Defeating Teenage Obesity

The HealthGal Health Guide
  • A new show has aired on the heels of Ruby, the massively obese southern gal who loses weight before our eyes, as she reveals family secrets that she believes spurred her eating.  The new show also follows several seasons of The Biggest Loser, the NBC hit show that showcases gargantuan weight losses, albeit not always maintained post show and other documentaries and reality shows that follow fat kids, fat families, fat brides-to-be, and fat celebrities.


    This new one follows obese teens and highlights the fact that "being a teenager is hard enough...It shouldn't be life or death."  I think that's the problem with being overweight - your associated health issues can be very slow and insidious in terms of development and expression.  In fact, a recent psychologist who deals in weight issues actually suggested to me that most people, who witness overweight friends or family members developing diabetes or heart disease, now see them living longer, thanks to medical care and drug advances.  So the threat of say dying of diabetes or developing diabetes-related gangrene and amputation, tends to happen less, especially if patients are compliant.  In reality, even compliant patients have small internal changes occurring that over time can present complications when chronic disease like diabetes, heart disease, hypertension and even cancer occurs.  So being fat, long term, is not a good health position to take.  Even if you think modern medicine has all the answers.

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    Fat at 15 is something I can identify with.  I was not morbidly obese, I was just (ha, just) 45 pounds overweight.  And at age 15, it began to interfere with my sense of self worth.  I was an amazing note taker, transcriber would be a better term, and so all the boys wanted my notes.  They just didn't want to extend that attitude to dating me.  You can tell me endlessly how shallow and contemptible that attitude was.  The reality is that people do judge you or are attracted to your personality and your looks.  And there were plenty of fabulous gals to choose from who were lean, funny, pretty, athletic, and smart to choose from.  Overweight girl with great personality was not in demand.  And it was a reality that made me feel badly about myself, made me angry at my mom whom I credited with teaching me my eating habits and even caused me to pretty much despise the very robust and large frame of my family on my Dad's side - in other words my genetic predisposition.


    I am a doer - I face problems head on and hate defeat.  I also knew that trying to lose weight in my home where treats, carbs and high fat food choices were the standard fare, would be tough.  So I chose a diet that involved support and at the time only Weight Watchers fit the bill - it was affordable too.  Did I like the weekly weigh ins?  Nope.  Did I like having to relearn how to eat? Not really.  Did I enjoy the fact that most participants were decades older than me? Absolutely not.  Did I revel in my slow but steady weight loss and new waist? You bet.  Over the summer of 12 weeks I lost about 30 pounds (I was exercising too) and the weight loss continued for another 2- 3 months.  Sensibly lost, the weight mostly stayed off.  Did I hate eating differently than my metabolically gifted friends? Yup.  I also hated that I had to study harder than some to maintain an "A" in most subjects and that I had to baby sit a lot to have spending money.  Yes, we hate the lot we are sometimes given in life.  But that's what it is - a lot you can work to change, or live with.  Is it sometimes a lifelong work in progress?  Absolutely.  Is it worth it?  When it comes to your health, I think it is.  The choice is ultimately yours.


Published On: October 04, 2010