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A few years ago, a friend, with a body mass index (BMI) in the morbidly obese range, broke a chair. Moments after consuming a very rich, decadent dessert, she decided to sample another rich, decadent dessert. It should be noted that this was not an “I just want to taste it” sample slice of dessert. The second dessert was an ample girl, I wear a size 3X, slice of cake. Almost immediately after snuggling into the chair, and before she’d placed the plate on the table, the chair collapsed under her weight. She crashed to the ground, but expertly managed to lift her arm into the air to protect the plate holding the cake, as though she had performed this maneuver previously. The chair remained suctioned to her backside.

As people rushed to her aide, her first response was, “Take the cake!” It was a scene straight out of a Saturday Night Live episode. She braced herself on a nearby chair, and flipped to her knees as the suctioned chair was wrestled from her frame. Once she realized that she was not injured, she proceeded to sit down and enjoy the cake like nothing happened. Her parents blamed the chair.

The parents claimed that the chair’s frame had been weak for years. Perhaps this is true. There were three other ample sized people in the room each enjoying decadent desserts (think “The Biggest Loser” size people) and at one time or another, each of them had spent time sitting in that chair. In fact, compared to the other three, the size 3X chair breaker was the “smallest” big person in the room. I’m certain this is why she felt justified in enjoying two desserts: “I’m big, but I’m not as big as they are.” To me, it was a sign from the sugar fairy that she’d had her decadent dessert quota for the day, and the chair had had its fill of supporting super sized butts.

Another ample sized friend with an obese BMI had knee replacement surgery a few years ago. The doctors warned him that the other knee would have to be replaced too, and strongly encouraged him to lose weight to help lessen the strain on both his natural knee and his replaced knee. Like the chair breaker’s family, this person’s parents were seemingly oblivious to their son’s obese girth. Comments that their son was obese were met with, “He’s not obese! He’s just overweight. He goes to the gym every day, and is in good shape.” Hmm.

A third friend had to have a surgical procedure that could have been accomplished through laser surgery, but because of his obesity, the doctors had to perform an incision, which lengthened his recovery time considerably. This same friend once shared that while he was on an airplane, his seat neighbor complained to the flight attendant that his body was spilling into the other passenger’s seat. This friend has to request the seatbelt extender to fasten the seatbelt around his waist. My friend seemed indignant that the passenger complained. I told him that he was lucky that the flight attendant didn’t require him to get off the flight and buy two tickets. Because that’s what some airlines will do. Frankly, I would have complained too. You want to share my seat and make my trip uncomfortable? Then you buy my ticket.

And finally, a fitness conscious friend, whose parents are morbidly obese, watched as three of her once thin siblings packed on the pounds. She vowed that the legacy of obesity would end with her. After the birth of her second child, she has remained fit through healthy eating habits and regular exercise. Following her example, two of her siblings have embraced a get fit lifestyle after recognizing that they are not destined to a life of obesity simply because their parents made unhealthy food and sedentary lifestyle choices. And for the record, my friend’s idea of fit for her height and bone structure is a size twelve, and not an anorexic size two. She looks great!

Almost everyone has monitored food intake in an attempt to lose or gain weight, or in an effort to better manage a health concern since many conditions can be controlled or eliminated through proper diet and exercise. Weight is especially relevant for image conscious teenage girls, so I made weight an issue for one of the characters in the Black Diamond Series. She battles an eating disorder, overcomes it and embraces a healthier lifestyle.

Unfortunately, the country has embraced obesity and being over weight as the norm. Not everyone has the capacity to be a single digit size, but Michelle Obama had the right idea with her “Let’s Move” campaign. We all need to move more and consume less. Of course, thin people can have bad knees and require knee replacements. But you don’t have to be an orthopedic surgeon to know that carrying around an extra fifty or one hundred pounds on your frame certainly compounds any preexisting knee or joint issues. Our skeletal frames were not meant to carry around the equivalent of a 2nd grader on our backs each and every day. They just weren’t.

