I like to watch this show while I’m working out called Too Fat for Fifteen: Fighting Back. It’s about morbidly obese teenagers that go to this school in the Blue Ridge Mountains and learn how to lose weight and eat right.
It’s so inspiring that sometimes while I’m watching and slogging away on my elliptical, I’ll start crying.
It also inspires me to work out a lot harder. Which is hard when my breathing is hampered by all the crying.
Tanisha is my favorite. So far she’s lost 280 pounds. Holy crap! And she’s got this awesome attitude that makes me feel like a bratty 8-year-old by comparison. And she’s always laughing and accomplishing new goals. She just ran a 5K on the last episode. And I cried.
When she arrived at Wellspring, she weighed 510 pounds.
Now she weighs 230! Isn't she cute?
One of the reasons I like this show so much is that I’m obsessed with all things food related. I have a love/hate relationship with food: I love to eat it and I hate to stop eating it. I sometimes use eating as an activity on days when I have nothing else to do. To be honest, I only really exercise so that I can eat more.
My own weight is a constant source of stress. I think about it almost all the time. Yet I can’t seem to get a handle on the whole self-control thing. I'll be really good for three days and then be derailed by a bout of eating that just defies explanation.
Maybe I’m just really bored.
But when I see these kids with their serious weight problems coupled with the inherent problems that go along with being a teenager (acne, hormones, not knowing much about anything, not having any money...oh wait, none of these problems EVER go away), it forces me to put things in perspective a little bit.
For instance, I’m not obese. And, thank god, I’m no longer a teenager. And I never will be again (unless time-travel becomes a reality)!
Also, most of their parents are obese as well, but don’t seem to want to change their lifestyles. One kid’s parents both had gastric bypass surgeries and were still in the upper-two hundred-pound range, but they acted all concerned about the kid and then ate an entire moose during dinner while acting like he was the only one with the problem. Not cool!
But it’s probably unhealthy that my favorite part of the show is the weekly weigh-in. Each of the kids has to clock the number of pounds he or she has lost that week and display it on national television. I would think that would be inspiration enough to work out and eat right, but sometimes it isn’t. When Carsyn gained 10 pounds over one 5-day trip home, I was in shock! (She’s also one of my favorites.) She didn't even cheat on her "program." But, unfortunately, she didn't exercise either. Been there, girl.
I know that I’m not in the same boat as these kids, but I can’t help but obsess over my twice-daily weigh-ins. I have this state-of-the-art scale that measures even minor fluctuations in ounces. So sometimes after I go potty, I’ll weigh in to see if I’m closer to my “goal weight.” The ever-unattainable goal weight that just a little bit more self-discipline might help me achieve one day.
But I guess the thing that hits me most about this show is that a bunch of teenage kids are willing to be filmed as they struggle with weight loss and then let a TV crew tape and AIR ON NATIONAL TELEVISION how much they weigh. What? I was embarrassed to admit how much I weighed in high school and back then I was a rail compared to now! (Although I do remember a time when I coughed in English class and the button from my uniform skirt flew across the room and hit the radiator, so it could be that I wasn’t as svelte as I think I was.)
So props to the kids at Wellspring Academy and here’s hoping they all make it out of there and teenager-hood (relatively) unscathed.
God, this isn't as short as I'd hoped. I'm sorry. Again.
*"Teenage Wasteland" by The Who.