Tag Archives: deep thoughts

That TBL article

I imagine everybody by now has read or heard about the Biggest Loser followup article.  Who is surprised that many of them gained some weight back? Anyone?

It’s hard enough to keep weight off when you do it slowly, let alone at a rocket pace with an unsustainable lifestyle. It’s no suprise that the majority bounced back up after the show and publicity tour ended.  Especially if it mucked up their metabolism as much as seems to have.

It’s scary to read that their metabolism slowed so much and after 6 years had not come back to what it once was, which would explain why it has been hard for them to keep it off. If you want to read the actual study, click here.  One curious note in the study is that people who have had gastric bypass surgery did *not* experience the same lowering of metabolism after a year despite large weight loss. At least as how I was reading that paragraph, anyway.

However, on the flip side, some of them haven’t gained it all back. There is something to be said that some of them have kept off a good portion of what they lost. I’m a little curious as to where their weight is today versus last year. Are they maintaining at the current weights or gaining each year? The little graph in the article only showed beginning and 6 years later, but it would be nice to see each year plotted on that graph. It might tell a more interesting story.

Slow and steady won’t prevent your metabolism from lowering if you lose a lot of weight, but it seems that it might make the effect less than if you do it Biggest Loser style.  On an interesting side story, Ali Vincent is a former TBL winner and has gained back most of her weight. (She was not part of the study). She went public with it and kind of trashed the show and then, ironically, starts a diet bet that anyone can join to lose 4% of your weight in I think it’s a month? Then if you do, you win money. More competition anyone? You’re supposed to learn from your mistakes, not repeat them.

Obesity Study

Yet another study on the futility of losing weight has been making the media rounds.  These things piss me off. Not so much the study, but how the abstract gets passed around and highlights taken out to make it seem like anyone trying to lose weight is doomed. Just doomed.




Here is a link to the abstract: Click here.  I will copy the pertinent info that is being shared:

Objectives. We examined the probability of an obese person attaining normal body weight.

Conclusions. The probability of attaining normal weight or maintaining weight loss is low. Obesity treatment frameworks grounded in community-based weight management programs may be ineffective.

Sounds depressing, right?  Makes you wonder if anyone read the actual report, which is here: click here.

I will outline the salient points to put this study in perspective:

1. The study followed patients 20 and older and looked at BMI over time at subsequent doctor visits.  They excluded anyone who had gastric bypass surgery and focused on patients with overweight/obese BMI.

2. The study does not note whether or not any of these patients were trying to lose weight or not. They just documented BMI on subsequent office visits over time and noted whether it went up or down.  You can bet there were plenty of those patients that were not even dieting.  They noted that if a BMI went down over time, it was likely to go back up again, possibly meaning the person was dieting, but they could not verify that since they were not tracking who was/was not trying to lose weight. 

3.  The most important note to me: The criteria for successfully losing and maintaining loss was to achieve a ‘normal’  BMI of 25 or below and keep it off.  So if you lost 100 pounds, kept it off, and your BMI was still 28 – you were not considered a ‘success’, but part  of the statistic of how hard it is to get to and maintain a ‘normal’ body weight.  So take that those of you who have kept off a large amount of weight, but aren’t ‘normal’. Apparently that means little.  Idiots.

So, while the study itself can be read with many caveats, what to people see in the media?

Headlines like “Weight Loss Difficult for the Obese” – well, d’uh…  🙄 

Or “Slim Chance: Most Obese People Likely To Stay That Way“.  Oh the puns, haha…not.

and even “Obese people almost never attain a normal weight“.  So give up now before you waste your time!

That is not encouraging. Anyone reading the superficial would not even want to bother if the odds appear to be so stacked against them.  Well, you know – living a healthy lifestyle and getting rid of at least some of the excess weight is the best thing you can do for yourself. You may never get to a ‘normal’ weight, but you can change your life for the better.  As always, it’s not all or nothing.  

Eating Exercise Calories

So, before I got sidelined with my opinion on real estate, I was getting ready to talk about exercise calories and eating them. In particular, how I treat them and eat them. 

I see many people posting calorie burns for exercise – or points – or however you count them. Sometimes, to me, these seem really high. Sometimes these people are also stalled in their weight loss.  Not always, but you know those times when you look at ins and outs on paper and you should be losing X per week, but it doesn’t happen that way?

