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Fit 2 Fat 2 Fit
November 5, 2011 8:22 AM   Subscribe

Fit 2 Fat 2 Fit "My goal is to inspire people to get fit, teach them how to do it and give them hope that it IS possible to get fit and stay fit. "

Drew Manning, a personal trainer, has voluntarily and consciously decided to gain a bunch of weight in a 6-month period. He's eating, not exercising. So far he's gone from a 6'2", 193 body to a 6'2" 269 lb. body and has added quite a few inches.

"People that are overweight have to overcome both physical and emotional barriers when it comes to losing weight. I hope to have a better understanding of this through my experience over the next year. Also, I hope to better gain an understanding of how hard it really is to be overweight. I know it’s only going to be for 6 months, but at least it’ll give me a small window of the physical and emotional issues that come with being overweight."

He's not the only one to try this. Paul James a personal trainer from Australia also went to this extreme. "A lot of my clients have been skipping classes," he said of the motivation behind his burgeoning pudge. "I decided I really didn't understand what they were feeling and their emotions."
posted by Sassyfras (175 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite

 
I talked to a personal trainer about this - he said that if the guy wanted to be more accurate, he'd have to gain the weight, and then spend a year just sitting around being sedentary. He said that if he (Fit2Fat) just gains a bunch of weight, all that lean muscle mass is still under there, or something like that.
posted by HopperFan at 8:26 AM on November 5, 2011 [21 favorites]


Yeah, this isn't too realistic or representative. It reminds me of all those before/after exercise ads, you know they find elite athletes that had knee injuries and were temporarily overweight while recuperating for all the "before" photos right? Those people are naturally lean and this guy will easily return to his previous state.
posted by mathowie at 8:33 AM on November 5, 2011 [5 favorites]


Seems like it would be both easier and more effective to read some books or talk to some fat people or something.
posted by box at 8:37 AM on November 5, 2011 [5 favorites]


This smacks of fat-shaming to me. I don't know the guy, I don't know what he is thinking, but this just seems like another person saying, "LOL FATTIES! CAN'T LOOSE WAIT, BUT IT"S SO EZ, WAT'S WRONG W/U?!".
posted by kellyblah at 8:40 AM on November 5, 2011 [16 favorites]


You always try to look away, and you always know the fat guy knows you’re trying to look away. I know; I’ve been the fat guy. They know, we know. Imagine having a giant greasy down coat you could never take off.
posted by clarknova at 8:41 AM on November 5, 2011


I talked to a personal trainer about this - he said that if the guy wanted to be more accurate, he'd have to gain the weight, and then spend a year just sitting around being sedentary. He said that if he (Fit2Fat) just gains a bunch of weight, all that lean muscle mass is still under there, or something like that.

Well, one of the most efficient ways to lose fat is HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), the only problem is that to reach the intensities required is almost impossible for someone without quite a lot of previous training. Bodybuilders about to compete are also able to drop off a lot of body fat quickly, but obviously it helps to have so much muscle that you need to eat 4000 Kcal a day just to avoid muscle wasting.
posted by atrazine at 8:47 AM on November 5, 2011 [7 favorites]


People that are overweight have to overcome both physical and emotional barriers when it comes to losing weight. I hope to have a better understanding of this through my experience over the next year. Also, I hope to better gain an understanding of how hard it really is to be overweight. I know it’s only going to be for 6 months, but at least it’ll give me a small window of the physical and emotional issues that come with being overweight.

You read that and think this guy is a fat-shamer? These comments are like 180 degrees of what I thought they'd be when I read the link.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 8:48 AM on November 5, 2011 [29 favorites]


You read that and think this guy is a fat-shamer?

Based on my extensive internet research, anybody talking about losing weight in any way is "fat-shaming."
posted by Threeway Handshake at 8:51 AM on November 5, 2011 [50 favorites]


Yeah, I don't get the hate. This guy seems very compassionate to me. Though this is a "stunt" by its very definition, it does seem to be coming from the right place.

I applaud the guy.
posted by dobbs at 8:52 AM on November 5, 2011 [8 favorites]


Judging by his before pictures he just subbed out his steroids with big macs which I'm sure was really hard for him.
posted by Cyclopsis Raptor at 8:53 AM on November 5, 2011


Wow. Tough crowd. I'll admit that I don't understand being fat the way I don't understand being addicted to smoking, and this guy is willing to take pretty drastic measures to cross that gap in understanding. It's more than I would do, it's more than most people would do; and while it may not exactly replicate the experience of the people he's trying to help that doesn't make the whole project invalid. He's trying to walk a mile in someone else's shoes and getting dinged for wearing two pairs of socks.


this just seems like another person saying, "LOL FATTIES! CAN'T LOOSE WAIT, BUT IT"S SO EZ, WAT'S WRONG W/U?!"

If you watch his videos or read his blog he never comes within a lightyear of saying that or maintaining this attitude.



On preview: the crowd has become less tough, tough 2 soft 2 tough.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 8:54 AM on November 5, 2011 [15 favorites]


Anyone doing this really needs to read or listen to this piece from NPR from earlier this week.

Science has learned a lot about weight and fat and how it all works within one's body, and it turns out that it's really really REALLY difficult to lose weight and keep it off, for reasons having to do with biology and hormones and stuff.

Seriously, check it out. It was eye-opening and startling to hear this stuff.
posted by hippybear at 8:54 AM on November 5, 2011 [26 favorites]


You read that and think this guy is a fat-shamer?

Yup. To me, a lot of it read as a bit smarmy, frankly. Maybe I just didn't have enough coffee, maybe I am too sensitive.
posted by kellyblah at 8:54 AM on November 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm a bit torn on this actually. While I think it might add some insight to the personal trainer, the personal trainer also has the benefit of knowing his potential. For those that have struggled with weight especially for a large portion of their lives they can't fall back on their known potential because they probably don't know what their potential is. This guy knows his potential. He's been ripped. He's been buff. He's been the envy at the gym. He has the pictures to prove it and I'm sure he knows he can be that person again.

At the same time, in areas of my life that I need help in I always appreciate getting help from someone who has been there, even if it's only at a fraction of what my reality is. I know it’s only going to be for 6 months, but at least it’ll give me a small window of the physical and emotional issues that come with being overweight.
posted by Sassyfras at 8:56 AM on November 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


(Basically, once you've put on weight, you can never again eat as much as you did previously, because your body is now using what calories it gets in a different way. Even with exercise, you may have to adjust your diet to as much as 500 fewer calories per day for the rest of your life, and that's just to maintain.)
posted by hippybear at 8:56 AM on November 5, 2011 [5 favorites]


So this experiment is not credible because this guy isn't really a fat guy? Would you pay for weight loss advice given by someone who really IS overweight and never was able to take it off?

Who is allowed to teach this stuff? Perfectly average people, just by being the least worst choice?
posted by TheRedArmy at 8:58 AM on November 5, 2011 [5 favorites]


but this just seems like another person saying, "LOL FATTIES! CAN'T LOOSE WAIT, BUT IT"S SO EZ, WAT'S WRONG W/U?!".

To me it seems like he's saying "Losing weight is hard, and I want to better understand what people are going through". This seems like an interesting stunt, though kind of extreme. I wonder if he'll suffer any long terms health effects?
posted by beau jackson at 9:09 AM on November 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


A person who is already thin and at a good level of physical fitness:

-knows that they will be able to maintain a thin weight by eating in a way that's acceptable to them;
-knows that they are capable, barring unexpected injuries, of maintaining a good level of physical fitness;
-knows how to exercise and how to fit that exercise into their daily schedule;
-has no unsurmountable or really-hard-to-surmount barriers to weight loss, and *knows* they have no unsurmountable or really-hard-to-surmount barriers.

Gaining weight doesn't change any of those things.

Wasn't there a guy, a number of years ago, who came from a middle-class background, had a university degree, etc, and tried to live starting out with no money to prove that it was possible? That guy was just fooling himself because there are some advantages he couldn't erase just by not having money right at that moment. Likewise, this guy may be well-intentioned but he can't prove what he's setting out to prove.
posted by Jeanne at 9:10 AM on November 5, 2011 [13 favorites]


Judging by his before pictures he just subbed out his steroids with big macs which I'm sure was really hard for him.

Does it make you feel better about yourself to think that a body like that is only achieved through the use of drugs and not hard work? Hate to burst your bubble, but not all body builders use steroids. Also, I'm sure it is hard for him to eat a bunch of shit because when you're healthy and eat healthy, to eat something like a Big Mac is going to make you feel miserable. It is not an enjoyable experience.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 9:14 AM on November 5, 2011 [22 favorites]


Judging by his before pictures he just subbed out his steroids with big macs which I'm sure was really hard for him.

Those pictures look well within what's possible without steroids. Not only that, but having known a few juicers, their egos would not usually be able to countenance spending 6 months being fat.
posted by atrazine at 9:17 AM on November 5, 2011 [7 favorites]


Cyclops: 6'2" 192lbs is hardly an overly muscled giant. He is a cut well muscled man which believe it or not is attainable without drugs.

I think it's a great idea. If he has never been fat in his lifetime then it will help him gain some perspective. I would be more inclined to hire someone if I knew they had been there, or at least had a taste of what it is like. And he is raising money to help fight childhood obesity. So good on him.
posted by WickedPissah at 9:22 AM on November 5, 2011 [7 favorites]


"So this experiment is not credible because this guy isn't really a fat guy?"

Well, yes. In six months he might be able to get an average American belly, but he won't shrink to an average American muscle mass and he won't gain an average American metabolism. The consequences are subtle but much more predictable than they used to be.

So the experiments validity depends on the conclusions you're drawing from it. His attempt to see what it feels like doesn't seem any more, or less, valid to me than hearing person putting in earplugs for six months to see what it might be like to be hard of hearing or deaf. He could always take them out. If you're trying to conclude that because he can lose the weight others can in the same way, thats bullshit.

Reading his reasons, I don't think he is a bad guy, but that doesn't mean this doesn't rub me the wrong way.
posted by Blasdelb at 9:23 AM on November 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


It's not compassionate. All of those before/after pictures that weight loss companies use to push their MIRACULOUS DIET STUFF? They're all fit people who gained a bunch of weight for some reason (having a kid, getting injured) who just go back to being fit again. The body *remembers* stuff. Temporarily being laid up with an injury might make you out-of-shape for a little while, but all those habits are still there, along with the biological foundations like metabolism. Not necessary to 'cheat', but it's also not what happens to the sort of person who has been obese for a long period of time when they attempt the same plan.

