Why You Got Fat
August 27, 2010 8:45 AM   Subscribe

Why You Got Fat An insightful 3 minute look into how fat is stored and utilized by your body.

From the upcoming film Fat Head.
posted by christonabike (58 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
 
Based on the content of the video, it seems like a better and more accurate title would be "Why it's hard to lose fat once you already have it", rather than "Why you got fat", since the premise is still that an excess of food (esp. carb-heavy food) is what causes the changes they discuss.
posted by modernnomad at 8:53 AM on August 27, 2010


You know, I fully understand the intention of the phrase "Why You Got Fat," but I can't help reading it in Standard Overbearing East Asian Parent voice as they address their child coming home from their Freshman year of college.
posted by griphus at 8:54 AM on August 27, 2010 [24 favorites]


This is good information and fairly well presented...but did they need to start with calling the principle of the conservation of energy "bologna"? Just call it "oversimplified" or say something like "that will work in theory, but won't be practical depending on your fat cells".
posted by DU at 8:54 AM on August 27, 2010 [4 favorites]


This film came out last year. I like the cartoon parts, they're about the best part of the movie. The rest of the film is disappointingly cheesy (though, I know the budget was much smaller than its counterpart Super-Size Me). It's too bad, because more people need to hear what this guy has to say.
posted by overeducated_alligator at 8:54 AM on August 27, 2010


If the common perception mentioned in the video is indeed wrong, why do I lose weight when I limit my caloric intake?

Not being snarky- I genuinely want to know.
posted by nzero at 8:58 AM on August 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


You know, I fully understand the intention of the phrase "Why You Got Fat," but I can't help reading it in Standard Overbearing East Asian Parent voice as they address their child coming home from their Freshman year of college.

Bad memories, huh?
posted by grobstein at 9:00 AM on August 27, 2010


If the common perception mentioned in the video is indeed wrong, why do I lose weight when I limit my caloric intake?

It's not like limiting calories does nothing (obviously, or else anorexics wouldn't get so thin). It's that your body gradually adjusts to fewer calories by slowing down your metabolism and conserving what few calories you do consume. It's gradual, but it's one reason why weight loss can plateau.

When that happens, you're forced to further reduce calories (or increase activity) and engage in a kind of metabolic arms race. But, again, your body doesn't exactly like that. As you get closer to what is essentially starving yourself, you might end up losing a bit more weight because your body starts eating your muscle tissue for fuel. You also might experience mental symptoms.

There's a decent body of literature on the way calorie restrictive diets can drive people crazy if extended for a long enough period. Unless you are almost psychotically obsessed (like with anorexia), it's impossible to sustain a CR diet indefinitely -- and the moment you start eating normally again, your body freaks out in joy and conserves all the calories it can, even more aggressively than before. That's why people gain MORE weight after dieting than if they had never dieted at all.

There's just no free (way to skip) lunch.
posted by overeducated_alligator at 9:10 AM on August 27, 2010 [14 favorites]


The didn't call the principle of the conservation of energy bologna. They said nothing about the conservation of energy. People act like the body is just a conversion machine which takes chemical energy and burns it off as movement and heat, and stores the excess as fat. It is not. The amount of energy extracted from the food is highly variable, and what happens to it, as well as how it is stored and used, is also highly variable.
posted by Nothing at 9:11 AM on August 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


If the common perception mentioned in the video is indeed wrong, why do I lose weight when I limit my caloric intake?
Different people have different metabolic rates.
posted by Karmakaze at 9:12 AM on August 27, 2010


"If the common perception mentioned in the video is indeed wrong, why do I lose weight when I limit my caloric intake?"

Because the insulin reaction is only one factor amongst many; if you eat 600 calories a day, you'll starve. If the body does not have physically enough food to sustain itself it must consume fat/muscle for calories.
posted by jaduncan at 9:12 AM on August 27, 2010


Or in other words: fat is only one potential place for the input energy to end up.
posted by Nothing at 9:13 AM on August 27, 2010


As Mrs. Beese and I like to say to each other: Was it all that pizza and cake?
posted by Joe Beese at 9:17 AM on August 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


it's impossible to sustain a CR diet indefinitely -- and the moment you start eating normally again

You are acting like reducing calories means eating a piece of toast a day for 30 days. I know this is what some people do, but it is not the only way to reduce calories.