Here are some interesting numbers.  Lets say you exercise for an hour and your computer/device spits out 500 calories burned for that hour. (This is just a number I pulled out of the air for math purposes).  Did you really burn 500? Maybe not.  That is your calorie burn for that hour, but not the net burn.  If you happened to be sitting on the couch for that hour instead, you would have burned about 70 calories just existing. So, that burn really is down to 430 calories.  So if you ate back all your exercise calories, you would actually  be taking in more than you should be.  

And in the unfairness part of life – if you have lost a significant amount of weight, your metabolism is already slowed down by 10-15%. So, lop another 50 calories off of that and it’s 380 calories. See where the trouble can come in? Also when you exercise a lot, you can tend to let extra calories slide in because of the ‘deserve it’ factor as well.  In the end, this can lead to plateauing. 

I figure I burn about 30-35 calories per mile on the bike. This has come from riding over the years and what I take in versus goes out calorie wise and how that affects my weight.  So, an average amount is about 400 calories per hour of riding.  So a ride like on Sunday of 2.5 hours is around 1000 calories. I have had people tell me in the past that I should be burning a lot more calories than this for  our long rides, but I know me.  n=1 tells *me* what *I* burn. Not what you or somebody else will burn doing the same thing.  I track my food in My Fitness Pal and that tells me I burn a lot more calories, but I have found if I eat those calories, I gain. Simple as that, which tells me that I don’t burn what I am ‘supposed’ to be burning.  Age, weight loss, height and all that and I burn less. Stinks, but that is what is true for me. 

Getting my act together

Okay, it’s time to get real and get cracking.  I want to get off that weight I gained during the house closing stress of last year. I have been sort of muddling around with a few days being really focused on track with my eating, then eating too much chocolate or cereal in the evening.  I know a lot of this has to do with the freaking cold and I seem to want to eat and stay under a blanket.

John and I were just talking the other day about how we aren’t outside at all anymore. On Sunday when the temps got into the low 30s and sunny, we were rejoicing outside – albeit while shoveling, but it was enjoyable.  Kind of sad that the 30s felt so warm. We actually spend a fair amount of time outside biking, walking, gardening (okay, not John on this one) and just being outside. With temps so bitter cold now it just is impossible to be outside even bundled up, let alone the walks aren’t really clear enough to walk.  So, it does make one a bit stir crazy.  I know spring will come, but I just feel at that breaking point and so I eat to soothe and entertain myself.

It seems hard to get back into a weight loss mode after a long time. You get used to eating more and knowing there are certain things I have to cut out.


It’s balancing wants and needs.  I can have treats, but I just don’t need them every day.  When we go out for coffee, I don’t need to have a sweet on the side every time we go. I can just stick with a latte or coffee.  In the evening, I can have  a snack, but I don’t need to go back for a second helping.  It’s just small changes like that. I don’t need to do huge drastic things because I generally eat pretty well, just too much.

It’s time to put on my big girl pants and do it. Sometimes I feel resentful if I want something, but I don’t need it and know the better choice is to not have it (or have less). Seriously, it’s like I am 5 years old or something. I have to retrain myself once again and that is harder to do for me now. But, it must be done.  It’s one of those times where I have to say, “Just do it already and quit dinking around”.


Circus fat?

You know how you think if you had enough money to hire a personal trainer and all that and had someone cook for you that weight wouldn’t be an issue? Of course, celebrities prove this wrong all the time. The latest? Kirstie is back at Jenny Craig.

So many things wrong in just 30 seconds.

A. Mocking overweight people. Circus fat. How do you like that? Fat shaming by a weight loss company.   Bravo Kirstie and Jenny Craig, bravo.

B. How about – coming back home? Again, Kirstie learned nothing on her own.

C.  Bringing along her ‘energy drink’? Yeah Kirstie, seeing as how the weight loss company *you* formed based on your formulations worked so well for you, how about foisting them on others? Yay – more magic pills to sell!