I mean, if you've never been heavy at all, I guess there's something to just knowing the feeling of walking around in that body. But honestly, the least compassionate people are the ones who, like, gained thirty pounds when they had a kid and then lost it all again and so why can't you do that it's just a matter of willpower. Sure, that's how it was for them. It took persistence, but not anything earth-shattering. But that's not how it works for everybody else. It would be great if we could all go back and do that at the point where we'd just gotten heavy for the first time, but for some of us, that would have been, like, grade school.
posted by gracedissolved at 9:24 AM on November 5, 2011 [6 favorites]


This guys heart is totally in the right place, and so are most personal trainers. They're some of the most driven people I've met, and it can be contagious to spend time with them. Being skinny is not being healthy or fit either, as you can see on his site. This guy is interested in being fit.

Yes the above comment about his lean muscle mass is kinda right, in body building sense he's essentially just putting on a ton of weight, and then doing a cut.

Being fit and healthy is a lifestyle, not a one time diet or a 1 year program. You will put back on weight if you don't do anything and are sedentary. The hormone comment is bullshit on NPR, yes it's a shock to your body to lose a pound of week on some sort of diet. If you focus on gradual change and take your time your hormones and body will acclimate to supporting a leaner body type.
posted by straight_razor at 9:25 AM on November 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


Sure, a lot of people have always been fat, or have never been in shape, and this stunt isn't really going to give him a deep understanding of those folks. But some fat people are former athletes or otherwise fit people, and he absolutely will have a better understanding of them.
posted by pajamazon at 9:25 AM on November 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


This guy is a total douchebag, is doing damage to his health for a publicity stunt, and isn't being empathic towards fat people. When he goes back to fit is the message, "See how easy that was fatty? Now get off your ass."?

He's in it for the book deal and this type of shit is tiresome. Look, I ate hotdogs for a year! Mark my words, there will be a "I had gay sex for a year so I knew what it was like to be gay." book someday.

I find this man abhorrent.
Contact

For book inquiries please contact
Suzanne Wickham: suzanne.wickham@harpercollins.com

For media inquiries please contact
Harvey Scott: harveyjscott@gmail.com
I'm usually a fly your freak flag high and do whatever you like as long as you're only hurting yourself, but this guy is an ass.
posted by cjorgensen at 9:25 AM on November 5, 2011 [9 favorites]


I wonder if he will develop leptin resistance, which is often harder to get rid of than insulin resistance, and will give him some unpleasant longer term effects.
posted by melissam at 9:27 AM on November 5, 2011


When he goes back to fit is the message, "See how easy that was fatty? Now get off your ass."?

or . . .

maybe getting back in shape will be difficult for him and he'll be all, "yeah, it's freaking hard to get in shape."
posted by Sassyfras at 9:29 AM on November 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


This guy is a total douchebag // I find this man abhorrent // this guy is an ass

Well jeepers.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 9:30 AM on November 5, 2011 [14 favorites]


On another note, I probably accidentally did this experiment when I was a senior in HS and quit athletics, but kept eating my Michael-Phelpish diet of junk. I gained quite a bit of weight really quickly and was overweight for two years. It took me about a year to lose the weight. But I know people who eat the exact same diet who have struggled to lose weight even eating it for two or three years. They are usually much older than me and were overweight for longer, which changed their metabolism and hormonal milieu much more drastically.
posted by melissam at 9:30 AM on November 5, 2011


Won't he end up with sagging deflated moobs?
posted by Segundus at 9:32 AM on November 5, 2011


What strikes me about the before-and-now pictures is not the fatness, but how he went from very strong to very weak. Getting back into shape is going to be really tough, trying to build muscle tone from nothing. Sure it's a stunt, but I don't see how this is "fat-shaming" in the least.
posted by JindoFox at 9:34 AM on November 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


straight_razor, the "bullshit" that you're referring to is based on a body of peer-reviewed scientific research. I'm not sure if you noticed that. If you did, my apologies, and would you like to comment on how that research is flawed?
posted by pajamazon at 9:35 AM on November 5, 2011 [5 favorites]


I wonder if he will develop leptin resistance, which is often harder to get rid of than insulin resistance, and will give him some unpleasant longer term effects.

I wonder how long that takes to develop? I was pretty fat for 2-3 years in my early 20s when I was doing my Msci and then working my first job (for which I moved somewhere where I didn't walk at all) and once I sorted out my diet and started exercising I lost weight at a fairly precipitous rate.
I suspect that the shorter you carry excess fat, the less your body adapts to it and the less you have to fight homeostasis.
posted by atrazine at 9:36 AM on November 5, 2011


You know, there is a really huge amount of muscle shaming going on here that really isn't any better than the purported fat shaming.

Things like:

"LOL FATTIES! CAN'T LOOSE WAIT, BUT IT"S SO EZ, WAT'S WRONG W/U?!".

Judging by his before pictures he just subbed out his steroids with big macs which I'm sure was really hard for him.

When he goes back to fit is the message, "See how easy that was fatty? Now get off your ass."?

He's in it for the book deal and this type of shit is tiresome. Look, I ate hotdogs for a year! Mark my words, there will be a "I had gay sex for a year so I knew what it was like to be gay." book someday.


How any of you, with any level of seriousness, can put words into this guy's mouth based on a bunch of stereotypes you've acquired about bodybuilders and still think you're credible is beyond me.

There are a lot of people who were at one point fit and put on a bunch of weight that this might help or appeal to.

I've always been fit, and you have no idea how demeaning people can be about your fitness and get away with it. They say it's all genetics; I spend, on average, 10-15 hours a week doing some kind of activity. Every member of my immediate family has thyroid issues, heart disease, knee replacements or has had an illness related to their weight. People rarely consider that I look at my genetic makeup and it terrifies me, the cards I was dealt. They see someone who was born a certain way and didn't earn it, and when they find out it isn't that way, go to a bunch of stereotypes about people "like me" and how most people are a certain way.

Enough is enough. This guy seems genuinely concerned with how to get through to people and came up with a different way to get his message across that you can do it. Good for him.
posted by Rodrigo Lamaitre at 9:46 AM on November 5, 2011 [76 favorites]


That NPR article isn't groundbreaking, and it does not say that it is impossible to lose weight and keep it off. It is saying that it is difficult. The deck is stacked against you! Our bodies evolved as hunter-gatherers so we try to conserve fat because we used to not consistently be able to get food. In our modern age, this is no longer the case (for affluent people).

If you read the entire thing, at the end, they say how it is possible to lose weight and keep it off.

But you can fight back against a lowered metabolism. You can "kick" your metabolism back up by exercising every day. One recent study found people were able to burn up an extra 450 calories a day with one hour of moderate exercise.

It doesn't have to be vigorous jogging. You can walk briskly, bike or swim. Health experts recommend 30 minutes of moderate physical activity a day in order to reduce risk for heart disease. But obesity experts say if you want to lose or maintain weight, you have to double that and exercise at least one hour every day.


Nobody said that it is easy, especially not this Fit2Fat2Fit guy. It is very difficult and you have to fight your own brain and body to do so. It is a long process. I've been skinny and fat and all points in between in my life. Where I'm at is always exactly equal to how much effort I put into it.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 9:51 AM on November 5, 2011 [7 favorites]


What strikes me about the before-and-now pictures is not the fatness, but how he went from very strong to very weak.

How can you discern his strength from a picture?
posted by indubitable at 9:52 AM on November 5, 2011


What strikes me about the before-and-now pictures is not the fatness, but how he went from very strong to very weak.

How can you discern his strength from a picture?


Yeah, having a bodybuilder body is not actually about "being strong" or weak.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 9:57 AM on November 5, 2011 [7 favorites]


But some fat people are former athletes or otherwise fit people, and he absolutely will have a better understanding of them.

This describes both my dad, my stepdad and an awful lot of middle-aged+ individuals who by reason of age, injury or lifestyle just don't get out on the trail/the court/playing field the way they did five- ten years ago. I see these guys at the gym all the time working with personal trainers, sometimes because a calamity (say, a heart attack) has caused them to realize how out of shape they've become. I think this is probably a useful strategy for that kind of gym patron, which may be a significant portion of his customer base.

For someone like me, who's been overweight since adolescence? Not as effective (and maybe a little douche-y) . But I'm not his customer and never will be.
posted by thivaia at 10:00 AM on November 5, 2011


What he's missing, and what's going to make this a somewhat futile exercise for him, is that most people who are overweight and obese are fighting genetic factors that he doesn't have to worry about. And I'm not talking speed of metabolism, I'm talking about genetically programmed behavior. There are genes that induce hyperphagia (they make you want to eat, practice food seeking and eating behaviors, make you hungry, etc.) and there are genes for exercise intolerance (that make you feel lousy when you exercise rather than rejuvenated). He's not going to be fighting any of that, and they likely are. I've heard a geneticist say that she can predict who is going to drop out of the exercise portion of an exercise and diet trial just by looking at their genes.

It's not impossible to overcome behavior that is scripted by genes, but it takes a lot more work than this guy is going to need to put into it.
posted by antinomia at 10:07 AM on November 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


How any of you, with any level of seriousness, can put words into this guy's mouth based on a bunch of stereotypes you've acquired about bodybuilders and still think you're credible is beyond me.

I don't think I put words into his mouth. If you read my whole comment, rather than just the CAPs part, you would have seen:

I don't know the guy, I don't know what he is thinking, but this just seems like another person saying

That's how the blog/experiment was interpreted by me. Nothing to do with stereotypes of bodybuilders, not sure where you got that from my comment. He just seems smarmy to me, I didn't know that was a body builder stereotype.
posted by kellyblah at 10:08 AM on November 5, 2011


maybe getting back in shape will be difficult for him and he'll be all, "yeah, it's freaking hard to get in shape."

Or he could open his eyes and look at all the people that have difficulties? It doesn't take a genius to realize that being in shape takes effort. That isn't a hard lesson. There's a reason there's a billion dollar industry peddling pills and diet supplements to fat people.

How any of you, with any level of seriousness, can put words into this guy's mouth based on a bunch of stereotypes you've acquired about bodybuilders and still think you're credible is beyond me.

Yeah, that's what I was doing. You quoted half of what I said and none of it supports this thesis. I'm not putting words in the guy's mouth. He has a website. He's done interviews. I watched the Inside Edition segment where he ate 8 huge hotdogs loaded with everything. Even my fat friends don't eat like that.

