Friday, August 3, 2007
Obesity's Typhoid Mary
Recently, researchers came out with a study that indicated that obesity is a socially communicable disease.
When a newly obese person gains seventeen pounds, according to this study, the studied-person’s friend gains five pounds.
Humph. That study is really annoying.
Allow me to present a counter-argument for the defense.
The information that I will share with you now should put this study’s results to rest, forevermore. (Admittedly, this data is based on my own anecdotal evidence. So, empiricists, I ain’t talkin’ to you, you got that?)
From time to time over the course of my life, I have been overweight. You could even say that I’ve been significantly overweight during certain periods. Like, during the 1980’s. And the 1990’s. And portions of the new millennium.
(Because I have a creative bone in my body, I’ve been able to make lemonade out of this lemon in life. For example, my experiences led me to create the Fat City Mysteries and DYING TO BE THIN, which debuts on October 2nd, 2007.)
But, have I been a Typhoid Mary of Obesity, in terms of my impact within my circle of friends?
My best friends date back to my college years. As a group, they would be rated as “normal weight to thin,” according to the Ediets rating system. A couple of them might even be considered to be verging on the anorexic (especially those friends who reside on the West Side of New York).
My knowing these fine ladies hasn’t added an ounce to their thighs, nor has it reduced the readout of my weekly weigh-in at Weight Watchers. There is no discernible “friend effect.” I wish, wish, wish there were. If you could get thinner by hanging out with skinny people, I’d be dogging every social X-ray on the planet, vying to become their new best friend. You say you’re an addict? No problem. Homeless? Nada problemo. If you’re thin, you’re in.
To be fair, I have to admit that my very best friend in the world does have a slight weight problem. More than slight, actually. She’s morbidly obese. But am I to blame for her not losing weight? Or vice versa? I think not.
On the other hand, when we’re at dinner and talking about clothes shopping, I do reassure myself that as long as I can shop at Banana Republic, and not at Lane Bryant, I must be okay. Maybe that self-reassurance does allow me to carry the odd pound or two in excess of what I’d feel comfortable with if my dining-mate shopped at the 3-5-9 store.
Bottom line is, when you’re dining with your best bud at Hamburger Hamlet and you’re eying the Brownie Mountain on the dessert menu, you just don’t want to think about it, yanno?
So maybe that study was right, after all.
But still, it's really annoying.