Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Can I?


I'm rereading a fantasy book series (The Soldier Son) by Robin Hobb where the main character, a fit and successful young cadet, is cursed by magic so that he becomes hugely obese. He goes through all the physical problems and social scorn that this causes - his fiancĂ©e dumps him; his father locks him in his room with little food and then no food, convinced he is cheating on his diet somehow; he is kicked out of the army. He experiences other people's assumption that fat equals lazy, greedy, stupid, and even untrustworthy. But then he meets the culture whose magic made him obese, and there finds that obesity is revered as showing wealth, wisdom and power. Huge shamans have "feeders" who look after them in every way. Such a contrast.

The books have reminded me how much I would love to have an excuse for my obesity. It's not my fault, I'm not just greedy and lazy, I have a previously undiagnosed vitamin deficiency and I can't help it! And I want an easy solution - just take this pill and you'll be cured!

I am aware that some people think that we do already have a good excuse - our obesogenic surroundings and addictive sugar intake. And my defeated response to that is: if I am addicted to sugar and that is why I have cravings etc, then the only way to solve that is to go through horribly difficult withdrawal while continually surrounded by junk food so where does that leave me? In the movie "As Good As It Gets" Jack Nicholson has OCD and does something obnoxious as usual and his psychiatrist objects, and he says: "Dr. Green, how can you diagnose someone as an obsessive compulsive disorder, and then act like I have some choice about barging in here?" My point is, I don't want to believe that dieting is as hard as giving up heroin. If it is, then I guess I can't. I've certainly tried often enough. I want an easier solution than that.

I've been enjoying watching The Biggest Loser. The trainers lived with their family teams for a week (I think five days) and ate what they ate, and as well as feeling very sick the whole time, they all put on a lot of weight - the most was Michelle with 7.6 kilograms. I know a lot of that would be fluid retention from the salt, but still. Wow. Then the contestants had their first workout. One woman in particular was of the "I can't" school of thought, but after lots of pushing she got through it and at the end she burst into emotional tears. She could hardly believe it, but she really could do it after all. There is my lesson for the day. Maybe I can.

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