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Health June 2018

Lose Weight and Scare Your Friends

By Sam Beeson

As she saw me enter the bowling alley, she said she thought I looked scary thin. I’m NOT scary thin. I’m far more scary than thin, in fact. But for someone who might not see me that often in clothes that actually fit, she thought that my weight loss was dramatic and concerning.

“Please tell me you’re not sick.” Her eyes were filled with concern. Her voice was hushed. She had the appearance of being braced for bad news. She hadn’t seen me in a while and my appearance had her frightened.

I laughed.

Several months ago, my doctor told me that my blood sugar levels were a little high. Nothing to be too concerned about, he said, but you may want to lose a few pounds, eat better, no sugar, and cut down on the carbs.

It was a death sentence. No sweets? Cut down on carbs? I love carbs…and sweets.

But, I didn’t want to get Type II diabetes at this stage of my life so I took his advice to heart.

When you are young, and you lose weight, people come up to you and say, “Hey you look great! What diet are you on? Atkins? Vegan? Gluten free? Paleo?” (Speaking of which….what is “paleo?” I picture a variety of delectable Dino-dishes such as Brontosaurus Burgers, T-Rex Ribs, Velociraptor Wraps). But when you get on the serious side of middle aged, and you start shedding some pounds, people immediately think you are on death’s door.

I bowl in a bowling league. Usually, for bowling I wear loose fitting shorts and t-shirts. Baggy clothes that are comfortable to move around in, and are not very form flattering. Not that I cared about that at all.

However, this particular night I had been called in to work on the night shift right after my league was finished. So I showed up to bowl wearing my work-casual dress duds. Well, my dress clothes fit me more like clothes should, so my bowling league friend could tell how much weight I had lost (about 50 pounds).

As she saw me enter the bowling alley, she said she thought I looked scary thin. I’m NOT scary thin. I’m far more scary than thin, in fact. But for someone who might not see me that often in clothes that actually fit, she thought that my weight loss was dramatic and concerning.

Being told I looked like I might have a health issue is a bit disconcerting. But the truth is, I haven’t felt this good in 30 years – the last time I weighed what I do now. Nonetheless, I took it as a compliment. My diet was working.

In the past, my idea of dieting was trying not to eat anything larger than my head. But that diet failed in spectacular fashion. So, completely on my own, I changed my eating habits. I have not eliminated anything completely. I feel if you completely take stuff that you love away, you’re going to cheat, feel bad, and drop your diet. Instead, I make an active choice to eat less than I normally would. Instead of seconds (or frequently for me, thirds), I limit my food intake to a single portion on my plate. I supplement the yummy carbs with veggies, and have greatly reduced sweets. On top of that, I walk about a mile per day.

That’s it. That’s all it took for me to lose so much weight that I worried my friends. It doesn’t come off fast, but it comes off fast enough that in less than a year, people might think that you are suffering from some horrible disease. (Disclaimer, I am not a doctor, nor have I ever played one on TV. Any diet should be monitored by your health care professional. I am not a lawyer either, but I still feel obliged to say that.)

The lesson to learn here is simple. When you see an older person who looks like they have lost a significant amount of weight, don’t assume they are sick. But ask them anyway. If they are, they’ll appreciate your concern. If they’re not, they’ll appreciate you noticing.

(Oooh! Tricera-chops! I think my Dino-Dash restaurant might be a thing!)

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