Friday, October 19, 2007

I met a woman at a meeting on Tuesday who'd had gastric bypass surgery. I'd heard of it before but never thought much about how it worked. It sounded like while the surgery reduces the body's ability to absorb food, the main reason it's effective for weight loss is because it makes people stop eating. They get so sick if they eat more than tiny amounts of food at a time that they give up.

If someone's desperate enough to be willing to so radically change their relationship with food, I'm surprised there's not a way of doing so that's less drastic. (This woman was in the hospital for five days, and now, two years later, she's still barely able to eat.) Never having had a major weight problem, I can't speak to that experience, but it seems like there should be some other way....

The meeting was held in a large white windowless room. There is no clock. Its sole features are a projection screen and a Big Brother-ish poster of an eye that reads, "HPO WATCH: WE SUPPORT LEADERSHIP FOR HIGH PERFORMANCE." It's the only formal meeting I've ever been to where attendees were expected to pony up cash for the mediocre lunch provided. One thing PRA knew how to do well was run meetings- everyone's happier and more productive in pleasant environs with lots of good food.

(I realized afterward that I hadn't sized up my competition- in this case, I knew my precise location in the organizational hierarchy before I even went, so it wasn't necessary. I didn't need to jockey for position.)

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