A conversation I had with an emergency room doctor keeps coming back to me.
I was doing a story on fall prevention among seniors, for the Canada Safety Council, and I asked this doctor about treating obese seniors who come in after falls.
"What do you mean?" he asked.
"Well, if they are obese, is there a greater likelihood of them losing their balance, and falling?"
The doctor just laughed.
"We don't see a lot of obese seniors," he said. "There aren't many of them around."
I was shocked by that statement. He went on to say that the chances of seniors living into old age are remote if they are fat. The chances of getting life threatening illnesses such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes put them at greater risk for an early meeting with their maker.
This conversation came back to me yesterday, as I was talking to my plastic surgeon who told me I had to lose 40 pounds before she would perform my breast reduction. The risks with anesthetic, she said, were as great for me as a patient with heart disease.
The problem with many of us oldsters is that we put on the weight around our middle. You see lots of guys, for example, wandering around with beer bellies. Ladies, we all know where the pounds go -- to the muffin top and the butt. Essentially, that fat wraps around the organs and flecks of it get into the blood stream and travel up to our arteries, and our brains. It also causes things like sleep apnea which can be a serious condition.
I know it's more complicated than that but I like to keep things simple.
Aside from wanting a breast reduction, I intend on living well into my dotage, taking up tennis again, keeping active, smelling the proverbial roses.
I'm turning for my weight loss to a doctor I trust, Dr. Yoni Freedhoff, an Ottawa bariatric specialist who has successfully help thousands to lose weight over the years. I can't afford to go his clinic but I could afford to pick up his book, The Diet Fix: Why Diets Fail and How to Make Yours Work. I needed a plan that was simple to follow, one that relied on healthy food and activity for weight reduction instead of ridiculously restrictive calories, diet aids, or nutty eating regimes.
I've tried them all, believe me, and I've become what Dr. Freedhoff calls a "traumatized dieter".
"I'd be willing to wager that if you've been battling your weight for a while, you've invested more willpower in weight loss than in virtually any other area in your life," he writes. "You've probably undertaken various white-knuckle diets, have set your alarm clock for 5 a.m. so you can hit the treadmill downstairs, and you've likely eaten more salads and grilled boneless, skinless chicken breasts than you'd care to admit.
"You might have been on your first diet before you even made it to high school, and you may well have a veritable library of contradictory diet books filling shelves of your bookcase. Clearly you've got willpower. So what is your problem?"
Dr. Freedoff goes on to say that the problem is that humans weren't not built to suffer forever. And that is why most diets fail. We can only handle deprivation so long.
His plan is simple, and commonsensical. It requires a commitment to cooking, measuring your food, and keeping a diary. It includes healthy snacks, protein at every meal, and a modicum of exercise. Oh yes, and there are treats -- Dr. Freedhoff says over the years, he's written prescriptions for cookies and ice cream. Because dieters cannot live on boiled chicken alone.
I'm not going to reveal his plan. Why should I? Go out and buy the damned book if you're interested, or follow my journey, or read his blog.
I need this kind of diet because I have gallbladder disease.
I can't do the crazy anymore.
My old wrinkled big boob body just can't take the pain and suffering.
But I'm willing to give this a crack.
And like the egg commercials say, I've gotta get cracking.
I have 40 pounds to lose before the finish line.
There's no time to lose.
I'm not getting any younger, prettier or skinnier talking to your folks.