Yesterday evening, during the rare occasion of I experience known as "down time," I decided to watch the documentary, My Big Fat Body (2009), starring actor/comedian, Frank Payne. I was not entirely thrilled with the chosen title, but wanted to keep an open mind about it.
In this 47 minute documentary, Payne narrates and provides viewers with an inside look on his life; namely his disastrous/unhealthy eating habits and his lack of physical activity. Having ballooned way past the 300 pound mark with basically half of that weight as pure body fat, he knew he needed to do something about it. He agreed to let several research engineers/scientists and doctors give him the scoop on his condition. He was very surprised and saddened to learn his body was on a downward spiral and, if he did not fix it soon, he would not live much longer.
Not only was he diagnosed with the all too common ailments of high cholesterol/high blood pressure, he was also considered high risk for diabetes, coronary heart disease, and osteoarthritis due to too much weight on his cartilage/joints among other things. He could hardly finish a standard 7 minute stress test, had legitimate trouble walking up stairs, and was in extremely bad shape. A doctor determined that he was consuming about 15,000 calories per day (average recommended daily is 2,000 calories).
With the help of advanced technology and testing, the research engineers/scientists were able to help Payne experience what it would be like to have the weight come off. This helped to motivate him to begin his journey. Though he briefly considered taking an easier route with gastric bypass, he decided that was not for him and he was going to lose weight the old fashioned way; eating healthier and exercising regularly. With the help of a very successful personal trainer, he was able to lose 40+ pounds during the documentary taping period.
By the end of the film, you could see the changes - inches/weight loss, more energy/stamina, and a happier Payne. Unfortunately, during my research into his life post-documentary, I came across information indicating that he passed away in 2012. I could not find anything related to his cause of death, but I did see on his obituary that his family was requesting donations to be sent to the American Heart Association in memory of him. This leads me to believe that he may have had a heart attack or some other heart complication that caused his passing. I do not know how long Payne stuck with his weight loss/healthier lifestyle or if he fell back into his old patterns. What I do know is that this documentary can serve as an eye opener for us all, regardless of our weight.
Some of us are inherently "lucky," having a fast metabolism, but are still eating very badly the majority of the time. Things like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease can happen to anyone, though they do tend to afflict people who are overweight and do not engage in enough physical activity. This documentary, in my professional opinion, should be required viewing for all, especially here in the United States. It could potentially serve as a much needed wake up call, especially seeing as Payne has now passed away and presumably from health related complications that probably could have been avoided.