Skip to main content

Lately, I've been going to the gym. Not because I have some focused plan to get healthy and lose weight. Though I do hope to get healthy and losing weight is great since I'd love to go shopping for clothes at a store like a smaller-sized person. I go every morning and I usually spend around 2 hours there. Soon it'll be 3 as my workouts will continue to expand. I can't do much right now compared to some. My lifting isn't so great and it takes me 30 minutes to swim a half-mile, but that's okay.

I go to the gym because I like to go to the gym. I go to the gym because I am fascinated by the physicality and possibility of the human body. I go to the gym because even though I was always a very active child, I was humiliated and mocked, told again and again that I was too fat, too disgusting, and when I tried to play organized sports, tried to participate in PE, I simply could not keep up. Slow and clumsy and fat, I quickly decided that physical activity was not for me. That I hated it. I could not separate the physical exertion from the endless horror and humiliation that was PE and recess. A horror and humiliation that the teachers were either blind to or as helpless as I was to correct.

I go to the gym because I met a man who showed me that it didn't have to be that way. He literally changed my life when he said, "You're an athlete. Forget about all the shit you went through and don't worry about how you got to where you are today. You're an athlete and your body knows it."

I go to the gym because it's my daily adult recess. Recess I never got to enjoy as a child. I cannot stress the importance of that enough. It's a complete reversal of the very mindset that kept me homebound, anxious, overweight, and self-conscious for so many years. See, going to the gym is not about losing weight. It's about healing my body from years and years of psychological and physical damage--some was external and some was internal and getting to where I am now has been very difficult, sometimes painful, sometimes scary, but it's a constant journey.

My sister posted this picture on facebook last night.

Uploaded with

 Yes, that's me and a difference between fifteen months. The responses from friends and family were very kind and complimentary, but every single one of them completely missed the point. They look at me and they see somebody with "great determination" and wonderful "self-control" and "Will-power" and they wished they could "work as hard" as me.

But I'm not working. I'm not using "will power" to starve myself--I'm not even remotely dieting! I eat what I want and I eat when I'm hungry and I don't give a fuck what anybody says about my habits (Everybody has an opinion about what would work "best" and after listening to those opinions for years I realized "Wait a sec. Why am I listening to them when it's my body I need to pay attention to?").

I'm healing and I'm losing weight in the process because my weight gain was a direct result of a complex problem...I was very ill and now I'm convalescing.

So join me under the squiggly for my story...

My weight gain was not a simple matter of calories=fat. I would be surprised if anybody really had that simple story because the concept of calories in=weight gain is a myth, a misunderstanding of how the body works.

Sometimes an effort is made to acknowledge that "morbidly obese" people have an underlying mental or emotional issues that causes them to "overeat", but that goes back to the same calories=fat mentality that's governed our lives and health policy for the past several decades. But books like Health at Every Size and Why We Get Fat (And What We Can Do About It both go to great lengths to demonstrate that our model of "reduce calories and lose weight" is not correct, even if it feels it must be, and in fact fails to recognize how truly complicated and splendid the human body is. It is not a simple machine, where only one variable (the amount of energy you consume) controls the outcome of the situation (how much fat you have on your body).

Wouldn't it be splendid if that were the case? Wouldn't it be amazing if we could all genuinely reduce calories and like magic lose excess pounds and then keep it off (recent studies show that essentially no dieter loses weight and keeps it off)

It's a simple, childlike dream that lacks imagination or any real world support, yet we are so keenly invested in it as a culture. It's a marketing ploy designed to make money. It's a scare tactic. Think about what "personal responsibility" is code for when Republicans use that phrase, and consider how that same notion is used as a weapon against anybody who is not the "perfect' or "ideal" weight. "It is your body," all the experts say, "and so you must be the responsible one." But your body is made up of a million tiny parts all working in (more or less) perfect harmony and if anything disrupts that balance than it could throw the entire system out of whack.

The calories in=weight gain model doesn't account for those other factors that could throw things off. And that reflects my reality since I was a child. My parents were quite poor and food was strictly regulated to the point that I still have a hard time letting go of old habits (Very Bad Things would happen to the child who ate Dad's Leftovers, and so leftovers still go bad in my fridge even though they are mine). Due to the circumstances of my childhood, the food I did have access to was almost always fresh (we killed our own chickens, hunted game, grew gardens) and I never, ever, EVER ate fastfood. EVER. It simply did not happen. I wasn't given much junk food, though my grandmother did give us small treats every day (a fun-sized snickers and a can of Shasta). In hindsight, I grew up on the sort of diet that Michelle Obama is advocating now, and yet I weighed 80 pounds in Kindergarten. By fifth grade I was over 120.

