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Weight And Flying - Why You Should Shed Excess Pounds

Mar 6, 2008
I have a friend who is considerably overweight, infact she is obese. Her doctor has said her metabolism is the equivalent to that of a sloth, and since those mammals who are indigenous to the South American Rainforests, rarely ever move, it's a pretty worrying statement.

The sloth spends most of its life upside down and eats leaves. Its digestive system is so slow it can take up to a month to digest a traditional meal.

So why am I telling you this?

Well, it's because I think I am turning into one too.

No, I haven't started swinging from the trees (yet), but have just been on holiday to Florida and returned with a weight gain of ten pounds. I only actually went for ten days, but in light of the way I felt in the seat on the plane coming back it's probably just as well.

Last year my friend flew for the first time. She was very anxious about it. The problem was not the actual flying but her concern she wouldn't fit into the seat, or worse still, having got seated, she wouldn't be able to get out again.

I am happy to report her trip went well, but it has inspired her to lose some weight so the next time she ventures "abroad", she won't suffer so much anxiety.

On the same subject, you may have noticed that many airlines are reducing the amount of luggage you can take, and also weigh your hand luggage. This is particularly noticeable on some of the smaller airlines. Gone are the days when people can put everything but the kitchen sink in their handbags.

So, are the airlines being greedy and selfish, or just sensible? I'll opt for the latter and here's why.

A helicopter pilot told me that apart from the fuel and weight of the cargo they carry, the crew and the passengers also have to be weighed. Weight is critical to determine lift and how long they can remain in the air. Since most of his passengers are male, if they can't physically weigh them, each person is estimated to be 200 lbs, or 91 kilos. That's just over 14 stones.

Have you looked around lately? How many men, and sadly women, do you know who weigh that and more?

Now weight in a helicopter is probably more critical than that in an aeroplane but it is certainly significant. When I flew out to Florida my luggage was weighed but I wasn't. It was the same coming back.

Admittedly there were different people on the aircraft on both flights, but lets just imagine everyone on the flight out, including the crew, also returned on the same flight back. If each person enjoyed their holiday as much as I did and gained proportionally the same amount of weight, then it would be surprising if the plane took off at all on its return journey.

It seems the most dangerous part about flying is the take off and landing. Being overweight and obesity have been blamed for many medical problems, but now it seems, it's also the cause of some plane crashes -especially the smaller ones.

Just a thought!
About the Author
Jean Shaw writes articles and is the author of three true story books on autism and mercury poisoning

Weight Issues and Slimming Tips
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