Join Our Mailing List
By Dianne Armtage
For those of us who have experienced breast cancer, it’s not uncommon to have some well-meaning individual remind us that watching our weight is closely linked to helping us remain healthy and cancer-free. I have always found this somewhat ironic, because upon hearing this sort of helpful information, those of us who tend to overindulge, are likely to run screaming to our refrigerators.
From the time I can remember, food has been a concern for me. Growing up in a large family puts a particular emphasis on dining. With eight mouths to feed, and very little money, my mother had her hands full trying to figure out how to convince any of us that the chicken’s backside truly held the most delectable meat. I was often destined to try to appease my hunger by dining on a wing. I was an adult before I realized that the saying “A wing and a prayer” wasn’t connected to those of us pleading for a larger portion of chicken. I have often wondered if some of my issues with food aren’t directly related to those feelings of trying to stretch some poor defenseless piece of poultry in too many directions.
So it comes as no surprise that for me, having an over abundance of food available provides some sense of comfort. What a cruel joke that the same thing I find soothing just might be contributing to my disease. I also find it interesting that when I think about this little tidbit of information, I tend to want to accompany it with yet another tidbit, like milk and cookies, or some other equally offending food group.
A recent study suggests that rats with very lean bodies tend to live longer than their chubby counterparts. Mind you, I’m no scientist, but the skeptic in me would rather think that in reality the thin rats don’t actually live longer – they just feel that way because their days drag on and on while they long for a Twinkie™ or Krispie Kreme™.
I realize that our country is in the throes of a real crisis involving obesity, but I can’t help wondering if we aren’t looking in all the wrong places for the culprit. It would seem, at least on the surface of things, while we continue to search for answers to our social ills – we are constantly faced not only with more and more questions, but a seemingly endless supply of new and improved problems. Whether it’s food, the stock market, violence, or cancer, all you have to do is pick up the paper, watch the evening news, or surf the net, and you’ll have a glut of opinions, warnings, pros, cons, sound bites, and new discoveries. The real dilemma is that these change on a daily basis, so none of us know exactly what path will lead us to good health, safer living conditions or more money. All we really seem to know is that even the “experts” don’t have a clue.
I dreamed the other night that I was caught up in the latest headlines. I began my day with a shot of wheat grass, followed by a side of bacon. I tried to remember if anti-oxidants were a good or bad thing and opted for cutting all of my vitamins in half. I drank them with tap water I’d boiled because I wasn’t sure if bottled water really is safer. Then I worried a bit about whether I’d used an aluminum pan. I figured if the news were true, I’d forget to worry soon, because the aluminum would give me Alzheimer’s. Part way through my forty minute work-out, I remembered that there was some “new thinking” on just how much exercise we need, so I decided to pick up my tongue and head for home.
I realized that brown is the new black this season, but wondered if I could get away with beige and start a trend. I didn’t have to worry about the stock market, because that takes money (am I lucky, or what?) I was pretty concerned about the triumvirate of evil, but couldn’t remember who made up the trio (drat, I knew I shouldn’t have used that aluminum pan!)
I spent time honoring my inner child, acknowledging my emerging woman, and trying to fit into an old pair of jeans. (I must say my inner child would have had a better chance.) I felt bad because I wondered why they couldn’t come up with a flesh eating bacteria that would get rid of unsightly fat. I wondered what copywriting wizard had penned the jargon anal leakage, and then worried that it might happen to me! At about the time I was pondering just how much sleep is good for us, I woke up. Not only was I exhausted, but I felt like my brain had been in a blender.
Here I was having a hard enough time just worrying about all of the conflicting news regarding breast cancer. What genius decided we need this vast array of mind-numbing information? I’m inclined to believe that the news we are being fed has much more to do with why we overeat, than the foods we are consuming. I’d be willing to bet that if those skinny rats were given our steady diet of bad, scary, conflicting and confusing news … they’d be portly in no time!