Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Issues Weighing On My Mind

Had an appointment today with my cardiologist. I have a great doc. A woman, a mother. I was telling her about my weight nightmare, and as she would like to see me shed about 20 pounds, has a vested medical interest in my tonage struggle. Well, she checked me out and gave me the thumbs up…which I was happy about. Then she started giving me that usual “doc talk” about coronary artery disease and weight and diet and exercise and my age and and and. I told her I was in total agreement. I told her diet and exercise issues interrupt my sleep patterns most nights. I told her there probably isn’t anyone in this galaxy or neighboring ones that has those issues foremost on their minds more than I do. I have created and nurtured a whole new angst over weight and diet that would cripple some.

Well, my doc (who’s about 115 lbs and about 5’5”) sighed and put down the white coat and stethoscope. Here’s what she told me.

“I had weight problems when I was younger too. I was a doctor, worked full time, had small children. I struggled to watch my diet, and absolutely never had time to exercise because of my schedule and the children. I truly didn’t start effectively exercising until my kids were in college. So what I’m telling you is: I understand what you are going through. I wish I could make it easier for you. But for now, just practice moderation in your diet. As for exercise, stop beating yourself up and worrying about it. Worry isn’t going to help you. Just try to do small things. Take the stairs. Go for a short walk at lunch. Park farther away at work. Move every day and be proud of the small things you do.”

But what about the new Food and Weight Loss Pyramids released by the government last year? 90 minutes of exercise a day to LOSE WEIGHT??? I'm not kidding. Did you see what they say about Weight Loss? Here:

“Exercise at least 30 minutes a day to reduce the risk of chronic disease. (okay. I can understand that.) Increase to 60 minutes to PREVENT weight gain. (just PREVENT? I’m starting to sweat now.) Increase to 90 minutes to lose weight or keep weight off that you have lost. (like 90 minutes A DAY? 90? 9 – 0 ?)"

My head is swirling and my brain hurts.

They are saying that every day, every single day, I need to find 90 minutes to exercise in order to shed unwanted pounds. I can barely find 90 seconds in my day.

And I am totally at a loss to decode the Food Pyramid. You need a PhD in mathematics to make any sense of it -- there are like 12 different color-bar-coded Pyramids and an accompanying 1000 page manual. Can't we just go back to: Meat/Dairy/Fruits and Veggies/Fat?

My doctor smiled and patted my hand. “Just try to do small things to take care of yourself…..and stop worrying.”

After I left her office, I had to sit in my car in the parking lot and ruminate, ponder and generally think. Don’t worry? If I stop worrying, won’t I create some kind of vacuum, which nature abhors, and end up the cause of the universe being sucked into a black hole? Stop worrying. Stop worrying. Stop worrying.

I shall begin to worry about how to not worry.

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