Thursday, April 18, 2013

Disabled by Obesity

I have a few friends who are morbidly obese. Having experienced the garden variety of obesity going through 60 pound weight fluctuations and trying to diet,  I reached 240 pounds. At 5'5.6" my BMI was listed on Table 2. That table was for the morbidly obese. My BMI was around 40. For my height, a normal BMI should be between 19-24. I was so out of control, but I couldn't get out from under the emotional, psychological and physical suffocation of my overeating. I loved to eat. And eat I did!

So I understand what the obese are going through up to a point. Fortunately, I never experienced the physical disabilities my two friends experienced a good part of their lives, finding it difficult to walk or move. I remained active, though I was easily winded climbing 3 flights of stairs. I played tennis, but it was Doubles and I let others run the ball down, happy to cover half a court. My knees did ache. I had to take two Advils before and after I played. I had reflux when I overate and would wake up having aspirated food into my lungs. I had asthma. I also had yearly colds which developed into bronchitis as well as sinus infections. Still, I overate.
I was addicted to gluten products like scones, pastries, pasta and especially breads.
Weight Watchers didn't work for me. I used my own weight loss plan; no pills, nada.
To what extent were these illnesses attributable to my obesity? I believe to a great extent because when I lost 120 pounds during a period of two years and changed my lifestyle to include eating only live, organic produce and dairy, and fruits and vegetables with little meat, chicken and fish, I never had a cold, asthma or bronchitis again. Did I mention that I discovered I had a gluten sensitivity?  During the course of the second year of weight loss, I jettisoned all bread, flour products, pastries, potatoes, grains (especially the genetically tweaked whole grains and wheat products). I eliminated eating processed foods in cans and packages that had additives, chemicals, coloring and dyes. I only ate foods that were recently alive and were not genetically enhanced or adulterated, to the best of my knowledge. (We are learning to what extent the industrial food complex keeps us in the dark about GMO produce, grains, etc.)

With my normal weight, 20-21 BMI, I can climb 5 flights of stairs without breathing heavily. I have won three tennis leagues in first and second place and I continue to enjoy great health and happiness. How are my friends?
My friends are still obese even though two had lap band surgery. One lost about 60 pounds and the other close to 90 pounds, but they have gained and lost the same 10-30 pounds after the initial weight loss because they have learned to accommodate their lap bands; they graze during the day, eating foods that they can get down easily with the lap band. My morbidly obese friend has had hip replacement and now has to have knee replacement. My friend used a golf cart to get around because her hip had disintegrated from a combination of weight and arthritis. After the hip replacement she was better, but now her knees and back are going. Unless they can arrest their obesity they will most likely have to use handicapped motorized devices to get around indefinitely. They may even have to outfit a new accessible vehicle to accommodate their condition, especially if it becomes very painful or impossible to get in and out of a car. Many find such vans the only way to negotiate debilities safely, especially if individuals are not in large urban areas that have accommodating wheelchair buses or community accessibility conveyances.  My friends are with it baby boomers and are not incapacitated. Handicapped accessible vehicles will provide hope for them to stay mobile and connected to friends and community in the next decade if they are unable to alter their current lifestyle path.
An obese man with dangerous weight around his middle.

My fear for both is the known complications that can arise from obesity like Type II diabetes, arthritis, high blood pressure, heart ailments (my friend needed a pacemaker at 61) and cancer. One high school classmate who had been morbidly obese and was walking with a cane when I last saw her had cancer and died. She was in her 50s. The downward cycle can happen quickly if one is relegated to a wheel chair after a limb amputation and one continues to overeat.

A patient being treated for morbid obesity; a view of the foot and leg.
Obesity is a disability in every aspect of one's persona (physically, emotionally, psychologically) and chronic overeating is not easily abated, especially in our culture where cheap available, convenient foods encourage weight gain because of their excessive amounts of fat, sugar and salt. Recently, I was interviewed by Raghavendra Purohit creator of the blog about healthy eating choices. I gave 5  interviews about (CLICK HERE FOR THE INTERVIEWS) healthy food selection, weight loss and obesity. In the third segment of the 5 part interview, I discussed how I had lost the weight and kept it off. CLICK HERE FOR THE INTERVIEW. My only hope for those who are obese and morbidly obese like my friends is that they can change their lifestyles and eating habits. It worked for me. But everyone must find his or her own pace then make their own decisions about their lives. Everyone's body and life path is different.

