Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Biggest Loser

I have never been obese. I’ve never been teased about being overweight. I don’t know what it’s like to not remember ever being a normal sized person. I don’t really know what a size 12 or larger feels like.

A combination of good genes and being raised with a nearly Spartan diet and a lot of exercise that I have continued as an adult lifestyle, have ensured that only for short period of time in my life have I ever felt overweight.

And except for my sophomore year of high school and into my junior year of high school when I binged on junk food and wore men sized clothes as a fashion statement, the only other times I haven’t been able to wear clothes marked Small or Medium in my age group, were during my three pregnancies. Even then I wore small or medium sized maternity clothes, mostly from being on the short side.

This does not mean though that I’ve never had to struggle to lose weight, or to stay small. It just means that I’ve never needed to lose half my body weight to be a normal size or been on medication for health related problems due to obesity.

Losing baby weight three times was anything but easy
. No matter how healthy I ate or how much walking I did, I gained 40 pound all three times. At my heaviest, just before delivering my first child, I weighed 158 lbs. I felt absurdly large and actually dislocated my right collarbone during one the late term uncomfortable nights where I could only sleep on my sides. But after each delivery, within 18 months I was back to wearing clothes I buy in the juniors department marked for 12-14year olds. There are a few advantages to being only 5’4.

STAYING thin while trying to balance parenthood and a full time job is absolutely a perpetual challenge.Fitness, like dishes, bills and so many other things in life, are a revolving door of responsibility. It will never stop being a chore. It will never stop being a daily choice.

Healthy diet, minimal food and exercise for tiny clothes to fit a tiny body? Or junk food, extra calories and sitting around not doing much till I’m popping out of my clothes and feeling like a beached whale? Don’t think for a minute that if I didn’t keep eating only 1,200 calories a day along with a minimum of 6 hours a week of exercise, lifting weights and getting in cardio- that I could possibly hope to stay thin! As a testament to the struggle it IS to stay thin, my weight can fluctuate as much as ten pounds throughout the year.

While the majority of the clothes in my closet fit the smallest version of me, mostly as encouragement to stay thin and have a greater selection, I do keep on reserve a few things that I can stretch into when holiday food, perpetual bad weather or weeks of severe laziness and indulgence have struck. Even those with the strongest will power give in to temptation now and then.

Like all successful things in life, the key is to make it entertaining and create a way to chart achievement. Demonstrating positive results and high energy motivation you can get in whatever doses you need whenever you want is just what a person needs.

For these reasons among others, “The Biggest Loser” is one of my favorite programs. I think it’s a televised game show at its best. Not only does it improve the quality of life of those who participate, it provides inspiration to the viewers at home.

Since I don’t watch TV, I follow it online. Whenever a season has ended, I jump onto the Internet to see the results. I adore seeing ‘before and after’ photos and reading the success stories of beaming, confident and sometimes teary-eyed people who have a fresh radiant attitude and an impressive new lease on life. I am so proud of each of the contestants, no matter how much or how little weight they lose, they prove something to themselves and the world.

Seeing their results and knowing first hand how exciting and thrilling it is to get dressed in the morning or get dolled up to go out on the town- knowing you look great- makes me feel great for them.

It’s encouraging knowing that there are more fitness enthusiasts out there, teaching their kids good habits, passing on health tips to friends and co-workers, easing the stain on the health insurance and hospital companies and wanting more health and fitness related stores and shops and passing legislation that is environmentally and people friendly. Plus, it renews my energy to work harder at it and push myself just that much harder.

For of all the things in life that are cause and effect, weight loss and gain are a prime example. And at the end of the day, whether a person likes to hear it or not, fitness success, like all success comes from effort and wanting it badly enough.

Regardless of family history, genetics or whatever excuse they’d like to blame on their being “plus sized”, if you want it badly enough and do what it takes to find there personal combination of requirements to lose and keep of weight- they absolutely can and they absolutely will.

To all those naysayers who say not everyone can be thin- I challenge you to look at the ‘before and after’ photos of the Biggest Loser contestants.

Every 12 weeks this show proves that effort wins over genetics and family history and even medical problems every time. They CAN do it AND SO CAN YOU!

Friday, December 12, 2008

THIS Is Realitly?

A friend of mine showed me this video. It's hard to deny that it's as powerfully convincing as it is alarming. And it raises some really critical questions. This film reaches into areas of religion and politics that you may have felt were 'safe' and demands that we as humans force ourselves to cut away our naivety of unquestioning trust in history and figures of authority now and through the centuries and throw off the learned ignorance passed on to each new generation and subject everything in life to hard, honest scrutiny.