I kept getting bigger and bigger, though I was always a smart girl and I could see that I ate less than my peers. I knew because I saw their home lunches. A few times I even went to their houses. The rules were so relaxed! And there was so much to choose from!

When I was 16 I was probably around 170. I felt huge. I felt so amazingly disgustingly huge that I can't even remember for sure what my weight was because it all blurs together in my head. I also had a car and a job, and so I indulged in all the junk food that my mother would never let me eat before. I won't lie and say that didn't have a huge hand in how things went, because it did. Unfortunately for me, I was already blinded to the reality of my body at that point, viewing it through a lens created by the people around me.

As you can probably tell from my description, my upbringing was a hotbed for food-related issues because not only did the kids at school remind me how disgustingly fat I was at all times, but my family got in on it as well. My mother constantly chastised me and put me on diets, even though she always had control over my food anyway! I lived 5 miles from the nearest store and I had no money, it wasn't like I was sneaking away to buy food for myself and gorge on it when I was 12! My dad yelled at me because I didn't exercise more. I spent most of my young life outside, being active, playing, exploring the 20 acres we lived on--but mostly I liked to read. And besides, I was fat, clumsy and slow, remember?

When I was 15, I was enrolled in a dietary class at the local hospital. It was me and maybe a dozen overweight men and women about 20-40 years older than me. During the week we'd have to write down everything we ate, count all the calories, and came back to report to the rest of the class. I wanted to lose weight because I wanted to play volleyball in high school. So I dutifully filled out my charts and counted my calories and did my weigh-ins...I consistently was the one with "right amount" of calories and the fewest things on my list (because we had no food at home to spare! Side note: When my boyfriend moved in with my family he lost 80 pounds in 3 months because he was eating portion sizes I grew up eating. Can you imagine how that made me feel? My regular food was his diet and yet I kept gaining and gaining). I never lost any weight in that class. It was a pointless waste of time that made me feel even worse about myself because I bought in to the notion that it had to be all my fault. It was my weight...who else would be at fault?

The weight gain continued and continued. Nothing I could do to stop it. Not that I could really see it. In my eyes, I've always looked the same and that was always "morbidly obese".

In 2004, when I was 21, I decided to try Atkins because I was going to Italy for 3 weeks and I was so out of shape that I thought the trip would literally kill me. I would risk my life for Rome, but I thought I should try to at least change things around. Clearly restricting calories was not going to do me any good, so maybe restricting carbs would? It really genuinely changed my life. For the first time, I had control over my body.

For the first time in my life I could make a decision and then see a very real, positive consequence of that decision. I'm not talking about losing weight specifically, I'm talking about finally having a logical cause and effect that made sense, that I could follow. When I spent my life counting calories, that never happened. I genuinely believed it never could happen.

Even so, it was years before I broke myself away completely from the concepts of diets. This last year, I have eaten more fast food than at any other point of my life. The hypothetical Fast Food Consumption chart would spike so wildly that you would be forced to conclude I gained weight!

I didn't.

In fact, I've lost weight. Consistently and gradually.

So it must be the gym, right?

Well, no. See, most people don't burn more calories than they eat at the gym, even when that is the only goal. Both books I referenced above spell out the science, but what it comes down to is that an increase of physical activity does not have a major influence on weight loss. Because "calories in-calories out" model is completely skewed and inaccurate.

Besides, though I am more active, I'm far from dedicated. There have been weeks when I simply didn't do anything for whatever reason.

I don't think it's the gym. And I don't think it's food. I think it's finding what the fuck is throwing your body out of whack. My killer and the killer I share with millions? Stress. My body was in a constant state of arousal associated with stress from the time I was a child. My parents could snap at any minute and throw one of us or each other into a wall. Every day at school was a fresh hell as I was the go-to target for everybody from bullies who wouldn't stop until I cried to my own friends who "affectionately" referred to me as "Beached Whale.". I was under tremendous pressure to succeed, to be the best and smartest and work hard. I didn't sleep at night. I developed insomnia at a very, very young age and when I finally gave in to pure exhaustion, I had nightmares. Every night for fifteen years, I had extremely vivid, terror inducing nightmares that I could recall in perfect detail the morning after. The dark feelings of those nights would stay with me during the day.

