Posts Tagged ‘diet plan’
I have been a fan of Ms. McCarthy’s since seeing a short film, God, she appeared in over a decade ago. So it was with great respect and admiration that I watched her recent Emmy win. She was the epitome of class and grace as she accepted the acting award from her peers in September of this year.
Cut to her appearance this past weekend on Saturday Night Live, on which she pissed all of that grace away. I had been initially very excited to see her host, wondering what characters she might portray and how the show would showcase her talents. Sadly, Ms McCarthy (and the show) missed the mark.
From her first appearance as a fat bumpkin to her opening monologue, during which the audience was encouraged to laugh at the overweight actress announcing that her true passion has always been dance, the so-called jokes were all size related. The dance sequence continued to make a joke of Ms. McCarthy, given that she never actually started to dance, as if her girth prevented her from doing so (or so the “joke” would lead us to believe). Thus, throughout the number, she was simply in constant ‘warm up’ mode.
I thought the very backward fat jokes might stop there. But they continued throughout most of the 90-minute program – from the overweight office belle who wanted to have sex with her thin coworker to an overzealous product tester that loved salad dressing and downed what seemed like gallons of ranch dressing to prove it.
These tiresome skits weren’t just mean spirited, they were also repetitive. And as an actress who has recently earned her more-than-deserved share of clout in the entertainment industry, I would have expected Ms. McCarthy to take a stand against performing what was essentially the same fat joke over and over again.
Would it have been so wrong for an equal amount of the show’s skits to not have anything to do with girth or an over-hungry attitude?
After all, Ms. McCarthy is a highly accomplished performer (she’s even a former member of the acclaimed improv group The Groundlings). Thus, there was a real missed opportunity here. Not only did she allow the SNL writers to waste her talents, but she allowed them to mock them – as if the only reason she’s famous is because she’s big and funny. In that order.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for laughing at ourselves (and myself, for that matter). As readers of my blog know, I’ll be the first to be lighthearted about my past adventures as a fat man. Good humor can be just that (good!) – even when occasionally aimed at a certain demographic. But when one group of people (be they fat or otherwise) is portrayed to be one big stereotype and not much else, it’s time for someone to step in and suggest a different path toward humor.
I am a big fan of Mike and Molly, the sitcom (along with the movie Bridesmaids) responsible for Ms. McCarthy’s sudden mass appeal. Sure – there are fat jokes from time to time on Mike and Molly. But all of the characters (fat or not so fat) are multi dimensional with unique qualities all their own. Heck, the characters Mike and Molly even attend Overeaters Anonymous meetings, during which they learn to just stop eating so much. Ain’t nothin’ wrong with that.
So why couldn’t Ms. McCarthy insist on some of this kind of scope while appearing on SNL?
When a certain group is made the target of endless jokes, that not only says “It’s okay” for society to be prejudiced against the group, but it also encourages the kind of low self-esteem (amidst people who affiliate with the group) that can shut people down (mentally), encourage depression and even convince them to give up on their goals (including the goal of getting healthier). Under a constant barrage of fat jokes from an early age, I suffered from this kind of low self-esteem for years and, as a result, found myself weighing over 450-pounds when I graduated from college. Low self-esteem is one of the very things that keeps us fat – not to mention fat headed.
It’s time we stepped away from the stereotypes (including the kind seen on this most recent episode of SNL) and start rounding out obese characters so that we’re building people up instead of tearing them down. But if someone as talented and seemingly compassionate as Ms. McCarthy isn’t going to lead the charge against this kind of barrage of hurtful humor, then who will?
When people I’ve recently met find out I’ve taken off over 250 pounds in excess weight and kept it off for over a decade, they excitedly ask me how I did it. Sadly, nothing brings disappointment to their faces faster than me answering, “Eating less and exercising more – along with drinking lots of water and getting plenty of sleep.”
Peoples’ usual responses to my revelation are, “Oh,” – as if I’ve popped their balloon or accidentally stepped on a kitten.
