Waist inflation

Most of us have heard of economic inflation, grade inflation, and other such bubbles.  Here is one that is perhaps new to folks: waist inflation.  This is the phenomenon where the a size, such as 38 inches men’s waist size, will actually fit someone much larger, say 41-42 inches.  As I am now in slimming mode, I’ve found that my 40″ Hanes stretchy trousers are too lose at 40.5 inches, yet they still fit when my waist was 44″.  Thus, I could easily deceive myself that I was only a size 40 when I was really 44.  Deception is the name of the game when it comes to phoney markets and economies.

A couple times now, men have told me: “I’m a 38″, when in fact they were manifestly fatter than me when I was at 42″+.  In their cases, they were wearing Levis.  Denim is a fabric that shrinks upon washing and drying and stretches to size in the first few minutes of wearing.  Thus, these men convinced themselves that they had 38″ waists.  Levis, size 38″, fit nicely when one is 41”.

The manufacturers of these products, particularly Hanes, know what they are doing. They know that if someone thinks he’s a 36, and tries on a 36 and it’s too snug, he will reject that particular label for a one with a size 36 that fits him better.  So they make trousers about one size too big, just to appeal to the vanity and lack of realism on the part of the consumer.  And they also created trousers with stretchy waistbands just so that a man may maintain his pants size while allowing his belly to go to pot.

The result of this waist inflation is too often adverse health related to obesity.  A man who can claim to be a waist that is as much as four inches smaller than his real size deceives himself and may delay necessary lifestyle adjustments.  In my case, the lifestyle adjustments came as result not of acknowledging realistically my girth but of finally understanding that many of my adverse symptoms were related to high blood sugar:  peripheral neuropathy, arthritis, and chronic levels of fatigue after eating.

Many of our serious problems in Western culture require a denial of reality.  Our debt-based money system makes us think, for example, that we can continue to borrow and never pay back.  But illnesses will set in, killing the organism, if lifestyle changes don’t occur.  The pathologies related to waist inflation, thus, are analogous to the sickness of the debt-based economy in which we live.  We deny the disease which is ultimately killing us.

5 thoughts on “Waist inflation

  1. I have severely reduced my intake of carbohydrates: no more bread, potatoes, carrots, desserts, rice, etc. My motto is now “Carbs are poison”. Also, until I lose about 50 lbs, I’m going to avoid alcohol. This has helped me to reduce my blood sugar to 5.3-5.5 (with a home testing kit).

    I am thus eating only meat, poultry, fish, eggs, cheese, and low-starch vegetables.

    A few weeks ago, I was convinced that I had type II diabetes, and had myself tested. My fasting glucose and HBA1C was 6.0. This is officially what they call “prediabetic” by the American Diabetes Association.

    I assume that I must have impaired glucose tolerance, because the symptoms related to high blood sugar have all greatly subsided since going on the low-carb diet. My blood pressure is also down from 140/90 to about 127/82.

  2. Glad to hear it’s working for you. Even in the lo-carb, ketogenic, primal/paleo world there is quite a bit of debate, as it’s a “new” approach to diet health. Some authors allow for “safe” starches like potatoes and rice in moderation (Paul Jaminet), while others (Mark Sisson) avoid them like the plague. I’ve gone both ways, and eventually settled on a middle-of-the-road maintenance mode. There are a few podcasts out there on this topic worth listening to.

  3. Thanks, I’d be interested in listening to any recommendations that you have.

    The youtube videos of speeches by Dr. Richard Bernstein have been influential in my thinking because he has recommended for diabetics a diet of no more than 30 gm carbs per day. He was a pioneer of monitoring glucose levels and determining the effect of carbs on the blood sugar of diabetics. Yet still there are doctors and nutritionists who recommend a “balanced” approach for diabetics. Yet all the diabetics type II that I know see a cause and effect relationship between blood sugar irregularities and carbs. Thus, Bernstein wins the debates with those who can control their diabetes, but loses it with those who pontificate the standard wisdom of our day. That’s a pity.

    I agree with you that a moderate approach is fine for someone who wants to maintain their weight, provided that they have normal blood sugar. Diabetics and prediabetics however are not normal and must therefore, in my opinion, exercise stricter control. I will never be able to go back to the old habits, if I want to be able to avoid the complications related to Impaired Glucose Tolerance. Once I lose weight, though, I may take some carbs and alcohol, but while strictly monitoring their effect on my blood sugar. So-called safe starches, which presumably have a lower glycemic index still have a heavy glycemic load. I will likely have to be careful on both counts.

  4. Agreed, probably diabetics or pre-diabetics would benefit from a stricter approach, and the glycemic load from even safe starches would be a lot to handle. My motivation was mostly gut health. I didn’t do very well with processed wheat foods, and now feel and perform much better.
    For podcasts, try:
    – Fat Burning Man by Able James
    – Relentless Roger and the Caveman Doctor
    – Robb Wolf – Paleo Solutions
    Websites, try Mark Sisson’s Daily Apple
    Books, try Gary Taubes’ “Why We Get Fat” and “Wheat Belly” by Dr. William Davis
    For food quality in general, any by Michael Pollan or Joel Salatin

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