As most of my readers know, I took time off from corporate America to write and raise our children. Prior to that, I held an executive level job where I invested in an executive level wardrobe of classic, quality pieces. During each pregnancy, I gained sixty, yup sixty, pounds. That’s a lot of extra weight. I was not deliberately over indulging and was following the same food intake limitations that I had always followed; yet the number on the scale mortified me at each prenatal visit. Tests for gestational diabetes were negative. My doctor explained that because I was underweight before I became pregnant, my body was catching up and gained weight quickly. Don’t get me wrong, I was grateful for each healthy baby, and although each pound was worth it, forty of the pounds came home from the hospital with me each time. I’m sure if my BMI had been tested during that time, it would have been in the overweight category. I’m tall, so I can hide forty pounds easier than a shorter person.

Thankfully, most of those pounds magically melted away with nursing, but some of them decided to take up residency. Motivated by my wardrobe investment and vanity, I was determined to “fit into” and “look good in” my expensive clothing. I trained myself that there were consequences for each decadent rich dessert that I ate and each handful of Fritos that crossed my lips. Snickers and Fritos are my junk food of choice! So, after an indulgence, I amped up the workouts. The free loading baby weight was slowly evicted, but as the eviction proceedings were underway, my metabolism decided to enter the Witness Protection Program disguised as a tortoise.

Once the tortoise claimed residency, gone were the days where I could eat whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted it and not gain an ounce. I realized that I had to work at it. Hard. The people in my family are generally thin; however, like anyone, most of us have the capacity to add pounds if we eat more and move less. Try it one day.

So, instead of giving in to the tortoise, I incorporated fun workouts into my fitness regime and healthier food choices. Muscle confusion became my mantra: Running, Tae-Bo, Yoga Booty Ballet, Hip Hop Abs, Kick boxing, Yoga, Pilates, Zumba, nightly crunches, repeat. You name it and I was trying it. I was moving and seeing results, but not at the rate that I wanted, so I hired a personal trainer. He told me to keep up the cardio and made me lift weights. The more muscle mass you have, the faster your metabolism works. He pushed me to do reps where I would have stopped had he not been standing over me. He also taught me how to “clean up my diet” so that I wasn’t thwarting the hard work that I was putting in at the gym. Pasta indulgences were limited and replaced by scrumptious salads filled with almost every color of the rainbow. Turkey meat and Rice or Almond milk became staples in our family. My personal trainer charged monthly for a set number of pre-scheduled sessions and did not give refunds if you missed a session. That motivated me as much as the results I was seeing. Personal training is costly, and I knew that I would eventually have to kick my trainer off my payroll. When I did, it was difficult to work out with the same level of focus and discipline that a trainer provides, so I joined group exercise classes where you develop accountability partners who miss you when you aren’t in class.

My metabolism wasn’t ready for this lethal combination of activity and new muscle mass, and the tortoise retired. It wasn’t replaced by the Cheetah that my metabolism had once been, but it no longer moved at a snail’s pace. Even though I remain slender and exercise regularly, I’m still heavier than my college, “sign my voucher, please,” and pre-baby weight days and have some more vanity weight that I want to shed. It’s an ego thing. Don’t get me wrong, I am 100% comfortable with my new body partly because I realize that I was far too thin in those days. My head was much too large for such a thin frame. I haven’t weighed myself in months, but I can tell when I need to amp up the workouts by the way my clothes fit, and how I look in photos. I now lead and promote a very balanced, indulgent friendly lifestyle. If I want a Snickers, I eat a Snickers. I just work it off and don’t allow myself to eat empty calories on a regular basis.

