Monday, May 7, 2012

Are Obese Women Lazy?

When you have been gone for awhile and then come is nice to know you were missed. That is how I felt after yesterdays comments on my blog. Thank you for letting me know I still have readers..... although my poor blog has been shoved to the wayside for so long. It made me smile. Between the blog comments and the facebook comments....I got some awesome ideas. Some will flow like water and others will take some time and research but all so far will be turned into blogs in the very near future.

While all were in particular peeked my interest. It was put as a question. Are obese women lazy? That was the "ouch" heard round the world! But if you think about it...what a great question and what an even better way to shed some light on an issue and  get rid of some prejudice and maybe even some stereo typing. So here goes.

When I was younger (a lot younger) obesity was not as prevalent as it is today. In fact growing up...I knew very few obese kids or adults. I do believe this was in part due to the fact that both kids and adults had a less sedentary life. TV had three channels and the shows weren't all that great. There were no video games or home computers and people got up and did "things" for entertainment. Families bowled, miniature golfed and stayed active outdoors. Fast food wasn't on every corner and diets consisted more of home cooking than quick processed cooking. People were more active and I think they ate better. That being said....I still know that there were people who struggled with weight issues. Not lazy people...just normal people who simply weren't as lucky as the rest of the world.

I remember one individual in particular. At the time...this person was the heaviest person I knew. While many who were called "fat" years ago would be considered a healthy weight or a few extra pounds today...this person was obese even by today's standards. For being obese though...this person was extremely active. They danced (beautifully), bowled, swam and were always on the go. I knew this person fairly well and I was around when they ate on numerous occasions. Never did I see them eat second or third helpings but looking back...their food choices were not really stellar. They ate fast food (what was available at the time) and went for the sugary soda's and larger size meals.  I would say food choices were this persons issue and not laziness at all.

Now moving ahead to today. I am no longer a size 6 myself and I am not alone. Many of the women I know are in the same boat as I and yet I don't think there is a lazy one in the bunch. While I can't speak for them....I can say that my weight gain started after my last son was born. My body refused to cooperate and heal which eventually led me to having a hysterectomy. This threw my body into a tail spin. About the same time this was going thyroid decided to slow down and between the metabolism all but shut down. Add to all of this the fact that I was going through having a special needs child under a year old, losing my husband and losing my mother all in the same 24 month period....and I ended up with my body being both mentally and physically in turmoil.

Between the thyroid issue and the hysterectomy....I felt awful most of the time. I never quit (I had three kids at home) but what I could do lessened a great deal. My energy was zero and anything I ate seemed to turn to fat. Because I was exhausted all the time I didn't eat healthy meals and a great deal of fast and processed food became the norm at my house. It took me several years to get my hormones and my thyroid under control. By that time.....I wasn't 20 anymore and the weight didn't just fall off my body. On the contrary. It put down roots and decided it was going to stay....and multiply!

I may not dig ditches or bail hay, but I am far from lazy. My days start some times as early as 5 a.m. and often don't end until as late as 11 p.m. There are days when my rear end does not touch a seat until well after 5 p.m. My days are filled with laundry, house cleaning, taking care of David (which requires a lot of lifting) and a million other things that mothers do. Often at night my sleep is sketchy because I am up with David or waking up because I think I hear David. If activity alone was what kept a person thin....then I would be a size 2. In fact isn't.

What I have learned through the years is that in order to not necessarily stay "skinny" but to stay healthy...there has to be a balance. Laziness seldom figures into a heavy woman's issues. First of all....a healthy diet with little or no fast or processed food is a big step in the right direction. Getting fruits, veggies, protein and the right amount of fats and carbs are essential. Eating regularly......often five small meals a day is important. Many of us women who hold the weight...(because we are the opposite of lazy) make a crucial mistake. We get so busy that often we forget to eat. When you are young and your metabolism burns like rocket fuel...if you forget to eat....the weight just falls from your body. However, as we grow older and our metabolism slows to a snails pace...then if we forget to eat our body goes into starvation mode. Our body tells our brain that we may not get another meal and our brain then turns around and tells our body to start storing fat in case this happens. This is why  regular eating is so important to keep our body metabolizing properly and therefore not sending it into starvation mode.

