Note: I’ve been informed by one or two experts whom I trust that my plan sucks. My basic plan is based on a Weight Watchers model, but I take experts with evidence very seriously, so there may be some serious modifications to this post. –PalMD
Obesity is a bad thing. This isn’t a moral judgment. If one of your values is long life and good health, then obesity is a bad thing. In general, I think it’s a bad idea for me to write about my personal health issues, but I’d like to try an experiment. I suffer from one of the most common and fasting-growing (!) health problems in the U.S.—obesity. No, I’m no Jabba the Hut or anything, but over the last several months my body mass index (BMI) has crept above 30, a somewhat arbitrary dividing line between overweight and obesity.
Like other illnesses, obesity isn’t always evident. We all know people who are huge, but there are a lot of us out there who aren’t but who still fall into a weight category that puts us at higher risk for disease and death. That’s me. I don’t care so much about the aesthetics—I can live with how I look. But I’m a dad and a husband, and I can’t afford to let preventable medical problems harm my family. But how did I get this way? And what symptoms of obesity am I experiencing, if any?
When I was a kid, my Toughskins jeans were always “husky” (if you don’t get either reference, google ‘em, youngster!) . But most of my young adult life, I was very physically active, and in decent shape. Medical school and residency (especially the latter) gave me about forty extra pounds, which I managed to shed afterward. But I’ve been terrible about exercise over the last few years, and when I injured my back this winter, I put on another fifteen pounds that I didn’t need—that’s what pushed my BMI over the magic “30” mark.
Climbing stairs hurts my knees. Snoring hurts my wife. Reflux just hurts. My cholesterol sucks without medication. I feel older than I should.
So, it’s time once again. I’ve lost weight before, and it’s no mystery. Usually I join Weight Watchers online, and evidence suggests that that’s a good plan. But I have another idea.
I’m not looking to get down to what the charts say I should (about 175) as that wouldn’t fit my build, but I would like to go down fifteen or twenty pounds. So today, in front of all of you, I’m weighing in.
My morning, clothed weight is 96kg (!). As of today, I’m on the wagon. I’m dieting, and I’m using the evidence. Evidence shows that any diet that restricts calories, independent of content, will make you lose weight, so that’s what I’m doing. I tell my patients that if they don’t feel miserably hungry, they’re probably doing something wrong—so far, I’m doing it right.
So as you as my witnesses, I’m doing it. I actually started dieting yesterday, but we’ll call today Day #1, Week #1. I’ll be weighing in in front of all of you weekly. So what did I eat so far today?
In the morning, I had a small bowl of shredded wheat, with a touch of sugar, and skim milk. Later in the morning I had a 120 calorie granola bar. My lunch will depend on what’s in the cafeteria, but will probably be a hard boiled egg and some salad. Yum.
This may not interest many of you, but for those of you who have had similar struggles, welcome to mine.