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Monday, May 2, 2016

On The Futility of Maintaining Weight Loss, and the Biggest Loser

I was 235lbs.  I got down to under 200lbs in 2002... and have kept it under ever since.  In fact I've rarely strayed much above 190lbs, and mostly keep my weight in the 180's - healthy for my height (6'0").
me in fatter times... not even my worst
I would add!

So when I read about how hard it is to lose weight and keep it off?  My reaction is simple: YUP.

Even after 14 years of having lost weight, if I don't pay attention, it comes back on - fast.  My body isn't content to be this weight - it wants to be bigger, fatter.

This NY Times article about the Biggest Loser is one of the best I've ever read.

My main take-aways:

  1. Your body's metabolism works against you
  2. The medical profession and science isn't sure how to help you
To me, this is the scariest part of the whole article:
“We eat about 900,000 to a million 
calories a year, and burn them all
except those annoying 3,000 to 5,000 
calories that result in an average annual 
weight gain of about one to two pounds,” 
he said. “These very small differences 
between intake and output average out 
to only about 10 to 20 calories per day ... ”

You'd think when we need 900,000 calories, consuming 900,000 instead of 903,000 would be a trivial exercise... but you'd be wrong.  Your body just seems to adjust, and burns the difference, or lowers your metabolic rate to deal with those small fluctuations.

I'm proof it can be done, but holy hell I work hard at it.  I run marathons, ride thousands of kilometers per year, canoe, anything that I can to keep me interested and burning calories.  

It doesn't surprise me in the least that only about 5% of people who try lose weight keep it off... it's a life-long struggle.  For me, a struggle worth struggling.

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