When my mother found out that she had high cholesterol, her doctor immediately recommended that she start taking pills for it. She was quite overweight at the time, so she asked if she should maybe try losing weight first, and then have the tests run again. Her doctor nodded sagely, suggested she also limit salt, and told her to come back again in six months.
Well, she went back… thirty pounds lighter than when she had left. Her cholesterol was still slightly elevated, but nowhere near as high as before. Her doctor was stunned. Every patient claims that they’re going to lose weight, but he hardly ever sees anyone actually go and do it. And she came and went for physical exams for the next five years, never gaining so much as an ounce of it back, and even continuing to lose slowly.
But my father wasn’t happy. He’d continued to gain weight. His eyesight was failing because of encroaching diabetes, he was on multiple medications, and he was bursting every shirt at the seams. He was happily stuffing his face with cupcakes while having to suffer the sight of this attractive woman daintily pick over a plate of sautéed vegetables and chicken. Well, he wasn’t going to put up with it!
He developed a plan. My mother isn’t one for cupcakes, but she’s a total sucker for chocolate. Anything with an ounce of chocolate in it will be scarfed down, or even simply inhaled whole. If she could, she’d mainline cocoa powder. So, he bought her a basket of chocolate. A big box of Godiva. Easily 15 pounds of pure brown delicacy.
And she proceeded to eat it. Just a bit every day. And then a bit more. And then a bit more. When the supply started to run low, he bought her a lifetime supply of cheese… and then more chocolate… and then he suggested they attend that new all-you-can-eat buffet… and then she bought fat lady clothes and asked her doctor for those high cholesterol pills he’d been talking about.
We kept telling her to lay off the food and that Dad was trying to make her fat, but she just sighed and said, “He’s so much happier when I’m fat.” And he was. He is. A lot of husbands prefer that their wives be fat, for a variety of reasons. She’s battling her way back to a size 8 from a 16, but it’s a long trip and my father is complaining the whole way.
He says she has an eating disorder and that she’s practically starving herself.
He says that she doesn’t eat a well-balanced diet.
He says that she’s just going to gain it all back, so why bother?
He says that she should just exercise more instead, despite being fully aware of the fact that she’s a veritable invalid.
Ah, yes. There is nothing so irritating as concern-trolling and few people so concerned with anorexia as those who think it’s okay to eat an entire apple pie in one sitting. Reality check: Two-thirds of Americans are obese or overweight. In contrast, less than 2% of Americans are or have been anorexic or bulimic, which makes it about as common as schizophrenia.
We write a lot about diet on here because it’s something that we think about a lot. You all know what we look like, and none of us are exactly in any danger of starving to death, but everyone is Really Concerned that we will do just that.
Now, I want to explain, in pictures this time, what we’re talking about:
As you can see, I still have some meat left on my bones. In fact, I’m still overweight, but no longer obese, and I’m still trying to lose weight. Yes, I know that you stay awake at night worrying about my starving to death at my current weight, but you were just as worried at my former one, so you can imagine how much value I’ll put on your opinion.
Yes, that’s the truth. When I weight 185 lbs and started working out a bit, and watching what I eat, and concerning myself with nutrition… everyone was absolutely horrified. “OMG, you’ll starve to death! I’ve seen it on TV. If you skip that cupcake, it’ll shorten your lifespan. I knew this girl once who was anorexic…” Okay, stop right there. You knew a girl who nearly starved herself to death and I knew one that nearly drank herself to death. My skipping the cupcakes and having the occasional beer are not life-threatening emergencies. Get over it.
Chill. Eat the damn cupcake yourself. Better yet, eat a whole dozen. If one is good, then twelve must be even better! I’ll just sit this round out, though. Thanks and enjoy.
See you at the beach!