Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Eating for three

More on fat, as the Economist catches my eye with an interesting little piece re weight gain among “pregnant fathers”.

Close observation of expectant marmosets and the cottontop tamarins demonstrated beyond doubt the existence of the long-suspected “couvade syndrome”, whereby the partners of pregnant females put on weight before birth, Significantly, it was also shown that the pattern of weight-gain among the males was different from that of their mates, occuring on average earlier in the pregnancy than for the females, ruling out the possibility of overeating in sympathy with the mother-to-be as the cause.

This is a topic close to my heart at the moment, as I fight an inevitably losing battle with my waistline while Terriblet #4 swells that of my wife. I raise my stepper time to an hour a day, add extra resistance to the abs machines, do an extra set of reps on the weights, but to no avail. I have finally gone north of 200lbs, never I fear to see the right side of it again. I scan the article for clues as to how to beat my body’s ghastly treachery, but no suggestions are offered. Rather, couvade is treated as a light-hearted inconvenience, if not a natural and even positive thing. Weight gain prepares the father-to-be for the rigours of parenthood, the Economist smugly declares.

Well, that may work well for marmosets and cottontop tamarins, but they don’t have to replace an entire wardrobe of very expensive suits. Maybe if I felt slightly less attached to my wife, and not quite so bound up in the mystical connection that is the mutual anticipation of a new baby? Alas, it is all too late for me. Not even that blonde from accounts can do anything to break this ruinous reproductive spell. And God knows we’ve tried hard enough.

Again, as with policing policy, the men in white coats pick on monkeys to prove a point about humans. It’s not clear however whether the results have been normalised to take account of simian-specific causes of variation such as a high-banana diet or having a bright blue bottom. These features are admittedly difficult to recreate in human subjects, but that didn’t stop them when it came to offences against Nature like sharks with laser beams on their heads, or Chris Evans. They really ought to think twice before publishing this sort of shoddy substitute for scientific research.


A proud father and his excuse, yesterday.

29 comments:

Foot Eater said...

Yes, the spitting image of Bulgakov.

R. Sherman said...

It's not “couvade syndrome,” Ivan. It's age. I know. While my waistline is (currently) stationary, the hairline is in full, German-Army-In-Winter-1945 Retreat.

I feel your pain.

Cheers.

Desargues said...

You haven't told us anything about your height, Ivan. Without that indication, 200 lbs is a fairly meaningless threshold, taken by itself.

But surely you must have tried eating less? In most physical universes known to us, calories don't materialize out of nothing--creation ex nihilo is the exclusive privilege of God. So perhaps a reduction is portion size is the secret to the slender self you're striving for. Since we're talking about the German Army in winter, why not try their approach to rationing. Say what you will about the Germans, at least you can't accuse them of a lack of Wille zur Macht... erm... will-power, I mean.

Should that fail too, an intense regimen of coffee and cigarettes is my last suggestion. That's what keeps ME svelte.

Gorilla Bananas said...

The last thing a pregnant woman wants to see is her husband looking attractive. A fat husband puts her mind at ease and encourages her to eat like a hog as well.

Desargues said...

"high-banana diet"--is that an alimentary regime based on bananas hanging high up on trees?

Ivan the Terrible said...

Footie - if only he'd lived so long!

Randall - don't give up hope - even the German Army in 1945 had one good counter-attack left in 'em (appropriately enough, given our topic, named after The Bulge). Just don't go over to the darkside with the dreaded combover.

Hi Des - I don't think I'm breaching any confidences if I confide that I'm 6' 1" tall. As for coffee and cigarettes, they're the only things keeping me out of those stores where all the trousers look like they're made for circus clowns.

And GB - good point well made. Tho' Mrs Terrible is too canny to show any satisfaction in front of me :)

R. Sherman said...

I think you're right, Ivan. Alas, like the Germans in Belgium, my hair offensive is not in the right place, i.e. the top of my head. Rather, it is pissing itself away in other less important (and unshowable) theaters of operation.

Cheers.

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Desargues said...

There you have it. It's enough to mention 'fat' and 'eating' in the same post, and you become the target of ruthless spammers. I hope you won't have to install that word verification thingy. It's so annoying.

But your mild whining is entirely unfounded at 6'1" and 200 el-bees, Ivan. Has something of a Parisian coquette in it. Nothing to worry too much about--or not yet, at least. Dunno about local cuisine in North Carolina, though. Do many people survive it? Do you guys do fried candy-bars around there? I hear they're only slightly healthier than land-mines.