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Friday, April 12, 2013

17-year-old Rehtaeh Parsons, Another Victim of Online Bullying, Kills Self After Rape Photo Goes Viral!

This is Rehtaeh Parsons' Facebook page. On it you will find petitions to sign to reopen the case.

Here's the "Fat and the Skinny" on another needless and tragic suicide because of online bullying.

Social media is as good as its users. If the users are ignorant bullies, then it can be used to torment the ridiculed and harassed victims (like Amanda Tood) to suicide or someone like Rehtaeh Parsons. Rehtaeh Parsons was a 17-year-old teen from Nova Scotia, Canada. She is the latest teen to fall prey to bullying on social media. Maybe social media will prompt her justice and vindication.

Last Thursday Rehtaeh Parsons hanged herself in her bathroom. On Sunday April 7, her family took her off life support. Leah Parsons recounts the incident on a Facebook page set up in memoriam for her daughter. On November 11, Rehtaeh went with a friend to a home. During the course of the time she was there, she was raped by four young boys. One of the gang took a photo of the rape and "decided it would be fun to distribute the photo to everyone in Rehtaeh's school and community where it quickly went viral."

The photo and the boys' "slut story" spread through the Cole Harbour District High School. Rehtaeh was bullied on social media by classmates. Though her parents moved her from that district to Halifax to start over because of the online harassment, there was something else. Nothing was being done to hold the boys accountable in an investigation that took a year.

According to an article in The Chronicle Herald the police didn't interview the boys until much later. Regarding the photo or photos take during the rape, "nothing was done about that because they couldn't prove who had pressed the photo button on the phone," said Leah Parsons who was told it wasn't... "a criminal issue, it’s more of a community issue.”

In a further twist the hackivist group Anonymous has said that they have discovered the names of the boys who allegedly raped Rehtaeh. In a press release on 4/11 the group is asking that the RCMP reopen the case and the justice department launch an inquiry into the initial investigation.

According to Anonymous, "Dozens of e-mails were sent to us by kids and adults alike, most of whom had personal relationships with the rapists. Many recalled confessions made by these boys blatantly in public where they detailed the rape of an inebriated 15-year-old girl.”

The Angel Rehtaeh Facebook page has petitions and updates as do other online petition sites. Where it was used to push Rehtaeh to her death, maybe social media will prompt her justice and vindication.


Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Fat and the Skinny on Healthy Living, Obesity, Supplements and Agribusiness

These are organic herbs like rosemary, lemon thyme and others that are grown at Stone Barnes Agricultural Center in Pocantico Hills in Westchester. The farm is a non profit and it boasts organic produce and free range poultry and eggs.

