Great story in the latest issue of Sports Illustrated about college football players who discover after their playing careers are over, that they are seriously overweight.
Most people would go right to the cover story on the Stanley Cup. Or the NBA Finals. Or even the feature on the 16-year-old baseball player they’re calling “Baseball’s LeBron” (more on that tomorrow). Me, I go right to the story about the fat kids.
I’m not being insensitive calling them “fat kids.” As one of them, Jeff Kendall, a 300-pound-plus lineman from the University of Oregon, said in the article: “All of a sudden you go from being a fat kid living the dream to, well, just fat.”
It was an interesting story, highlighting the fact that less than three percent of college players go onto play professional football while many of the rest are left to wonder what’s next. And for the guys whose bodies just need a break after years of lifting weights and working out and eating whatever they want, the 300-pound-plus lineman become 400-pound health risks.
And what lasting and meaningful impression was I left with after I finished reading, you ask?
How annoyingly unfair it is that men have such an easier time losing weight.
Granted, one former player, Nebraska center Brett Byford, had age on his side when he dropped 75 pounds in three months. I think if you read with a highly powered magnifying glass, you’d see underneath his “After” photo: “Results are not typical.”
And indeed, his diet plan was a bit unconventional: one meal a day for the first week, followed by two days of fasting.
But that’s how men do it, no matter what age they are.
My husband skips his nightly bowl of ice cream for a week and he loses five pounds.
And how about the guys on my favorite show, “Biggest Loser,” who routinely drop 30 pounds in a week (If you’ve watched the show, you know I’m not exaggerating). On one episode, one poor woman contestant, after spending just as much time on the treadmill while pretending that a two-ounce container of diet pudding was satisfying her sweet tooth, actually gained weight. The trainer’s explanation? That stress contributed to her weight gain.
I’m not saying men don’t have their own problems. They get stressed, their cholesterol goes up and their hair falls out. As much as we women can tolerate – childbirth and the communal dressing room at Loehmann’s springs immediately to mind – I don’t think most of us would handle baldness as well as our male counterparts.
But in the world of dieting, men have a distinctly unfair advantage.
I’m sure there are very sound physiological reasons that I could Google if I really cared about backing up my opinions with fact (this should also look good on my next employee background check). But I prefer to chalk it up to the gods.
I chalk a lot up to the gods when it’s convenient. For instance, when I was on my way home last week from two really encouraging and fruitful meetings concerning future employment only to field a phone call from a mean New York literary agent who told me that NO ONE would buy my latest book idea, I immediately determined two things. One was that of all the correspondence I’ve had with New Yorkers in my lifetime, at least 95 percent has been unpleasant. And two, that it was the gods telling me not to get too comfortable or too cocky.
And so it is that the gods are also responsible for men losing weight easier. The gods like it that most men don’t really care that much how they look. If I told my husband he could stand to lose a few pounds or that his stomach was getting bigger, he’d shrug and go back to watching American Chopper on TLC. If he said the same thing to me, I would cry and likely seek legal counsel.
His blood pressure went up and he cut back on the ice cream, got on the treadmill and now has it under control. He might like it that his pants fit better in the waist, but only because he doesn’t have to buy new pants now.
As for me and my friends, we talk about weight only slightly less than we talk about our children and much more than important world events.
I would come to some profound and maybe even witty conclusion at this point, but I have to go downstairs and pretend that blueberries and Cool Whip are what I really want for dessert. And that I don’t deeply resent my husband for eating coffee chocolate chunk ice cream.
The gods have no sense of humor.