weight and circumstance

What we are determines what we eat

Sometimes circumstances determine our weight …

The other day, my mother-in-law said to me, “You’ve lost a lot of weight,” which was nice of her. She went on to say I was very thin when she first met me and that reminded me of the circumstances.

I had been VERY thin at the time.

You see, I was working in a not-so-reputable non-government organisation at the time. It was hardly a non-profit but it sure didn’t result in the staff seeing much of the profit.

Normally, that wouldn’t affect anything as staff get paid. We were no exception and we did get paid. However, staff pay was tied to the organisation’s weekly income. It had been presented as a system which offered greater rewards for the staff during prosperous times. Not that times were prosperous when it was introduced but it allowed staff to look forward to better times in future. Of course, when I got involved, some 30 years had passed for the organisation and the much anticipated prosperous times hadn’t yet occurred. They were still imminent. If only the staff could get their act together and make some serious money for the group.

In a practical sense, staff pay was very low. Most weeks it was lower than unemployment benefits were at the time. Clearly, we weren’t in it for the money and we certainly didn’t get what we weren’t looking for.

Many of us lived on what was called “beans and rice” – a meal based around a can of baked beans and padded out. It had protein and provided nutrition. That said, I suspect the food is better in jail. I’m glad I can’t talk authoritively about that one and probably my perceptions of jail food are all wrong. I’m sure their lives are also a lot more difficult than ours were.

With minimal income, we walked a lot or rode a bike or sometimes a bus. We worked with minimal tools and if something could be done by manpower it was.

Probably at the time my calories in would have been quite low and my calories out would have been quite a lot.

I lasted about three years in that environment before common sense prevailed and the organisation and I parted company.

My marriage happened during that period so it is hardly surprising that my mother-in-law remembers me being very thin at the time. What is more surprising is how much I managed to put on afterwards given there was so little of me to start with.

The point here is lifestyle does play a huge part in your weight at any point in your life. You can live on very little (but shouldn’t if you can avoid it) and there are things you can do that aren’t exercise but burn calories – just think of what you do now and think of how you could just make it harder and more labor-intensive.

And stay away from discreditable non-government organisations. Especially if their stated cause is noble.

Picture by: David Masters / CC BY

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