I understand their disappointment. Who wouldn’t want me to answer with, “I found this magic wand and lost all the weight in a day’s time. Here – you can have my magic wand, if you’d like.” After all, we’re all looking for shortcuts in life. So why wouldn’t we want a shortcut to losing weight and getting healthier?
But the fact is, there is no magic wand – and by ‘magic wand,’ I include pills, surgeries, fad diets and other farfetched means that people use in order to try and take off the pounds as quickly and as painlessly as possible.
Because of the dieter’s quest for a magic wand, individuals and companies have taken to selling products backed up by often spurious claims that tell us these items might finally solve the dieter’s lifelong effort to take off excess weight. This activity seems quite criminal to me – all conjured up to rob the dieter of his or her hard earned money by playing on their weaknesses and fears as well as their desires for permanent change.
This practice has come to national attention in the last couple of days, now that the Federal Trade Commission has clamped down on Reebok for making what it refers to as “false claims” about Reebok’s popular selling “toning” shoes.
I have to admit that when I first saw these shoes being advertised (by “celebrity” spokesmodels including Kim Kardashian no less), I rolled my eyes. Imagine my surprise when one of my closest friends, who is very athletic, bought a pair, wanting to tone up a bit more. I couldn’t believe my friend was taken in by the claims (not to mention by anything promoted via Twitter by Kim Kardashian).
According to news reports, the FTC has settled a class action lawsuit regarding Reebok’s claims in product ads that its’ Easy Tone and Runtone shoes “strengthen and tone key leg and buttock muscles” [more than regular shoes might]. Reebok is having to pay a $25 million fine while also having to offer refunds to customers (even though reportedly standing behind its technology).
Dr. Cedric Bryant, Chief Science Officer for the American Council on Exercise, has also weighed in on this issue, stating, “The take home message is that whether you walk in normal running shoes or you go out and purchase and make the investment in these toning shoes, you’re going to get similar results and effects.”
My big question is, why wouldn’t any of this be common sense to the consumer – much less the dieter, who surely has tried these ‘magic wand’-type of products before and likely only gained weight?
Sadly, this is just one example of the kind of “magical thinking” we want to believe might set us free from our excess weight. I know people who have ordered horse tranquilizers from Canada, believing claims that they were a celebrity secret for losing and keeping off unwanted weight without dieting. If this seems crazy to you, consider a popular diet pill that’s available at most stores here in the United States, with instructions that warn the user to wear dark underwear due to the risk of “anal leakage.”
Like it or not, much of the blame for products like these being on the market rests with us, the dieting audience. There’s a reason that the dieting business has become a multi billion-dollar a year industry. It’s because we are suckers. And we’re often unwilling to face the hard fact that we are responsible for our excess weight and, therefore, we are responsible for taking it off.
Horse tranquilizers? Anal leakage? Shoes that tone our bodies without extra work from us? Why not just have a salad and go for a power walk instead?
But don’t lose all hope. In truth, ‘eating less and exercising more’ can be a real magic wand of sorts.
Once I stopped trying to trick my body (No carbs! Only grapefruit! Cabbage Soup!) and started eating right and moving more, the excess weight literally melted off within a year’s time. Now, I’m not claiming that you’ll have the exact same results. I had a lot of weight to lose, so the weight came off quickly for me. Everyone has different metabolisms and their bodies will respond differently. But ask any doctor – even someone with a Thyroid condition will lose weight if they eat more sensibly and add working out to their daily routines. No ‘magic wand’ required.
Less tricks. More common sense and self-responsibility. Try it. The results just might be magical.
Growing up heavy (okay, fat), I quickly learned the best way to pose for pictures. After all, I knew I was fat, but on some weird level, I must have thought I could hide it (or at the very least minimize it) by positioning myself behind people, furniture or walls.
I’m not sure what, exactly, I thought I was hiding. In retrospect, I guess I was really hiding from myself. After all, I wasn’t being honest with myself in regard to the amount of food (and therefore calories) I was consuming at the time. So why would I be honest with myself about my actual girth?