The reason I feel free to hate on this guy is because this is a choice he's making. He's consciously choosing to make himself fat and he's doing it in a circus freak show manner. He speaks for himself and I find his message damning and damaging.
posted by cjorgensen at 10:08 AM on November 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm not convinced he hasn't bought a lot of flannel and isn't hanging out in the bear bars.
posted by hippybear at 10:11 AM on November 5, 2011 [6 favorites]


@gracedissolved and about compassion--I find your post very off putting. From my preteens until late 20's I was always 10-20% overweight-- I hated gym, the way I looked, I was shy about dating, had to go to special stores for Levi's and my mother assured my I would grow out of it--she was clinically if not morbidly obese. In my late 20's i decided I did not want to die prematurely and quit smoking, started exercising and went on a diet. I was sick and tired of feeling I was not managing my life but my life was managing me. Now age 70 I have exercised daily for over 35 years, still watch my diet and am smoke free. I think I have substantial compassion for those experiencing obesity and I am equally distressed and tired of those who say it is to hard, to much work and and they should embrace their obesity. And I certainly agree that anytime weight loss is suggested the attacks on "fat shamers" starts.
posted by rmhsinc at 10:12 AM on November 5, 2011 [16 favorites]


The hormone comment is bullshit on NPR, yes it's a shock to your body to lose a pound of week on some sort of diet. If you focus on gradual change and take your time your hormones and body will acclimate to supporting a leaner body type.

It's not bullshit, it's science. If you have better scientific evidence I'm sure you'll do us the favor of revealing it or at least backing up what you're saying with some facts instead of just pulling opinion out of your ass.
posted by blucevalo at 10:15 AM on November 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


@rmhsinc: "It is healthier to eat moderate amounts of healthy foods and exercise" is a perfectly reasonable statement that isn't fat shaming at all. "You should be capable of losing weight if you just applied some willpower", unless you are a physician with personal knowledge of that person's current physiological state, isn't a statement of well-meaning advice, it's judgment based on standards of attractiveness and what you think other people ought to do to adhere to them. Compassion is saying: It doesn't matter what you look like, I want you to be healthy, how can I help you do that? And if people lose weight in that process, terrific.

"You should" is always imposing something you think on someone else who is not living your life. If you aren't a professional, that isn't your place. What might not have been that hard for you--especially at a level of overweight that was probably not a significant medical risk and did not pose nearly the long-term complications of an extended excess of 70 or 100 or 200 pounds--is not the same for other people, and those other people are not helped by you saying, "I did this, so so can you!" You did something and you've kept it up and that's fantastic, but what you needed in order to make your healthy changes is not the same thing other people need, and that does not mean that those people are just not willing to put in the same effort you did. It's not the same effort you did. They aren't you.
posted by gracedissolved at 10:30 AM on November 5, 2011 [5 favorites]


@gracedissolved--I really do not know exactly what you are saying. When I read/hear something similar to what you just wrote, I hear--You don't understand how hard/difficult/genetically/metabolically difficult/impossible it is for me/us/them to lose weight. Usually accompanied by some reference to their uniqueness. Of course it is hard, very very hard and even harder for some. But what I see is an obese nation with a lot of obese people who think they are somehow unique and special in the weight loss/gain business. I swear to god, if genetics is part of it then the United States must specialize in attracting those genetically predisposed to obesity. I realize we are not the most obese Nation but I do think we are the best at rationalizing it. I know the PC police will come but I do see clinical and morbid obesity as related to other handicaps/limitations/disabilities/special needs. And like most other limitations it takes work, real work to operate at maximum achievable levels. Oh well, enough for now. Thanks for the civil discussion
posted by rmhsinc at 10:50 AM on November 5, 2011 [5 favorites]


Good thing that there's one universal constant: whether you're fat or thin, there'll always be a bunch of assholes telling you exactly how you're doing everything wrong.
posted by concreteforest at 10:52 AM on November 5, 2011 [50 favorites]


But wait...does he wake up in the morning looking for a slice of the pizza he polished off last night?

If so, he's doing it perfectly. If not...he's a tourist.

Eat4Life.
posted by hal_c_on at 10:59 AM on November 5, 2011 [7 favorites]


(Basically, once you've put on weight, you can never again eat as much as you did previously, because your body is now using what calories it gets in a different way. Even with exercise, you may have to adjust your diet to as much as 500 fewer calories per day for the rest of your life, and that's just to maintain.)

Either this is 100% bullshit, or it may go a long way in solving the hunger problem...

I am thinking its the former, but wishing it was the latter.
posted by hal_c_on at 11:02 AM on November 5, 2011


I like this, because in principle I have a soft spot for anyone who tries to walk a mile in someone else's shoes in order to help them. I don't care if they are doing it to make money by driving traffic to their website or get more clients.

But, I think this is really more valuable for those two things than it is for helping someone who is fat get fit. It's really a valuable thing only for the trainer, in other words. It will give him a much better sense of what it's like to be overweight, and what that climb to lose weight and get fit is really like.

But the idea that it will help the marginal client is, I suspect, less effective. If you think of everyone as Bayesian learners, the idea of these displays is that the main problem keeping someone from exercising until they are fit is that their prior beliefs about their own ability to become fit is so low that when they go to exercise, they evaluate the cost of the exercise against the probabilistically weighted benefit of an exercise, and are just therefore unlikely to exercise because they simply don't believe that it's possible for an obese person to lose weight. Seeing someone like this man do it, they are forced to update their prior beliefs, and therefore that may be just enough of an update that the posterior beliefs raise the expected value of exercise enough to incur the costs.

Man I hope that is true. But I find it unlikely. I ran a marathon last year for the first time. It was the culmination of about 12 months of intensive exercise that included the p90x workout. I'd never exercised before in my life, let alone run at all, and the marathon training was a powerful display of what I was capable of. But then I ran the marathon. I took some time off to recuperate, it got really cold around here, making my morning runs (early morning being the only time I could afford to run) slightly less comfortable. I live in Texas, so of course, the cold winter almost instantly became a 100+ degree summer that lasted for an eternity. And then the opposite problem came - my early morning runs became the only time I could run without killing myself, and if I had any negative shocks - like just waking up a little bit late and missing the early morning run - my day was off.

Now it's November. I was signed up for another November marathon, and was doing fine, but got sick, and just quit training. But I really was out of it way before that happened - I kept believing I was actually on the downswing. I'd begun eating poorly again - bags of Kettle chips in one sitting - staying up til 3am all the time, and falling back into old, bad habits.

All of which makes me think a lot about why was i could have exerted myself so gladly for so long and now can't, despite I think really wanting to. Guys like this trainer and people like me seem cut from different cloth. It's not the muscles or the unobserved physical athleticism. I think sometimes it's the degree to which their resting state is one in which they are obsessed with being fit. I just am not obsessed with being fit. I was obsessed with running those long distances - man did they ever do something to me. When I was hitting the pavement for hours on end, I felt like I was working out all the angst and pain in my soul. And I loved it - need it even possibly. But it seems like that mental state is such a fragile equilibrium. Maybe it's partially caused by false beliefs about one's potential, for which role models like this guy are clearly valuable. But it's also other things. I wonder sometimes if there's not 4 or 5 things that cause that mental state where the person's whole life has bent around the exercise and the consistency, and if you are not born with that natural drive, I think it's always a fight to keep it going.

That said though, I am appreciative of efforts like this. I do think ultimately it is a false belief that we believe we are personally, individually, incapable of being the people we are meant to be. Exercise to the point of real health gains is as much a metaphor and a costly signal that one can use to update ones beliefs regularly about who we are and who we aren't. But the path to that place is hard - it's a funk that people who struggle to exercise seem to live regularly with. I know I do.
posted by scunning at 11:02 AM on November 5, 2011 [8 favorites]


Either this is 100% bullshit, or it may go a long way in solving the hunger problem...

Listen to the 8 minute NPR audio in the link I posted above. That's exactly what she says. It's based on peer-reviewed research. It might be bullshit, but I doubt it.
posted by hippybear at 11:03 AM on November 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was obsessed with running those long distances - man did they ever do something to me. When I was hitting the pavement for hours on end, I felt like I was working out all the angst and pain in my soul.

Forrest Gump felt the same way. (Sounds snarky, but not meant that way. That's one of the more interesting concepts in that movie for me.)
posted by hippybear at 11:05 AM on November 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


I dunno. I am skinny thanks to health and metabolism shit. I thus feel like I can't comment on the fat-shaming thing.

Howevs, this totally reads to me as a book-deal stunt. It strikes me how hidden the name of his agent is on his site. That plus the HUGE fight childhood obesity ads to me = a big circus. That it's regarding stuff related to health makes me queasy.

But then, I'm a bitter unpublished author, so there's that.
posted by angrycat at 11:09 AM on November 5, 2011


If cynicism burned calories this guy'd be out of a job.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 11:14 AM on November 5, 2011 [8 favorites]


Unfortunately, the science indicates that this experiment, however well intentioned, isn't realistic:

“The first experiments were the inspiration of a scientist, Ethan Sims of the University of Vermont, who asked what would happen if thin people who had never had a weight problem deliberately got fat… Sims says he got the idea from research he had done during a sabbatical year, when he was trying to make mice fat. That turned out to be difficult - even when they were supplied with abundant tasty food, the mice ate only enough to maintain their weight. Sims could force-feed the animals, but then they would increase their metabolic rate and burn more calories, which led them to gain less than was predicted. Even if the animals put on some weight, they would lose it and go right back to their original weights when the study ended. Sims began to wonder whether people, too, would have a hard time gaining weight. No one had ever really asked - who, after all, would want to get fat?

But Sims was a university faculty member, and when he returned to the University of Vermont he managed to find subjects for his weight-gain study among its students. He deliberately recruited students who had never been fat and had no family history of obesity and who were willing to make a serious effort to try to become fat. It sounded as if it would be easy - all you would have to do is indulge yourself with all of your favorite calorie-laden treats. Most people, when asked, say they could weigh much more than they do but that they exert their willpower to keep the weight down.

But Sims and his student volunteers found otherwise. To their own surprise, these subjects found it all but impossible to gain much weight; no matter how much they tried to eat, they just could not become obese…

Maybe, Sims decided, the problem was that the volunteers were free to move about and were burning too many calories with physical activity. He thought of the perfect subjects, people who really would have no chance to cheat and burn off calories: prisoners. So he repeated his experiment with men who were incarcerated in a nearby state prison and who volunteered to become fat.

This time, the experiment worked, in a fashion - the men got fat. But producing obesity turned out to be much harder than Sims had anticipated. The men increased their weight by 20 to 25 percent, but it took four to six months for them to do this, eating as much as they could every day. Some ended up eating 10,000 calories a day, an amount so incredible that it would be hard to believe, were it not for the fact that the research study had attendants present at each meal who dutifully recorded everything the men ate.

But when Sims calculated the amount of weight the men should be gaining, he discovered that they were gaining much less than would have been predicted and that different men gained at different rates. Once the men were fat, Sims asked how many calories they needed to maintain their weight, and how that compared with the calories they needed when they were at their normal weights, before the study began. The answer was astonishing: When the thin men got fat, their metabolism increased by 50 percent. they needed more then 2,700 calories per square meter of their body surface to stay at their obese weight, but just 1,800 calories per square meter to maintain their normal weight…

Then Sims did another study. He recruited very heavy men and dieted them down to the same level of fatness as the newly obese prisoners. These men, while just as fat as the prisoners, needed half as many calories to maintain their weight…

As for the fat cells of the newly obese prisoners, it turned out that they had simply grown larger, much larger, but their number remained constant. The men were fat, but they got that way by stuffing the cells they already had with globules of fat, not by growing more fat cells. So, because they always had fewer fat cells than people who were naturally fat, they were fundamentally different from naturally fat people.