What I did was gradually reduce my intake until I was losing about .5 lb/week. I kept that up for ~2-2.5 years and lost 60 lbs. Then I inched it back up until I'm maintaining. No fads, no "zero carbs", no "mental problems".
posted by DU at 9:18 AM on August 27, 2010 [7 favorites]


Yup. The human body is not a bomb-calorimeter. What's more, food and its consumption is tied very deeply to psychology. Some people can chose to lay off the twinkies, and it works great for them - these are usually not-fat people looking to loose a couple pounds for swimsuit season.

Obesity is another kettle of fish, where compliance is a much larger consideration, if not the consideration: gastric-bypass surgery is essentially an extreme compliance measure. You know it's bad if relentless social shaming doesn't work.

This is why low-carb diets seem to work for some people - it's a neat biological hack that tricks the body into thinking it's sated when it's being starved.
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:24 AM on August 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


You know, I fully understand the intention of the phrase "Why You Got Fat," but I can't help reading it in Standard Overbearing East Asian Parent voice as they address their child coming home from their Freshman year of college.

Replace 'parent' with 'auntie', add the standard 'belly poke with a finger' and you've got my years at university dead on.
posted by zennish at 9:24 AM on August 27, 2010


What I did was gradually reduce my intake until I was losing about .5 lb/week. I kept that up for ~2-2.5 years and lost 60 lbs.

Maybe it's presumptuous but I'm going to guess that you're male. The process you're describing is substantially harder for women, because female hormones do everything they can to hold on to fat, even when calories are slightly reduced. That means having to reduce calories more dramatically to see even the smallest loss, and that's when problems start. So for the same .5lb/week loss, a woman might have to reduce calories by 800, where a man of equal physical activity might only have to reduce by 500.
posted by overeducated_alligator at 9:25 AM on August 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


> If the common perception mentioned in the video is indeed wrong, why do I lose weight when I limit my caloric intake?

It's not wrong so much as ineffective, difficult, and neglectful of human physiology and psychology. Here are some reasons a strictly calorie counting diet is the wrong way to go:
  • It's difficult. The majority of restaurants don't offer nutritional information. Neither does meals cooked by friends, food served at work, etc. Food packing can be incorrect and difficult to follow (how many almonds is 1/4 of a cup?). Accurately counting calories requires a meticulousness and dedication that is extremely difficult to maintain. This is augmented by...
  • The nature of hunger. By repeatedly going through cycles of spiking our blood sugar, our brains regulate our hormones to regularly expect easy calories. One can't expect to continue to fight these cravings through willpower alone - eventually you will surrender. Instead, by adjusting diet, we can adjust hormone levels and in turn our cravings.
  • Adapting metabolisms. Your body will will fairly rapidly adapt to a lower caloric load. Varying calories can help here, as well as exercise.
posted by christonabike at 9:26 AM on August 27, 2010


The process you're describing is substantially harder for women...

All I'm doing is pointing out that blanket statements condemning all "calorie reduction" diets to sound like "starve yourself thin in 3 weeks" is just wrong.
posted by DU at 9:36 AM on August 27, 2010


You are acting like reducing calories means eating a piece of toast a day for 30 days. I know this is what some people do, but it is not the only way to reduce calories.

DU, CR diets are more than just reducing the amount of calories you intake. It is a specific term with a cult-like following. What you are talking about is just dieting. No one is saying that lowering your intake by a few hundred calories is impossible, just that it doesn't usually get results. CR diets do get results, but they are more complicated and more restrictive than just cutting back on the soda:

http://www.crsociety.org/
posted by domo at 9:37 AM on August 27, 2010


DU. When you hear the phrase "CR diet" it doesn't just mean calorie restricted, as you might think. CR diets aren't a diet where, you have 1200 or 1800 calories a day. CR doesn't mean calorie restricted in the way an average person thinks of those two words. It means something entirely different to CR dieters.