Similarly, we’ve taught our children that moderation is the key. One child has chosen to embrace a mostly gluten free borderline vegan lifestyle. No health reasons precipitated this. She did the Beyonce 21 day vegan challenge with a friend and decided to stick with a modified version of this lifestyle. Many years ago, I introduced ground turkey in place of ground beef into our meal plan, and she decided to stop eating red meat shortly after that, so I wasn’t completely surprised by this new eating lifestyle. She has maintained a healthy weight and enjoys the endorphin rush that comes from running. Like our son, the middle child is also an athlete and can eat whatever whenever. But like his father, our son has bigger bones and is self-conscious about his stocky frame. We have assured him that he will hit a growth spurt and will shoot up like a sprocket. His pediatrician has encouraged us to continue to work to help him “slim” down. His glucose levels are normal, but we have always limited dessert to Sundays, restricted our processed food intake and embraced exercise as a family. We have increased our son’s cardio while teaching him to love and appreciate the way God made him. We don’t live near many children, so he doesn’t have the ease of playing outside all day like we did as children. Excursions with friends are carefully choreographed and are heavy on the physical activity and light on the indoor gaming. His growing frame is responding to the increased physical activity, and his strength and size has become an advantage in sports. He’s very comfortable in his skin.

Physical fitness is a lifetime commitment and those who are physically fit tend to resist injury and heal faster than those who aren’t. It’s about good health. If you are a size 3X and you don’t have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart issues, upper respiratory condition, diabetes, knee or joint issues, consider yourself blessed. However, if you are struggling with health efforts or you are watching as others in your family struggle through health issues, and you are also carrying around the equivalent of a second grader on your back, you should introduce a moderate exercise program into your lifestyle and clean up your diet. And if you’re a sedentary size two, you could still be at risk for heart issues or diabetes, so you need to get moving too.

You can start by parking away from other cars in the parking lot. The extra steps are good for you and will keep your vehicle ding free. Walk up the escalator. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Go for a walk around the block at lunch every day. Limit your sweet intake to allow one treat per week. Modify your diet for seven days by restricting meat or replacing carbohydrates with an extra vegetable. Lay off the high calorie lattes and put down the soda! Drink more water. These are tricks that my family incorporated into our lifestyle years ago. Little things make a huge difference.

A concerted effort must be made to keep and maintain good health. Allow yourself treats in moderation while moving more and consuming less. And if you’re carrying around at least fifty pounds of extra weight, and a chair breaks under your load, don’t blame the chair.

User Rating: 4 / 5

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A few years ago, a friend, with a body mass index (BMI) in the morbidly obese range, broke a chair. Moments after consuming a very rich, decadent dessert, she decided to sample another rich, decadent dessert. It should be noted that this was not an “I just want to taste it” sample slice of dessert. The second dessert was an ample girl, I wear a size 3X, slice of cake. Almost immediately after snuggling into the chair, and before she’d placed the plate on the table, the chair collapsed under her weight. She crashed to the ground, but expertly managed to lift her arm into the air to protect the plate holding the cake, as though she had performed this maneuver previously. The chair remained suctioned to her backside.

As people rushed to her aide, her first response was, “Take the cake!” It was a scene straight out of a Saturday Night Live episode. She braced herself on a nearby chair, and flipped to her knees as the suctioned chair was wrestled from her frame. Once she realized that she was not injured, she proceeded to sit down and enjoy the cake like nothing happened. Her parents blamed the chair.

The parents claimed that the chair’s frame had been weak for years. Perhaps this is true. There were three other ample sized people in the room each enjoying decadent desserts (think “The Biggest Loser” size people) and at one time or another, each of them had spent time sitting in that chair. In fact, compared to the other three, the size 3X chair breaker was the “smallest” big person in the room. I’m certain this is why she felt justified in enjoying two desserts: “I’m big, but I’m not as big as they are.” To me, it was a sign from the sugar fairy that she’d had her decadent dessert quota for the day, and the chair had had its fill of supporting super sized butts.

Another ample sized friend with an obese BMI had knee replacement surgery a few years ago. The doctors warned him that the other knee would have to be replaced too, and strongly encouraged him to lose weight to help lessen the strain on both his natural knee and his replaced knee. Like the chair breaker’s family, this person’s parents were seemingly oblivious to their son’s obese girth. Comments that their son was obese were met with, “He’s not obese! He’s just overweight. He goes to the gym every day, and is in good shape.” Hmm.

