Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Put on your boxing gloves. It’s time to go another round in the battle of the bulge.

Having dealt with weight issues all of my life, I have some experience on the subject. I’ve taken blow-after-blow with fat jokes, discrimination, rejection, a torrent of weight-loss products and exercise equipment, a starvation diet that left me with seizures, a doctor-prescribed liquid diet that did liver damage, and more. To complicate the mix, I have many health problems unrelated to obesity but that have impacted my weight. Genetics and medications have also played a role in keeping on the ropes. It's enough to make a person want to throw in the towel or take a dive.

The road hasn’t been easy.

In my opinion, there are four major weight groups:

1. Featherweights. Those who eat normal, splurge a little too often, and gain a few pounds.
2. Lightweights. Those who have medical issues or are taking medication that increases weight.
3. Middleweights. Those who are cursed with bad genes from their family tree.
4. Cruiseweights. Those who take in excessive amounts of food due to a food addition or for emotional reasons.
5. Heavyweights. Those who are cursed with more than one of the above.

Let’s take a closer look:

Featherweights. If you occasionally over-indulge in a few too many chocolate truffles or attend one too many Christmas dinner parties, then you fall into this category. Enjoy all the programs this month dedicated to weight-loss and the commercials touting: “the best weight-loss plan” or “best workout equipment for awesome abs.” They were made for you.

Lightweights. Medications like Corticosteroids, Beta-blockers, Calcium channel blockers, or Antipsychotic medications can drastically affect weight. I’ve gained as much as fifty pounds in two and a half months from a medication. Medical conditions that limit your ability to exercise can also increase weight and you’re limited on what you can do about it.

Middleweights. Genetics plays a huge role in where you end-up on the scale. Blame your family tree, metabolism, environment, culture, age, or your next door neighbor for those Friday night dinner parties. You have the right.

Cruiseweights. People eat for the following reasons: stress, happiness, sadness, fear, loneliness, guilt, anger, rejection, hopelessness, insecurity… Okay, let’s just say – EVERYTHING – everything but the physical sensation of hunger. For some this doesn’t create much of a problem, but for others can become serious. The repeated response to emotions leads to continual cravings which lead to a compulsive behavior. Unfortunately, this behavior leads to all kinds of negative consequences such as social, financial and physical problems. Food can be like any other addition and can require professional help.

Heavyweights. Sorry, but just like me – you’re screwed. Any combination of these conditions can push you into the fight of your life. Weight-loss becomes a constant battle and is not easily solved by a few extra trips to the gym or cutting out soft drinks.

Let’s face it; in our society we are constantly judged by our weight. No one seems to stop and say that she/he may have some serious underlying reasons. They assume you are lazy, eat the contents of Costco per day, and never get off the couch.

These judgments are nothing more than blows below the belt. Can we all go to neutral corners? If you think about it, who would choose to struggle with life-threatening weight, serious health risks, and the barrage of discrimination (even humiliation) that accompanies obesity?

As with any prejudice, stop and look at the bigger picture and don’t judge someone until you’ve gone up against the heavyweight champion of the world – obesity.

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