CR diets are like... a cult. They're this own little following of people who eat, not kidding you, 600-800 calories a day. They eat lean protein, and a multi-vitamin pill a day. Maybe some lettuce too. CR Dieters don't just think it'll make them loose fat. They think it'll make them live forever, because some studies showed CR diets to make mushrooms and rats live longer. I'm not talking, "I won't die of a heart attack at 50 now, because I'm not obese anymore" I mean "I'll be 120, because I'm super pure energy" Oh, and bonus: if you do happen to die from a CR diet, its because you had too many toxins like pesticides stored in your fat, and burning off that fat made you die of "toxic overload". Not malnutrition. Nope.

Wiki, and the FAQ of the CR society.
posted by fontophilic at 9:42 AM on August 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Or, what domo said. (shoulda previewed)
posted by fontophilic at 9:43 AM on August 27, 2010


I'm sorry I got fat (I will slim down).
posted by infinitewindow at 9:50 AM on August 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


Wait a minute, are you saying there's a special diet I can use to make my rats and mushrooms live forever?!
posted by nanojath at 9:50 AM on August 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


Sorry, I shouldn't have used the word "restricted" above, because I wasn't referring specifically to CR diets, but more calorie-reduced diets, which DU is talking about.

I think the distinction I'm just trying to make is that, for probably the majority of people, calorie reduction doesn't have any effect on weight until it approaches unsustainable levels. And the reasons for that are endocrine, as opposed to based on simple calories-in/calories-out math. So, yes, there are people for whom weight loss begins at the first reduction in calories, and has an almost linear correlation between reduction and loss; but these people are a minority.

Unfortunately, there has for too long been a systemic denial of this fact. Instead, the attitude of the mainstream has been something like, "If you didn't gradually lose weight by moderately reducing calories, then you were lying or doing it wrong, because anything else violates the laws of physics." I'm not accusing you, DU, of saying that, but outliers like yourself unintentionally reinforce this tone-deaf response to the problems that most people have losing weight and keeping it off.
posted by overeducated_alligator at 9:51 AM on August 27, 2010 [4 favorites]


It's that your body gradually adjusts to fewer calories by slowing down your metabolism and conserving what few calories you do consume. It's gradual, but it's one reason why weight loss can plateau.

When that happens, you're forced to further reduce calories (or increase activity) and engage in a kind of metabolic arms race.


Why lump increased activity in with (unsustainable) caloric reduction, and then pose the two against declining rates of metabolism? Doesn't exercise result in increased metabolism, at least for a time, following completion of the exercise? The message I take away is that calorie reduction on its own is an unhealthy way to lose (much) weight, yet the sane advice always proferred is that the two are required, together. So why always this strawman?
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 10:07 AM on August 27, 2010


The wife and kids went back to the home country for three months this spring (I joined them for a month) and since I do not like to cook, I basically ate nothing but yogurt, cheese, and apples. I lost a lot of weight and it's all coming baaaack.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:08 AM on August 27, 2010


The science on all this isn't simple, it isn't done, there is far from a unified and established orthodoxy, but there's absolutely no question that there can be a substantial variety from person to person in what happens vis-à-vis food consumption versus body fat percentage (and for that matter body fat percentage versus general health, quality of life, longevity and mortality). Statements predicated with phrases like "the majority of people" should not be made unless they can be backed up by scientifically validated population studies. Everything else is politics and punditry and boy we do not need more of that in this discussion.
posted by nanojath at 10:16 AM on August 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


I got fat cuz I got milk?
posted by blue_beetle at 10:31 AM on August 27, 2010


I think that if you sell your car, cancel cable and home internet, and spend less than $25/week/per person on food and grow a garden you will be thin and long lived. Also you will save at least $200/month. If you are bored because you have no cable/internet, go offer to babysit for your neighbors, go pickup some track in a local stream, volunteer somewhere, or just go sit on your front porch and yell at kids to get off your lawn.. Learn to go to bed hungry and wake up early.
posted by humanfont at 10:33 AM on August 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


I basically ate nothing but yogurt, cheese, and apples. I lost a lot of weight

Shhhh!!!! How are you going to get your book deal if you just blab your secret that way?
posted by JanetLand at 10:34 AM on August 27, 2010


Ok, so other than not getting fat in the first place what is one supposed to do?