Another key component is exercise...both cardio and weights. This is where a lot of us women hurt ourselves. Because we lead such busy lives and have ourselves booked and double booked throughout the day....most of us just don't exercise. When you are busy doing for your husband, your kids, your parents, work, the school and all the other people and things you have to crowd into your life.....your needs often fall to the wayside. How do you add an extra 30 minutes to an hour to an already overfilled day? Without exercise though....we take years off our lives. We set ourselves up not only for obesity but also heart disease, stroke, cancer, osteoporosis and diabetes. By finding that extra hour 3-5 times a week though....we strengthen our bones and all our muscles including the heart, we take off extra weight and we speed up the slowing metabolism. We gain stamina and flexibility and in turn reverse some of the damage that our prior bad habits have caused.

Other things can lead to weight gain and obesity in women too. It is not all bad food choices and lack of exercise. As we get older sometimes our aging bodies require medicines that our younger bodies did not. Many medicines have nasty side effects such as hunger and a slowing of our already slow metabolism. Genes also play a part in weight gain with age. Sometimes we just lose out in the "great gene" department. These things make it even harder for women to obtain or maintain a healthy weight.

So do I think that obese women are lazy? As a rule....absolutely not! I think we could all stand to make better food choices and find those minutes to exercise, but obesity has many causes and seldom does a person gain a large amount of weight overnight. It usually takes a woman years of being so busy taking care of others and forgetting to take care of herself, physical issues, meds and bad food choices to become obese. It is not a case of one day she just sits down on the couch with bon bons and a TV remote and never moves again!

So for anyone out there who has the idea that obesity=laziness, try a little less judgment and a little more understanding. I am not saying there aren't people out there who are both obese and lazy....I am just saying that the two don't always walk hand in hand.


Anonymous said...

Thank you. I will be sure and make my son in law read this. He has does think obese people are lazy.

Too busy to exercise said...

I think some people connect laziness with whether you do or don't exercise. I am like you said too busy to exercise. I know that sounds like an excuse but finding the time is just hard. I do a million other things each day, but because I don't exercise then there are those who will label me lazy. It really makes me mad it isn't fair. Great blog.

Anonymous said...

I understand that life sometimes gets in the way of things we need to do but exercise is vital to life. It took me years to realize that I had to make myself as much a priority as everyone else in my family because if I didn't then who would take care of them. As a wife, mother, daughter, caretaker, chief cook and bottle washer it takes a lot of energy and if we don't take care of ourselves then we can't take care of those who need us the way they should be taken care of. I agree with everything you said in this blog. I was THAT woman. One day though I just got too tired to take care of the world, so I decided to take care of me. I lost 45 lbs and worked out at least 3 times a week. Now I have more energy than I have maybe ever had and I don't have the aches and pains and simple exhaustion that I used to have. Women for the most part are not a lazy breed. Because we tend to be the opposite of that and always put others before ourselves we end up with all the issues. Ladies put you first and the rest will follow. I know what I am talking about.


Anonymous said...

It all comes down to choices. Many of them are outlined in your blog.

A few years ago I found I was allergic to corn. Seriously allergic. Once I learned that corn was in almost everything in the center aisles of the grocery store and in EVERYTHING at the restaurants I changed my eating habits.

I dropped 30 pounds fast. Stupid fast. Without even exercising.

Our bodies have no idea how to process High Fructose Corn Syrup so its stored as fat. Really.

But you have to read the labels are avoid the corn crap. Think about it. We use corn to fatten cattle before going to market to be butchered. So why do we eat the same way cattle do?

We also eat today like everyday is our birthday and we have 200+ channels of TV and a remote so we don't have to move. We are eating our way to an early death. 42% of Americans are now considered obese.

Change a few things and you'll feel and look more like people did in the 80s. Minus the leisure suit, platform shoes and big hair. :)