When the study ended, the prisoners had no trouble losing weight; within months, they were back to normal and effortlessly stayed there.

The implications were clear. There is a reason that fat people can’t stay thin after they diet and that thin people can’t stay fat when they force themselves to gain weight. The body’s metabolism speeds up or slows down to keep weight within a narrow range. Gain weight and the metabolism can as much as double; lose weight and the metabolism can slow down to half its original speed.”

- Gina Kolata, Rethinking Thin, pg. 116-18.

posted by gd779 at 11:26 AM on November 5, 2011 [26 favorites]


another weight loss advert.
posted by lampshade at 11:27 AM on November 5, 2011


Yeah, having a bodybuilder body is not actually about "being strong" or weak.

Man I hate that comic. If anyone thinks a bodybuilder like Jay Cutler or Phil Heath isn't 'legitimately' strong has some strange issues. It's all most as bad as those 'functional strength' or 'starvation mode equals weight gains' posts..
posted by anti social order at 11:33 AM on November 5, 2011


GOOD GAWD!! This thread is equal parts hilarious and terrifying to anyone with any hope of ever getting back to being their fit and svelte selves. METAFILTER: YOU'RE BEING SCARY.

Look. Just stop drinking and eating pizza for lunch AND dinner and start to eat more nutritionally balanced meals based on raw veggies, and get out to the nearest track and do some fast walking until you can run without your Moobs slapping you in the face..... Dammit!!


*Skygazer consider's what he just wrote....*



*Skygazer...puts pillow over face and lets out bloody scream of agonized terror.*

posted by Skygazer at 11:36 AM on November 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


I lose weight by promising myself that instead of eating a cookie, I will instead lie hilariously to a child.
posted by everichon at 11:41 AM on November 5, 2011 [6 favorites]


Unless you're privileged to have a person's medical history, you generally can't tell at a glance how hard they're working at fitness. I've known more than a few people who radically changed their diet, started exercising, lost weight, even changed jobs in order to live healthier. And yeah, they look better than they did five years ago.

But they're still fat, which I suppose makes everything they've struggled for invalid.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 11:43 AM on November 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


*Gets a blanket for Skygazer, and a paper bag for him to breath into*

The blogger's very public eating challenges come across as very close to the weird shit feeders like to get up to to get their kicks.
posted by Phalene at 11:47 AM on November 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm not putting words in the guy's mouth.

You asked an incredibly leading question here:

When he goes back to fit is the message, "See how easy that was fatty? Now get off your ass."?

Asking questions like that lead people down a path you want them to go, so yeah, I'd argue that's putting words in his mouth by injecting a quote nobody actually said into the discussion. Not to mention (this isn't the first I've seen of him either) he doesn't seem to be saying anything like that in any of the media out there.

So yeah, forgive me if I think your arguments are about a lot more than this one "abhorrent" "douchebag" who you've been exposed to for a very limited amount of time.
posted by Rodrigo Lamaitre at 11:58 AM on November 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


GOOD GAWD!! This thread is equal parts hilarious and terrifying to anyone with any hope of ever getting back to being their fit and svelte selves. METAFILTER: YOU'RE BEING SCARY.

SERIOUSLY. I gained lweight while writing my book and stressing out All The Time and this thread is making me feel like a SACK OF DOOM JUST HANGING OVER MY HEAD ABOUT TO CRUSH ME INTO A FINE MIST.

I'm going to go eat nothing but lettuce and run til I fall down while crying and blasting "This Year" directed into my brain.
posted by The Whelk at 12:02 PM on November 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


this thread is making me feel like a SACK OF DOOM JUST HANGING OVER MY HEAD ABOUT TO CRUSH ME INTO A FINE MIST.

I think you want the Rocky Horror thread, just down the hall.

And I've got the feeling someone's gonna be cuttin' the thread!
posted by hippybear at 12:15 PM on November 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


There's a Rocky Horror thread?
posted by Senor Cardgage at 12:17 PM on November 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


dammit hippbear now I've got "I Can Make You A Man" stuck in my head
posted by The Whelk at 12:19 PM on November 5, 2011


But they're still fat, which I suppose makes everything they've struggled for invalid.

If they're happier it doesn't.

It seems to me that my friends who are inactive are significantly less happy than the ones who get out and do stuff, even if you take weight completely out of the equation. The inactive people are more negative, more self-absorbed, complain more, drink more, spend more time doing unsatisfying things like watching TV and are less healthy, which make everything harder. Overall, they have really low expectations for themselves and they take every opportunity to reinforce those low expectations. Even some of the people who were serious athletes when we were younger have fallen into this trap by comparing their current selves to their 25 year old badass selves and getting depressed and giving up.

I have no idea if the bad moods lead to the inactivity or the other way around but I suspect it's the latter. I also suspect that there are a lot of people who see everything as a competition and won't play if they can't be the thinnest, the prettiest, the fastest or the bestest. Being healthy has unfortunately become a competition and that's bad for people with a certain mindset.
posted by fshgrl at 12:20 PM on November 5, 2011 [17 favorites]


There is no Rocky Horror thread!

Hate you hippy bear :(
posted by Senor Cardgage at 12:28 PM on November 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Senor Cardgage: there is a Rocky Horror thread. Either that, or I'm hallucinating again.
posted by hippybear at 12:30 PM on November 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


fshgrl. FLAGGED*





* For "Fantastic Comment."
posted by Skygazer at 12:33 PM on November 5, 2011


I'll be damned. Hatred rescinded, back to frenz.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 12:38 PM on November 5, 2011


There is no Rocky Horror thread!

It's not like you couldn't do something about this, if you wanted. It will just take a little effort and willpower....
posted by GenjiandProust at 1:00 PM on November 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


there are many factors, environmental and genetic, concerning the creation of of a Rocky Horror thread.
posted by The Whelk at 1:01 PM on November 5, 2011 [8 favorites]


The reason I feel free to hate on this guy is because this is a choice he's making. He's consciously choosing to make himself fat and he's doing it in a circus freak show manner. He speaks for himself and I find his message damning and damaging.

Black Like Me is the true story of a white man who posed as a black man for six weeks in the United States in 1959. I guess the author was another circus freak.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:10 PM on November 5, 2011 [7 favorites]


Yeah, this guy is sending the totally wrong message to people who struggle with their weight. Unlike this thread, which tells overweight people that they will never ever be able to lose weight ever, thanks to a combination of psychological, environmental, cultural, physiological, and genetic factors, and if they somehow manage to shed a few pounds it's inevitable that they'll just gain it all back and then some, so it's probably for the best that they just never try to make a positive change to their lifestyles ever.

Thank God that Metafilter is here to protect us from listening to jerks like Drew Manning.
posted by Ian A.T. at 1:14 PM on November 5, 2011 [12 favorites]


it's probably for the best that they just never try to make a positive change to their lifestyles ever

I'm not sure anyone in this thread ever voiced anything even remotely resembling this sentiment, but I'd welcome being proved wrong with some pointers to comments which say such things.
posted by hippybear at 1:26 PM on November 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


I won't be impressed if this guy gets back down to 190 by spending 4 hours a day in the gym and only eating salads.

I will be impressed if he gets back down to 190 while commuting to a regular 8-hour-a-day desk job, taking care of a family, doing his own shopping and cooking, and having a social life which involves eating with non-athletes.

I don't believe there's any special magic in losing weight, but normal people in our society have so little extra time and energy at the end of the day that it would take 3 or 4 years to lose 70 pounds. If it's your full-time job, then duh, you can get in shape a lot faster.
posted by miyabo at 1:30 PM on November 5, 2011 [9 favorites]


But it's also other things. I wonder sometimes if there's not 4 or 5 things that cause that mental state where the person's whole life has bent around the exercise and the consistency, and if you are not born with that natural drive, I think it's always a fight to keep it going.

In my experience with the same struggle, consistency actually causes that mental state, feedback-loop style. As I work out more consistently, I want to skip sessions less and less, but the longer I've been skipping the gym the harder it is to get off my ass and go. When I'm feeling bad it's hard to go, but after I go I feel better; when I'm feeling good but I stop going, before long I start to feel bad. This is compounded by the fact that it's always ten times harder at the beginning. Whenever I take some time off, the first few weeks back are painful and hard and discouraging, and it takes a special effort to get through it. I think that's a lot of what keeps new people out of the gym: they hit that first couple weeks of major discomfort and think fuck, I have to do this for the rest of my life? I can't even lift my arms the next day! And they quit, never knowing that they'd start to feel better if they stuck with it for a month.

I agree with fshgrl. Fitness is its own reward, and it bleeds into every part of your life; it's not just about being fat or thin or big or "ripped", or about a specific accomplishment like running a marathon or squatting 2x bodyweight. Appearance and accomplishment are fine goals, but I think we'd all be better off if we concentrated just on today -- just on moving, first of all, and then on moving a little more than we did the last time.
posted by vorfeed at 1:31 PM on November 5, 2011 [7 favorites]


fuck, I have to do this for the rest of my life?

Ah, my mental gym monologue "Pick up the heavy thing" "why?" "So you don't get diabetes" "Okay, for how long" "FOREVER"
posted by The Whelk at 1:34 PM on November 5, 2011 [23 favorites]


I'd actually pay good money for something that could get that "ahhh repetition for the sake of repetition having a body sucks this is so abstract my life does not require me to be able to lift objects or run why am I doing this the universe is devoid of meaning ahhh" loop out of my head at the gym
posted by The Whelk at 1:40 PM on November 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


Here's what I think about losing weight . . . it's hard. Period. No matter who you are. Yes, for some it may be more difficult, perhaps nearing on impossible. But it's a matter of degrees - it's going to be hard for Drew to lose that weight and get fit again - even if it looks "easy." It's still taking quite a bit of effort. And it will take time.