What works? Permanently? Sustains good health and maintains the optimum weight?
posted by ofelia at 10:48 AM on August 27, 2010


Yeah - I first heard of CR as part of the Extropian/Transhumanist movement in the mid 90s. I can't remember her name -- ah, here it is: Natasha Vita-More

Here is an old Wired article on her site... I love how they're taking fucking research on WORMS and acting as if it just transfers right on over to humans. LULZ.

"Logic and Reason is the future" they say, but they seem just as ignorant as anyone else.

Umm, ok, sorry for the derail.
posted by symbioid at 10:53 AM on August 27, 2010


What works? Permanently? Sustains good health and maintains the optimum weight?
Given the approximate long term success rate of most attempts to lose a large amount of weight (IIRC, somewhere in the 5% range), I'm going to go with "nothing anyone has reliably identified to date."

Exercising at least an hour a day at least five days a week seems to be common among the few who do succeed, which is not to say that some who fail don't do the same.
posted by Karmakaze at 11:04 AM on August 27, 2010


The amount of energy extracted from the food is highly variable

Does anyone have a good citation for studies that prove this? I was under the impression (mostly from reading The Hungry Gene) that the "slowing down" of metabolism during dieting is not due to any biochemical or gut absorption magic, but was due to hunger inducing you to be less physically active.

This is not to say that different individuals can't have different caloric burn rates or different tissue calorie routing based on genetics (adipose vs. muscle). I'm just not convinced that starvation mode or yo-yo dieting is based on anything metabolic, rather than behavioral.
posted by benzenedream at 11:08 AM on August 27, 2010


So the take-home message is that eating carbs will, over time, make your body incapable of not being fat?
posted by -harlequin- at 11:10 AM on August 27, 2010


What works? Permanently? Sustains good health and maintains the optimum weight?

You got it, solve that one definitively and kapow! You're a billionaire. That being said, excercising, not eating junk food, not drinking lots of empty calories, and really jumping up your low-carb vegetable consumption is not going to do anyone any harm. Or so I've been led to believe...
posted by nanojath at 11:27 AM on August 27, 2010


I'm kind of hesitant to get scientific information from someone who dismisses Climate Change concerns as a far-reaching-conspiracy to get grant money.
posted by uri at 11:35 AM on August 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


The media is filled with misinformation when it comes to nutrition (if it were only about nutrition!). This video is a good example: while everything that is said is true, what is left unsaid and unqualified reverses the conclusions they are trying to lead you to.

I've been on CR (Calorie Restriction) diet for over ten years now. As have thousands of other people, for varying amounts of time. So is it possible to restrict calories indefinitely? Yes.

Will you lose weight if you restrict calories? Yes. True, the body does defend "set points" of weight, by increasing metabolic efficiency, but that is only up to 15%, and a one time effect, if you push beyond that, you'll push beyond the plateau, and you'll drop weight (efficiency will not increase beyond the initial 15%). But the body has other ways of defending fat: you will fidget less and there will be fewer involuntary movements. Again, small, but measurable effect. You have to push beyond that (by f.ex. exercising). And there's more: your core body temperature will drop, thus again, conserving energy. And several more measures (hormonal changes etc.).

But even with all of the above, yes, you will lose weight if you restrict calories. If you starve a person, they will not die fat.

So why do people fail calorically restricted diets? Many reasons, and many are widely talked about. But one that is not talked about, and which is perhaps the most important one is that a lot of the hunger is down to the fact that WHAT you eat is not nutritionally complete. You need to cut calories, but that's not the whole of CR diet - it's getting all your nutrition with fewer calories. The worst is that on even a full SAD diet (Standard American Diet), you are not getting all your micronutrients, vitamins, minerals, and the full spectrum of nutrition. You are eating a lot of empty calories. That drives hunger. Your body continues to crave the things it's missing, thus leading you to eat more and more, even though you are already consuming huge numbers of calories - because we didn't evolve with empty calories. Our bodies evolved with - eat more, get more nutrition; missing some vitamin - eat more food, you'll get it. Today that is a deadly mechanism, because the signal goes out - "I'm missing nutrition, eat", and you eat a cupcake, and it doesn't have nutrition that the fruit had for our ancestors back in the forest. So the body is still hungry - you eat more cupcakes.

