me and mr. mendoza

I like this picture because it represents my relationship with the scale. I shout profanities at it every morning.

Just kidding. Actually - I've been relatively successful with dieting in the past little bit and the issue has been on my mind so I thought I'd put a few ideas together.

First. For the first time since my sophomore year in high school, I'm below the mendoza line for weight. Just barely - 199. I'm not sure what my end goal is, though I've said many times to Ashley that 195 was my ultimate goal. I'm on the high end of "normal" according to this BMI calculator thing.

But then I started playing around with the figures a little bit, and I found out that I could dip down to a svelte 155 and still be "normal." Sick. I cannot even imagine what a 6'4" 155 lb David would look like. Oh wait... yes I can.

That got me thinking... there has to be some other factors than BMI that are better at predicting health. Blood pressure? Cholesterol levels? Heart rate? I dunno, probably a lot of those things. Or maybe none of them. This is an interesting graphic that said for me, a white male (as I age), that heart disease is my biggest health nemesis. So - I feel good about that. I'm doing good in the heart health category.

I was listening to a freakonomics podcast where one guy was essentially arguing that the obesity "epidemic" has been vastly, and hastily over-rated. In it, some smug academic does some research and finds out that a lot of the figures being used derives from old data, or blah blah blah some other type of shortcoming that questions the connections between obesity and health maladies.

I didn't find it particularly convincing - basically because I think it's fodder for people to convince themselves that they don't have to make lifestyle changes to become more healthy. I think a lot of my negative feelings towards obesity, derive in self loathing from when I was heavier. Its like I have to hate that person to never become him again.

If you want something really harrowing, look at the CDC's obesity figures by state, from 1985 to 2008.

Ever since I began losing weight in 2004, I have to admit I've been somewhat obsessed with the topic of weight loss. Ashley gets mad at me when I want to watch the "one ton man" shows on TV. For some reason, I feel like I need to watch those shows to prevent some type of relapse. I am afraid of gaining the weight I began to lose six years ago.

Most recently - this year I found myself about 20 lbs heavier than where I wanted to be, so I began watching my diet a lot more closely. I try not to eat sweets during the week, and I've also been skipping breakfast. Say what you will about breakfast (ok, I lied, I usually have a lump of cookie dough and a swig of milk), I think it's personally over-rated unless you are gonna go really decadent and even then that's not a once a day type thing.

So in about 4 months time I've lost most the weight I wanted to, with basic diet choices and consistent exercise.

This is just a smattering of stuff I've been thinking about. Do any of you guys think about this stuff? Do any of you have experiences, successes or failures with this type of stuff? For me it seems like I have to err on the side of zealotry to keep weight off. When I get relaxed, the clothes get a little snug.


Dawn D. Lion said...

I have many thoughts about weight and weight loss. What woman in our culture doesn't? Esp for women, it is a huge huge issue, how could it not be. My thoughts are framed by having had many friends with eating disorders which own their life. And beyond that, what is considered "normal" eating obsession, in a group of women, where they all sit around and fret about an extra 10 lbs, sorry but I think life is too short and too full of things that matter, for stuff like that!
I do think that fat is a feminist issue. I don't own a scale, and don't want to know what I weigh. There's so many things about our culture's food system that bother me, I think obesity and on the flip side, bulemia/anorexia are just one symptom of it, if that makes sense. Have you read Micheal Pollan - In Defense of Food? He explains the modern disconnect from food so well.
My own personal weight fluctuates, usually I put on more weight in the winter, when I'm eating heavier seasonal foods, and to me that seems right. If all my pants start getting tight, I might try to scale back on eating heavier this or that. Or more than that, take it as a sign that I should be a little more active with exercise. But hold on the self-loathing.

Sally DeFord said...

Hi David. I spend way too much time fretting about my weight and I'm embarrassed by it. I admit to having some body image issues and I just don't like being chubby. I'm a stress eater so I've gained wait as several stressful times in my life. I'd like to see some comments on men regarding their weight. I feel like Willie could care less, which seem kind of freeing. I grew up with a dad that had/has an eating disorder so these issues are ever with me.

Priscilla said...

Why did I have to be eating a bowl of ice cream when I decided to check your blog....

Liz said...

BMI is completely bogus. If you put NBA players' stats into the BMI, it says they're obese. Give me a break. It doesn't have any provisions for muscle which--as we all know, weighs more than fat.

At least that's what I tell myself so I can sleep at night.

david said...


as with many things you are so balanced. you have such a healthy approach to body image, and i admire you for this.

i haven't read michael pollen, but i've heard pretty good things about him.

i do think that you are fortunate to have self esteem that is removed from your weight, which for most people is difficult.

you knew me when i was heavy. my entire life, i thought i'd be a heavy person. it's really who i identified myself as.

when i was younger, in teen years, i didn't really date that much and i attributed it much to the fact that i was heavy. sure i had friends that were girls, but i never got the impression that they were interested in me.

even in college, i think i felt like i was someone who people could be intellectually attracted to, but not physically.

its interesting that i measured my attractiveness in relations to my relationships.

of course, deep down, i think i also blamed some failed relationships on my weight. even though that's not the case, my body image issues got mixed up in all of that.

losing the weight has made me a much more confident person (kind of problematic, for me = pulsiphers sometimes suffer from extreme ego-inflation)


HA HA!!! hysterical.

david said...

nice liz. athletes, or any toned person are obvious exceptions to this. why isn't there a BMI thing a majig that allows for more complex body characteristics.

post script:
155 here i come ashley!!!!

Dawn D. Lion said...

I wanted to add that it's nice to hear your thoughts on it, David from a male point of view. I think in movies you see the bigger guy (Seth Rogan, Jack Black) and he seems less socially stigmatized than the bigger woman, but there are probably similarities too.

Blythe said...

I think I too err on the side of zealotry sometimes, both in the way I eat and in the feeling I get if I don't have time to excercise one day out of fourteen (vaguely panicky).

I hardly ever skip breakfast, but that's because part of my personal zealotry is a refusal to eat late at night (unless it is come kind of special occasion, I rarely eat anything after 6 pm). So by the time morning rolls around, I have visions of a bagel and latte dancing in my head. My family will also tell you that if I am awake too long without eating, I become nearly psychotic. I also tend to eat lightly during the week and have a big dinner with dessert on my Friday date night.

I've been eating more or less the same way for eight years or so, and I am happy with my weight. My main philosophy is to exercise every day and only eat the stuff that's worth it. I have a sweet tooth, and I indulge it in a small way pretty much every day. But I just won't eat things I am not excited about eating. Several of my co-workers eat frozen "Smart ones". These look completely gross to me - so gross that I'd rather eat nothing at all.

I also think that most adults do not need three giant meals a day, unless they are Olympic athletes. Pick two, and then have some healthy snacks.

Just my $.02...others' mileage may vary.

adrian L said...

this post makes me wish i was back in downtown la. in the morning, i'd be like, "it's time for breakfast at lost souls." and we'd go for an ube shake. then at lunch time, i could try and get you to eat deep fried fatty goodness. and then, a couple hrs later, i'd say, "hey, how 'bout some ice cream today?" and that would be every day.

unfortunately, i'm in japan, where the vast majority of people are small (and thin), and they eat "sensible" portions. where's the gluttony?!?! i was thinking about how well a hawaiian bbq spot might do here.