Sunday, July 8, 2007

Into the Bariatric

Baros is Greek for heavy. Iatros is Greek for physician. Bariatric medicine specializes in the treatment of obesity. Doctors have always had obese patients, but recently the field has organized and formalized itself. And medical suppliers have responded to the need for bariatric stuff.

These two white-shoe medical professionals are wrapped in a Bariatric Towel. The towel is 45 x 102 inches. The maker describes the towel this way: "Oversized design accommodates any body size or style."

I've been a catalog writer a long time, so I know that bland sentence wasn't the writer's first thought. No, that's a classic second serve, safe but not jazzy. Before he settled on that, he would have first tried something more picturesque. Something like these:

"Our Big'n'Tall towels cover acres of cellulite!"

"No more dripping wet fat guys!"

"Our whale-sized towel fits your plus-sized patients!"

"She may not fit in the shower, but she'll fit into our towel!"

"Gigantic towel doubles as a shroud!"

Our Ever-Expanding Global Reach

This blog is getting some far-flung eyeballs. It isn't just David's poetry friends anymore, no. We've gone totally global. We have reached the farthest shore. It doesn't get much better than this. Today the blog drew a complimentary comment from Rodrigo, the Brazilian T-shirt printer. He was so excited, in fact, that he posted the same comment three times, and I don't have to tell you what that means. Rodrigo, welcome to the audience. We are honored. We are overwhelmed. And we have reinstated comment moderation.

Here's what Rodrigo said: Oi, achei teu blog pelo google tá bem interessante gostei desse post. Quando der dá uma passada pelo meu blog, é sobre camisetas personalizadas, mostra passo a passo como criar uma camiseta personalizada bem maneira. Se você quiser linkar meu blog no seu eu ficaria agradecido, até mais e sucesso. (If you speak English can see the version in English of the Camiseta Personalizada. If he will be possible add my blog in your blogroll I thankful, bye friend).

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

What Gets Measured

"What gets measured, gets done." But for measurement to matter, we must measure the right thing in the right way. Otherwise you get Iraqi civilian body counts, No Child Left Behind, U.S. News & World Report's college rankings, the Guinness Book of World Records, and other towering monuments to the folly of mismeasurement.

In a weight-loss diet the obvious way to measure progress is to step on the scale. The problem, as every dieter knows, is that one failing report card from the bathroom scale can be so discouraging that the whole diet is abandoned.

My friend Laurence avoids the scale. Instead he tracks his progress with a trusty old leather belt. (Disclaimer: The photo above does not depict his belt, or his waist.)

We own no less than three scales.

One, a doctor's scale with sliding weights, is in the attic back in Vermont. Another, a digital bathroom scale, works very well, but will not register anything over 308 lb., and I have zoomed into that dreaded territory several times this year. Finally, after much searching, an analog scale was found that goes up to 330.

The digital scale has some extra features, some quite unnecessary. It purports to gauge percentage of body fat by measuring the electrical resistance between your feet. I forgive it for this lofty pretension.

What I like best is how I can turn it on by poking a button with my big toe, and the cheery, non-judgmental beep it emits as it displays my weight. Except when it displays OL. I don't know what that means. Over Load? Or maybe it's short for LOL.

So much for scales. I wanted a measuring tape, one of my own, not one borrowed from Ann's ancestral sewing box. I went into the fabric store in Watsonville.

When men walk into fabric stores, fabric store ladies see us coming, nervously striding into unfamiliar territory. They know we are good for a laugh. (Usually, one fabric store lady confided in me, all men want is Velcro for something in the shop.)

I got a nice little yellow retractable tailor's tape for under $2. The lady asked me if the color was okay. She had the same thing in purple and red. I said it wasn't going to be a fashion accessory.

The first thing I measured, and the only measurement I am going to tell you now, was my neck: 19 inches. That's awful. A 19-inch neck all by itself is highly diagnostic for sleep apnea. Everybody worries about their waistlines; nobody should ever be fat enough to worry about their neck circumference.

Ok. There's a benchmark. I'll keep you posted.