A Weighty Problem

A Weighty Problem

by Doyle Ranstrom on Apr 25, 2022

Years ago a friend said, "the doctor told me to watch my weight so I got my stomach out to where I can see it".

I have been thinking a lot about of weight recently.  Partly because after following a disciplined eating and exercise schedule, I was at a reasonably good weight for me.  Not super low, but comfortable. However, after two months of travel, less exercise, and really bad eating habits, there is a lot of more of me to love.  Though I doubt if love works that way.

I have battled weight my entire life.  Growing up the farm, my mom used to tell me I was husky.  That's what your mom says when she does not want to use the "f**] word to describe you.  I do remember wearing husky overalls.  I think there pictures somewhere, but will cost you to see them.  

I remember when my brother got married, he was 14 years older than me, we were in Minneapolis for the wedding.  I was around 7 and supposed to be asleep in the corner of a room on the floor.  However, I was still awake and when my brother came home, I heard his fiancee say to him, "He's not that bad.  The way you described him, I thought he would come rolling into the house."  

I wrestled varsity heavyweight as a Sophomore, had a winning season, but nothing to brag about. After losing weight, I wrestled in the 154 pound weight class as a senior and had an excellent season.  I have pictures of the latter, not the former.  I nickname on the team my sophomore year was doughboy and my senior year lean mean wrestling machine.  [Ok, I made that up, no one ever called my lean or mean.]  Thereafter, my life has been a series of gains and losses.  

Twenty plus years ago, I was diagnosed with a kidney problem.  This came about when I gained 13 pounds one night.  Turns out that is not good.  My family called me "puff daddy".  Balancing a kidney problem with a healthy diet is not an easy thing to do.  For example, sometimes I was eating too much protein while other times too little.  

I am not by myself with weight challenges.  It is a problem across throughout the US.  A  recent study found that about two-thirds of the US are overweight or obese.  In fact, 40% of adult Americans are obese which is an increase of 100% from thirty years ago.  

As most of us know, obesity leads to or accelerates other health issues.  In fact, I suspect there are vary few deceases in the US which are not either caused or made worse by obesity.  Obesity is one of the reasons the US has the highest per capita cost of health care in the world, almost 50% higher than the number two country, Switzerland.  In fact, the US health care costs per capita are 100% higher than all but seven other countries in the world.  There are lots of reasons for this including an inefficient and complicated health care system along with many members of Congress being unbelievably ignorant or poorly informed about health care issues.  However, a significant factor is obesity.  

Reducing or losing weight, either personally or as a society, is actually pretty easy in theory and very difficult in practice.  Easy in the sense it simply requires continual healthy eating habits, regular exercise and getting a good nights sleep.  Difficult in all of those can be hard to do on a daily basis.  I am pretty good on exercise and sleep, but good eating habits are a challenge.   In all honesty, one problem is I should stop thinking of dark chocolate as a leafy vegetable.  Hard to ignore all the data which says its not. 

The harsh reality for myself and probably many others is we have a weight problem because we do not practice self-discipline and lie to ourselves.  [See dark chocolate above.].  For example, when I have finished a long bike ride or hike, I am hungry and I eat.  This means I am not hungry for the evening meal or what is often called dinner.  But I still eat, often more than I should.  

Actually, for tens of thousands of years, the main meal was was often mid-day.  There several reasons for this with one simply being natural light so workers could see to prepare the meal.  Knowing this, its pretty clear my weight challenges are do to the invention of electricity which led to lights in the kitchen which enabled larger meals to be cooked in the evening which ultimately led to me have weight challenges. 

Weight is a challenge for many of us personally and an economic drag on our economy.  Addressing the problem starts with talking about it.  Not in a mean or critical manner, but  to improve personal health along with social health.  Maintaining a healthy weight will not only make each of our lives better,  but also has the potential to reduce the US's per capital costs of health significantly.    

As for me, the main reason I have weight challenges is pretty basic.  I have my mother's thighs.  But even with this handicap, I have started to return to good eating habits.  I have also considered only eating dark chocolate on days I eat Brussels Sprouts.  But this would mean the end of  dark chocolate in my life.  

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