Wednesday, September 21, 2011

What Are The Odds? ~~3 Tables in a Diner, 1 Waitress, 4 Disordered Eaters, and 3 Working On It in Different Ways..1 Still Stuck in the Bad Place....aka A Snapshot of the US's Food Madness...

Being a non-shy and friendly/chatty sort of gal in restaurants--I'll talk to anyone who wants to in any table, hah--I found myself in a very fascinating situation this week.

Because of various errands, I've eaten breakfast 3 times at a nearby diner that is plan-friendly, ie, I can have my veggie omelet or frittata made in butter, not margarine or vegetable oil--and yes, butter is less inflammatory--with a cup of fruit on the side and java. Perfect for me. And I know the waitress, and she knows my preferences--keep the bagel, toast, grits, oatmeal far away, keep the cup filled, water no ice before food comes.

Well, there I was with a party in front of me, and a lady behind me, me in the middle. I had chatted with the very, very, very, VERY uberthin lady behind me the day before. We'd talked a bit out food issues after the waitress introduced me as "This is one of my customers who has lost a LOT of weight!"

The waitress this particular day introduced me to the lady in the group in the table in front of me. She'd lost nearly 340 pounds. Yeah, isn't that amazing!

So the line-up was this:

The waitress: Former athlete who'd gotten heavy and lost like 80 pounds low-carbing. Currently  dieting, though not apparently low-carb.

In front of me: woman who'd been about 500 pounds and had gastric bypass.

Me: Lost 117 pounds through diet and exercise, no pills, no surgery.

Lady behind me: Bulimic, and still actively so (she always goes to the bathroom right after eating her rather odd meals...multiple plates of assorted stuff). The waitress said she'd go and purge after eating. The staff knew. It was well-known, and the other waitresses didn't wanna serve her due to her bizarre ordering habit. (I'd pretty much figured this out--the bulimia issue-- due to her state of underweight despite her large food orders...that's not anorexia, that's purging!)

What are the odds?

Well, pretty good I'm guessing.

I see it as a snapshot of the state of our nation. We're a country that doen't seem to know how the hell to eat like normal people.

We're a fat country. Two-thirds of us are overweight or obese.

In the diner: Lots of overweight folk. Some with prior morbid obesity. Some with other disordered eating. All the same spectrum.

We're also a country with the other spectrum: anorexia and bulimia. Not as prevalent as the overeating variety, but still. Here are the stats on eating disorderes.

Interestingly, the oldest folks--the ones who looked l ike 70s and 80s--were the leanest looking. Is that a matter of the generation/habits of eating of that generation? Is it a loss of appetite with age and illness? I do wonder.

What it boils down to in the US:

We are SCREWED UP about food!!!!!

I'm trying to be sane about food. I want to be in the minority yet again--well, I grew up a biracial, immigrant Latina living in the ghetto, so I'm kinda used to it--and be NORMAL WEIGHT. I may not make normal weight, but normalish will do. It will still put me in the minority for my gender/age, I'm guessing. I'm the average American clothing size now--14 (regular 14, not skinny designer 14)--and if I make it to 12 and 10, I'll be below-average. :D One kind of below-average I wanna be.

Hubby's already there. The minority weight-wise for men his height/age. I wanna be there, too. I wanna be one of the 32% normal weight and below.

Not one of the 68% overweight & obese.
Not one of the 34% overweight.

Yep, you read that right. Here're the CDC stats from 2007-2008:

  • Percent of adults age 20 years and over who are obese: 34% (2007-2008)
  • Percent of adults age 20 years and over who are overweight (and not obese): 34% (2007-2008)
Source: Prevalence of Overweight, Obesity, and Extreme Obesity Among Adults: United States, Trends 1960–1962 Through 2007–2008 Adobe PDF file [PDF - 195 KB]
  • Percent of adolescents age 12-19 years who are obese: 18% (2007-2008)
  • Percent of children age 6-11 years who are obese: 20% (2007-2008)
  • Percent of children age 2-5 years who are obese: 10% (2007-2008)
Source: Prevalence of Obesity Among Children and Adolescents: United States, Trends 1963-1965 Through 2007-2008 Adobe PDF file [PDF - 158 KB]

I'm guessing it's worse NOW.  :(

Suicide via food.

Well, here's an exercise: Look around next time you go out to eat. Pay attention to how folks eat. Pay attention to what they order. Look at sizes. Look at your size. Look at what you order and eat. How does it compare?  I bet you're not the only one with issues, right?

Let's fix these issues. Let's get back to real food in sane portions, satisfying, but not self-destructive. If you haven't started yet solving the issues, returning to a sane food place,  start today. Little steps or big ones, start today.

Save yourself from food addiction or food dependence or food abuse!

I'm busy saving myself. I try to help others as I help myself. I need your help, too, ya know? This is not an alone thing. I need my spouse and family's support. I value the online support. Every day. It's a daily thing. A daily journey to heal.

Work it...Find support...Heal...Be well...


EmptyNester said...

Excellent points and post! I am there. Now. I wasn't before, even when I thought I was, I wasn't. But I am now. And I'm trying to take the family with me- not just immediate but extended. Man am I running into some hard headed, stubborn folks. Just like me. LOL But now, I am hard headed and stubborn about health and fitness. And it's wonderful people like you who inspire me!

Julie said...

