Dallas, TX – Even without Ephedra, many of us are vowing - again - to tackle that extra weight we tacked on during the holidays. We've all digested those shocking statistics about rising obesity, with children developing blocked arteries before they even turn 20. Many are pressing the government to re-classify obesity as a disease, and local restaurants may be forced to list the fat content and calories of all menu items.
While the low-carb, South Beach and Atkins diets du jour clash with low-fat gurus like Dean Ornish over why humans gain or lose weight, I'm here today to, dare I say it - 'weigh-in' on the subject, offering this life-before-Dr. Phil food-for-thought to those whose figures fluctuate more wildly than the NASDAQ. No expert I, but silly me - I have long had a theory, and that is this: weight gain or loss might prove to be linked to food intake and exercise levels. Just a theory, mind you. But I figure that if Karen Carpenter had eaten more, she could still be torturing me with her latest hits. And I suspect that the reason the once legendary Godfather Marlon Brando now looks like a bulbous Beluga, is that, on his South Sea island home, he spends more time going to the luaus than going to the gym.
Could it be that we Americans became porcine simply because we snack voraciously, serve mammoth portions of processed fatty foods, and consume alcohol like sailors on shore leave? That our national religion has become food, where the devout are drawn to the latest chic restaurant, or the fast food drive-through windows, like the faithful going to Mecca or the Vatican? That Baskin Robbins has us basking while robbing us of our once-trim torsos?
Not so, according to one longtime friend, who, despite gaining 200 pounds, tells me she barely eats at all. Like many of us, she grades her eating habits on the curve system: "I don't eat as much as Mona." Or, she plays what I call the "Ate and Switch" game: "All I ate was vegetables." Never mind that one of those "vegetables" was a baked potato slathered with butter, sour cream, bacon and cheese.
On New Years', another fleshy friend informed me at the buffet table that scientists were on the brink of discovering what "actually" causes us to get fat, that the culprit turns out to be a "trigger mechanism." Which triggered me to suggest that drinking that six-pack per day might explain how yesterday's six-pack abs look like today's defective air mattress. He deserted me for dessert, joining the conga line leading to the bubbling caldron of chocolate cheese fondue.
Hey, let's wake up and smell the Cinnabons. For we who want to lose weight, ordering the deep fried chicken fingers with honey mustard sauce rather than cream gravy does not constitute noteworthy restraint. And no, parking and walking up to a Krispy Kreme counter rather than using the drive through is not a laudatory increase in physical activity. Maybe some subsequent study will make me eat my words.
But until then, "I'm wearing it."
Rawlins Gilliland is a writer from Dallas. If you have opinions or rebuttals regarding this commentary, call (214) 740-9338 or contact our website at kera.org.