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How Fat Is Fit?
by Elizabeth Foust

Have you noticed how impossible it is these days not to pick up a newspaper or a magazine without an article about getting in shape? How much you need it, how to achieve and how to keep it once you get it!

Most of America and the rest of the world knows the dialogue by now. Cut out fats, carbohydrates, sugar, red meat, dark meat. . . think fish! Eat it with plenty of vegetables, (but not white potatoes). Vegetables like Okra, fiddleheads, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, etc., (Fiber you know). Don't touch an avocado with a ten-foot pole. Eat lots of fruits, especially thick skinned or ones with shriveled skins, prunes, figs etc. (fiber again). Oh yes, most important of all, drink 8 large glasses of water every day to flush out all those poisons in your system. Did you ever try to drink 8 large glasses of water a day? Flush is the key word here. This is especially fun if you are holding down a full time job.

That's only half of the bad news. Exercise . . . that nasty word completes the ugly picture. A mere 30 minutes a day, the articles proclaim will do the trick. Then the articles go on with 3 pages of pre-exercise warm-ups. The warm-ups of course are demonstrated by a nubile young thing, younger than my grandchildren wearing one of those obscene little exercise suits. You know the ones I'm talking about. The sides are cut up to her armpits. As for the bottom half, I never could understand why anything made so skimpy had to have a thong over it, probably to enhance her perfect size 3! The infomercials are even more terrible. When is the last time anyone saw an exercise demonstration given by a size 16 model? Wouldn' t that be heaven? At least some of us sized over 16 would be more inspired.

It usually depresses me so much to glance at all the pre-warm up exercises, I never get to the nitty gritty. That's usually enough excercise for me for days.

These articles often have a few words about how exercise will reduce your stress. It never reduces my stress. It increases it! Worrying about how to even start it, plus the thoughts of the diet is enough to make me reach for something comforting. My staff of life is chocolate, sour cream, butter or bacon. My psyche needs these things, hence the lifelong achievement of never having and never wearing a size 3 or 4 or 6 or . . . never mind, you get the idea.

Don't you just love those before and after pictures of the successful diet? Mrs. Plum Dumpling is shown before the diet and exercise program, wearing a canvas drop cloth muumuu, hair in pink plastic rollers, seated in a wheelbarrow like chair, her saddlebags hanging over the sides , with a pitiful expression on her face.

Six months later, Mrs. Dumpling has turned into Mrs. Sexy Stringbean. She has lost about 150 lbs., is wearing a tap dancing outfit, those black fish net stockings that Ed Sullivan's June Taylor Dancers used to wear along with 8-inch heels. She happily states "If I can do it , you can do it! It saved my marriage! I have so much energy. I have a new career as a bank president. I wallpapered the whole neighborhood. My handsome hubby and 11 children are thrilled with the new me!"

Actually those stories do help me cut some calories. My appetite is gone for hours.

Somewhere along the path to health and fitness there should be a happy medium. Where does just right stop and too fat begin? Where is it written that a person must be the same size at 55 as she was at 35? Is a size 18 woman any less a woman than a size 8 woman? Will our families love us more if we become less?

I'm thinking of starting a new support group. Its main theme will be to encourage women to explore the possibilities of having the same dress size as their age. Women would start to add years to their age for a change, or at least not lie about it anymore, We could call ourselves the Pleasingly Plumpettes! For more information dial 1-800-FAT-LOVE.


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