A skinny guy views the obesity hysteria
I'm avoiding the usual content of this blog--commentaries on world affairs and personal memoirs of the past--to voice a complaint about a very personal matter.....
I've been favorably described by people who know me as being lean, slender, slim or even trim. But the truth is that I'm just a skinny guy--maybe scrawny would be more accurate--who has devoted much of his life struggling to gain weight. I'm probably one of the few men who ever lost weight during his first year of marriage. I've barely gained a pound since my discharge from the Army six decades ago.
I am thus unable to relate very well to the current hysteria about obesity. Media horror stories about the danger of being over weight and the growing reports of a national obesity "epidemic" do not register with me. I wince at all the ads and promotions trying to peddle weight loss programs to me while I fight valiantly to gain weight or to just preserve what I have.
For most of my adult life, I've been about 5'10", have rarely weighed more than 150 lbs., and have been as low as 135 lbs. (In old age, I've shrunk about an inch.) I recognize that doctors probably consider most people like me healthier than very overweight folks. Just because we're thin, the doctors claim that we're not vulnerable to the ailments of very fat people.
That may very well be true, but my own medical experience has shown the virtue of carrying some extra poundage in reserve. Over the years, e.g., when I've been hospitalized or seriously ill, I invariably lost valuable pounds and wound up looking emaciated. And then began a battle to regain the lost weight.
The effort was never easy. My wife and my late mother would testify--complain would be more accurate--that I'm not a big eater. Even when I am seduced by some high-calorie delicacies, such foods never put weight on me. Weight-conscious friends are stunned and envious to learn, e.g., that before going to bed at night, I regularly consume a generous dish of Haagen-Dazs ice cream, followed shortly by a large chocolate bar and a glass of milk. It's become a ritual that I observe faithfully, but with no effect on my weight.
Considering the current obsession over obesity, my view about body weight is undoubtedly sacrilegious. But people should acknowledge that those of us who are skinny and who constantly fight to gain or preserve pounds also have a weight problem, but obviously of a different dimension. I'm irritated that the current hysteria over obesity obscures the travails of skinny folks like me even though we're suddenly regarded as having a fashionable look in certain circles.