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It's All About the Weight
If you should happen to meet a woman who says there has never, ever been a time in her life when she thought she should "lose some weight," regardless of how little or how much—send her name and photograph to the folks at Guinness World Records.
"My weight is always perfect for my height—which varies."
There are "weighty" matters that sometimes "weigh heavily" upon our hearts. There are times when we must "weigh" every aspect of an issue in order to make a sound decision. However, the weight topic that consumes most women, more than any other, is the weight of our bodies.
"I had no intention of giving her my vital statistics. 'Let me put it this way,'
I said. 'According to my girth, I should be a ninety-foot redwood.'"
Our body weight is dictated by what we eat or don't eat and how much we eat or how much we do not eat. Factors such as metabolism and age also play a role. The so-called "ideal" weight is a topic often fraught with controversy. Cultural norms, society's expectations and our own confusion can influence our attitude on the subject more than the prescribed medical/scientific recommendations. Women tend to develop self-esteem or lack of it based on the size and shape of their bodies. Few of us ever view ourselves as weighing exactly what we think we should.
"I am also five three and in the neighborhood of one thirty.
It is a neighborhood I would like to get out of."
To achieve perfection we may starve or stuff ourselves. Anorexia and bulimia have become pandemic in some countries while malnutrition is rampant in the poverty stricken Third World. It is only in areas where affluence allows the luxury of weight obsessions that women can pursue the diet "de jour." In fact, diets have become a way of life for millions of people—particularly females. We measure ourselves against a standard of models on the runway, entertainers in the limelight and whatever appears appropriate for the "rich and famous." We devour not only food but the massive amounts of publicity devoted to that theme as well. And, we are almost never satisfied with our own weight at any given time.
"When people say 'chic,' they mean thin." Carol Matthau
Authorities on weight seem to crop up like dandelions in the spring. Their expertise is not always based on the proper credentials so much as their ability to articulate what their audience wants to hear. By and large, the public clamors for a solution and preferably a "magic bullet." We desperately want to believe that we can accomplish the goal of "perfect weight" with a minimum amount of effort and a maximum amount of ease. Furthermore, our patience is limited with respect to how much time might be required.
"Everything from television to fashion ads have made it seem wicked to cast a shadow.
This wild emaciated look appeals to some women, though not to men,
who are seldom seen pinning up a Vogue illustration in a machine shop."
Women often pursue the "perfect weight" by adhering to the "perfect diet" as though both were The Holy Grail. We seldom give much thought to the "best nutrition" guides or the suggested fitness activities suitable for maintaining a healthy body.
"I have gained and lost the same ten pounds so many times over and
over again my cellulite must have déjà vu."
Funny? Sure! But, being overweight is no laughing matter. It has a direct impact on virtually every facet of our lives. A number of people today are taking unusually drastic measures, such as surgery, with mixed reviews at best and sometimes with fatal results at worst. The public clamors for "healthy" foods although the exact definition is elusive. We latch onto low fat, low carb, low calorie and whatever may be touted as the newest, best approach to weight loss. Atkins, South Beach, Pritkin, grapefruit, cabbage soup, and sometimes combinations of all of the above. The bottom line is, as women, we invariably look upon our bodies with dismay….they are never "exactly right" in our perception of whatever that may be.
"The cardiologist's diet: If it tastes good, spit it out."
Can you pause for a moment and think objectively about all this? Just give it a minute. Are you satisfied with your current weight?
"I've been on a constant diet for the last two decades.
I've lost a total of 789 pounds. By all accounts, I should
be hanging from a charm bracelet."
Do you spend much time thinking about how much you weigh? Do you think people judge you based on your size? Do you often feel guilty about what you eat? Do you continuously promise yourself that you'll "start a diet soon?"
"I feel about airplanes the way I feel about diets. It seems to me
that they are wonderful things for other people to go on."
Do you have any idea what the best weight for your health would be, given your height, age, and any chronic medical conditions or hereditary factors that put you in a high-risk category for such?
Do you equate health and weight as being significantly related? Do you know that heart disease is a number one medical threat to women today? Do you have ample energy for the lifestyle you prefer?
"When I buy cookies I eat just four and throw the rest away.
But first I spray them with Raid so I won't dig them out of the garbage later.
Be careful, though, because that Raid really doesn't taste that bad."
