My husband and I are watching the Weight of a Nation, HBO’s four-part documentary on the obesity epidemic in our country. This review will cover the first two episodes.
The first part covers consequences along with a study being conducted in one small town since the early 1970’s. There is a great deal of focus on the increase of high blood pressure, diabetes and other health issues in children and adults due to being overweight.
As I begin this post, we are about halfway through this episode. They are doing what I’ve only seen Dr. Oz do in the past and that it is to show the autopsied body parts of both healthy and morbidly obese adults. It is sad to see what we can do to our bodies by making taking care of it – our last priority. The fat deposits that grow on the outside of the heart, the fat lesions that can develop even at very young ages on the arteries, and the layer of subcutaneous fat that envelopes every fat person is slowly killing us.
They say that the reasons for being overweight are complex. There is no easy answer as it is a mixture of genetics and environment. What they do know is that overweight kids tend to stay overweight through adulthood. What they do know is that the more you live under the poverty level, the higher risk of obesity there is. Time and again, town after town — if the neighborhood is poor, then the majority of the population will be fat and diabetes runs rampant.
I was not overweight as a child, but I did have weight issues. As a teenager, I was anorexic and bulimic. I ate as little as possible and when I was forced to down something — I made sure that it didn’t stay down for very long. (Wish they told girls the truth about what all that vomiting will eventually do to their teeth!) So, as an adult, it is easy to understand that one form of an eating disorder can easily turn into another — food addiction. Add in the changes of my body chemistry from being on so many antidepressants throughout my 20’s and 30’s and you have someone who goes from being underweight to technically obese.
As we finished with Part 1 of Weight of a Nation, you could say that my husband and I began to feel “scared skinny”. I took everything to heart, no pun intended. Especially the man who had lost his foot to diabetes. Other than some statistics that we weren’t aware of, it isn’t that the information was really new to us. It was yet another amazing push to get started getting rid of this weight.
So, we have now finished the 2nd episode and this part asked the question: “What will work for me?”
It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that there are no magic pills, fad diets, or a fairy godmother who will come to take the weight away with a wave of a wand. There is only reducing your caloric intake and becoming more physically active. Once you have truly tried that and if it still doesn’t work, then gastric bypass surgery is an option.
For some, it will be a mere decision that they cannot live like that any longer. For others, creating new and mindful eating habits will help retrain the mind and body to eat only when hungry and not until you feel full. For almost everyone, it will take hard work and determination. Losing even just a small percentage of your current body weight can stave off diabetes and heart disease. Remembering that you deserve to live a healthy life and that those who love you deserve to keep you around for a while will be your greatest motivation.
One of the biggest thing that I learned is that once your body chemistry has adjusted to being overweight, it will never be the same. You can lose all the excess pounds and be at a healthy amount for your height, but maintaining that will be more complex then you might think. The twist is that if your friend is the same height and you now match her/his body weight, but your friend has never been overweight – they will be able to ingest more calories without it affecting them while you will always need to eat less to retain the new healthy weight. So, once the weight has been lost and you are looking at maintenance, you will have to continue to work hard and be more mindful than those around you.
I know my answer to the question: “What will work for me?”. It is the same as my original resolution earlier this year – baby steps. After watching just the first two parts of Weight of a Nation, I now know that I need to supplement those baby steps with careful planning and mindfulness. I started writing about my weight loss journey when I admitted HERE that I am fat.
I appreciate the bravery of the participants involved with the show and the work of the researches in putting this together. Please note that HBO did not ask me to review this documentary. I gained a lot of information and motivation from watching and wanted to share that with you.
xoxo ~ Melissa