I have no problem with using a program like WW or Jenny Craig if done for the right reasons. I did Nutrisystem for 6 months 5 years ago (and glad I did). It was a tool in the journey. I just needed a break from thinking about food for a while. Programs like these are just tools. They are not the answer. You still have to learn to live life on your own. You don’t want have to ‘come home’ to a program all the time. You want to be able to learn from them and then live on your own. There is just as much mental and emotional work to do when losing a large amount of weight. It’s not just a matter of food.


That moderation thing.

The AIM ladies were having a discussion about moderation today.  Particularly the idea that seems to be popular that eating in moderation is more of a cop out than an actual strategy.  Like you say the phrase “everything in moderation” because you are unwilling/unable to give up certain items.  It’s almost the implication that you are weak if you don’t do all-or-nothing type of eating.

Let me tell you – I have worked very, very hard to get rid of the all-or-nothing mentality.  That was my biggest hurdle in losing weight.  I was either on a diet or off, exercising or not, good or bad.  No gray areas. No in between. You know where that got me?  250 pounds – that’s where.   I had to redefine my relationship with food.  I am about 99% comfortable with all foods now.  Nothing is a ‘naughty’ food.  I don’t eat a lot of the foods I used to eat, but not because they are ‘bad’ foods. I just chose different foods now.

Yes, there are some foods I have issues with having around, like say mini peanut butter cups.  That’s why I don’t buy those to have in the house.  That doesn’t mean I can never have them again.  My sister has these at her house fairly often, especially from Halloween on, so I figure I can eat them there.  I just choose not to buy them.  That’s moderation for me on that food.


Or take the bagel.


You know I love my bagels.  I used to eat them almost every day.  For me, moderation is eating them twice a week – and always out.  I very rarely buy them to eat at home.  I have gotten a lot of  ‘advice’ over the years that I should give them up and that I eat too many.  That’s because that is their version of moderation and not mine. Moderation is a very personal thing.

Moderation does not necessarily mean elimination.

Moderation has to be learned and practiced, particularly if you are a foodie that eats with abandon.  Sometimes you do have to remove a food for a little while until you can introduce it again slowly. It’s always a learning process for me.

I was talking with John about this tonight and he said moderation was basically enjoying the good things in life without going overboard.  I think that is a very good analogy.

Dove campaign

This latest campaign by Dove is making the internet rounds.

I will admit it choked me up a little bit.  It is moving.  And it is true – we see all our flaws and focus on them while not seeing the whole person that we are.

This message is very valid.  I have said before that women will talk and think of themselves in a way that they would never, ever let someone do to a friend or loved one.  That has to stop.

There are a few things that I don’t like about the ad.  Other people have talked about the lack of racial diversity or screen time for women of color.

I was sort of bothered by the slick marketing aspect of this.  Dove couches sales of its *beauty* products in a message that women want to hear so they feel good about buying Dove.  Why is it that your loved ones tell you this same message and you don’t believe them, but you do when a corporation tells you?  ❓

I was also a bit bothered by this ad put out with its parent company being Unilever – seller of Axe brand body products.  The same product with commercials that are pretty sexist and depict women as becoming sex crazed if you use their products.  A company that puts out a commercial where a woman is only depicted as a headless torso with large breasts or a bunch of scantily clad young women throwing themselves at a guy.  Yuck.   Of course, they are marketing to young men – and that is what *they* want to hear to buy products.  Again, it’s all about marketing.

Don’t ever think for a minute that a corporation really cares about you.

It’s not always just a matter of what you are being told, but who is telling it to you.

Waking up in a Victoria Secret body

I read an article the other day of an interview with Lena Dunham from Girls, which I will admit to having never watched or heard of,  asking what she would do if she woke up in a Victoria’s Secret model body.

I actually appreciated her response, which was to the effect of that she would not like it because it would create challenges in life that she doesn’t have now.  It seems that she has a healthy body image – and a realistic one.

What disturbed me – or I think it disturbs me – is the poll that was attached to the article.  Here is the poll and the results.  Would you like to wake up with a Victoria Secret model body?



Almost 2/3 of the responders would like that body swap.  On first glance it is a fun, lighthearted question, right?

But what does it really say when you would want to wake up in a body that is on the low end of healthy for a BMI.  Would the average person do what it takes to stay in a VS model body?  While these women are genetically predisposed to this body type – the maintenance is not a cake walk (pardon the pun).

