Tina has sent me a book to read, about one person's experience with the gastric band, called Fighting Weight by Khaliah Ali, which I have enjoyed and thought I would share with you. With the help of a writer and two clinicians who performed the surgery in 2005 she tells the story of her years as an overweight child and young adult.
The daughter of boxer Muhammad Ali, she was frequently in the spotlight, and while this compounded her shame, it drove her further to overeat for comfort. Before, during and after surgery she allowed the cameras to record the process, and she describes her feelings during this time, and over the next 18 months when she halved her body weight.
She is no stranger to limelight so her story has a tabloid feel to it, not least of which is the title, Fighting Weight, which sounds like something dreamed up by a marketing committee with a brief to attract overweight readers while distancing it from mainline diet literature and cashing in on her parentage by linking it to her father’s profession. Although I don’t identify with its excited tone of ‘sad-failure-to-triumphant-success’ which calls to mind the sort of motivational public speakers you’re forced to listen to at sales conferences, there’s no doubt that it’s a record of a remarkable personal achievement, whether she is famous or not.
On a personal level I was interested in the notes by one of the clinicians on how bandits need to approach eating in public successfully. They lead by example, taking groups of bandits on outings to show them how to tackle meals in restaurants. I needed reminding that the most dangerous stage when eating out is the bread on the table before the meal actually starts, when we are at our most hungrily vulnerable. How many times have I sabotaged my own enjoyment by joining in with the lovely crusty bread dipped in something melting and wonderful, and then watched miserably as the other guests tuck into a starter or main course knowing that one false move with the fork and I’m done for, as I glance anxiously around the room wondering where the loos are just in case.
I feel I have been well looked after by the bariatric team at Taunton Hospital, but having read this book I realise that I have missed out on what even my beloved bandit bloggers can’t give me – the group therapy evenings where common problems are aired under the chairmanship and guide of an expert. I much appreciate learning from other bloggers’ experiences, but I would also have liked someone in authority to tell me unequivocally what works and what doesn’t.
The book is aimed very much at the US/Canadian market, not surprisingly, and there are names of celebrities and brand names of high calorie foods which shall forever remain a mystery, but that’s just a detail.
I would be very happy to post the book on to anyone else who might like to read it, with the request that she/he in turn does the same when they finish with it. Why not let me know in the comments, and if you include your e-mail address I’ll be in touch with you for your address. First come first served – and if bloggers are ahead of me and have already read it, I’ll donate to my local library.
From Lonicera’s non-digital archive
The Olympic Diver
John and I had many happy Spanish holidays with my parents in Chiva, near Valencia, and the pool made it fun. Thanks to the direct flights between Valencia and Bristol I could still be swimming hours before we were due at the airport for our return journey and I frequently climbed aboard with a damp bathing suit over my shoulder.
Our hero claims to have perfected his dive after many hours at the goggle box watching swimming athletes perform from the high diving board, and he urges me to go public at last on this blog to show this inimitable sequence taken during the nineties, as
a warning training to others. Before diving in he would always explain carefully to me which moves he had selected.
So – as our lithe hero quietly centres his inner self for the
front inward twisting dive he is about to execute,
his finely tuned body poised on the very edge of the pool,