June 25, 2009

People amaze me. (Have I turned into a food Nazi?)

Filed under: food,health — origamifreak @ 12:32 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

There’s a guy in my water aerobics class.  This fact, by itself, is commendable because he must feel isolated at times because at the moment he’s the only one.  He comes with his significant other, who is supposedly a retired(?) nurse.

He recently underwent bariatric surgery in January.  As of yesterday he’d lost 97 lbs (down from 400).  I’d lost 97.6 (down from 335.6).  So we’re in roughly comparable situations and we compare notes.

A few weeks ago when we first started chatting about long-term weight loss, he told me he’s losing weight so fast that he’s losing muscle too, and feeling weaker.  I asked how many grams of protein he’s eating per day?  He didn’t know.  He pointed to the SO and said, “she’s in charge of that.”  So later I asked her when they were together.  She said, “he eats protein at every meal.”  But how MUCH protein on average, per day?  She didn’t know, either.  I told him that he should probably look it up, and at minimum be getting 100g per day.

His weight loss has been slowing down in the past few weeks, to the point that I’ve caught up to him.  Yesterday I found out why.

While waiting for them to open the pool and class to start we were chatting and he divulged that he’s started being able to eat more lately, which he took as a sign that he’s recovering well from the surgery.  The item that he said he’d eaten?  A whole grilled cheese sandwich.  GRILLED CHEESE?  Did he mean broiled, or fried in butter?  He didn’t know.  The SO who probably served it to him was sitting on the other side of me and didn’t speak up.  “GRILLED CHEESE?!” I said.  “That is NOT a good food choice.  It is almost pure carbs and fat.  And if it was fried, it’s even worse.”

“They told me cheese is good,” he said.

“Cheese is loaded with fat.  If you want protein, go for lean poultry breast or a lean fish like hake, cod, or tilapia.”

“I love tilapia!,” another woman waiting with us said.

“Dude,” I said. “This is not what I want to be hearing.  I do not want to be hearing that you are now eating grilled cheese sandwiches.  After all the hard work and effort you’ve put into getting to this point, it will make me cry to hear you are eating things like that.  I love cheese.  But the only kind I’ve found that is OK is the Weight Watcher’s string cheese and the WW cheddar pieces.  They have the least fat and salt compared with the amount of protein.  But I can only eat them sparingly.”

“String cheese is good for snacks,” he said.

“Not just any string cheese.  You have to read the labels.  Weight watcher’s is the only kind I have.  And I do like it.”

Then they opened the doors.

About 220,000 people supposedly had bariatric surgery in 2008.  The number probably went up this year.  The more people having these surgeries, the more sloppy the places that do them are going to be.  And I’m sorry, but a place must be very sloppy indeed if they don’t educate their patients about nutrition.  I mean, COME ON.  This is INTERNAL elective SURGERY.  These people can’t put more than something like a tablespoon of food in their stomachs at a time, and they aren’t told that they need protein, and that eating whole grilled cheese sandwiches isn’t something to be proud of?  Or if they are told, they don’t pay attention?

Yikes.  I see a massive problem coming with the explosion of these procedures.  I mean, do we really know the long, long term effects of them?  Not with so many people.  And without proper coaching, nutritional education, and permanent lifestyle changes, how are they going to maintain their fitness?

Don’t get me wrong.  I think it’s fantastic that this guy has lost 100 lbs and that he’s in my water exercise class.  That is commendable.  However, having made similar strides without surgery or drugs, I can say for a fact that the nutrition is a key part of the process, if not the most important factor.  And without it he will fail, which I would hate to see.



  1. This is a shame – a shame that the guy didn’t receive – or insist upon – a proper understanding of what he was doing – and his continuing responsibility – BEFORE having such an invasive procedure.

    It almost seems, at least from this story, that this man views his surgery as some kind of magic bullet – I’ll just do this, and it will be fixed and then I can get back to my normal life.

    One thing I’ve learned, over and over again, is that when someone don’t WANT to know something, there’s nothing anyone can do to make him understand, whether it’s with regard to politics, religion, childrearing, health . . . pretty much anything, really. It’s hard to persuade a closed mind.

    Comment by Toy Lady — June 26, 2009 @ 8:00 am | Reply

    • Yeah. And now I’ve overtaken him, weight-loss wise. As of yesterday I’ve removed 113.2 lbs. He’s removed 112. Keep in mind that he’s
      1) male
      2) much heavier than I am BMI-wise

      There’s no way I should have lost more weight than he has. This is a disaster. Completely irresponsible.

      Comment by origamifreak — July 29, 2009 @ 9:42 pm | Reply

  2. Wow. Now they’re pushing this surgery on people with a BMI of 35?! And say they’ll drop it lower if the risks drop?

    Good Lord, after removing 113 lbs, I’m just under a BMI of 35. That’s the lower cutoff for Class II Obesity. Not even Morbid Obesity (BMI > 40). This is ridiculous. Compared with the average spectrum of Americans you’d see in the DMV, I am close to the standard size now.

    Of course, it’s the SURGEONS who are claiming all this. So of course they would. Hey, everyone! Let’s have you pay us big bucks to cut you open so you don’t have to bother losing weight the traditional way. Diet and exercise are so passe, after all. *sigh*

    Comment by origamifreak — July 29, 2009 @ 9:37 pm | Reply

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