A third friend had to have a surgical procedure that could have been accomplished through laser surgery, but because of his obesity, the doctors had to perform an incision, which lengthened his recovery time considerably. This same friend once shared that while he was on an airplane, his seat neighbor complained to the flight attendant that his body was spilling into the other passenger’s seat. This friend has to request the seatbelt extender to fasten the seatbelt around his waist. My friend seemed indignant that the passenger complained. I told him that he was lucky that the flight attendant didn’t require him to get off the flight and buy two tickets. Because that’s what some airlines will do. Frankly, I would have complained too. You want to share my seat and make my trip uncomfortable? Then you buy my ticket.

And finally, a fitness conscious friend, whose parents are morbidly obese, watched as three of her once thin siblings packed on the pounds. She vowed that the legacy of obesity would end with her. After the birth of her second child, she has remained fit through healthy eating habits and regular exercise. Following her example, two of her siblings have embraced a get fit lifestyle after recognizing that they are not destined to a life of obesity simply because their parents made unhealthy food and sedentary lifestyle choices. And for the record, my friend’s idea of fit for her height and bone structure is a size twelve, and not an anorexic size two. She looks great!

Almost everyone has monitored food intake in an attempt to lose or gain weight, or in an effort to better manage a health concern since many conditions can be controlled or eliminated through proper diet and exercise. Weight is especially relevant for image conscious teenage girls, so I made weight an issue for one of the characters in the Black Diamond Series. She battles an eating disorder, overcomes it and embraces a healthier lifestyle.

Unfortunately, the country has embraced obesity and being over weight as the norm. Not everyone has the capacity to be a single digit size, but Michelle Obama had the right idea with her “Let’s Move” campaign. We all need to move more and consume less. Of course, thin people can have bad knees and require knee replacements. But you don’t have to be an orthopedic surgeon to know that carrying around an extra fifty or one hundred pounds on your frame certainly compounds any preexisting knee or joint issues. Our skeletal frames were not meant to carry around the equivalent of a 2nd grader on our backs each and every day. They just weren’t.

As most of my readers know, I took time off from corporate America to write and raise our children. Prior to that, I held an executive level job where I invested in an executive level wardrobe of classic, quality pieces. During each pregnancy, I gained sixty, yup sixty, pounds. That’s a lot of extra weight. I was not deliberately over indulging and was following the same food intake limitations that I had always followed; yet the number on the scale mortified me at each prenatal visit. Tests for gestational diabetes were negative. My doctor explained that because I was underweight before I became pregnant, my body was catching up and gained weight quickly. Don’t get me wrong, I was grateful for each healthy baby, and although each pound was worth it, forty of the pounds came home from the hospital with me each time. I’m sure if my BMI had been tested during that time, it would have been in the overweight category. I’m tall, so I can hide forty pounds easier than a shorter person.

Thankfully, most of those pounds magically melted away with nursing, but some of them decided to take up residency. Motivated by my wardrobe investment and vanity, I was determined to “fit into” and “look good in” my expensive clothing. I trained myself that there were consequences for each decadent rich dessert that I ate and each handful of Fritos that crossed my lips. Snickers and Fritos are my junk food of choice! So, after an indulgence, I amped up the workouts. The free loading baby weight was slowly evicted, but as the eviction proceedings were underway, my metabolism decided to enter the Witness Protection Program disguised as a tortoise.

Once the tortoise claimed residency, gone were the days where I could eat whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted it and not gain an ounce. I realized that I had to work at it. Hard. The people in my family are generally thin; however, like anyone, most of us have the capacity to add pounds if we eat more and move less. Try it one day.

