Weight Out There

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I wear these big round sunglasses when I drive. The problem is, my kids make fun of me because they say I look like a bug.

“Sunglasses are supposed to be narrow and sleek,” said my daughter, “Why do you insist on wearing those huge things?”

The answer is obvious to any woman over forty. “Because they make my face look thinner.”

She stared in disbelief, a look only possible because she’s a young thin girl who’s never had to worry about her weight.

“It’s true,” I went on to explain. “Haven’t you ever seen those models wearing oversized sweaters that hang down to their knees and slide off their shoulders provocatively? They look incredibly thin.”

“They are incredibly thin.”

“OK, that’s true but the idea still goes. If you wear clothes two sizes too big for you, it makes people think you’ve lost weight. The same thing goes with sunglasses. The bigger the frames the smaller your face appears in comparison.”

This gave her a moment of pause before she continued. “If you think you look too fat, why don’t you just exercise and go on a diet?”

I laughed out loud.

“Sweetheart, weight loss is a process not an end result. Right now ninety-five percent of all women in America are preparing to go on diets, switching diets, cheating on diets, or recommitting to diets. The point is to look like you’re farther ahead on the diet carousel than you actually are.”

My daughter might not appreciate the fact yet, but women like me can actually qualify as experts in the field of weight loss. For example, during my stint with a certain weight program that required weekly weigh-ins, I knew exactly how to get the lowest numbers. I used the restroom just before I stepped on the scale, and of course I chose my clothing carefully. Only at these particular weekly meetings will you find women dressed in tank tops and thin cotton shorts in ten degree weather.

But that’s just the beginning. I’ve learned how to make diet shakes more palatable with the addition of healthy and sometimes not so healthy ingredients. I’ve downed so many glasses of water; I couldn’t pass a bathroom without making a visit. I’ve eaten veggies and fruits till I felt like a rabbit, and even tried the new diet-math theory that states; if you eat a candy bar and drink a diet soda at the same meal the calories will cancel each other out.

Think about it. We women put an amazing amount of time, energy and money into trying to reduce our size. Ironically it doesn’t seem to matter how much we weigh to begin with, everyone wants to be thinner.

Some women will claim that their only interest in losing weight is to get healthy or enjoy an energy boost. That’s all good and well, but I suggest that for most of us the bottom line is, we want to look hot. Regardless of our age, we women want men to look twice at us when we walk into a room, and we want them to wish we were leaving on their arm.

Don’t believe me? Have you ever visited a convalescent home and watched the elderly ladies with blue hair in wheel chairs flirt outrageously with the bald headed elderly men? – I believe I’ve made my point.

So of course, those sharp marketing experts on Wall Street have learned to take our obsession and use it to peddle their products shamelessly. Everything from perfume to soda pop is marketed in such a way as to convince us how much more exciting life would be if only we’d buy the right stuff. According to one ad, if I buy a certain brand of potato chips, my whole life will become one wild party with me the most sought after woman there. Talk about a lot of power for a salty little snack food.

The ads that really get me though, are the ones for exercise equipment.

“After just two weeks of use, you will notice a difference in your body,” says a voice-over narrator while scantily dressed men and woman work away as if they were having the time of their life.

They’re right, you will notice a difference. You’re muscles will be so sore that you won’t be able to move your arms higher than your elbows.

I especially love the actors they hire to play the part of real people. Men and women with bulging biceps and rock hard abs insisting that before they used this piece of equipment they were flabby weaklings who couldn’t walk up stairs without hyperventilating; but look at them now. And if you believe that I have a nice piece of land in the swamps of Florida I’d love to sell.

There are of course many other options in the quest for the trimmer tummy and the thinner thighs. Medical professionals have a whole bag of surgical tricks from wiring ones jaw shut to liposuctioning out those stubborn fat deposits. We can go to a hypnotist to convince ourselves that we hate chocolate. There are herbs and extracts, drugs and vitamins all claiming to make weight loss as painless as weight gain.

Then there are the books. Shelves and shelves of experts telling us that the simple secret to losing weight and rediscovering our collar bones is in the combination of foods we eat and the time of day we eat them.

When you think about it, weight loss is a huge industry providing steady salaries to tons of men and women. Do you realize that if we, as a nation, really did become healthy, eat right and lose all our excess weight, we would put thousands of people out of work? In fact, with the economy in as bad a shape as it is right now, can we in good conscious, improve our own shape?

So, in the spirit of freedom and the American way I’m off to grab a Mars bar, slip it into my oversized jacket, put on my big sunglasses and head out the door to buy more ice cream. As I wedge myself behind the steering wheel, I distinctly notice that the garbage man has just taken a second look.

Do I know my stuff or what?

write by Bridget


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