Inspiring Mir, like always. You teach with ever post. Since I have been losing weight my uncle on daddy's side, my aunt on mama's side, my 2 friends are all working hard to get healthier too. It's working sharing. They don't see a diet, they see a life style change. They've seen it's not easy but it's not impossible. Sharing, teaching and love each other is what makes it all possible.
Take care Mir and have a blessed evening.

Bluezy said...

I like to verbally state that I am on a diet to the waitress every time I go out to eat. I have not got any feedback, but I am not sensational at a large loss and in my mind I believe they are thinking "well she really needs to lose more". And I do. I remember when I went from 150 to 190 within a year after basic training when I was young. It was a big difference from leaner to fatter. I felt gigantic... From way bigger, it takes time to really not look fat. I know will come. LOL.

upinthecosmos said...

Wow, I was going to say you were sandwiched between the extremes but the sad thing is that it gets worse and they were once the extremes but no longer. It's amazing to me that a nation that tried to do what they could to mass produce food and make it affordable put the people in a position of being what we are today! Sure we could all eat less but how about they make the better foods cheaper and stop producing all the over processed stuff that gets us addicted and puts us where a lot of us are? It's crazy but we will all do it regardless of how hard it is, once we are in that stride we won't look back:-)

lv2 said...

Good post.....not good that the new "normal" is too big. Setting a good example for us is what you are doing and hopefully we can each pass it along.

Karen Butler Ogle said...

That was a very interesting situation to be in. Thanks for sharing it. I often look around at restaurants to see what other people are ordering. It is fascinating to me to see what people can do to themselves with food.

Angela Pea said...

Holy Cow! I had no idea the statistics were so grim - that many folks are overweight or obese.

I have been paying more attention to other people when I'm out and about, and I do notice a LOT of very heavy folks. Especially at the grocery store, and their carts are usually packed with chips, processed food, cookies and soda. Not that my cart is the epitome of perfection - there are some poptarts and various snackage in there for the teens, but I can honestly say that stuff doesn't even fill up a corner. I want to say something every time I see somebody like this - Hey! You!!! You don't have to live this way! But I never do.

Enjoy your day, Mir!

Stormy@Big Butt Theory said...

Great post and interesting stats to consider. We as a nation, need to adjust our thinking about food and exercise. YOu really need to listen to our body's needs not wants.

Laryssa said...

Here's the thing: Back in the 40s, 50s, and early 60s - that older generation that you mention - the BMI charts were different, the food people ate was mostly fresh (with little to no pesticides used) as processed food wasn't as rampant as it is now, you didn't have both parents working so mom usually stayed home and cooked healthy foods, and most of the bombshell babes were a size 12 & 14. Then towards the late 60s, along comes Twiggy and everyone wanted to be like her. Then the magazines started showing us what the "right" size should be; size 12 was frowned upon and wanna be models were encouraged to be no bigger than a size 2. That started an increase in eating disorders: those that wanted to be models did whatever it took to get down to literally skin and bones (drugs, laxatives, anorexia).

Then the government decided to tell us how and what to eat, ignoring scientific facts that proved too many carbs wasn't really all that good for us. Inflation, 2-income families .... carbs became the cheaper go-to food, as did processed foods and fast food. Then came changes to grains, meats, and produce farming, an increase in the use of pesticides (due to experiments gone wrong that increased certain insect populations), additives to make the particular foods "better", etc.

What it boils down to is with all those changes, influence from those who financially support the politicians made it so society changed their views on things which made other changes come into play, which changed the foundation of the foods we eat. The government should have stuck to running the Houses instead of also wanting to run our households. Especially since now, they can't even run their own Houses all that well. ;)

Princess Dieter said...

It's a lot more complex than that, Laryssa. I know, I've read the history, especially in those "Women's Studies" courses.

Fat comes in and out of style variously throughout the millenia, and at the end of the 19th century, zaftig ladies are da bomb. Then comes the roaring twenties, and skinny minnies with flat chests are da bomb. Twiggy is just a flapper re-invented, in a way. ; )

Look at old films. Look at old photo groupings. How many people, young, adult, old, were obese and morbidly obese.

Look at the "Fat Women" in the old freak shows. They were "freaks" in shows cause they were seen as unusual. Morbidly obese women are not that unusual anymore. I was one of them.

Look at old films. Actresses were VERY it the 20s, 30s, 40s. Curves were quite popular in the 50's, but so were very slender women like Lauren Bacall.

A size 12 in the fifties is like a size 8 now. I remember when my sister wore a size 7/8 back in the 60s. That size is now more like a 4. Sizes have VANITY upsized. Marilyn Monroe's rise to a 12 was not today's 12. And most of her career, she was quite slim--look at her nudie pics. That was nowhere near the 12 of today. She was easily a 6 of today.

Models through the last century have generally been slender. Look at old fashion photos. Twiggy was famous for her lack of curves and uber-thinness, but uber-thin models WITH some curves existed prior to Twiggy. Look at old Vogues. I have. :D Vintage Vogues. :)

We are fatter. We simply are.

Princess Dieter said...

Oh, and Marilyn chubbed up and slimmed down with regularity. She was plump in Some Like it Hot and The MIsfits. But look at Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and Seven Year Itch and the final photo shoot prior to death. Taht was a slim lady with curves. Curvy, but not fat.

MB said...

It really is amazing that almost everyone has issues with food and their bodies no matter what their size. They may appear "normal" but you never know.

I'm still trying to figure it all out but think I'm heading in the right direction. I'm healing and pray we will all get to a place where we can accept who we are, where we are and just enjoy the life and bodies God has given us. It really is about the journey. Be well ;)