This guy is still going to have to go through the process of losing the weight. And dang, I think it's gotta be scary for him too. Even though he has those "before" pictures, is there some doubt that he holds that perhaps he can't get back to that way? Perhaps it IS impossible? That's he's too far gone to get to where he was?
posted by Sassyfras at 1:40 PM on November 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


the longer I've been skipping the gym the harder it is to get off my ass and go

Confession: I once didn't go to the gym for a month because the zipper broke on my gym bag. Once the routine was broken it was sooo easy to stop going. In my defense it was summer and it was sunny outdoors.
posted by fshgrl at 1:42 PM on November 5, 2011 [5 favorites]


I'd actually pay good money for something that could get that "ahhh repetition for the sake of repetition having a body sucks this is so abstract my life does not require me to be able to lift objects or run why am I doing this the universe is devoid of meaning ahhh" loop out of my head at the gym

So... get a job which demands physical activity and a lot of muscular exertion and you'll get paid to work out and won't have to have that loop running through your head at the gym. You're in NYC -- go down to the docks and see what they have.

posted by hippybear at 1:43 PM on November 5, 2011


all our docks are in Newark, Hippybear
posted by The Whelk at 1:44 PM on November 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


all our docks are in Newark, Hippybear

It's still just right there. I bet even public transit will take you there.

posted by hippybear at 1:49 PM on November 5, 2011


Look. Just stop drinking and eating pizza for lunch AND dinner and start to eat more nutritionally balanced meals based on raw veggies, and get out to the nearest track and do some fast walking until you can run without your Moobs slapping you in the face..... Dammit!!

But you know what, there's nothing facetious about this, even if it's meant that way.

I entered college 180 lbs (6'3") and exited about 220. Ballooned over the years as high as 250; spent more than 20 years bouncing between 225 and 250. Did not exercise whatsoever, drank 2-4 beers a night, enjoyed crap from the vending machine in between lunch and quitting time, etc. Developed moobs. And when you really dislike the way you look and the state you're in, it sort of becomes a trap; you're demotivated. At some level I realized that the amount of hard, physical work require to stop being overweight - which I hadn't done in two decades - was immense. I just didn't have the strength for it, or the time for it.

Then I went to my 25th high school reunion. Had a great time, etc. And then, people started posting pics on Facebook. Good Christ - who's the whale? The whale was me.

It struck me that I had gained more weight than almost anyone I'd gone to high school with; that I was the one who looked the most different because I'd let myself get so goddamned fat.

Seeing those pics, it was like an iron door crashing down, separating the before from the now. I went and bought a pair of running shoes, and started to run around the neighborhood at night. Ditched the beer - I haven't had a "real" beer in more than a year. Drink only "beer" (55 calorie/1.9 grams carbs Bud Select 55). Cut out the crap from the vending machines. Joined a gym and at one point was going 5-6 times a week. Now down to 3 times a week, but dragging my sorry ass out of bed at 5:30 a.m. to get there and back and get it all done in the morning.

I'm down to about 197; still can't lose the last of the spare tire around the middle, and probably could if I totally went with an Amish diet. But at this point those last few pounds aren't worth the additional sacrifice. But at age 44 I'm in shape for the first time since I was about 19.

But you know what, it was fucking hard getting from there to here. Your mileage is definitely going to vary but if you do make a concerted effort to eat better and a concerted and consistent effort to get more exercise than you do now you CAN get fit, though fit doesn't necessarily mean you'll lose all the weight.

I will have to watch what I eat and work out at least this much for the rest of my life. That is a daunting thought. I used to enjoy the Oktoberfest brews and black and tan, and the reality is I'll probably never have another one. That life I led before, I can't live it anymore. I kind of liked that life, it was definitely more relaxed. But now I no longer have moobs. So in the end - there's no contest.
posted by kgasmart at 1:50 PM on November 5, 2011 [10 favorites]


I'd actually pay good money for something that could get that "ahhh repetition for the sake of repetition having a body sucks this is so abstract my life does not require me to be able to lift objects or run why am I doing this the universe is devoid of meaning ahhh" loop out of my head at the gym

I'm not sure of your particular circumstances or what you've tried, but cycling, climbing and hiking might be for you. There is a real world application for these skills; cycling becomes a cost-saving transportation system and an amazing way to explore the communities that surround you (including opening up a number of European vacation destinations to a new dimension.) Hiking and climbing talent allow you to see and experience things that few others get to because of the challenge of getting there.

An example: after having had a moderate interest in bikes, I bought a hybrid and hit the trails surrounding my city. As my distance increased, I happened upon a converted railway car turned french cafe in the middle of nowhere...apparently, experienced cyclists knew about it and kept it alive. So, my Sunday morning ritual began an hour and a half of biking, a beautiful breakfast with french press coffee and a bike ride back home. So. Damn. Fulfilling.
posted by Rodrigo Lamaitre at 1:58 PM on November 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


lots of hate for his perceived attitude here, which I don't quite understand. I detect nothing mean in his voice, be it written or actually aural. I might just watch this a bit and see if there is anything I can learn. that spinach shake seems interesting as a breakfast (someone explain to me the benefit of almond milk over regular milk, please?) and the eat five meals per day seems fairly standard as well. and the prepare your meals idea is nothing that suprises me either or comes across as unwise.

saying I am going to show how how you can do it, now get off your butt is not shaming, it's not mean, it's an invitation to participate. everyone knows it's damn tough to keep it off.
posted by krautland at 2:02 PM on November 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hey media stunt guy: Let's try this with porn!

NoFap 2 Fap 2 NoFap

Signed,
Your Agent
posted by gorgor_balabala at 2:06 PM on November 5, 2011


*Your New Agent
posted by gorgor_balabala at 2:08 PM on November 5, 2011


Possible book title: "Fat Like Me"
posted by Renoroc at 2:14 PM on November 5, 2011


I'm not fat shaming or getting pissed at the guy for being fit. I think he's making stupid choices. I'll take comfort in this:
But stupidity is the only universal capital crime: the sentence is death, there is no appeal, and execution is carried out automatically and without pity.
Robert A. Heinlein, Time Enough For Love
> It strikes me how hidden the name of his agent is on his site.

It wasn't hidden a few days ago. There was a prominent link to the contact page. Now that the site is getting a bit of attention there's been some quick changes. I could only find the contact page again because it was in my history.

This reminds me of a story I read in a modern primitives magazine where some guy had split his cock in half from head to base just so he could experience the cruel injustice women face by having to sit down to pee. It's stupid.
posted by cjorgensen at 2:16 PM on November 5, 2011


Metafilter: These comments are like 180 degrees of what I thought they'd be when I read the link
posted by ofthestrait at 2:17 PM on November 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


I really hope all the people totally ignoring all of the scientific research that's been done on this subject keep their mouths closed next time there's a creationism/evolution thread. Or a global warming thread. Or a vaccination / homeopathy thread. (Unless you're all creationists and vaccine skeptics, in which case, way to be consistent.)
posted by straight at 2:20 PM on November 5, 2011


miyabo--that is the problem--it does not take 3-4 years to loose 70 lbs. It takes 700 days +/- of decreasing your total calories by 200-400 calories per day . What is that--a couple of beers, a dessert, briskly walking walking 30-40 minutes--or how about eliminating one beer and parking 15/20 minutes from work. Do not eat the kid's left overs or lick the cake bowl. It takes a little bit of effort every day, a moderate amount of effort for fewer days or a hell of a lot of effort for even fewer days. It is not as if you are giving up cocaine, heroin or quitting smoking. It is working just a bit more and eating a bit less. This can be done.
posted by rmhsinc at 2:20 PM on November 5, 2011


I'm going to have to fall onto the side of this is stunty and complete garbage. Smart marketing, but a complete waste of time for everyone who buys into this. Does anyone here think this guy is not going to be fit again? He sure doesn't, and that's 90% of the problem solved. Considering just that, do you think that has any that may be a bit of a different dynamic than anybody else who's trying to become fit? Now consider all the other variables and factors that are not even remotely the same for every Tom, Dick, Sally, and Jane that try to do the same thing.

What strikes me about the before-and-now pictures is not the fatness, but how he went from very strong to very weak.

I have a sneaking suspicion that Psychologists that specialize in health and body dysmorphic disorders will start to have to deal with an onslaught of these type of thinking.
Let me shortcut this right now: Your, and everyone else's, self worth should not be equated to physical strength. That is fucking bonkers. Your welcome, that'll be $75 dollars.
posted by P.o.B. at 2:25 PM on November 5, 2011


Well, burning off 400 calories by walking is 3.5-4 miles.

That's not parking 15-20 minutes from work. that's parking 45 minutes from work. And walking at a brisk enough pace that on hot days you'd probably better pack a quick change of shirt and have a way to freshen up for the office, if that's the kind of place you work.
posted by hippybear at 2:25 PM on November 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


Ah, my mental gym monologue "Pick up the heavy thing" "why?" "So you don't get diabetes" "Okay, for how long" "FOREVER"

See, that's the thing. Goals like "so you don't get diabetes", "so you don't have moobs", "so you can run the marathon" are abstract, and that makes them tough to stick with. Goals like "just go because it feels good, and it'll feel even better when you're done" are the key, at least for me.

I started lifting weights because I wanted to be strong, and that's still a big part of it, but mainly I do it because I like myself better that way. If I made a graph of my workout frequency over time and my happiness over time, I suspect there'd be a very strong correspondence -- it's almost uncanny how my low periods coincide with inactivity.
posted by vorfeed at 2:28 PM on November 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


Does anyone here think this guy is not going to be fit again? He sure doesn't, and that's 90% of the problem solved.

To be honest, since I read it and saw the photos, I've wondered how he's going to feel if he ends up doing yo-yo weight gain/loss for the rest of his life and fighting every step of the way to make even the smallest gain.

He's not just packed on a few pounds. He's gained a 4th grader in weight since he started his little experiment. I sat in front of my computer and drank 6-12 beers a day and ate whatever I wanted for 3 years and only gained 30 lbs. I can't imagine what he's done to gain 70+ pounds in 6 months.
posted by hippybear at 2:28 PM on November 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


A societial fixation on physical strength seems like one of those anxious tics cultures on the edge of collapse get.
posted by The Whelk at 2:30 PM on November 5, 2011


I kinda feel like most of the "fat-shaming" happening here is what's been internalized by some of the people commenting. I don't see any "hey you totes suck for not getting thinner, fatty" in the site at hand, just a dude trying his best to understand a very different place than the one he's in.

But I am presently thin and fit due to twice-weekly dance class (burlesque!) and have never been what you would call "fat"; at my worst I was about 180 before the disgust at what I saw in the mirror kicked in and made me start doing something. (Usually the program in "The Hacker's Diet".) I don't know what it's like to be 100 or 200 pounds fatter than a healthy weight and don't think I'll ever find out. So maybe I'm unknowingly participating in "fat-shaming" by invalidating the feelings of the people who think that's going on. I dunno. I've never been fat. But I've been depressed and marginalized for other reasons, and saw people "attacking" my status all the time.
posted by egypturnash at 2:38 PM on November 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


This guy makes me feel bad about myself and therefore is wrong.
posted by LordSludge at 2:38 PM on November 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


I sat in front of my computer and drank 6-12 beers a day and ate whatever I wanted for 3 years and only gained 30 lbs. I can't imagine what he's done to gain 70+ pounds in 6 months.