So the secret to keeping hunger at bay on low calories - eat nutritionally complete meals. And no, you can't eyeball it. Use software to make sure you are getting all your nutrients. Yes, yes, I know, what a bore to measure and so on - fine, but I don't want to hear how you are hungry when you can't be bothered to do anything about it.

Now, of course when you push calories low enough, at some point you'll be hungry, no matter how nutritionally complete your meals are. That's when you must decide if you want to do hard core CR diet or not. I'm not pushing it - I do it, but I understand if people don't want to... it can be hard for many (I'm fortunate in that I'm rarely hungry), it can be expensive, it can be time consuming, it can be socially challenging, it can be complicated and unpractical (I'm off my CR diet when I travel or am on vacation away from my kitchen). Losing weight, and keeping it off, can be very, very, very hard - I would never, ever condemn anyone for being fat, or think less of them, or jump to conclusions about their will-power or character. Bigotry against fat people is despicable.
posted by VikingSword at 11:50 AM on August 27, 2010 [10 favorites]


I just read what fontophiliac said about the CR diet. It's about as useful as listening to Glenn Beck on liberalism. Don't listen to me, or to him. Go educate yourself by reading up - not just from the CR website, but from all sources. Of course, as in all things, it helps to actually understand the science behind it, not merely pop accounts from the press.
posted by VikingSword at 11:54 AM on August 27, 2010


I think the distinction I'm just trying to make is that, for probably the majority of people, calorie reduction doesn't have any effect on weight until it approaches unsustainable levels. And the reasons for that are endocrine, as opposed to based on simple calories-in/calories-out math.

I'm sorry but that's utter nonsense. Of course calorie reduction affects weight for the majority of people. And the "unsustainable level" you're talking about would that be death? because otherwise it seems pretty sustainable to me.

American's just want to have their cake and be a size 6 too. They encourage each other to overindulge and they comfort each other when they suffer the after effects with silly statements like the above. Obesity in the US is a cultural problem, not an endocrine problem.
posted by fshgrl at 12:06 PM on August 27, 2010


So the take-home message is that eating carbs will, over time, make your body incapable of not being fat?

Not quite. Eating an excessive amount of carbs will, for most people, lead to them being fat. Which, surprise of surprises, explains a good portion of the correlation between eating too much and weight gain. What this video is saying is that once you've gained it, it can be very hard to lose because your body becomes "accustomed" to being overweight.

Policy implications? As I've said previously in related threads, early childhood nutrition education, free high quality school meals, free nutrition counselling for expectant mothers, money plowed into public transit, cities designed to encourage pedestrian/bicycle lifestyle, and a not insubstantial amount of encouraging personal responsibility to control your portion sizes and nutrition intake in the first place.

No magic bullets. No one fix. No one "get out of jail free" card for why you gained weight in the first place either.
posted by modernnomad at 12:11 PM on August 27, 2010


Seems a bit misleading to me in terms of caloric intake not affecting your weight.

If you reduce the amount of calories you intake below the amount you burn during a day, you body will convert it's stores (fat at first) to energy to make up the difference.

Yes, the are wide differences in individuals, especially with diabetic conditions, but saying it's bolonga to say "if you just consume fewer calories you'll lose weight" is misleading. Trying to place the main blame for being overweight on insulin and fat cells is wrong. They play a big role, but without getting your caloric intake below the caloric burn rate of the day, you will not lose weight.
posted by Argyle at 2:14 PM on August 27, 2010


But the body has other ways of defending fat: you will fidget less and there will be fewer involuntary movements. Again, small, but measurable effect. You have to push beyond that (by f.ex. exercising). And there's more: your core body temperature will drop, thus again, conserving energy.

I would kill just for those side effects.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 3:04 PM on August 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Hey, fshgrl, I'm not saying you're necessarily wrong because I never personally have been obese, but I gained 20 lbs. in less than a year awhile back, and I was working out an hour and 40 minutes to 2.5 hours per day.

Had my thyroid tested and I came back hypothyroid (borderline). Got on meds and after 60 days, I dropped a pound a week, every week, for 9 weeks, stopped losing, then gradually lost another 7 lbs. over the following 6 months.