When I was 18, I graduated High school, got married, moved to So Cal, and started my new adult life. Day One was worrying about money and it never stopped. Not for a single second. Every minute of every waking hour (which was around 21 since I still wasn't sleeping) was devoted to worrying about money, and then I'd worry about school. There was no break, no big promotion or good news. My husband had a decent job and for awhile we could keep our heads above water, but little things snowball. Hell, even when we were covering the bills and surviving, all I did was worry about money. In hindsight, I can't believe how much of my life was dedicated to worrying about money. And school. And driving in the traffic. And every other goddamned thing. Because I also suffer from very acute depression and I probably have an anxiety disorder and that was simply My Life since I could remember.

Stress does funny things to a body. A body under pressure is not operating at optimal levels. The heart rate is constantly elevated (I always had high blood pressure, and in early 2011 it reached hyper-tension status at 155/95). In that state, hormones are released to encourage fat, since clearly if you're feeling this terrible about things you are either 1)about to be eaten yourself or 2)about to enter a serious food shortage. I always felt like I was under attack. I was always afraid.

I kept gaining weight. I went on and off Atkins, depending on if I could afford it (both $$ and time wise). The first time I tried Atkins and stopped, my lowest weight was 290 (down from 330). In Fall 2010, I was up to 370, pre-diabetic, with hyper tension and I was fucking terrified. I had only just turned 28, I didn't want to be a walking death trap. My feet always hurt. My back always hurt. I started feeling numb in my arms all the time, and I had symptoms of repetitive stress injury that made typing for more than a few minutes at a time impossible. The pain my arms, wrists, and fingers was constant, exquisite. My feet would swell up to grotesque sizes every night, unless I kept them elevated. I was in pain every single minute and it was so gradual that I didn't even realize it was taking over my life until I moved and acted like a woman 50 years older than me. My jaw would get so tight in the morning that I would need a good 30 minutes of massage, heating pads, and ice packs in order to even move it, and another 30 to pop it into place (I have TMJ)--a full hour before I could even open my mouth enough to brush my teeth. My achilles tendon was strained for no reason, forcing me to wear a walking cast for over a month, and yeah, that was so fucking painful I wanted to cut my foot off. It was also probably related to my weight.

I never left the house. My depression was so severe at this point, my financial problems growing so much that I could barely bring myself to shuffle from the bed to the couch and nothing could coax me from the house. No fun activity was worth it.

I was so miserable I knew something had to change.  

I started walking.  The first night, I went around the block (1/4 mile, SLC has huge city blocks) and it took me twenty minutes and I hated it. But fuck me, I didn't want to die and I had to do something. So I went out for my walk every single day for 3 months until I was up to 5-6 miles at a time...I used the time to sort through the thoughts that would usually keep me awake at night, I made plans, I talked myself through the pain I was feeling. My inches decreased.

After fifteen years of knowing damned well I was Depressed, I went to the doctor and got on meds. The difference was immediate and profound (though sadly it led to very severe writer's block. Not good for my career, but probably good for my health in the long run).

I asked people for help. The friend I mentioned above? He is the most amazing person I know, and I literally approached him and asked him to be my friend, asked him to show me how to be a part of the world, asked him to mentor me and help me. And he rose to the challenge.  

I just let go. I stopped worrying about everything. It was like my brain finally fucking snapped from the pressure and I was allowed a respite (or the meds kicked in). My problems did not go away (and my financial problems are actually quite crippling at the moment), but I found some amazing moments and places for happiness. For once I just stopped. I didn't force myself to write 10,000 words a day anymore, I didn't separate myself from my family, I made an effort to make friends, I put the computer away and discovered a love for cooking.  

I found a way to treat and beat my insomnia.

One day, I found myself naked with my aforementioned friend. Not in a sexual way, but in a way that sometimes buddies find themselves in some state of undress (or maybe that's just normal for him and I?). He was so beautiful that I broke down in tears and asked if he was disgusted with me. I'll never forget the way he looked me in the eyes and addressed the real questions, the ones I couldn't voice. He didn't give me the "We're all beautiful in our own ways" bullshit answer. For the first time in my life, I realized the weight on my frame was not a reflection of who I was as a human being, but the acquired pollution of a life I didn't want anymore.  

