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One New Age Baby Boomer's Mid-Drift Crisis

Diet Commentary 2003

I do not want to understate the difficulty involved with losing weight for people with a weight problem. Unfortunately, this is a topic only someone with their own weight-related issues can begin to comprehend fully. It is not that others aren't compassionate or concerned enough, they just do not have a clue how dieting is for us fatties.

Naturally thin folk, or those gifted with a predisposition toward self-discipline, will think all this diet chatter as mere silliness. 'Just show more self-control,' they will say, as they spoon more potato and gravy on our plates. How often well-meaning friends just fuel the frustration and the inevitable feelings of futility. They just don't get it.

Therefore, I have come to the conclusion that when overcoming addictions, and nothing is more addictive than food and drink, we stand alone. In our aloneness we will need to muster the support of friends and family, but we will need to do this from our own deeper authority... from within ourself and by ourself.

Let's face it, most everyone has something to gain by keeping us fat. The food industry needs consumers, our dinner guests want us jovial and entertainingly content, our kids want our moods doped down with the sedative of our intoxicating favorite foods, and no one wants to hear our whining and moaning as we face another day's cold turkey.

It is also true that we will be loved once thin, but only as a booby prize to a very long and arduous struggle. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying it isn't worth the battle. Sexy is what sexy does. I am just proclaiming the obvious, but sad, reality. Dieting is something you do for yourself first. One needs to get gratification from small steps forward, and the simplistic joy of achieving what others find easy.

The reason I have found some success with Atkins has been embarrassingly simple. I get more satisfaction and am more easily satiated with fish and meats, than I ever can be with the more complex measuring of carbohydrate calories. Atkins requires considerable dietary awareness, but the mental logistics feel more manageable.

Firstly I had to eliminate caffeine. I still miss it, I suppose, even after a month and a half. But Caffeine plays tricks with adrenaline and that can't be good. It also was a dependency, and I want to be master of my energy, not a victim to it. Sugar too is a no no. This requires very diligent label reading and the death of dozens of precious rituals.

Sugar may be the greatest chemical dependency because it is the most insipid. So many of my daily habits are twisted around it on the microscopic level. Sugar, salt, and sex you can't get more primal than that. Atkins requires a complete stop with this habit, like with caffeine this can't be bad. The pain of redefining my oral society means I must reevaluate every ruthless detail in my life. Talk about tough disciplines.

It is boring always having to defend the Atkins diet from its detractors. I hardly think it matters. I am too old to be duped for very long and I am too careful to blunder into anything that will cause too much damage. I am certain at some point I would like an excuse to go back to a few of my many oral obsessions. But on this account I know sugar, caffeine, and even refined carbohydrates are a luxury I can live better without. Too many physical symptoms cramp my style. Fatty Liver, arthritis, and lower back pain are just a few of the medical text book lists of what happens to the obese... And I have already started checking off the list in rapid fashion.

The other-side of the Atkins critic's paranoia is 'too much meat.' I had always thought for me the best alternative to eating would be sex. I have always fantasized having a collaborator. We would copulate in an infinite variations as a substitute for compulsive eating. Since no volunteers have been forth coming, meat orgies will have to do.

As a favor to a friend, and critic of meat consumption, I will regulate my vital blood statistics, but, quite frankly, any diet tests the limits. Any frontal assault on ten years of body weight increase, plateau upon plateau of higher poundage, will challenge all patterns of normalcy. Experience tells me, speed based solutions run the biggest risk. The use of diet pills have lost me more friends than pounds.

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It is too soon to tell where all this is leading me. I continue to research nutrition and alternative healing. I fuddle each day with my ever reoccurring hungers. I know, like all life long heavies, weight loss is a temporary phase in a life-long struggle. Alcoholics know that 'just one drink' can be the beginning of a devastating set back and that every party has one joker who will insist on 'just one for the road.' I do not delude myself in believing that I will find a magic diet. I simply need to lose weight and keep it off, so that I can be worthy of a lover, live to care for my children, and to make the most of the gift of life.

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Insults

According to BMI (Body Mass Index) my BMI is 35.1, well into the 'obesity' category. I would need to be below 100 to reach 'overweight' status. At 115 Kilo here on 2/28/2003 I am below my 120 Kilo top weight (thanks to Atkins dieting techniques) but still far from BMI 'normal' 80 Kilo.

Why would anyone want to present themselves, as I do in these pictures, in such an uattractive light? Though the Polynesian, Gypsy, and Chinese Cultures at one time found being overweight a sign of prosperity and health, certainly the body-conscious cultures of today now find this at best unflattering, if not out and out repugnant.

One reason I managed to get heavy is self-denial. While my mirror image may have been changing, my mental image remained in my prime. I did not see myself as the outside world did and somehow managed to avoid confronting a growing issue. Only when the physical symptoms became unbareable and social opinion undeniable could I allow myself to see.

The balancing act for each of us is to know both our external appearance and the inner self which is as beautiful as we feel. Honesty gets tough when our physical appearance comes into play, particularly when our self image creates pain. Recognizing the 'challenge' and implementing 'proactive' solutions, hopefully, will allow these images to be the record of success... The classic 'Before' snapshot. Until then, they remain proof of failure.

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Robert L. Seltman