mad anthony

Rants, politics, and thoughts on politics, technology, life,
and stuff from a generally politically conservative Baltimoron.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Thoughts on fat from a fat guy...

Megan McCardle has some rather controversial proposals on getting people to lose weight, and some thoughts on weight and genetics and her own experiences. For reference, here is a picture of her.

Unlike her experiences, Mad Anthony isn't trying to lose 30 pounds - more like 100. I've always been overweight, since grade school. I've tried diets in the past, although the most sucess I had was when I wasn't even really trying.

Since graduating college, my weight has gotten worse. I sit at a desk at work all day, live off convinience food, and am a big fan of any food covered with bacon and cheese.

About a month ago, I took one of those life expectancy calculators and wasn't too happy with the results. I've started watching what I eat, and walking a little bit for exersize. I don't really trust my $10 Target scale, but it looks like I've lost maybe 10 pounds or so.

I have to say I do feel better about myself. I feel a little more energetic as well. But the thing is that this can't be a "diet" -something I do until I lose a certain amount of weight and then stop. It has to be a permenant change. It is a little depressing that I can't really ever eat another donut or french fry or piece of cake. But I don't really relish the idea of dying before I know if social security will fail by my retirement time like I think it will. I also know that some of the areas I'm not to happy with in my life, like dating, would be much easier if I wasn't dragging around an extra hundred pounds of Mad Anthony around. Still, I also know that I haven't really been sucessful in the past, and I worry that I will fall of the wagon.

So why are people fat? I think genetics do play a role. That doesn't mean that fat people will always be fat (I hope not, anyway), but it means that some people will have to work a lot harder than others, and some people can keep thin without doing much work at all.

I think lifestyle is a huge factor as well - if you (like me) work in a job where you don't move around much, it makes it that much harder. I was in better shape when I was a student/contractor who worked in desktop/deskside support - I was always running somewhere to fix something, and frequently dragging a computer or monitor or printer with me there. (I've been hoping to change posititions, but it doesn't look like that's going to happen). So if you work at a desk all day, you really have to make sure you put aside some time do some sort of physical activity. That can be hard if you are pressed for time (there a couple days a week, when I have class, when it is impossible for me to exersize at all) - and it's hard to feel comfortable exersizing in, say, a gym, when most of the people around you are in way better shape.

Diet, is of course, the third big factor. Just like it's way easier to sit and watch TV rather than exersize, it's way easier to eat junk than healthy food. It's also way cheaper. So far, my staples have been granola bars, salad, turkey sandwiches with mustard, and frozen grilled food. This costs much more than my old staple foods like frozen pizza and frozen tacos. The fact that I don't have a whole lot of time, and that my kitchen lacks a stove or oven (I could use one of the other kitchens in the house, but that's kind of a pain) doesn't help. Still, there are some decent convienience and fast foods out there if you take the time to read the label - and actually eat the serving size instead of the whole box.


At 12:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cheap, healthy, quick. Pick two out of three.

Also, don't underestimate environment. I will often eat something if it's there or convenient, and skip things on the margin if I have to put out effort before I can eat them. Make your home and office cube places where the lazy will eat healthy by default. (ie keep healthy snacks around etc)


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