Right, so he ate excessively instead of just having a couple of beers every night. Most people who got to a point of being overweight never ate excessively. Normal for him is a lot less food and a lot more working out, and those are already highly ingrained into his consciousness. Not as easy as being lazy but I would bet money he's probably just itching to get back into the gym. I'm sure it'll be tough not to eat his nightly pint of Rocky Road ice cream, but I still don't doubt he is already highly motivated to get back to where he was for a multitude of reasons other than he likes to look at the mirror with his shirt off.
posted by P.o.B. at 2:40 PM on November 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


A societial fixation on physical strength seems like one of those anxious tics cultures on the edge of collapse get.

I feel precisely the same way about stuff like "my life does not require me to be able to lift objects or run", so I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree.
posted by vorfeed at 2:40 PM on November 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


I think it's all part of the same thing, actually.
posted by The Whelk at 2:41 PM on November 5, 2011


Anyway, he did this all wrong, he ate a whole bunch of crap to gain as much weight as possible, if I was going to try to put on as much as as possible I'd be blowing through whole geese nightly.
posted by The Whelk at 2:44 PM on November 5, 2011


I have to admit, I read The Whelk's last comment too quickly and thought "aren't you afraid of their spiral penises?" But then I read it again, and it made more sense.
posted by hippybear at 2:48 PM on November 5, 2011 [7 favorites]


If cynicism burned calories this guy'd be out of a job.

If cynicism burned calories this thread would be a bit, ah, thinner.
posted by joe lisboa at 2:50 PM on November 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


What the hell, man, 100 comments and no 2 Fast 2 Furious joke?
posted by No-sword at 2:54 PM on November 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


That's not to say anyone should be nonchalant about spiral penises.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 2:54 PM on November 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


The best weight control device I have is a closet full of rare finds, custom makes, and designer shit. Put on too much weight and you'll never fit into that linen suit again! You'll never again be ale to affect a jaunty Panamanian air!
posted by The Whelk at 2:56 PM on November 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


That's not to say anyone should be nonchalant about spiral penises.

Especially if the spiral penis has gained 70 lbs in the past six months. I blame Cialis for daily use.
posted by hippybear at 2:58 PM on November 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


What do his physical trainer colleagues say now?

"Don't worry. He's 2 fat 2 worry us."

What about his claims that this experiment will give him a better perspective on his overweight clients?

2 fat 2 spurious
posted by villanelles at dawn at 3:01 PM on November 5, 2011 [5 favorites]


I feel precisely the same way about stuff like "my life does not require me to be able to lift objects or run", so I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree.

To be clear I think we have the ability to distinctly draw a line between healthy and fixation. Even allowing for the gray muddled part in the very middle where they meet, we can still see how analogous thought patterns emerge from something like body dysmorphia and check them against other ideas that follow the same lines of thinking.
Especially if they're based upon self worth, which is what I specifically said.
posted by P.o.B. at 3:03 PM on November 5, 2011


Thank you, villanelles.
posted by No-sword at 3:06 PM on November 5, 2011


Just send the check to villanelles's Super Discount Jokes Emporium
posted by villanelles at dawn at 3:12 PM on November 5, 2011


What the hell, man, 100 comments and no 2 Fast 2 Furious joke?

When I was toying with creating a blog to track my weight loss*, the two titles I'd come up with were The Fat And The Furious and 500 Days Of Blubber.

*which, as of this morning, is at 56 pounds
posted by Ian A.T. at 3:14 PM on November 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


I would just like to note that when this discussion has 2 new comments, its title reads (2) Fit 2 Fat 2 Fit.

That is all.
posted by subversiveasset at 3:15 PM on November 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


That
posted by villanelles at dawn at 3:45 PM on November 5, 2011


so?
posted by villanelles at dawn at 3:45 PM on November 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


subversiveasset I would give you a favorite but you have 2 now and its just 2 perfect
posted by Senor Cardgage at 3:46 PM on November 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


That's not parking 15-20 minutes from work. that's parking 45 minutes from work. And walking at a brisk enough pace that on hot days you'd probably better pack a quick change of shirt and have a way to freshen up for the office, if that's the kind of place you work.

I have always been overweight but active. When I switched to my current job, I ended up living for a year in a place where walking was difficult, if not quite impossible (I could walk, but it involved dodging trucks). Anyway, I put on about 20 pounds. When I moved to my current city, with a much longer commute, I walked about 40-45 minutes to the main bus terminal rather than taking a connecting bus, and I dropped those pounds pretty quickly. However, I didn't drop below my normal weight, although I kept that apartment for 2 years, and I still walk maybe 30-35 minutes every morning. It keeps me fit; it doesn't make me slim. Nor did better than halving my alcohol consumption and cutting out a lot of snacking and sweets.
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:57 PM on November 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


That's not to say anyone should be nonchalant about spiral penises.

Sir, a gentleman does not brag!
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:58 PM on November 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


A quote I read recently on the subject of motivation to exercise: "Going to the gym is never something about which you later say, I wish I hadn't done that."
posted by binturong at 4:03 PM on November 5, 2011


"Going to the gym is never something about which you later say, I wish I hadn't done that."

Except for that day when you hit yourself in the face with a dumbbell and chipped a tooth; you might have chosen to skip that one.
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:05 PM on November 5, 2011


Sir, a gentleman does not brag!

No need, the ladies do that.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:05 PM on November 5, 2011


Sir, a gentleman does not brag!

No need, the ladies do that.


Seriously! What is all this "social networking" stuff for, otherwise?
posted by hippybear at 4:07 PM on November 5, 2011


I just use metafilter. That's why my profile pic is so sexy. Hello ladies!
posted by villanelles at dawn at 4:09 PM on November 5, 2011


Ladies love billowy sleeves.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 4:11 PM on November 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Going to the gym is never something about which you later say, I wish I hadn't done that."

Except when you do squats and can hardly walk for two days afterwards, or fuck up your ankle on a treadmill, or see that old timer who's a little too proud of himself in the locker room, or...
posted by deadmessenger at 4:24 PM on November 5, 2011


Time to turn this into a /fit/ greentext thread.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 4:27 PM on November 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


As far as I can tell, no one is arguing for "don't exercise or manage diet." Just that it's probably better to encourage achieving and maintaining realistic gains than to judge people as moral failures on sight.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 4:35 PM on November 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Then how the hell am I supposed assuage my poor self image and feel morally superior?!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:39 PM on November 5, 2011


As far as I can tell, no one is arguing for "don't exercise or manage diet." Just that it's probably better to encourage achieving and maintaining realistic gains than to judge people as moral failures on sight.

Straw man fight!
posted by villanelles at dawn at 4:41 PM on November 5, 2011


I ate like a teenager my whole adult life – whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted – but mostly skipped candy and soft drinks. But yes to cheeseburgers and pizza and pasta and so on. And I was plump. So then I cut out everything except lean meats and green vegetables and became pretty lean myself. Goodbye grains and sugars and dairy products. I also throw a kettle bell around twice a week, 10 minutes a pop.

I lost about 30 pounds in a few months and it didn't feel hard. I've stayed that way for more than a year. But I had to convince myself that all that stuff we take as food, the stuff that fills the grocery store, isn't food. It's like filling your gas tank with kerosene. Your car might run, but badly. So the answer isn't to portion out the kerosene, it's to ditch it and stick to gasoline.

I think our food is against us. It isn't food for us, not really, any more than broccoli is food for cats. I've learned to look at the stuff that's nutritionally dense – kale and turkey breast and so on – and crave that. But we're flooded with all the other stuff, and it keeps pinging us. So we negotiate, barter, portion, mitigate, or try to offset with punitive amounts of exercise. It doesn't work – at least not in my experience. Only turning away almost all kinds of food works. I think.
posted by argybarg at 4:43 PM on November 5, 2011 [6 favorites]


It isn't food for us, not really, any more than broccoli is food for cats.

HOW DARE YOU SAY BROCCOLI ISN'T FOOD FOR CATS?!?!?
posted by hippybear at 4:51 PM on November 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


I think that kitten is exhibiting a complex relationship with broccoli.

I'm not so foolish as to say that broccoli isn't an instrument, however.
posted by argybarg at 5:01 PM on November 5, 2011


It is not as if you are giving up cocaine, heroin or quitting smoking. It is working just a bit more and eating a bit less.

Obviously you are not related to me. I was joking while my baby nursed for the 10 millionth hour straight that he obviously got his appetite from my side of the family. We've never met a delicious meal that we didn't eat. Twice.

I have actually quit cigars, xanax, and klonopin just on willpower but if good fatty/sugary food is available to me I will absolutely eat it. Likewise, two sisters have quit smoking and at least one has quit "harder" drugs. Food, not so much.
posted by the young rope-rider at 5:31 PM on November 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


I need to sell a book, Snob Yourself Thin, I put on an attitude and got into cooking and became VERY critical of food I didn't make myself. That black bread and butter on the table, I made that, with my hands. You want fries? Start peeling those potatoes. I'll be over here preparing a roux. I stopped eating a lot of stuff once I decided if I couldn't make it, I won't eat it.


This however does not stop me from making duck-fat fried rice and a mac and cheese that will make you see god.
posted by The Whelk at 5:36 PM on November 5, 2011 [6 favorites]


The last doctor I went to treated me like some mythical creature because my blood sugar was great, my blood pressure is great, my cholesterol is great, BUT OH GOD YOU'RE FAT. I told him I was concerned about my headaches. He looked flustered. He suggested I lose weight, because "losing weight solves everything." (his quote, not mine) And then he practically ran out the door because he couldn't say anything worse about me other than I was overweight.

(coincidentally, mac and cheese that will make you see god is on the menu for tonight. Woo hoo!)
posted by Wuggie Norple at 5:45 PM on November 5, 2011


When he goes back to fit is the message, "See how easy that was fatty? Now get off your ass."?

No. It's pretty clear to me that his experiment is meant to be inspirational to people with flabby bodies, so they can actually watch, day by day, someone's transformation from flabby to fit and see that it can be done in a fairly small period of time. That could be very motivational to some people. Usually, we see super-fit people and their life as ordinary flabby people is part of some distant prehistory and we have no way of knowing or seeing how long it tool them to get the way they are now. This guy is letting us watch the transformation. Yes, maybe it's rigged because he's actually fit under all that fat. But still, it may very well be motivational and instructive to people to see just how much you can change yourself in a short period of time. There's nothing condescending or fat-shaming about it.
posted by jayder at 5:48 PM on November 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


for a while I was a real connoisseur of those fitness-progress-one-photo-a-da videos and I notices there was always the peroid where they get full-body fake tans and bleached tips and slowly turn into human jerky.
posted by The Whelk at 5:50 PM on November 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


Mmmmm human jerky.
posted by LordSludge at 6:30 PM on November 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Does anybody know if those resistance band things are any good? I'm doing loads more walking now than I was doing 3 months ago and have lost a little bit of weight, but I've always been a bit of a weakling and I hate gyms and weight gear is really expensive. But a rubber thing I can whip out and fool around with until my arms are shaking, entendre intendre, might be a pretty fun thing to have.
posted by tumid dahlia at 6:33 PM on November 5, 2011


Does anybody know if those resistance band things are any good?

