The Losing Battle
History books will testify
that all major battles of the previous centuries were fought
at more than one front, with defeats at some fronts and
victories at others. Unfortunately, this is not true of
some modern day battles. Take for instance, the 21st Century
Battle of the Bulge which remains, so far, mostly lost.
We are all walking, jogging, treading the mill, lifting
weights, stepping up and down, panting and sweating, and
staying the same size we were the first day we started all
this business. In fact, some of us are looking a little
bit bigger. And the people who didn't do any of this are
still the same size too. In addition they look happier having
stayed on the sofa watching TV.
People who are not very thin and
don't care, have for their theme song: 'Let Me Have Men
About Me That Are Fat….' sung by Julius Caesar in the Shakespearean
play. Fat men were popular with Caesar because in his opinion
lean people thought too much and were therefore dangerous.
Too right, as we later see when the lean Cassius coaxes
Brutus to stab Caesar. Now the point here is: Was Brutus
overweight? He probably was, otherwise he would have thought
a little more (following Caesar's assumption about lean
people) and got away from Cassius and his evil ways double
quick. But he didn't think enough, was persuaded to do the
evil deed and now forever ring the immortal words: Et tu
Following the train of logic lucidly put forth in the paragraph
above, one realizes being overweight not only allows people,
especially the ones you hate, to lecture you on the imminent
certainty of you getting high cholesterol, diabetes, high
blood pressure, gout, a stroke etc, it also means people
like Caesar are of the opinion that you don't think (except
perhaps of food). To get away from such calumnies, we really
need to lose some weight and become not only slim and elegant
but also thoughtful like 'the spare Cassius ' who 'reads
much', 'is a great observer' and 'quite looks through the
deeds of men'. Lose a few pounds and you are all these?
Bring on the diet charts! …(Since exercise does not work.)
But which diet charts to bring and
once brought, which to choose?
There are now almost as many different
diet plans now in the market as there are stars in the sky,
meaning, too many to be counted. Dr Atkins, Scarsdale, Ayurvedic,
Hydro aqua, High Protein and Low Carbohydrate, No Protein
and High Carbohydrate, Only Fruit and Vegetables, No Fruit
and Vegetables the head gets half turned. All these diet
books singing paeans to their own 'only diet that works'
share one common quality, in that they are extremely persuasive.
A fashionable protein-and-fat only diet manages to convince
otherwise intelligent people that it's okay to eat four
eggs in the morning, fried, and it's okay to follow that
up at lunch with whole roast chickens and it's fine to follow
that up at dinnertime with steaks with full fat cheese slabs
on the side. And does this diet make you lose weight? Of
course. Mostly through the body going into shock. But book
that bed at Shikdar. And confirm the appointment at Mount
Elizabeth. Because that's the final follow up to that diet.
And what about the other popular
diet: Combination? Or actually Non- Combination? What you
do here or don't do here is combine carbohydrates with proteins.
You have one or the other every time you eat, the reasoning
being, the stomach can only handle either one at a time.
My Biology teacher friend tells me that this is not true.
Saliva secreted in the mouth and gastric juices secreted
in the stomach are a 'combination' of pepsin, hydrochloric
acid and some other liquids. Saliva starts the digestion
of carbohydrate in the mouth, pepsin digests protein, hydrochloric
acid creates the correct conditions for digestion; in other
words, a combination of different kinds of food is what
the digestive system is designed to handle. But who is listening?
The newest diet making the rounds
is the one where a specific food is assigned to be eaten
on a specific day of the week. This diet chart may read
like this: bananas and milk on Sundays, potatoes and chicken
on Tuesdays, fish on Wednesdays, fish and bananas on Thursdays,
milk and potatoes on Fridays, any food which is yellow on
Saturdays etc.. Yes, you do lose weight. Mostly with the
stress of trying to remember which day of the week it is
and what you are allowed to eat that day. You are only supposed
to stay for two weeks on this diet. Any longer than that,
and the only weight you lose is that of your brain cells
which self-destruct as they cannot take this kind of complication
for more than two weeks.
Then having given up on diets, you
revert back to exercise. You decide you will not waste time
fighting your way through traffic to get to the gym or you
will not give yourself vertigo walking round and round at
the local park but you will buy your own exercise equipment
and use them at home. In a Readers Digest survey they found
the most popular gym equipment bought for home use is the
exercise bike. And the home use this generally gets put
to after a few weeks are drying towels, hanging clothes,
a backdrop for photographs, and just being a nuisance in
the middle of the room. Soon it gets moved to the balcony
where the birds perch on it and the maids put potplants
around it. Or it stays in the guestroom, mercifully out
The trouble is, something happens
to the metabolism when you reach a certain age. You don't
really have to eat much, even breathing the aroma of food
wafts in calories inside you. And nothing wafts them out.
Except perhaps starvation.
Rather than resorting to such an
extreme course of action, there are easier ways out. Such
as, living with or staying in close proximity to aunts or
adolescent children. No matter how plump you are, your aunts
will ask why you are looking so thin; and adolescents are
so self-focused and worried about their own appearance,
they will always look through you even if you are as wide
as the door. And finally the quickest and most painless
method of looking slimmer is to stand next to a person bigger
than you are. Highly recommended.