Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Weight is a Burger Thing

In the past I’d imagined that weight was entirely a burger issue. Too many pies and your trousers won’t fit. All this stuff about big bones, having a clinical dispensation towards fat gain and saying that it ran in the family was just so much excuse and avoidance. Looking like a blimp was something that happened to other people. Not to you. Faces inflated by bicycle pump could be avoided. The real issue was what went in through your mouth and how often. Now I know differently. Some things are genuinely beyond our control.

Prednisolone-driven fat increase, it turns out, is one of these. Fat gain comes with the territory. But there are things, as I’ve discovered, that you can do to help.

To start with the fat thing favours women. This doesn’t mean that men are exempt but it does mean that gain is not necessarily so great or so fast. Most of those I’ve talked to have told me that that a flabbiness about the waist is pretty inevitable but that the much-feared moon face and looking like an advert for Burger king don’t always happen.

I’ve been fighting this for three or four months now. Checking my weight daily, looking at myself super critically in the mirror for signs of face inflation, feeling my back for arriving lumps of water-born fat, pressing my fingers into my stomach to see if the flab is growing. After a while I’ve found that I’ve looked so often that I can’t remember what I might have looked like a year ago nor, even, how things were yesterday. I ask others. Any sign of change? Nope, you don’t look fat to me. That’s the response I want.

In reality the waist flab is there, of course, low key, not much of it, but still more than there should be considering the draconian diet I’ve put myself on. I figured that if prednisolone was going to deliver new weight then I could counteract that by eating less. Go on a diet. Watch what I eat. Keep a record. Know what it is that I’m putting in my mouth. Those things dieticians recommend, the keeping of a food consumption diary, may have their uses after all.

There are certain obvious things to cut back on. Twenty-first century health advice is replete with detail: cut out fried foods, pastries, pies, cream, cheese, red meats, crisps, salted nuts, beer. Eat more veg, more fruit. Stop having chips with every meal.

I began the new regime. Fine when you were in control of the constituents of a meal and were eating at home. Hopeless when others got involved and even worse when you dined out. Dieting is a struggle even on your own. Out there in the wider world it’s so much harder. I’ll have a baked potato, I tell the waitress. But hold the filling. Back it comes, no filling but thick with running butter instead. Can I have a salad. Certainly. But that arrives rich with added thousand island dressing. I’d like to order fruit salad, please. That turns up with ice cream on top. To drink? I’ll have a slim line tonic please. Sorry, we don’t do those.

It’s a battle but I’m equal to it. There’s a learning curve but I can climb it. More on that next time.

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