Obesity is in the Eye of the Beholder!

It was December of 2006; my wife and daughter had a mother-daughter trip planned for Southern California during that holiday’s break. My son and I didn’t have any plans other than filling our days with our hobbies. During the first week of December it occurred to me that a father-son trip may not be a bad idea. At the time I became captivated with the idea that a trip that gets us closer to North Pole may better fit the spirit of that holiday season. So, I asked from my son which one he prefers, a trip to Anchorage, Alaska, or Stockholm, Sweden?” Without even a second of delay he told me “Stockholm!”

…and so, our 8-day trip to Stockholm began. At the time I had absolutely no idea that I was grooming myself for entry into another dimension. A dimension not only of sight and sound, but of mind. A journey into the twilight zone (click here to feel my mood!)

Our first day in Stockholm began with much excitement. Our activities for that day and the next 7 days included workouts at the hotel’s gym and self-guided walking tours to see the must-see attractions of the lovely Scandinavian city. The most striking feature of the first day and succeeding days was the twilight pattern of daylight hours. There was light from 9 AM to 3 PM and we could only spot the sun shining dimly in the horizon for less than 2 hours each day. What struck me most were the people who were walking on the streets and hopping on and off the city buses. They all appeared well-trimmed, vibrant and full of energy.

Twilight was our daylight !

The horrific thoughts of being trapped in the twilight zone: Starting with day 2, and as we had been cruising our way through the people and must-see places, I couldn’t shake the thought that I was an extremely obese person who was trapped in the twilight zone. It was a terrible feeling that with each passing day was further intensified. For your information and to give you more insight; at the time my body mass index (BMI) was about 25.5 Kg/m2 (kilograms per square meters), that according to the established standards I should have been classified as a slightly overweight* person. However, as a Michigander, and given my higher muscle mass and wider torso, relative to general population and my own age cohorts, I used to feel reasonably comfortable in my own skin.

The last day of our trip came along and we headed to the airport. The first leg of our trip was taking us with KLM, a partner of my favorite airline, Delta,  from Stockholm to Schiphol airport in Amsterdam, and from there we had to catch our final Delta connection to Detroit, Michigan. After we landed in Schiphol and as we were walking towards our designated gate, the sad thought of my obesity was still lingering in my mind.

Schiphol airport in Amsterdam is the default hub of the KLM, the international partner of the Delta airline

…until such time that I saw the long line of my embarking fellow American passengers behind the Detroit gate! The fog that marred my mind for eight agonizing days was lifted in just a few seconds. Oh my god, it’s a miracle! I’m cured, hurrah! I’m not an ugly duckling anymore! I’m back to my own tribe! God bless america!  

…and the more I looked at everyone else around me, the more I felt good about myself!

Can you guess what was ringing in my head from that moment until we landed in the city of Motown? Click here and hear the ring that I was hearing in my ears for yourself!

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*Supplement for Interested Individuals: How to Calculate your Body Mass Index?

Formula for calculating your BMI:

703 x weight (lbs) / [Height (in)]2

Follow my lead, solve this problem and learn about your own body-mass index:

A 59 years-old woman weighs 168 pounds and she is 5 feet and 5 inches tall. What is her BMI and how do you classify her?

What if you like to use the metric system for calculating your BMI? That’s even easier!  Just divide your weight in kilograms by height in meters squared.

Now take a few minutes and calculate your own BMI!

What did you say you come up with? OMG! But don’t worry, your secret is safe with me!

Obesity in the World: Our country, the United States, has historically played a pioneering role as the country of obese and overweight people. Most recent data suggest that certain Polynesian islands such as Palau, Marshal, Tuvalu, Tonga and Samoa are currently harboring individuals with the highest body mass index (BMI), and as such some recent reports suggest that their rate of obesity is much higher that the USA. You may read more about worldwide pattern of obesity here.

Dr. Eftekar (Dr. E) is the founder and head coach of the Center for Conquest of Longevity and Northwestern Medical Review. A unique attribute of Dr. E is his well-rounded academic background that, in addition to the science of medicine, extends over several other disciplines such as physiology of aging and longevity, philosophy of science and medicine, and integrated kinesiology.

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