Is is the norm to want to have a BMI that is 18 or a bit under?  I appreciate that VS models are ‘larger’  (I wish I could put a thousand quote marks around that) than runway models, but still on the very low end of the BMI.  Of course, I hate the BMI number anyway, but still.    I would assume 2/3 of the respondents feel that this is okay to aspire to.  Where did this come from??

Maybe I read too much into this (must be a jealous h8ter) , but it just niggled in my brain this weekend.  It bothers me that so many people view this as a desirable body.  I think I also am curious what percentage of these respondents significant others would want the switch.  Wonder if they match or are the opposite?


Weight loss is a lot like renovation

As I proceed to demolish our bathroom, I was thinking about how weight loss and renovation are very similar.


First, you can think of remodeling versus renovating. Remodeling is losing a little bit of weight or starting a lifting program to get that little bit ready for summer.  Kind of like painting the walls in one of your rooms or getting a new couch to freshen up.

Then there is renovation. A full room remodel, which involves tearing down and building back up. A serious task that takes a long time.  Perhaps even daunting. At first you look at the big picture and think “Wow – there is a lot of work to be done here.”  Like me at 250 pounds

Then you think about what you need to do and what approach to take.  Keep the floors? New floors?  Tear out the tub? Refinish the tub? It’s all about personal style.  Weight loss would be What plan do I follow?  Should I do low carb, low fat, running, walking?

Then there is the actual start of the project. You get your tools and go. Once you start demo, there is no going back. Weight loss: Tomorrow is the day. I am starting this Monday. I am joining WW. Now that I have paid for X program, I had better do it.

At first it is exciting and change is big.  Whee! I am on a new diet plan, it’s exciting! Fast results the first week, it’s so awesome!

Then you reach that stage where things get ugly before it starts to get better. And you realize that it’s going to be a long while before things get back to normal.   I hate this. I just want to eat X. This is taking forever and I want the weight to be gone now!

Real progress starts to happen and you feel excited again. Wow, compliments from my friends and coworkers keeps me motivated.

Then you hit a bump you weren’t expecting (hello uneven floors) and have to change the plan.  Hmmm… I have plateaued. What I was doing isn’t working. Maybe time to change up the exercise or how I am eating?


As you near the end, you can see the finish line, but little things seem to keep popping up and taking longer than you expected. Will I ever get to goal? Why is this last 10 pounds taking so long?!?! Come on!

Then when you finish your project and are so pleased with the results and proud of all the work you did. And you love just being in the room and using it.   Woo Hoo! I hit goal! I love what I see in the mirror.  Being active is great! I love these new smaller clothes. Shopping is fun again!


It is a complete change in life to lose weight. You must do the full renovation to have permanent lifestyle changes to not only get the weight off, but keep it off.

Thoughts on restricting

Thinky post today!  I have been reading a lot of different blogs/articles lately and have been ruminating about the use and/or place of the word “restriction” when it comes to eating.

Now right off the bat, you think “NO! Restriction is horrible. It leads to problems with bingeing, etc!”

Is it the actual word ‘restriction’ that sets off that panic feeling or is it something else?  I think that all of us really do recognize that there has to be some restrictions in our diet of some type.  Whatever that is for you, like cutting down calories, lower carbs, reducing fat, reducing Points, portion sizes, etc.  It all comes down to some type of restricting.  That includes intuitive eating styles.  When you try to only eat when hungry, you are really restricting your behaviors.  So, this term isn’t confined to just ‘dieting’.

Now, I am thinking restrictions are not necessarily a bad thing, although they can easily cross the line into Disorderville.  Isn’t restriction really just moderation?  Restriction could just mean restricting overeating to a normal calorie range.  It could also mean restricting to starvation.  I guess it is just a matter of degree.

What word do you think would be better than ‘restricting’ to keep a positive attitude about how you eat?  Is it ‘moderation’?  You know that saying of all things in moderation.

So if you think you are ‘moderating’ your calories, does it seem the same as saying you are restricting them – or different?  And if you say that to someone else, will you be less likely to be lectured about how you are eating?

Does it even really matter what you call it?

So that term has just been rolling around in my noggin lately.