Weighty Matters

51z1dftg33lDespite plenty of warning signs that I should have heeded, I’ve basically lived the last decade in denial of the impact that too much eating and not enough exercise have had on me. But two things happened recently that riveted me.

After much soul searching, my sister—who has a lot in common with me on the food/exercise front but is a little older—decided to have a gastric bypass operation. This happened yesterday. Everything went well and she’s doing fine.

On Sunday, two days before her operation, there was a story on the front page of the New York Times’ Ideas section, in which the authors made a strong case that, as a society, we’re basically neglecting a much a safer, affordable, and sensible approach to combating obesity than gastric bypasses. The article’s title said it all: “Before You Spend $26,00 on Weight-Loss Surgery, Do This.”

And that would be a low-carb, high-fat diet, combined with regular exercise.

I’m extremely proud of my sister’s pro-active bravery. The situation also scares the shit out of me. And taken together, the operation and the article arguing against it, felt like sign that I needed to really reckon with. So I am.

And for those of you that struggle with too much poundage, or worry about family members including children, who do, I want to wish you well and share the article with you.

It may have especially resonated with me because one of the authors is a leading physician at the Harvard’s Joslin Clinic, one of the most famous diabetes’ centers in the world—a place I once worked at 30 years ago as a phlebotomist thinking about medicine as a career.

I did some further research and found his the book version of his efficacious diet/exercise program available at the clinic to people who live in the Boston area.

I’m overweight; my wife is overweight; and my 12-year-old son is overweight. My 16-year-old daughter is not. My father had adult diabetes. My mother-in-law is obese.

My wife and I make the generational connections.

Hopefully we’ll be able to make a big lifestyle change for all us.

Eric Messinger is the editor of  New York Family. He can be reached at [email protected]