones are the same size as my own- they just have less padding and girth.)

All I'm asking for is a little respect regarding my weight. I am not dirty, or a pig, and I'm certainly not a lesser being because I'm fatter than you. If I want help, I'll ask, otherwise just be my friend or offer me a smile if you don't know me. It will make us both feel good.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Days Off...Aren't!

Ever notice for us at-home moms that when the family has a day off, it's usually more work for you?

There's also more play of course, but you lose that 'so-and-so is not in the house so I can clean/bake/read a book' time. And good luck with trying to get them to help with the chores!

During school/work days, they all have their own chore assignments; yet when a 'day off' is declared, all bets are off- this is a day to be lazy. Except for the moms.

Clothes still need to be laundered before the pile gets up and eats the family pet, tables and floors need to be cleared of debris so the house isn't condemned, and food needs to be prepared so everyone stays alive. Oh sure, they could probably make their own meals, but they would likely consist of jellybeans, chips and chocolate, washed down with sodas that contain enough caffeine to make a tortoise win a triathlon.

You could just let them have all that junk (it's just one day after all, states your spouse), but in your heart of hearts you know it will take you a week or more to retrain them that 'all that junk' was just a once in while thing, and not the new daily meal regimen.

You feed them good meals with vegetables every day for years, yet they just don't get that this is the regular routine- give them a day of junk, and they think mom has changed her nourishing nature overnight, going to the 'Junk Side'. Go figure. And as loving as your spouse is, you can't leave him in charge- the last time you did, the kids had ice cream for breakfast.

And ice cream is about the only thing you can't sneak veggies into- ever try to slip some spinach into the ice cream maker and tell them 'it's the new mint'? Trust me, it just doesn't work.

Moms could just take a day off themselves, but the entire family unit would shut down within minutes. Cries of boredom would ring out, hunger pangs would send them writhing on the floor in agony, and injuries would be abundant because no one bothered to pick up their coats, bodies flying everywhere as they try to walk over them.

But no one can go to the emergency room, because nobody can find their socks.

So we moms must be diligent in caring for our families, even on those so-called days off. Maybe if we get everyone out of the house for a while (yes ladies, you need to go with them), and enjoy a day away at the park or just go for a drive, we moms can have a lot of family fun and relaxation too!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Life is Like a Sewing Room...

Okay, maybe not a sewing room, but certainly a room- take a look at any room in your house. Is there any space that you are completely happy with?

If you're like me, probably not- at least until you get that room cleaned up!

Sometimes our lives are so full of activity, that we forget to maintain things- and I don't mean actual things like dusting furniture and clutter- I'm talking about maintaining us.

Sometimes our inner selves resemble our surroundings. Mine was a cluttered mess (aka sewing room), not knowing where I wanted to be and getting lost in the mental mess; I can honestly say my house was reflecting the real me- sloppy and lazy.

I was sloppy in my thinking- saying things without giving a thought to what I was saying, waving others off if what they said didn't pertain to me or my interests. Sloppy in my heart concerning others- and God in particular. Mentally lazy because it was just too much work to change myself.

Then I went and cleaned that sewing space. And I learned a lot more about myself other than how to label items properly!

I found that I liked things where I could find them, and it was worth the work involved to get to that point. I'd also learned that it's much easier to maintain the space once it's neatened. But how was I going to do that, when the problems were inside my mind?

Clearing out mental clutter has to be one of the hardest jobs on the planet- especially if you're a writer like me, whose mind is always going in different directions! Even my ideas have ideas sometimes, and I tend worry a lot- mostly about silly things that will never happen. So the first task to do was to clear these thoughts out, and focus on what was important to me. Really important.

I'd made a list of all the things on my mind, then started crossing off the least important ones first, moving those items to a new list to be tucked away for later. Then I kept narrowing it all down until three or four remained. This was my Focus List.

Then I jotted down everything I wanted to change about myself under each listing. Not too many, but enough to get started. I could fine tune later. Now I'm working on each change, one day at a time. Any other things that clutter my thinking get written down and put aside. I'm decluttering my mind!

The best part is that once I'd gotten the ball rolling, things started to click together! You see, when fixing once aspect of your life (or house), it tends to trickle down and effect other areas in your life! And the work gets a little easier each time.

One thing to keep in mind though, if you plan on doing the same thing- unless you're living alone, things will not stay neat, nor will they ever be perfect. Kids and a husband are people I can't control (okay, the kids I can- but only to a certain point!), so I can't expect everything to be just as I want it. But I can control how I react to clutter and interruptions, and whether I decide if it's going to get me off track or not. And most times I have decided not to let those things sidetrack me.

So life is more like a sewing machine- everything stays together much better if the stitches are straight!