So, instead of giving in to the tortoise, I incorporated fun workouts into my fitness regime and healthier food choices. Muscle confusion became my mantra: Running, Tae-Bo, Yoga Booty Ballet, Hip Hop Abs, Kick boxing, Yoga, Pilates, Zumba, nightly crunches, repeat. You name it and I was trying it. I was moving and seeing results, but not at the rate that I wanted, so I hired a personal trainer. He told me to keep up the cardio and made me lift weights. The more muscle mass you have, the faster your metabolism works. He pushed me to do reps where I would have stopped had he not been standing over me. He also taught me how to “clean up my diet” so that I wasn’t thwarting the hard work that I was putting in at the gym. Pasta indulgences were limited and replaced by scrumptious salads filled with almost every color of the rainbow. Turkey meat and Rice or Almond milk became staples in our family. My personal trainer charged monthly for a set number of pre-scheduled sessions and did not give refunds if you missed a session. That motivated me as much as the results I was seeing. Personal training is costly, and I knew that I would eventually have to kick my trainer off my payroll. When I did, it was difficult to work out with the same level of focus and discipline that a trainer provides, so I joined group exercise classes where you develop accountability partners who miss you when you aren’t in class.

My metabolism wasn’t ready for this lethal combination of activity and new muscle mass, and the tortoise retired. It wasn’t replaced by the Cheetah that my metabolism had once been, but it no longer moved at a snail’s pace. Even though I remain slender and exercise regularly, I’m still heavier than my college, “sign my voucher, please,” and pre-baby weight days and have some more vanity weight that I want to shed. It’s an ego thing. Don’t get me wrong, I am 100% comfortable with my new body partly because I realize that I was far too thin in those days. My head was much too large for such a thin frame. I haven’t weighed myself in months, but I can tell when I need to amp up the workouts by the way my clothes fit, and how I look in photos. I now lead and promote a very balanced, indulgent friendly lifestyle. If I want a Snickers, I eat a Snickers. I just work it off and don’t allow myself to eat empty calories on a regular basis.

Similarly, we’ve taught our children that moderation is the key. One child has chosen to embrace a mostly gluten free borderline vegan lifestyle. No health reasons precipitated this. She did the Beyonce 21 day vegan challenge with a friend and decided to stick with a modified version of this lifestyle. Many years ago, I introduced ground turkey in place of ground beef into our meal plan, and she decided to stop eating red meat shortly after that, so I wasn’t completely surprised by this new eating lifestyle. She has maintained a healthy weight and enjoys the endorphin rush that comes from running. Like our son, the middle child is also an athlete and can eat whatever whenever. But like his father, our son has bigger bones and is self-conscious about his stocky frame. We have assured him that he will hit a growth spurt and will shoot up like a sprocket. His pediatrician has encouraged us to continue to work to help him “slim” down. His glucose levels are normal, but we have always limited dessert to Sundays, restricted our processed food intake and embraced exercise as a family. We have increased our son’s cardio while teaching him to love and appreciate the way God made him. We don’t live near many children, so he doesn’t have the ease of playing outside all day like we did as children. Excursions with friends are carefully choreographed and are heavy on the physical activity and light on the indoor gaming. His growing frame is responding to the increased physical activity, and his strength and size has become an advantage in sports. He’s very comfortable in his skin.

Physical fitness is a lifetime commitment and those who are physically fit tend to resist injury and heal faster than those who aren’t. It’s about good health. If you are a size 3X and you don’t have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart issues, upper respiratory condition, diabetes, knee or joint issues, consider yourself blessed. However, if you are struggling with health efforts or you are watching as others in your family struggle through health issues, and you are also carrying around the equivalent of a second grader on your back, you should introduce a moderate exercise program into your lifestyle and clean up your diet. And if you’re a sedentary size two, you could still be at risk for heart issues or diabetes, so you need to get moving too.

You can start by parking away from other cars in the parking lot. The extra steps are good for you and will keep your vehicle ding free. Walk up the escalator. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Go for a walk around the block at lunch every day. Limit your sweet intake to allow one treat per week. Modify your diet for seven days by restricting meat or replacing carbohydrates with an extra vegetable. Lay off the high calorie lattes and put down the soda! Drink more water. These are tricks that my family incorporated into our lifestyle years ago. Little things make a huge difference.

A concerted effort must be made to keep and maintain good health. Allow yourself treats in moderation while moving more and consuming less. And if you’re carrying around at least fifty pounds of extra weight, and a chair breaks under your load, don’t blame the chair.