Saturday, September 11, 2010

Dr. Abby's Lessons From Summer

Lessons of Summer - Originally posted on

As summer draws to a close, I am reflecting on some weight-related episodes that captured my attention.

One little girl was absolutely tortured trying to get her skinny body into the water. She sucked her belly in tight, and ribs poked through the thin layer of skin covering her frame. Her anguish gave me a shiver.

I suggested she splash water on her arms and legs, to help adapt to the temperature change. Her mom flashed a smile, and said, “That’s what happens when you have negative body fat!” I quickly suggested that thin was not always better.

A few weeks later, a thin woman on the beach complained to me that so many people discuss dieting, exercise and weight loss with her, when she has no interest whatsoever. It seems they admired and disdained her, for being naturally thin and active. She was never weight-conscious, yet always enjoyed eating healthfully, and running. It’s the way she is wired; a very active person who needs to move.

I pondered her situation, and wondered if we might view the human species as diverse by design. Might we imagine that fat people are not flawed, but potentially useful because they store fat more effectively than thin people? Perhaps in the cave-men era, if food was over there, we might send a quick runner to get it, while fat people waited in the cave to cook it!

If food was scarce, perhaps fatter people would survive longer, since fat is stored energy. This would ensure survival of the species; survival of the fattest? Perhaps in this nuke-threatened culture, this could once again be useful.

By this time, my new friend and I were dripping with sweat, so I suggested we take a dip. She refused, saying she just likes to be hot. As I walked through the water, the coolness reminded me of the thin little girl’s anguish, and the curious remark of my new friend. I instantly realized that she must be cold all the time, due to low body fat, and it was wonderful to feel warm – whereas cold water must have been as torturous to her as the little girl.

The moral? Let us not judge ourselves or others, but simply appreciate our differences, while striving to become our personal best.

Dr. Abby Aronowitz

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