What I Write When I'm Not Sure What I Want to Say: On Weight Maintenance and Vanity Sizing Redux


Do not wait; the time will never be "just right." Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along.
--George Herbert
What a strange power there is in clothing.
--Isaac Bashevis Singer
On Wednesday, Dr. Oz featured Susan and Pete, a couple who started Weight Watchers three months ago. So far, they have done very well, lowering their weight (Susan, 18 pounds lost; Pete, 33 pounds), BMI (she, from 29 to 26; he from 35 to 29), and body fat (she, from 41% to 37%; he, 33% to 28%).

Kudos to them!

The truth of the matter: all diets work very well at taking the weight off.

However, what I would like to see: follow-up shows on Susan and Pete, a year and two years from now, to see how well these Weight Watchers members have maintained their weight and healthy lifestyles.

You see, I am convinced that this is the missing element from all commercial diet programs, and I'm trying to understand why this part of weight management is so elusive for 93% to 95% of us.

Perhaps I should start a non-profit Maintenance Support Group for people who have graduated from weight loss programs (not just Weight Watchers). After all, weight maintainers have different physical and psychological issues than weight losers who are experiencing the high of "sculpting" a new body.

For maintainers, the world becomes ordinary again, family and friend support slowly drifting away, at least to the extent that the maintainer might still need. I mean, how long can you rah, rah someone for keeping the weight off?

Idea: perhaps the commercial, insurance industry, and non-profit could partner, forming a powerhouse service. After all, these groups would have a vested interest in keeping maintainers healthy and fit: subsidies for the commercial programs (for running the support groups, at a slight profit and/or tax write off, under their brands); healthier insureds for insurance companies, the health care industry, and business world; and for communities, healthier people overall.

By the way, just after the Weight Watchers segment, WW ran an ad. I point this out not because I find this mix of info and ad "wrong" but to remind readers that there is some inherent built-in bias here, given that Weight Watchers is one of Dr. Oz's sponsors; for that reason alone, this rah, rah segment cannot be unbiased. One must always look at advertising as presenting the "best case scenario" and, sometimes, presenting highly unrealistic expectations.

As H.G. Wells said: "Advertising is legalized lying."

Well, maybe legalized exaggerating.

I recently interviewed Dr. Harvey Rapp, a friend and a "naturally" thin person. Harvey is over 65, diabetic (Type 1 diagnosed when he was in his 50's), and has been slim his entire life. What he revealed to me is short of shocking; I'll be posting this article soon, once I feel well enough to get cracking on writing it.

Also, Dr. Oz recently did a show on vanity sizing; I swear, I knew nothing about this program when I posted Women's Clothing: What in the World Has Happened to Women's Sizes?

I'm glad that Dr. Oz has addressed this issue because vanity sizing goes beyond making women feel better about themselves for the purpose of selling more clothing. It's dangerous because many women use their clothing (instead of the scale) to gauge their size.

I'm probably more aware than most because I still have 11-year-old size 10 jeans and shorts, and I have no hope (at my current weight) of getting into them.

I think this is a good case where government intervention might be a good thing, a mandate to size clothing according to waist, bust, length, and inseam.

The free market has proven time and time again that it is unable to police itself. Greed gets in the way.

Bye for now!

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