Let's ditch the funny stuff and have a serious look at the matter!
From the National Women's Health Information Center: Do women really need to worry about heart and cardiovascular disease? Yes. Many women think heart disease is a man's problem, but heart disease is very much a woman's problem. Did you know that heart disease is the #1 killer of women, as well as men in America? And that stroke is the 3rd leading cause of death for American women (cancer is #2)? Heart disease affects women of all racial and ethnic groups, as well as women with other illnesses, such as diabetes. Black women are more likely to die of heart disease than white women are. Increasing age is also a factor in heart disease and with people age 65 and over being the fastest growing group in the U.S., heart disease is becoming a growing problem for women.
http://womenshealth.aetna.com/WH/ihtWH/r.WSIHW000/st.36132/t.36132.html Compared to men, women are less likely to get counseling about nutrition, exercise and weight loss to prevent heart disease. One of the best sites we found on women's health issues:
http://womenshealth.aetna.com/WH/ihtWH/r.WSIHW000/st.36120/t.36120.html For women of all ages!
Don't dig your grave with your own knife and fork.
The National Coalition for Women With Heart Disease (U.S. based) a plethora of useful information: http://www.womenheart.org
The Joslin Diabetes Center offers an extensive array of educational information, much of which is targeted to the special issues facing women—particularly the often misplaced notion women have that diabetes is the cause of their weight gain. If you are at risk, by virtue of hereditary factors or simply as a result of your lifestyle, for adult onset Type II Diabetes or even Type I Diabetes, you can never learn too much about how to handle this condition. It can be manageable or deadly—your choice. http://www.joslin.harvard.edu/jboston/classes.shtml
To lengthen your life, shorten your meals.
From the NAMI: The Nation's Voice on Mental Illness website:
Women and Depression: Clinical depression is a serious medical illness that is much more than temporarily feeling sad or blue. It involves disturbances in mood, concentration, sleep, activity, appetite, and social behavior. Depression can develop in anyone at any age; and, although it is highly treatable, it is frequently a life-long condition in which periods of wellness alternate with recurrences of illness.
Clinical depression affects twice as many women as men, both in the U.S. and in many societies around the world. It is estimated that one out of every seven women will suffer from depression in their lifetime. Additionally, women experience higher rates of seasonal affective disorder and dysthymia (chronic depression). While the rates of bipolar disorder (manic depression) are similar in men and women, women have higher rates of the depressed phase of manic depression and rapid-cycling bipolar disorder.
Depression is an ILLNESS—not a personality flaw or an individual shortcoming. You would not tell someone to "get over" diabetes—depression must be viewed in the same manner!
"Life itself is the proper binge."
These are just a few of the health issues that our weight can have a dramatic impact upon and topics we should strive to be informed about. Now, what about you? Where does a person go to begin to determine the healthiest weight and how to achieve it? The Internet is often referred to as "the information highway." One caveat for travelers here—not all facts are created equal. Be prepared to take into account the reputation, credibility and durability (up to date?) of the data, tips and advice you read online. Consulting with your doctor is usually a good idea—as long as that person is someone who has proven competence and LISTENS to you….if you are less than completely confident with your physician, there is no law against shopping around—unless you are constrained by insurance and in that case, explore all the options.
Welcome to the National Women's Health Information Center. This web site and toll-free call center were created to provide FREE, reliable health information for women everywhere. Browse our database for great resources or take a look through our Special Sections on topic areas like heart disease, disabilities and pregnancy. We're constantly updating our site so please check back often. http://www.4woman.gov
We're the country that has more food to eat than any other country
in the world, and with more diets to keep us from eating it.
National Women's Health Resource Center http://www.healthywomen.org
American Dietetic Association: is your link to reliable, objective food and nutrition information. These resources will help you achieve a healthy lifestyle and answer your food and nutrition questions: http://www.eatright.org/Public/NutritionInformation/92.cfm
Your stomach shouldn't be a waist basket.
A final few words: It's All About the Weight. Don't let anyone kid you—we almost all get caught up in the subject of our weight at some time or other. This has been a concerted effort to establish that It Should Be All About Your Health!!! Take care of you. It may require some extra time and more attention than you are accustomed to giving yourself. This is what you need to ask yourself: why not? If not now, when? Your life could depend on the answer. Good luck.
Don't go out of your weigh to please anyone but yourself.
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