I don’t know exactly why I’m writing this. I don’t know if it’s a plea for sympathy or attention or support or help or what. But the Dopers always come through.
I went to the doctor the other day. I hadn’t been seen by this particular doctor before and, in the course of examining my throat, he asked if I suffered from sleep apnea (I don’t). He said I was a likely candidate because I had a “classic Pickwickian morphology”. (He actually said “Pickwiggian” but I’ve read enough Dickens to translate.) I thought at first he meant the shape of my throat but of course he was referring to my general body shape. “Pickwickian” is apparently modern medical terminology for “pear-shaped”. (Oddly enough, the last time I bought a suit the salesperson referred to my figure as an “athletic fit”. Each industry has its own euphemisms, apparently.)
My parents and siblings and various offspring had a family reunion last summer. One afternoon was spent posing for a photographer and one of the pictures was of just my parents, my one sister, my three brothers and I. When we were reviewing the photos I was struck by the general similarity of body shapes: Classic Pickwickians every one! Apparently there is a genetic component.
This morphology was arrived at over time. As a child I was skinny. Not thin – skinny. Scrawny. Ninety-eight pound weakling morphology. Skinny AND uncoordinated. It wasn’t till I was out of high school that I ever felt my body was more or less normal. That lasted till I was about 30. And then, as if someone threw a switch, my metabolism metamorphised and my morphology was magnified. Since then my weight has gone up and down slightly on a long-term upward trend.
I have dieted from time to time. The most successful I’ve ever been was losing 60 pounds a few years ago. But without altering my eating habits significantly from the earlier diet I’ve managed to get it all back with a little interest.
Whenever I’ve seen a really heavy person I’ve wondered to myself why someone would allow themselves to get so heavy that it severely impacted their lives. It seems to me like it would be worth their while, whatever the sacrifice, to at least get to the point where they could lead more or less normal lives. I recognize the arrogance in this statement but I guess the underlying thought was that they COULD do something about it if they wanted to.
My weight is beginning to impact my life. Most of my middle-aged medical complaints are related to, or at least aggravated by, my weight. My wife worries all the time that I’m going to drop dead of a heart attack. (My heart is healthy but being overweight and having a positive family history puts me in a high-risk category.) I take blood pressure and cholesterol-lowering medications which my doctor tells me I wouldn’t need if I would just lose weight. I take an anti-depressant and the doctor says (and I believe him) I could use a smaller dose or do without it if I exercised more. I sometimes have trouble fitting into places, notably booths at restaurants and airplane seats. It’s not that I can’t get in them, but I know I’ve reached the limit of normal sizes. I don’t have to buy big and tall (yeah, that’s it, I’m tall!) clothes yet, but I’m at the last size that’s available in regular clothing stores.
This is where you come in.
I’d like to lose some weight. But I’m not sure I can. I waffle between being more accepting of who and what I am, just as I am, and going on a self-improvement binge. There are significant reasons for losing weight (see above) but I’ve also got reasons for not doing that: 1) It affects my personality – I get, um, “snippy”. I’m not generally a pleasant person to be around when I’m dieting. And I like to be pleasant. You’ve heard of jolly fat men? 2) I tend to get carried away. As long as I’m dieting, why don’t I also organize my life, write that novel I’ve been waiting to write, bring about world peace, etc. 3) I’m afraid of what will happen if I don’t succeed. I mean if I really want to do it but can’t, then what? 4) It takes time and energy that I’m not sure I have.
So you can kind of see the problem. I tend to see things in black and white. Either I’m a cheerful fat man, a la Drew Carey (and I get that ALOT!), or a thin obsessive-compulsive perfectionist.
A few extra details. I’m 6’0". According to height/weight charts I’ve seen I should weigh 180 lbs. I weigh 280. If I could get down to 215 I’d be satisfied. I’m in no hurry. A pound a week would be great, but I’d settle for a pound a month. I’m really more interested in going the right direction than I am in the goal.
I’ve tried a low-fat diet. That’s when I lost the 60 lbs. That worked pretty well. I’ve used Weight Watchers (and, unless I find something better I probably will again). Their approach was sensible, but I didn’t follow it very well. I am not interested in single focus diets. (“Cut out all meats/sugar/fats/carbohydrates/etc.”)
I just need to find a way to eat less and, most importantly, exercise more. The only exercise I get is walking back and forth to my car from the parking lot. Does anyone have any tips on exercise? The real problem for me with exercising is that it’s such a mindless activity. I’ve tried jogging, walking, swimming. The battle to exercise has always been mental not physical. It’s sooooo boooooring! I’ve thought about getting a stationary bicycle so I could watch TV while I exercised but that seems a little conflicted.