Something pretty weird has been weighing on my mind since the loss of my mom. She told me on the phone "Oh Joy, you won't recognise me, I've lost so much weight, I'm down to 140lbs."

If you look at the picture in the previous post, you can see my mom was not particularly heavy by current standards -- in fact, not really at all. Yet I knew that I'd weighed 140 (+/- 5) from about 1984-1999 (when Will & I moved back to the USA), and I'm two inches taller than my mom, so how could 140 be thin? And sure enough, when I saw her, I did recognise her --- she looked more like the mother that raised me than anyone had for, well, probably a decade. But at the memorial service, her friends didn't recognise that woman -- they were shocked by the family photos.

I don't weigh 140 anymore, and though I don't think about it that much, I do wonder how it can be that it takes six months of severe and mysterious weight loss to make you back toward approaching what was normal not very long ago. And what is the economic & environmental cost of this shift in terms of fuel and food? I've read that even being as overweight as I am now could take 5-7 years off life expectancy, that's approaching 10% of a lifespan. I'm hardly the first one to notice the weight crisis, but for some reason my mother's illness really has brought this home to me. I do notice now that there does seem to be a reversal, there are a lot of thinner people again at least in my circles. But it is shocking that such a fundamental physical attribute can change so much in so short of time.

And for people who think that human cognition or culture has made us "immune" to biological evolution -- ha. I am sure this change is cultural, and I'm sure it's enormously shifting which genes look like winners right now.


Tom Bryson said…
Perhaps this is part of the science behind an article I read recently that proposed that people who walk fast out live those who could be their peers, except they don't walk fast.
It would make sense, since one burns more calories walking fast than just ambling along.