It’s for this reason that I marvel at the series of pictures taken at my heaviest weight. I knew I wanted to document all 450+ pounds of me as I began my 5,000th (10,000th?) attempt to get rid of the excess weight once and for all. But I’m still surprised that I not only posed people-, furniture- and wall-free, but even appeared without my shirt in one of the shots (stretch marks and all). Of course, these days I’m glad I was brave enough to pose for these pictures. They not only remind me of where I’ve been, but also of where I never want to ‘go’ again.
But there’s something about these photographs (taken when I was at my heaviest) that I find even more fascinating than my size 60-inch waist. Look closely at these shots and you’ll see I had a ‘perm’ in my hair. (And no, I didn’t lose a bet – this is a perm I not only paid for, but wanted.) And it’s this perm from my past that makes me laugh hysterically and cry tears of joy at the same time.
Before going public with my book and blog, I would only show my “Before Pictures” to a precious few. And if I would trot them out, I’d quickly point out the perm in my hair, noting that I was more embarrassed about getting a perm than I was about having boobs that would fit into many of my girlfriends’ bras (and yes, we tried once or twice).
But looking back on the perm, I must applaud my 450+-pound self. At that weight, I was terrified to go out into public and would often even food shop only at night or use only drive-thru windows at fast food restaurants in order to come into contact with as few people as possible. So the fact that I went to my hair stylist and ordered up a perm for something fresh and funky (emphasis on the funky) lets me know that even at 450+ pounds, I had not given up all hope of being part of the human race.
I remember always having a good head of hair on my head. As I kid, I was a sprightly red head, who soon evolved into having more of an auburn color mop top. I remember even at my heaviest that women would sometimes approach me and ask hopefully if my hair was colored and, if so, what hair colorist I went to. (They were usually disappointed when I told them it was all natural.) I suppose that these queries gave me hope at the time. It helped me to realize there was at least one thing about my physical appearance that I could work with in order to try and put my best foot forward.
Fact is, at 450+ pounds I was running out of clothing choices. I couldn’t even find many pant options at my local Big and Tall Stores (my waist had gotten that big). Thus, I’d taken to wearing sweatpants and one of two oversize t-shirts (sold as novelty shirts) that I could fit into. My fashion options had become virtually nonexistent. But damnit, I could control my head of hair. And I was gonna do so by getting a perm, which I guess was in style at the time. So even though I wanted to hide in my apartment for fear of being judged, I went to my salon of choice and ordered up some tightly wound curls.
Look at me, world! My hair is permed! Woohoo! (Now, someone point me to the nearest auditions for the next community theatre production of “Annie.”)
Funny. Sweet. And a little heartbreaking.
But solid proof that I hadn’t completely given up on life. And it’s that ‘not giving up’ that eventually brought me to the point of caring enough about my appearance (and health) to shed my 250 excess pounds and keep it off once and for all.
If you know someone fighting obesity, or if, perhaps, you’re battling it yourself, what do you do for your physical appearance that could compare to my perm? Do you always make sure your nails are manicured? Do you make sure that your hair always looks good? Or are you do you have a shoe collection that would make Imelda Marcos jealous?
Whatever it is, that’s your proof that you care about your appearance (or that your friend cares about his or hers). And this ‘proof of caring’ can be the first step toward committing yourself to lasting and permanent change when it comes to other matters like losing weight and/or getting healthier.
So no matter what goal you have ahead of you (even if it’s a goal that you haven’t quite committed to yet), think about how you can affect your life (and your self-esteem) today. This moment is all you have. So do something that boosts your ego and adds a little pep to your step. These small enhancements can fuel your dreams of achieving all of your goals, whether health or appearance related.
It’s all about showing faith in yourself and making an effort in the present moment. And if I can do it – even with a perm – then you can, too. Isn’t it time you made a perm-anent commitment – to yourself? (If so, please let me know!)
Let me explain…
Several years ago, before moving to a new residence, I lived in an area of Los Angeles surrounded by shiny, happy gyms – meaning the type of workout facilities that were as much about socializing and being seen as they were about burning the fat. And yes, in that order.