Charles Atlas would suggest yes. GOOGLE DYNAMIC TENSION SHEEPLE!
posted by hippybear at 7:04 PM on November 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


To be clear I think we have the ability to distinctly draw a line between healthy and fixation. Even allowing for the gray muddled part in the very middle where they meet, we can still see how analogous thought patterns emerge from something like body dysmorphia and check them against other ideas that follow the same lines of thinking.
Especially if they're based upon self worth, which is what I specifically said.


This is kind of what I was trying to say. People get all "even if I work out every day I'll never look like a supermodel so what's the point?" There's this weird cultural all-or-nothing vibe combined with a exercise-is-hard vibe that keeps people sitting on the couch. Take sledding- sledding is a lot of work but so much fun. Once you get to the point that walking up the hill is too hard, you've made it that much harder for yourself to do something fun with your friends. To me that's what staying in shape is about. Sledding.

I'm not going to win the Iron Man but I can go out on the weekends and do fun stuff or try out new fun sports or hike back to that awesome waterfall and not be held back by my physical fitness. To me physical fitness = freedom. To let that go because you can't ever be a cover model is kind of madness.
posted by fshgrl at 7:46 PM on November 5, 2011 [7 favorites]


Does anybody know if those resistance band things are any good?

I tried those but never got into it. I much prefer a 15 lb medicine ball as an all-purpose exercise aid.
posted by benzenedream at 8:17 PM on November 5, 2011


DYNAMIC TENSION
posted by The Whelk at 8:25 PM on November 5, 2011


hey pajamzon. Apologies if that came off sharp, certainly when it comes to weight loss you can find a study by a "reputable" research to prove any number of theories on what works and what doesn't. In the field of nutrition you will find a huge discrepancy on academic nutrition (researchers and clinical nutritionist) and sports nutrition (athletic focused training) on subjects of calorific intake, how much protein is healthy etc. I personally tend to side with sports nutrition, as they are often athletes and trainers of athletes and they generate results that people can see and aspire to.

The hormone in question is leptins. Leptin production can be increased by actually ingesting carbohydrates despite how contradictory that is to all the low carb diets popularized in the past 2 decades. A reductive carbohydrate diet it referred to as ketogenic, and essentially by shutting down leptin production, depriving your body of carbohydrates as fuel, and increasing your fat intake from meats, your body searches for other places for fuel, and you lose fat. You also lose a ton of muscle. The problem with it is that your body naturally craves carbohydrates and the moment you start ingesting them again your body will hold on to them and you quickly put back on weight unless you want to cut carbs for the rest of your life.

Yes, weight lose is hard, it works easier for other people, some people are naturally skinny, genetics plays a huge role, I agree with all those things. In the past decade I've changed my body type numerous times and the most crucial factor in all of that is dedication. If you stick to a system and don't rush the goals, if your goal isn't just to be "skinny" but to be healthy and the number on the scale isn't your end all be all metric of success, ANYONE can achieve success. Any study that tells you different and lets you believe that you just scientifically fat no matter what you do is bullshit. I'm sticking with that. I bet money that I can get anyone to lose weight, get stronger, faster, and look better at the beach if they are willing to learn and stick with it to see the long term results.
posted by straight_razor at 8:29 PM on November 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


Huh. So he's doing what any thin woman who gets pregnant and then loses the weight after does.

One of the many flaws in this experiment is that he's eating way more than he normally would and not exercising. Many people who "struggle" with their weight do so even when they eat just to satisfy their appetites and do moderate exercise.
posted by looli at 10:03 PM on November 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


Does anybody know if those resistance band things are any good?

Good? Sure, but it depends on how you're weighing that idea. Can you use them for something like squats? You sure can, but if you're asking if they're as good as going to the gym and loading up a bar, then the answer is no. If you just want something small and easily portable then it's good bet.

I usually get my gear through Perform Better. I would edge you over to the resistance bands, as they are actually rated by how much poundage you want and you can get upwards to 300lbs resistance which is not to shabby.
posted by P.o.B. at 10:44 PM on November 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm not going to win the Iron Man but I can go out on the weekends and do fun stuff or try out new fun sports or hike back to that awesome waterfall and not be held back by my physical fitness. To me physical fitness = freedom. To let that go because you can't ever be a cover model is kind of madness.

Then perhaps we should focus on this. Which, I want to believe and if there's a protocol out there that consistently delivers more than 10-15% loss in body mass, I'd like to see it. But I know people who have exceeded medical expectations for losing weight, and they're still treated like shit and told they need more "dedication."
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 10:59 PM on November 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Apparently fatty foods can be as addictive as cocaine?
posted by Duug at 3:41 AM on November 6, 2011


I don't know if anyone is still reading, but I recommend watching Gary Taubes's lecture at Google. IANAD and I don't know if he's right, but I'm starting to think he is.

The rest of this comment assumes he is right, just so I can explain it. It's an enormous insight and it can solve the obesity problem if he's right. It's very very simple, but it's hard for people to accept.

We do not get fat because of calories in or out. Fat is correlated with a caloric surplus, but the causation is backwards. We eat more or exercise less BECAUSE we get fat, not vice-versa. You will naturally object to this and point out that the laws of thermodynamics imply that we cannot get fat without a caloric surplus, and this is true, but it's EXACTLY as true as saying we cannot get taller without a caloric surplus! And we don't say that kids grow because they eat a lot, we say they eat a lot because they are growing. Fat is similar -- we don't get fat because we eat a lot, we eat a lot because we're getting fat.

You can lose fat by forcing yourself to maintain a caloric deficit, and this is what is unfortunately recommended by most of the experts and virtually all laypeople, but it's extremely difficult, much more difficult than people would have you think, to force yourself to maintain a deficit or even a balance forever if your body is trying to get fat. Similarly, a kid can resist some vertical growth by maintaining a caloric deficit, and no doubt many would try if tall were as shameful as fat in our society, but it would be excruciatingly difficult. We would expect at least 90% to ultimately fail. But would we blame them? No, of course not. It's normal for kids to grow, because their hormones are causing them to grow. Similarly, it's normal for a huge fraction of people to get fat in the presence of carbohydrate, because lots of carbs over time cause a disregulation w/r/t insulin and disregulated insulin makes people fat.

Where genetics probably comes in is in how disregulated your insulin gets in response to a carb-heavy diet. If everybody ate low-carb, virtually nobody would be obese or even overweight. If everybody eats high-carb, you get what you see in America, with a spectrum including many overweight and many obese people.

Even in this thread, you'll see that those who manage to maintain a weight loss predominantly reduced their carbohydrate, especially sugar, intake. They might not think about it that way -- in their minds they just quit beer and "junk food", but the result is that their body is not trying to get fat, and THEREFORE their calories are balanced. They are not hungry and lethargic all the time the way low-calorie, high carb dieters are. They pat themselves on the back for avoiding that extra dish even if they kind of want it, but they really only kind of want it -- unlike high-carb dieters who REALLY want it.

This is all very objectionable to several kinds of people -- the moralists, the free will and "personal responsibility" adherents, and those who think that dietary fat is extremely unhealthy. The first two groups are vastly underestimating the effects of the body on our behavior, because they are invested in believing that it's all about discipline. The truth is, discipline only goes so far when your body is telling you what to do. Imagine trying to hold your breath until you pass out -- do you not have voluntary control of your mouth and hands? Why couldn't you suffocate yourself voluntarily? It would just take discipline! The third group is simply mistaken.

So my message to my fellow overweight and/or obese people is this. Trying to lose weight while eating even a moderate amount of carbs is going to involve fighting your own body at every step. The fatter you are, the harder it's probably going to be (because it's evidence that your insulin is more screwed up.) Even if you succeed, you will be hungry and lethargic a lot of the time as your body fights you because it thinks you're starving it. (You ARE starving it, because it needs to defend your fat preferentially because of the insulin, so you're starving everything else -- muscles, etc. -- while it directs the few calories its getting to your fat cells the way a third-world dictator might direct meager foreign aid into his own coffers. You can only lose the fat by also losing muscle and giving your organs less energy than they want first.)

On the other hand, if you simply cut out the carbs and go with a high-fat, moderate-protein diet (google ketogenic diets, or go with Atkins) you do not have to fight! You can eat as much as you want and exercise as little as you want and you will lose weight rapidly. If this still sounds crazy, it's because you haven't wrapped your head around the reversal of causality (we eat more and exercise less because we are getting fat.) Cut the carbs and what we "want" changes quickly. We "want" to eat less -- not because there are fewer choices or because the diet is boring (that would apply to low-fat diets as well) -- but because in the absence of carbs, we stop producing so much insulin and our bodies start acting like "naturally thin" people's bodies. We simply do not want to eat more, and if we do eat more, we'll find ourselves wanting to move more, even if we just get fidgety, etc. As in the prison experiment above, it would be extremely difficult to gain weight even if we tried to (as long as carbs are low enough) because our bodies would fight it. This produces a ratcheting effect -- whenever the body needs fuel that isn't readily available, it will take it from fat cells, but whenever the body has a surplus of fuel it will just ignore it until you expel it via sweat or piss. (Sometimes too much protein will end up as fat, which is why low-carb diets should be high-fat, moderate-protein diets.)

People assume this is all faddish and psuedoscience, but if you investigate it, you'll find that the science backs this up much more than it backs up the traditional advice (again IANAD, but I do read.) Even in this thread, every reference to science demonstrates the futility of traditional diet advice while all those arguing that all you need to do is eat less and move more are appealing to "common sense" or some other nebulous concept.

All studies comparing low-carb eat-as-much-as-you-want diets to calorie-restricted diets show that weight loss (as well as other health markers like bloodwork) is somewhat better on the low-carb one (does that surprise you? look it up!) but they're typically short-term and it's easy to overlook the fact that the calorie-restricted group typically feels deprived, hungry, and lethargic while the low-carb group feels satisfied and energetic (after the first few days of adjustment, sometimes.)

Eating low-carb takes willpower, but instead of fighting deep urges, you only have to fight very shallow preferences. If I'm eating low carb I have to fight the fact that I'd prefer to have a cookie, but if I'm eating low calorie, I have to fight the fact that my body's screaming at me that it's starving. See the difference?
posted by callmejay at 6:22 AM on November 6, 2011 [6 favorites]


Based on everything I just wrote, I worry that this trainer has messed up his insulin (hence the successful weight gain) and will yo-yo until he accidentally or intentionally cuts out the carbs.
posted by callmejay at 6:24 AM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


(As for exercise, it is good for you and may be helpful for weight loss, but strictly speaking is probably not necessary for weight loss.)
posted by callmejay at 6:25 AM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


If I may be permitted a fourth comment in a row, I just want to clarify something. We lose weight on low-carb diets not because we "want" to eat less -- although that is true -- but because we're preventing insulin from being released. That we want to eat less and consequently do eat less on such a diet is an effect of losing fat (and reducing insulin levels) rather than a cause.