My weight has stayed the same, within three pounds or so, for three years now... and that's after I cut back to 45 minutes of cardio every other day. In my case, weight gain WAS an endocrine problem; in fact, almost everyone on my mother's side of my family is hypothyroid, but never got diagnosed until they were all in their mid-40s or 50s.

So yeah, some "American's" are obese for the same reason ANYONE becomes obese -- some people grow up in families that teach them poor nutrition habits, work in cubicle farms 10-14 hours per day, etc. And some people just cannot get more exercise without sacrificing something else to get that time/opportunity to do so. For example: In Texas, we just had two weeks of 100F+ weather (38C+). In extremely hot and cold climates that lack good public transportation, we end up driving everywhere or literally risk death (sunstroke, dehydration, hypothermia, etc.).

Others don't have the health insurance, education about the endocrine system they need or the hyper-vigilance that I do to nip that kind of thing in the bud BEFORE they become obese. Most people get worried once they've gained a significant amount of weight and yeah, it can be depressing and make weight loss difficult once you're there.

I don't know what the magic bullet or right answer is with weight anymore, but especially when it comes to things like eating disorders and stress management, generalizations only hurt, not help, the overall discussion.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 3:33 PM on August 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


What works? Permanently? Sustains good health and maintains the optimum weight?

The answer is a hell of lot simpler than people are making it out to be. The question is, what are you willing to do permanently?

Given the approximate long term success rate of most attempts to lose a large amount of weight (IIRC, somewhere in the 5% range), I'm going to go with "nothing anyone has reliably identified to date."

I wish people would stop with this nonsense.
posted by P.o.B. at 4:33 PM on August 27, 2010


The answer is a hell of lot simpler than people are making it out to be. The question is, what are you willing to do permanently?

Some people have had life-threatening surgery to ensure they stick to a reduced-calorie diet.

I wish people would stop with this nonsense.

Recidivism rate for gastric bypass 20-30%... and no, that doesn't mean they had it removed. Let that sink in for a bit. Think about what they had to do to themselves to regain so much weight with the bypass in place.

Willpower don't cover that kinda crazy, and talk of willpower and "simple answers" really has no place in this conversation.
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:25 PM on August 27, 2010


Think about what they had to do to themselves to regain so much weight with the bypass in place.

Maintain their old lifestyle. Eat a lot. *shrug* Was that supposed to be a hard question?

I used to work with a guy who was slightly large and one day I saw him pounding down three hamburgers(+) for lunch. He went on to explain he had surgery done and now he had to increase his food intake because his body was so bad at assimilating it. He maintained the surgery had "worked". I believed him. I haven't seen him in years but I don't know if he had to keep up with that kind of diet it would've kept working.

So I'm not sure I gather what conversation your having, Slap*Happy. Are you under the impression that, aside from some sort of impaired ability, making permament changes to the caloric and macro-nutrient profile of your diet will have absolutely no effect?
posted by P.o.B. at 8:03 PM on August 27, 2010


Maintain their old lifestyle. Eat a lot. *shrug*

You haven't thought it all the way through. The whole point of gastric bypass in its myriad forms is to make it physiologically impossible to maintain their old lifestyle and eat a lot. So, no, they modified their lifestyle, often with obscenely painful and occasionally medically catastrophic consequences.


Are you under the impression that, aside from some sort of impaired ability, making permament changes to the caloric and macro-nutrient profile of your diet will have absolutely no effect?


Nope, just that they won't be permanent changes.

Finding a diet that works is easy. Finding a diet that people can stick to is an unsolved problem.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:35 PM on August 27, 2010


You haven't thought it all the way through.

Actually, I think that applies more to you than me. I'm not going to argue Gastric Bypass with you, it's moot and you didn't read what I said.

Finding a diet that works is easy. Finding a diet that people can stick to is an unsolved problem.

Like I said:
The answer is a hell of lot simpler than people are making it out to be. The question is, what are you willing to do permanently?

So, again, I'm not sure what conversation you gather we're having.
posted by P.o.B. at 8:53 PM on August 27, 2010


These types of conversations always reminds me of that Palahniuk line:
"On a long enough time line, the survival rate for everyone will drop to zero."
You can apply it to almost anything, including diets.
posted by P.o.B. at 8:58 PM on August 27, 2010


P.o.B. wrote: "So I'm not sure I gather what conversation your having, Slap*Happy. Are you under the impression that, aside from some sort of impaired ability, making permament changes to the caloric and macro-nutrient profile of your diet will have absolutely no effect?"

