There’s a lot more to life than how fat or how thin you are.”
If this is true, why do we react to weight gain as if it was a huge calamity? Why do we dread stepping on the scales? My new digital is still in the box. My old one is a little kinder. Or it may be in denial, like me.
It was easy when I was young. A couple of days without rice meant an impressive five pounds less on the scale. But I was active then. Today, my metabolism seems to have gone into a deep coma.
Any doctor will tell you that being overweight is not healthy, that obesity can lead to serious medical problems. And let me add that the extra pounds make you sluggish, plus they don’t look at all attractive, on men or women.
Okay, I get that. But don’t you just hate skinny people who tell you they need to go on a diet?
Trying to lose weight and slimming down is not a new concept. But I don’t remember when the world started obsessing with diets. It has become a huge business.
When I was in my teens, I was on the chubby side. It didn’t bother me. That was when I first heard about Dr. Ambalada who used to “help” society matronas get back in shape.
A couple of babies later, I was introduced to Sanirose Orbeta in her Makati clinic. I hated when she used to parade in front of me foam rubber replicas of the pounds of fat I had to lose. I could imagine all of it, under my skin.
Then there’s Weight Watchers, which has gone global. We’ve seen the success of Jenny Craig, Slimfast Nutrisystem and Healthy Choice, to name a few. Diet meals are now delivered to your home. There are health food stores in every mall.
I remember back in the ’70s, Scarsdale Diet books were the rage. The plan offered a 14-day meager menu. By reducing calories and carbs, it promised a 20-pound weight loss in two weeks. I lost 10 and promptly dropped out.
Research later showed it was not an efficient way to lose weight and keep it off in the long run. They were right.
Then came the Atkins Diet, which allowed you to gorge on fat, ham and red meat. I know someone who blamed his heart attack on Dr. Atkins.
The “battle of the bulge” has been waging forever. There is no telling what men and women will endure just to look good. In desperation many have submitted themselves to liposuction. I shudder at the thought.
Today the younger generation pays closer attention to what it eats.
There is a new trend to do Intermittent Fasting. It is an eating pattern that does not specify what foods you should or shouldn’t eat. It tells you when you should eat them.
You skip breakfast and eat lunch at 1 p.m. Your next and last meal is dinner at 8 o’clock. You fast for 16 hours, eight of which you are asleep.
You can also fast for 24 hours on two separate days and eat whatever, whenever, on the other five. Another option is called 5:2 where you consume only 500-600 calories on two nonsuccessive days of the week and eat normally on the remaining five.
This method is still new and has not been thoroughly researched. Results seem favorable in the loss of weight and belly fat. But early studies seem to indicate it may be harmful for women.
The women in my family have been notified.
My granddaughter, the mother of two little boys, speaks glowingly about “Whole 30,” a month-long regimen designed to “clean up your eating habits by cutting out foods that have negative impact on your health.”
She lost 10 pounds in 30 days and another 22 in the following months.
“It is all about clean eating but you don’t starve. And it kills cravings you may have grown up just satisfying. It is a lifestyle change.”
There seems to be no way to ignore this current preoccupation with what we eat. It is a conversation opener. At parties the young people stare at the food and ask if it is Keto or Paleo, organic, free range, or processed.
I say it takes all the fun out of eating.
In recent weeks we have been bombarded with ads online about Noom, which is a subscription-based weight loss app with now an estimated 45 million active users.
It is a program “to help you live a healthier life by helping you create better habits. The app is your personal weight loss coach.”
Noom boasts a healthy weight loss rate of roughly 18 pounds in 16 weeks. It has been referred to as the “Weight Watchers for Millennials.”
Okay, I’ve had enough. All this talk about diets has made me hungry!
We were six old friends at Bar Pintxos the other evening. Ours was the noisiest table, a surprise since we had not ordered any wine.
We loved their pintxos de ternera, gambas, salpicao, tortilla de patatas and paella mixta. But the big hit was the besugo, a whole fish baked in olive oil, garlic and sherry vinegar. Delicious.
We lingered over crema Catalana. And we reminisced. We laughed. We found humor even in the sad times; and regretted nothing.
In bed at almost midnight, my prayers were long. I had so much to be thankful for.