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Diet Tube: we have reached a new low but there is still hope

February 26, 2012

SMH

Today I learnt that if you are fat and Italian,  plastic surgeon Marco Gasparotti can fix you. He will stick a tube into your nose, sticking one end into your stomach and the other into a small plastic pouch. The pouch contains a protein rich liquid – a  fat person’s elixir. The seemingly mellifluous contents of the pouch will then be pumped peridocally into your stomach over the course of just over a week. Whilst this is happening, you will feel no hunger and be unable to eat a thing. Your fat arse will disappear and you will be slim. And you can shop on Bond Street, wear jump suits and leggings (finally!)  and do all the crazy things those lucky slim people get to do with their lives.

Dieting fads have really jumped the shark on this one. This is frightening and another damning indictment on the West. It is about time we regulated an industry that thrives on providing quick fixes designed to encourage drastic weight loss in a short amount of time, in full knowledge that fattie will put all the weight back on once whatever programe he/she has faithfully followed has ended. Once the weight comes back, so does the said overweight individual, ready to invest in the next DVD, book, operation or Diet Tube.

Four groups of commentators have a lot to say about obesity: Doctors, Fat People, Slim People and Celebrities and the colliding, contradictory popular disourse from all three does nothing to help people in the fattest nations on earth lose weight.

Doctors only give gastric band style surgeries to the most humongous of people, forcing the desperate, the lazy and the ignorant to consume huge amount of cakes so they can get their stomachs stapled so they won’t have to consume huge amounts of cake anymore. If it is not surgery, it is repetition of the same message that has proven to be as effective as fishing with pancakes: “Eat a balanced diet, exercise 3 time s a week”

"No shit, Sherlock"

If only it were so simple.

Slim people with their “eat less, exercise more” arrogance plastered all over their smug faces as they go on their Saturday morning runs after their Friday evening binge drinking sessions do not help either. “I can eat what I want because I am so active!” Well – good for you. Not everyone has the time and confidence to put on cycling shorts and straddle a bike in a spinning class 3 times a week. People like this intimidate  – don’t pretend it is easy because it is not.  If you spend between 8am and 7pm getting ready for work, working, then coming home from work, then spend 1 hour preparing and eating a meal, spend the next hour getting the kids to bed, spend the next hour putting them back into bed, then spend the next hour getting ready for work the next day, when exactly are you  meant to find time to put on a boxercise DVD?

Female celebrities are the worst – pedaling lies about how they never diet or exercise because they magically stay in shape by just being born adorable. Their post pregnancy bodies disgust me. Time they should be devoting to their well being and that of their child is spent starving themselves and working out in secret, so they can get themselves in a bikini and leave everyday people gasping at their narcissism. Not to mention the fat celebrities who pubically battle their weight “problems” as if they are fighting Armageddon itself, succumbing to the gastric band and hoping no one finds out they cheated because they just could not learn to accept themselves as they are. Their goal is not a healthy lifestyle, their goal is to be thin, to have chest bones poking out of their V-line and shoulders that look that a boned lamb joint. Yuck.

Finally, we come to the subject of this whole sorry mess. Fat people themselves. Pointing the finger at all the slim people around them – “well, you are lucky, it’s easy for you” they say as they flatly refuse to put any effort into whatever exercise they happen to be trying that day. It is not easy for anyone, that is the point. If you are overweight you are not stupid, the equation is simple. Eat according to the calories you intend to burn. It is often a flat refusal to accept responsibility for health that is disappointing. You really are given the health you deserve, and if you abuse your body, you will have to pay for it.

The finger pointing, the patronising, the mis-information, it all has to stop.

If you are overweight, you have eaten more than the body needs, and stored the excess as fat.

There will be exceptions, no doubt. But the vast majority of overweight people are overweight for the above reason. Read it. Accept it. The body is a machine. All our bodies work in roughly the same way. Never blame metabolism because that’s like blaming a credit card for making you poor. See yourself from a completely objective point of view. Which takes me onto my next point:

It is a mental, not physical change you need to take if you are unhealthily overweight. 

The lady profiled here who actually visited Marco Gasparotti and wanted to be fed by a tube for ten days doesn’t have  weight problem. Her problem is self esteem. Apparently ‘toast goes straight to [her] bum” . Toast does not go straight to your bum. It goes into you stomach and it is your choice where it ends up. It can either end up as energy that is stored as fat, or energy that is burnt. Deal with it.  She wants to be thin but she doesn’t want to be healthy. She should not be afraid of toast, she should be afraid of being sedentary.

Stop thinking that it would be nice to have the bodies of others. Start thinking it would be nice to see food, lifestyle, exercise and ultimately yourself in a positive way, whatever you may look like.  Love your body whatever state it is in because you are more likely to look after something you love. 

Do not think about diet. Think about nutrition.

Guess what? The human body, in fact, all living things, have evolved to need food. When there is no food, things die. The whole diet industry is about taking food away from fat people. It is about going without things that ultimately feel good and are necessary. Hunger and  starvation will not work – the body needs food so much that the less you eat, the more fat you store! What diet book will ever tell you that?

Weight loss should be about what you can at least replace in your life, if not gain. If you replace refined sugar with natural sugars, and bad fats (Mars bars) with good fats (peanut butter) you are making a start. If you eat smaller portions, you can eat more meals. Gain fitness, gain muscle and gain self confidence. Stop seeing changes in the context of loss!

Balanced diets mean nothing if you don’t understand what ‘balanced’ means in the first place. So educate yourself. Don’t let Dukkon, Atkins or Mel B tell you what’s good for your body. Use your instincts, common sense and ability to sit at a computer and read about food to educate yourself. Don’t expect charlatans to educate you – they just want your money. Fact: the diet industry LOVES fat people. So stay well clear.

Enjoy the journey, not the outcome

You may exercise and eat healthily and eventually squeeze into those size 10 skinny jeans. Or you may not. The point is that you are making positive changes for yourself that have nothing to do with the barometers of success set by body-image obsessed glitterati dreaming of Daily Mail adulation.

The onion diet, the cabbage diet, the crumbs-from-the-removable-tray-in-the-toaster diet, the feed me through my stomach diet. Let us stop embarrassing ourselves. Before Africa invents a Comic Relief for the West and Somalians undertake sponsored silences to provide enough Insulin to keep a family of four alive for a whole month.

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