For many people, any reasonable change in diet does not have a dramatic effect on weight, even over long periods of time. As others have mentioned, even with exercise, your metabolism can slow to a level that makes it even more difficult to lose weight after reducing caloric intake.

For me, there's a range of about 20 pounds I stick to pretty much no matter what. The particular range has changed a few times in my life, but that particular weight is very sticky. I can easily enough lose weight to the bottom of the range, but getting below that is nearly impossible without severely restricting my caloric intake. I could eat an entire cow every day and not go over 240, or I could eat nearly nothing and not go under 220. Most of the time it's 223-228. Even when I was riding my bike 20-30 miles a day it didn't make a big difference, even though I didn't increase my food intake over my normal sedentary lifestyle.

Presumably, my body just excretes whatever excess. Either that or some asshole from the future is screwing with me.
posted by wierdo at 11:35 PM on August 27, 2010


I think there is evidence out there that aerobic exercise helps decrease insulin resistance, which is probably one reason why it helps people lose weight. Please feel free to correct this if i am wrong...
posted by annsunny at 10:09 AM on August 28, 2010


For many people, any reasonable change in diet does not have a dramatic effect on weight, even over long periods of time. As others have mentioned, even with exercise, your metabolism can slow to a level that makes it even more difficult to lose weight after reducing caloric intake.

My question would than be, what do you think is reasonable and what is severe? The thing is if you are fine with where you're at, than fantastic. But if you're not, than there are reasonable things that can be done to reach your goals.

The body is in a constant state of dynamic change. That's just life. Everyone has to deal with increases and reductions in metabolic states. There's no stop button on the human condition.
posted by P.o.B. at 12:32 PM on August 28, 2010


Reasonable as in about a 3,500ish calorie a week deficit. I've kept that up for months at a time, and even with the exercise I mentioned, my weight doesn't go down beyond a certain point and no reduction in girth beyond the corresponding point.

I can't say why, I just know that's what happens to me.

It's possible Atkins or severe calorie restriction would reduce my weight below that 220ish minimum, but I'm not particularly interested in doing things that are both unhealthy and make me hungry all the time. It's simply not worth it to me.
posted by wierdo at 12:55 PM on August 28, 2010


Honestly, everybody should know this by know, if you go on a diet you are going to be hungry. If you're comfortable and fine with where you're at than cool, but if you want to get to certain place that's out of reach than you will probably have to be in a zone of uncomfortableness for a period of time.
If I were to sit down with someone as a trainer my advice would be also to be to take a hard look at your macro-nutrient profile. I'm not sure what you think is unhealthy, but if someone were to change their diet by cutting calories and making their meals smaller but still keeping in their desserts and snacks, than I would suggest tweaking that variable.
posted by P.o.B. at 1:40 PM on August 28, 2010


Eating right and staying healthy can be so overwhelming. I've recently started practicing Marion Nestle's mantra: eat less, move more, lay off the junk food, and eat a lot of fruits & veggies. I also try to vary up my diet a lot too.
posted by rageagainsttherobots at 2:12 PM on August 28, 2010


P.o.B. wrote: "if you go on a diet you are going to be hungry."

If you're hungry you're either missing nutrients or not drinking enough water. Reducing 300-400 calories a day from an overeater's diet shouldn't cause one to be hungry all the time. Besides, if you are hungry all the time, your body will just work against you. One must find a diet that is lower in calories yet still sates one's hunger to be successful.

Compliance will be much better, also.
posted by wierdo at 2:47 PM on August 28, 2010


If you're hungry you're either missing nutrients or not drinking enough water.

Or not eating enough food, which by definition is what a reduced calorie diet is.

One must find a diet that is lower in calories yet still sates one's hunger to be successful.

A diet can be just as successful if someone is hungry. It depends on how somone "feels" about hunger. Personally, hunger has never bothered me, but I am aware that for some people they just cannot stand being hungry. There are simple ways to alleviate hunger feelings.
posted by P.o.B. at 3:15 PM on August 28, 2010


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