 Thanks to Google, word gets out, especially when it's about maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Recently, I posted some tips about how the disabled can stay healthy and it was noted by Raghavendra Purohit, author of the book Healthy Choices-Smart Choices for Healthy Living and blogger of the site, Healthy Choices which has since been taken down, an ominous development. Together we completed a five part interview about subjects close to my heart and close to the hearts of millions around the globe as corporations promote products and lifestyles that are unhealthy, environmentally unsound and generally counter to human wellness. The interview links were posted for a season and have been taken down. However, the following information is permanent and immemorial.
Can you guess how many calories would be in this much meat and cheese? No carbs, though, no buns.
 In the US we are enthralled by the corporate tidal wave of fast food, processed food and fast food restaurants that have ensnared us in unhealthy lifestyles and a less than perfect appearance. Yet, paradoxically, paragon images of skinny and buff female and male beauty have bludgeoned us into hating our ugliness, overweight and unsightly aging bodies. Daily we are reminded of our shameless appearance and need for cosmetic enhancement in pervasive media marketing.  It has escalated to the point that there isn't a woman in this country who hasn't been concerned about  aging appearance and weight; there isn't a teen or tween who doesn't look in the mirror and fear becoming fat or who just doesn't look in the mirror because he or she KNOWS THEY ARE TOO FAT to fit in with the cultural ethos of beauty and buff fitness.
An anorexic teen afraid of the fats.
Taken from the Georgia obesity campaign of a few years ago. A tween unhappy with her weight.
In the last four decades, our anxiety about weight has multiplied exponentially as we have gotten fatter. Much of our stress has been fueled by corporate motivation for profits. The trillion dollar weight loss industry, medical industrial complex and fashion and entertainment industry have been gleefully rubbing our noses in our physical deficiencies via marketing and the media. To salve our tensions against the humiliation of being fat, ugly and unworthy, the food industrial complex captivates us with the immediacy and convenience of comfort foods (think about the consequences later). Of course, the chips, chocolate bars, nuts, breads, pastries, donuts, burgers and fries taste fabulous loaded with excessive amounts of salt, sugar and or butter/oil/fat. Food scientists have made them irresistible so we go back for more, remembering the luscious tastes. The highly caloric and dangerous elements and the accumulation of additives, chemicals, etc. of these toxic foods create havoc with our bodies. How? They foster an acidic environment that is ripe for disease. They insinuate an emotional dependence weakening our will, self-respect and self-discipline. Inevitably, our futile attempts to relieve and palliate our stress with such consolation treats propel us into the savior arms of doctors, nutritionists and weight loss gurus.
     Have you weighed yourself recently? When I feel weight gain, I avoid the scale. Too much reality.
The impact of genetically engineered crops is unknown, but it could explain the reports of huge increases in allergies, wheat sensitivities in addition to celiac disease, weight gain and altering our hormones. No long range studies have been done to assess any of this. Meanwhile millions have been spent on lobbyists to prevent labeling of GM products. Why?
The cycle begins all over again and escalates with Yo-yo dieting, useless gym memberships,wasted exercise equipment, surgeries, lap bands, etc. It is a lose-lose lifestyle and we feel ashamed, spineless, funked out. The emotional strain over our health failures often leaches into our personal and familial relationships. Our life is a misery that must be escaped once more with food, alcohol and prescription or over-the-counter drugs. The cycle escalates; weight is lost and gained again and again, diseases worsen and become entrenched. The meds' side effects tax our immune systems and our bodies are on chemical, toxic overload. Those who prey off our physical and emotional breakdowns, the locust and canker worm corporates, gurus, "doctors," druggists, fashionistas, etc., become engorged with our blood profits.
 I am reminded of the words to "All Along the Watchtower" by Bob Dylan.

"There must be some way out of here," said the joker to the thief,
"There's too much confusion, I can't get no relief." 

This was in Capri in 2006. I weighed 190. Then I gained it back by 2008 and weighed 220, a chronic yo-yo.

This was taken in Florida. My BMI is 21 at 5'5.6"
 As a watchperson with years of experience battling my own weight issues and the industries that promulgated them with my acceptance and participation, I offer some wisdom that can be summed up in a few sentences.
  • Meditate, find quiet time with yourself to work through emotional issues which most likely are causing stressful eating. Weight gain is an emotional and psychological issue that must be confronted.
  • Drink water, preferably clean and assume you are thirsty when "hunger pangs" strike.
  • Confront food cravings and work through them by breathing deeply first then reaching for something to drink, preferably water or a non sugary, non diet drink.
  • Create your own plans if you wish to lose weight. Don't stress over them if you don't. Your plan is the best. It comes from you and will empower and strengthen your will.
  • Weight maintenance and lifestyle change is lifelong. Be your own best advocate and don't worry.


Weigh yourself weekly or daily, whichever works best, once you have lost your weight and achieved your target goal. BEWARE FAT ATTACKS! Click here to read about MINE.

This was in the midst of a full blown FAT ATTACK I am still trying to overcome. BMI 21. (I was down to 19).