Thursday, May 24, 2007

Sobering Thoughts

DVRs are the greatest invention since sliced bread. Well, maybe not. I think there have been several pretty cool inventions since then, like the toaster, the food processor, and my favorite car of all time, the first-generation Scion xB.

But for the moment, my DVR rules the world as the best invention of all time, because it allows me to watch television programs when I wish, and it allows me to fast-forward through the commercials*. Woo! No commercials means I can zoom through a 1-hour program in 45 minutes. What a time saver.

One of the programs I watch regularly on my DVR is Inside Brookhaven Obesity Clinic. I watch it, partially because it gives me a lot of motivation to stick to my diet, and partially because I have a sick fascination watching people who are at least twice my weight. Although the whole thing makes me a little ill, the more I watch, the more I see the people on the show with a great deal of sympathy.

For those not acquainted with the series, it's a show based on the lives of patients housed in a New York obesity clinic. It shows their successes and dismal failures, and gives a pretty clear picture of what life in an obesity hospital is like. The most recent show covered a 410-pound woman who decided to go to Brookhaven when she could no longer use the bathroom by herself, and a 700-pound man from Illinois who was transported to Brookhaven because he'd spent the last nine years in a nursing home because he was so large.

The show was pretty sobering. They filmed a nurse helping the woman clean herself while she lay on her back hoisting her enormous stomach out of the way. The man was so heavy he couldn't even get out of bed. By the end of the show, he'd lost more than 50 pounds and was walking, but during the final credits, there was a short announcement saying that the episode was dedicated to him because he had died shortly after filming.

It's a pretty scary thought -- the guy lived for nine years, completely bedridden, and then died after starting to lose weight and get back on his feet. It's both incredibly sad and scary. It reminds me of my own mortality.

Could I croak from my own diet?

If that news wasn't sobering enough, yesterday's post from Tales from the Scales was equally frightening. Beth reported that "a post menopausal woman doubles her risk for breast cancer if she gained as little as 20 pounds before menopause."

Okay, so if I don't drop dead from my diet, or get breast cancer because I've been overweight, maybe I'll have a chance at a good life.


* Well I fast-forward through all of them, except for those awful Geico Caveman advertisements. I can't help myself -- I just have to find out what they will say and do next. It's too bad ABC has decided to make a television series out of these attention-getting advertisements, because they aren't using the original commercial's actors, and after watching the preview clip, I'm sure it will be a horrendous flop.

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