Pondering the pounds: Motherfessions Tales from the 'Hood

Posted: Sunday, March 01, 2009

As I was saying, I feel fat. It doesn't help matters that I'm currently enrolled in a nutrition class. I now know, in no uncertain terms, that I am (in the most clinical definition) chub-i.

I was happier when I was in denial and sincerely believed that weighing within 15 pounds of the estimate on my driver's license (provided that I grew three inches and had my left leg and thigh plastered to the bathroom counter and my hair was dry) that I was OK.

Oh no. According to the sadistic scientists that make the charts, if I were to waddle down to the beach right now the Coast Guard would either attempt to board me or write me a ticket for not being a registered vessel.

While it's not like my adipose tissues deserve their own zip code, it is true that my various maximuses could use some form of Lycra, spandex or the ever popular new Spanx Shapewear to confine them and cheer them up. None the less, I think the current B.M.I. (body mass index) guidelines are overly stringent.

"But I have big bones!" I argued. My book had no comment.

My nutrition instructor, however, had an assignment for us. We were to record everything we ate, as well as how much, when, where and why we ate. In addition, all the physically demanding activities (aka exercise) that we performed during the day needed to be calculated and charted. Even calorie-free items like water, sugarless gum and air particles were to be recorded and logged into a Web site. At the end of the week, the computer program would generate several reports providing us with a detailed analysis of our nutritional blunders.

In the evenings as I calculated my caloric intake versus my energy expenditures, I also slaved at compiling my taxes -- about as much fun as flossing with razor blades, as far as I was concerned.

I thought I was doing well until our nutrition instructor enlightened our class as to precisely what a serving looked like. To make her point, she brought a large "show and tell" suitcase full of replicas of various food items.

She started with a plastic muffin. Because it was so small, we had to pass it around the room so the people in the back could actually see it.

The grumbling from the class made the walls vibrate slightly. When we learned that a Costo muffin was enough to feed a family of six, the retaliatory comments reverberated as far as the Bering Sea. So, if you noticed a low grumbling noise followed by tremors a few weeks ago, it was not an earthquake, it was not my fellow columnist, Varney's, doggies spouting a gas leak or Redoubt rumbling, it was aftershocks from our class.

The vibrations from my own retaliatory comments made my chin fat ungulate as I stated my shock and disapproval.

"Barbie eats more than that and she is a role model for anorexia!"

"I eat that much when I am tasting my cooking!"

"Give me a break, give me a kit-kat bar while you are at it!"

"No way!"

I could barely hear the other student's complaints.

To compound the matter, my anatomy and physiology professor, "Dr. W" (who has a well-earned reputation for being extremely thorough) seemed to be going way out of his way to stress the connection between heart troubles and fat ... . Coincidence? I think not.

The good news: This semester I learned that the definition of sedentary is not applicable to college students as the brain is the most demanding organ as far as energy needs are concerned. Therefore, anyone doing strenuous mental calisthenics requires much more that celery sprigs and Splenda to survive.

We also learned that laughter can aid with many health-related issues, including weight loss. So, it is probably safe to conclude that laughter is not only good medicine; it is technically a form of aerobics.

Back in nutrition class, one of my classmates raised a good question that went something like: "With all the conflicting information out there on the Web concerning nutrition and exercise, how can we successfully determine what sources are, in fact, accurate?"

"Anything with .gov." came the answer ... and ... AS I WRESTLED WITH THAT LOGIC ... I estimate that I burned 10,000 calories, and that our family can expect approximately the same on our tax return.

Jacki Michels lives, laughs and eats in Soldotna.

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