For me, working out has always meant convenience. So when given a choice, I would choose the gym closest to me in proximity. One that I might even be able to (gasp!) walk to. I add the ‘Gasp!’ because here in LA, no one walks. Not even from one block to the next. But I was a rebel. Still am. Always will be.
The gym I belonged to and worked out at was quite amusing. In between spinning, yoga-ing and deciding what shade of purple the carpets actually were, I could observe lots of flirting going on – as well as showbiz wheeling and dealing. There were even celebrity sightings to be had here and there. More when the gym first opened. Then it shifted to more D-Level celebs when a bigger, shinier gym that opened a little further down the Sunset Strip eclipsed the gym I belonged to.
While many of my fellow workout junkies fled the current digs and joined the newer gym, I was content with this older model – now a little less trendy, with a carpet that was a little less purple. But again, I could walk to the gym. That was key.
Cut to me moving to a new place about two years ago. I could have driven 20-30 minutes to my then-current gym. But knowing what I know (that the less convenient the gym’s proximity was, the less likely I would go), I set out to find a new gym – a place that I could ideally walk to. And find a gym within blocks of my new place, I did. Emphasis on ‘gym.’
You see, this ‘new’ gym is actually more of an old school one – the kind you might see in the original “Rocky” movie. This is a gym where boxers workout constantly, the equipment is old and often in disrepair and there’s nary an aerobics class or smoothie bar to be found. What’s more, the few TVs are always tuned to ESPN and the ‘music playing’ is from a local A.M. Radio Station, as opposed to a mix by some Eurocentric DJ. And there’s no purple carpet. Heck, there’s no carpet at all. Just a rubber-esque floor, on which the occasional cockroach can be seen scurrying from under one piece of elliptical equipment to another. Yep! This was a hardcore gym with hardcore members who would never set foot in one of the shiny, happy gyms that many of LA’s flirtiest trendsetters insist upon.
I was initially hesitant to join such a gym. For even though I’m not one to socialize while working out (my goal is to get my sweat sessions over with as quickly as possible), I did like semi bright surroundings, brand new equipment and being able to ogle the occasional celeb (A, D or otherwise). And yet, this gym had something that no other gym in my new area offered – being accessible by foot. Thus, I took the plunge and signed up (even as the theme from “Rocky” played in my head).
Look at me! Gregg McBride – working out in a boxing gym with real, live cockroaches!
I’m a little afraid. And not just because of the cockroaches.
Again, this gym is populated by hardcore boxers who seem to be training for their next big appearance in the ring and/or some kind of street rumble that wouldn’t resemble anything like the rumbles seen during a staging of “West Side Story.”
Lucky for me, I can keep a low profile (no, seriously, I can). And despite the initial ‘getting used to it’ factor, I’m proud to say I’ve assimilated rather nicely. But one thing still frightens me to this day. Something that, if revealed, would absolutely get me into trouble with my current gym’s hardcore clientele. And that, my friends, is what I’m about to confess…
My iPod (which I listen to every time I’m at the gym) has many Miley Cyrus/Hannah Montana tunes on it.
Now before you make fun of me, let me assure you that I’m a lover of all types of music. All types. And when at the gym, I’m a fan of anything that puts a little pep in my step. And I’m telling you, Hannah Montana can rock the workout when she sets her mind to it. Don’t believe me? Check out this tune and tell me it doesn’t get your pulse pounding (for whatever reason – LOL!):
If anyone at my gym knew that I was listening to this kind of bubble gum pop, I’m worried they would wander away from the punching bags and over to me. I have no desire to be a bruised shade of purple similar to that of the carpeting at my older, shinier, happier gym. So please, let’s keep this iPod-related secret between you and me, okay?
And before you click away, wondering “Why is Gregg going on about this?,” let me sum it up for you: Whatever gets you moving (whatever gym, whatever song) is a good thing. Because we all need to keep moving. Daily. Even if we’re doing so just to put more distance between ourselves and the mean looking boxer-types who could kick our asses.
Okay. Your turn. What dirty little secret is on your iPod? Or, better yet, what song gets you pumped up for your workout? Please share by commenting below. I promise… Your secret is safe with me. And the cockroaches.