Sam, Problem-Child-Bride said...

Are you carrying your new tummy high or low, Mr Terrible? If you hold seaweed over it, which way does it turn, clockwise or anti? These methods may well reveal the sex of your child.

If you're feeling unattractive and spotty, a German (coincidentally enough) friend assures me that this means you're having a girl, because she is 'sucking zee beauty from you'. If you're feeling horny as a toad, it's probably a boy (source not independantly verified, but my German friend knows lots of stuff about babies, having once been one herself).

Ivan the Terrible said...

Hi Des - no worries - I just zap the spam when it turns up. They're kind of amusing really. What a sad life it must be.

Deep fried candy bars are a Scottish thing - not even the good people of NC are that lost to reason. Yet.

And Sam, did you ask your friend what it means if you find yourself suddenly invading Poland? That's what I would've done. Because Germans love a laugh...

staghounds said...

Push away from the able, porky.

(I've just lost 50 pounds that way, shocking how it works.)

Rob said...

I dunno Ivan, it could be no-one has informed them of the existence of said snack. Put it on a stick & serve it as a matching dessert to a main course of corn-dogs and you've got a culinary revolution on your hands.

Ivan the Terrible said...

Push away from the able? No worries there, looking at my colleagues.

And Rob, they're in enough trouble around here as it is. I don't think I could bear having the introduction of the deep-fried Snickers bar on my conscience...

PI said...

I don't know who that baby is but i just need to cuddle him so much.

Desargues said...

Eating for three--is the fertile Mrs Terrible pregnant with THREE little Godunovs now?

PI said...

It wasn't easy and there were a few slip-ups along the way but I can now inform your British readers that you are 14 stone 4lbs. Just do another quick check - I'm not using a calculator you understand - yes that is correct. That's less than Mr PI but he has EXTREMELY heavy bones.
A careless arm flung in his sleep can pinion me for hours.

Ivan the Terrible said...

Des - no, still just the one. But if a woman is eating for two, then can not the man be said to be eating for three?

And Pi - don't pretend you don't enjoy it...

Aunty Marianne said...

Oh God. I weigh not significantly less than Ivan, and I'm a good deal shorter.

But then you have to count 5 kilos for each of my assets to start with. That's 10 lbs dealt with already. And then of course they have to be counterbalanced at a point of low gravity in the rear to prevent me pitching forward and breaking my pretty pretty nose.

I have just cheered myself up immensely. Clearly, the design of my voluptuousness is perfection itself.

Aunty Marianne said...

Sorry. 20 lbs' worth of assets. 10 on each side.

Rob said...

14 stone 4? That's less than me. Yet if that's you under that kid, you certainly look fatter. If you don't want fried mars bars, they are terrifyingly good chopped up with pecan nuts & cooked in a breville toasted sandwich. With ice cream. You fat bastards.

Ivan the Terrible said...

Aunty, the main thing is that it's all in the right places.

And Rob - I sense a little projection going on in your comment - a seething mass of unresolved contradictions. Why not lie down on the couch over there and tell us about your mother?

Desargues said...

Hey, I ain't fat. And I'm pretty sure the... um... rubicond feller in the pic is not Bulgakov's latest avatar in Blogtopia.

Anyway, Rob, guys aren't fat; only fat women are fat, haven't you heard?

Ivan the Terrible said...

Been watching Family Guy, eh, Des? I thoroughly approve.

And no, the pic isn't of me - sorry for any confusion. I plucked it off the web at random via a search on the phrase "fat dad", which is surely a little harsh on the blameless individual concerned...

Desargues said...

I watch the dysfunctional family from Rhode Island religiously. The Gospel according to Peter Griffin is the only reliable, up-to-date guide to life in late capitalist societies.

Considering the West's ever-expanding bulge these days, I bet googling 'fat dad' must result in about as many hits as looking up 'naked chicks.'

Desargues said...

Boy, was I wrong! Nekkid ladies still outnumber chubby daddies by about 56.2 to 1. I guess humanity's basic instincts must be still healthy, after all.

Ivan the Terrible said...

That is reassuring, for many and varied reasons. We owe you a debt of gratitude, Des, for your lively spirit of disinterested scientific enquiry...

Desargues said...

No need to thank me for that, Ivan. A dedication to the disinterested probing of the secrets of nature is what allowed the West to dash irreversibly forward, leaving forever behind the rest of the benighted multitudes. It all started in Britain, in 1687. I'm just humbly following in the steps of your illustrious compatriot.

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