Also, note that traditional weight-loss advice -- eat less and move more -- is identical to the advice you would give someone if they want to be as hungry as possible for, e.g., a special dinner. (This is Taubes's analogy.) It's pretty crazy if you think about it that way.
posted by callmejay at 6:38 AM on November 6, 2011


"Going to the gym is never something about which you later say, I wish I hadn't done that."

I joined a gym at age 50-- four years ago. I really, really love the elliptical machine and when my doctor told me to vary my routine so as to avoid repetitive stress injury, I added cycling but didn't really cut back on the elliptical. Last month I pulled a hip flexor. Oh. My. God. You have no idea how debilitating that can be until it happens to you. For the first three weeks I could hardly hobble more than a few steps without clutching on to furniture and walls. I could not stand on one leg so putting on pants, shoes, and socks became a sitting process. I could not walk the dog, I could barely cook and clean house. Each journey across the house became a Mount Everest expedition. And the stairs were agonizing.

I finally got back to the gym Thursday night. I have to limit myself to the treadmill and weight lifting. I could just give up my membership and do that stuff at home; the only reason I went to the gym was to use the elliptical and the bicycles. I'm going these days because I don't want to get out of the habit and in about 2 weeks or so I should be able to add a little cycling back to my routine. Maybe the elliptical as well, but I will always have to limit it.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:57 AM on November 6, 2011


"Going to the gym is never something about which you later say, I wish I hadn't done that."

Yeah I spent 600+ dollars on 2 years of gym membership when I could have just been low-carbing it and doing kettlebell swings at home (Ala "The 4 Hour Body" method). Based on personal experience and a whole body of research, I could have gotten 80 percent of the results I wanted without exercising period.

I just wanted to say that I agree with all the low-carb proponents in this thread, but what we're talking about here is a man trying to inspire others to lose weight and live healthy lifestyles. While I wish he emphasized low-carb* eating, still, more fucking power to him.

*His week 1 grocery list seems to be focused on being low-fat, and low on added sugar, but not necessarily low-carb.
posted by d1rge at 8:51 AM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


So, I don't know if anyone is still reading this thread, but I wanted to put in my perspective.

I'm a fat chick. I'm 5'7", and around 250 lbs. I am not aesthetically pleasing.

I am really tired of the assumptions that my aesthetics have anything to do with my actual level of activity. I volunteer with a therapeutic riding association, and I walk/jog for at least four hours every week leading a horse with a disabled rider on it. I also haul 80lb bales out hay out into pastures and then distribute the flakes of hay around the pasture so the horses have multiple piles to choose from. I ride, I roller skate, I walk, I hike, I bike, and I lead a pretty active lifestyle.

I am also really tired of the assumptions that my aesthetics are related to a poor diet. My husband and I cook from scratch around 95% of our meals. And when I say scratch, I mean that I make ricotta cheese, bake our bread, brew up our chicken and beef stock, and handmake our pasta. We eat lots of veggies and not so much meat. We love good food, and consider it something to be savored, not gulped. I don't eat mindlessly.

I am even more tired of the assumption that my aesthetics are directly correlated to my health. I have perfect blood pressure, my bad cholesterol is low and my good cholesterol is fine, my blood sugar is right where it should be, I can jog my way through a stress test with flying colors. I am strong, relatively flexible, and have good cardiovascular endurance.


I am a huge proponent of Healthy At Every Size. Stop warring with your body. This doesn't mean sit on the couch, smug in the knowledge that you can't do anything about what you look like -- it means decoupling health from aesthetics. It means reveling in exercising as part of a healthy lifestyle, whether or not you lose weight. I did a lot of damage to my body when I started warring with it over weight I gained after college. I yo-yoed my way to my current weight, and I regret that I didn't know then what I know now. Healthy At Every Size means eating healthy and exercising and loving your body for what it is. It means not using the mirror and the scale as a whip to flagellate yourself with. It means taking pride in the strength and functionality of your body.

I'll be a fat chick for the rest of my life, most likely, because I fucked up my metabolism with yo-yo dieting/exercising. I will have to put up with people pointing at me and making nasty comments if I dare to stop at a store on my way home from the barn and I happen to be wearing riding breeches (because they're quite form-fitting). I will have to put up with people assuming that I am lazy, lack motivation and willpower, and will have to know that in our society fat = ugly. I'll cry about it sometimes. I'll be invisible and will be less likely to get a job because fat = bad person. But I won't go back to war over aesthetics.
posted by Concolora at 9:31 AM on November 6, 2011 [17 favorites]


I just came back from watching the NY Marathon. Seeing tens of thousands of people that didn't give up and got in shape to do this was inspiring. They overcame the difficult obstacles to do this, and didn't give in to the types of negative thought shown in this thread was inspiring. They all won the race.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 10:55 AM on November 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


And when I say scratch, I mean that I make ricotta cheese, bake our bread, brew up our chicken and beef stock, and handmake our pasta. We eat lots of veggies and not so much meat. We love good food, and consider it something to be savored, not gulped. I don't eat mindlessly.

I support HAES and very much support our right to not be judged and insulted, but it could be that you have been following bad advice all this time. If you ditch the bread and pasta, replace it with meat, and keep the non-starchy veggies, you might be able to reduce all that "damage" from yo-yo dieting and lose weight. It turns out (I think and again IANAD) that dieting and exercise while eating carbs leads almost inevitably to yo-yoing for many people.
posted by callmejay at 10:56 AM on November 6, 2011


Yeah, I have to speak up for low-carb, too. My partner was diagnosed with beginning Type 2 diabetes a few years ago, and he decided that he didn't want to go full-blown and that he could do something about it. So we changed to a low-carb diet (cutting out nearly all bread, most potato-based dishes, and basically pasta 2-3 times a year, but plenty of meat and veggies such as broccoli), and he started exercising on his Nordic-Trak (yes, the decades-old cross-country skiing machine). Fast forward a couple of years, he's no longer taking any medications to control his blood sugar, and we're both a lot healthier all around.

It was tough, though. I was hungry ALL THE TIME for the first 6 months or so, and had to exert a lot of will power not to just graze through the kitchen all the time. (Being a decades-long stoner who trained himself to fight the munchies helped with the willpower a LOT.)

Now we don't even miss the starches and carbs that much, and when we do have them, they're in tiny portions and they tend to be eaten last as a top-off for the meal rather than being the thing we dive into first.

So I'm not craving carbs anymore, and I'm not craving sugary sweet baked goods anymore.

It's really possible to reprogram what your body craves for food... it just takes a lot longer than one might think. We've been doing this for 3-4 years now, if my memory isn't completely gone, and it was easily a year before my system wasn't demanding potato chips and such regularly.
posted by hippybear at 11:10 AM on November 6, 2011


It was tough, though. I was hungry ALL THE TIME for the first 6 months or so, and had to exert a lot of will power not to just graze through the kitchen all the time.

Why did you go hungry on a low-carb diet? Were you not having results eating as much as you want?
posted by callmejay at 11:21 AM on November 6, 2011


Why did you go hungry on a low-carb diet? Were you not having results eating as much as you want?

Well, I wasn't "going hungry". I was eating my fill at meal-times, but found that in-between I was craving foods which I was denying myself. Plus, years of being a stoner have trained me to eat at meal times and generally not snack inbetween. Because there is no quicker way to get fat than to be a stoner who gives in to the munchies.

I was taking in plenty of calories, but my body was asking for other types of food due to decades of programming toward potatoes and breads.

In the end, I adjusted. At this point, I not only don't crave carbs and sweets, I find them generally unappealing even when I am hungry. That doesn't mean I don't enjoy a few french fries. It does mean that my portion size of such things has shrunk dramatically.
posted by hippybear at 11:32 AM on November 6, 2011


Oh, ok. I was distinguishing between hunger and craving. Also, it sounds like your low-carb diet wasn't (isn't) as low as the ketogenic diets I was thinking of -- which is fine if it works for you, but may have contributed to excess hunger/craving.
posted by callmejay at 11:36 AM on November 6, 2011


No, we didn't go to the extremes with our diet change. Although if you were to look at what we eat now compared to 5 years ago, the shift is pretty dramatic overall. I'm stuck with a whole section of the pantry full of pasta noodles we bought in bulk at Costco many years ago which I doubt we'll ever finish before they get too stale to eat. Before, we would stock up like that because we'd eat pasta 4-5 times a week.

One thing which has really helped with the low-carb meals is realizing that a lot of grocery stores discount soon-to-expire ("expire") meat, and discovering where those discounted meats are in the store helps keep the wallet fat while helping you get thin. With the price of meat today, it's really difficult to recommend a low-carb diet to anyone who isn't making decent money, unless they know how to shop for cheap proteins.
posted by hippybear at 11:42 AM on November 6, 2011


Isn't that section fantastic?!
posted by P.o.B. at 12:01 PM on November 6, 2011


It's beyond fantastic. I've been feeding our household of two for around $100/month shopping nearly entirely discounted meat and on-sale produce items.
posted by hippybear at 12:05 PM on November 6, 2011


One more thing... I actually do recommend reading his blog and not just looking at the homepage and saying "feh gimmick". I've started reading from the beginning and it's pretty fascinating so I've added his RSS to my Google Reader.
posted by d1rge at 4:30 PM on November 6, 2011


I lost three stone (that's about 45lb) in three months. I did this by not eating anything until midday, then having some pasta, then half a pizza at teatime, then going to bed about 3am for a 9am start. It works, but I was too depressed to notice.

I then put it back on, in the same time frame, by going on Depo-Provera. If he'd just got hormones injected into him he'd have saved so much time and effort on drinking milkshakes!
posted by mippy at 9:37 AM on November 7, 2011


I actually lost a bunch of weight on Depo, about 15 pounds which is a lot on my frame. It killed my appetite and my sex drive.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 10:53 AM on November 7, 2011


"Going to the gym is never something about which you later say, I wish I hadn't done that."

Meh. I remember once seeing an ad that said (basically) that every hour you spend at the gym extends your life by an hour. What is the point of getting that extra hour if you have to spend it at the gym? Seemed like a total wash to me.
posted by looli at 9:34 PM on November 7, 2011


Because it makes you feel better for most of the hours you're not exercising? Because it has a bunch of health benefits other than increasing longevity? Because postponing the onset of diabetes will save you tons of money and hassle?
posted by straight at 7:26 AM on November 8, 2011


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