He thinks I'm beautiful and hell, I've started to believe him.

The nightmares stopped and haven't returned for awhile. I got a sleep apnea machine which also immediately helped.

I realized my two main relationships were unhealthy and needed to change or end. Or rather, I needed to change. I may have lost my husband and my best friend forever, and I'm very ambivalent about that--or maybe not forever. Maybe we can reform our relationships as I learn to be confident and love myself and not be completely dependent on them for every single positive emotional response in my life. One co-dependent relationship is exhausting--two was killing me.  

The weight started falling off of me in a truly alarming rate. Well, I found it more exciting than alarming. I could eat more or less anything and I would still shrink. I took pictures every week for a few months and the difference was astounding.

So...what does all of this have to do with my family's response? With life in general? Just this.

The worst of my weight gain and loss is over. It's past me now. I can keep up with my buddy at the gym and I can barely remember when I couldn't keep up with him (he works out at the gym for 5-6 hours a time, and if I want to spend time with him, then I'm there for 5-6 hours too). If the scale never moves again, I won't mind. I'm extremely healthy. My blood pressure is holding right where it should be. My feet never swell, and my chronic pain in my neck, shoulders, back, and arms is 90% gone (closer to 100% when I swim every day). My jaw never pops out of my place or becomes locked closed and the chronic pain in below my ear, the constant headache, is gone. I can stand for several hours at time without feeling like I'm going to die. I bike 5 miles, walk 1 mile, and swim 1/2 mile every day as my "base workout" with weight training and water aerobics and other things on top of that.

But to you, the average observer, and people at the gym, and even my own friends and family, I am still the fat girl. Two or three times a week, a perfect stranger will walk up to me and say something they think is encouraging but only comes across as staggeringly condescending. "Keep up the good work!" "You did a really good job today!" "I'm so impressed with your determination!" My favorite was, "You'll be a pretty girl when you lose some weight."  The comments all sound positive and sweet but as progressives I'm sure you're aware of the "Soft bigotry of lowered expectations."

They just see a fat girl trying to lose weight at the gym. Because surely, my weight is the sum total of my life, my one priority. Surely, I am struggling to fit into the perfect ideal.

I don't want to accept their compliments and encouragement. It means nothing to me. The photos are only satisfying because I see a return to health that was literally stolen from me. I never recognized and appreciated my health when I had it before because I bought into their view--fat, clumsy, disgusting, lazy. It's a lens that quite frankly, I'm still struggling to shatter completely. The outsider's view that never saw me as a unique person, but only a combination of stereotypes and prejudices, and that point of view is still trying to shoehorn me into a box I don't belong in and do not want any part of. 300 pounds may be grotesque to some but I'm hitting it on the way back down and I think it feels fabulous. And maybe 280 will feel better. And maybe 200 will be Nirvana. Or maybe I'll plateau around 295 and stay there forever and ever because that's where my body found balance. I won't be stressing over it.

We have an "obesity epidemic" in this country and to hear most people tell it, it's because Americans are over-indulged over-eating pigs who can't put a fork down until their massively over-sized plates are empty. But here's my theory based on this whole long story that if you read this far, I tip my hat to you.

1) People are very, deeply unhappy. It's a deep malaise that has infested and infected the culture. This doesn't mean people eat more necessarily, but it does mean that whatever they do eat will stick around for a very long time, as their bodies do what is necessary in times of "fight or flight." And I don't mean because the economy is shit and times are hard. I think this goes even deeper than that. I think this phenomenon is just dying for a broad sociological study that takes obesity from the realm of the purely personal into the realm of culture and society. I think we all share a responsibility for each person, and the negative, hurtful comments directed regularly towards larger-sized people helps reinforce this poison.

2) People are starving. Literally. We think of starving people as the ones who completely lack food and are nothing but skins and bones. I once read somebody dismissively ask "Have you ever seen a starving fat person?" Well, yeah. There are many overweight people who lack nutrition, many more who have bought into the notion of "dieting" and choose to starve themselves on a regular, ritualistic basis, causing themselves untold mental and physical harm.  Their bodies do not get the nutrients necessary to function properly because as a culture, we don't value good nutrition. The very obsession with "calories in-calories out" is proof enough of that.  So whatever they do eat is instantly stored as fat. Insulin plays a major factor in the storage of fat, and subsequently, insulin is usually the reason fat is not released or "burned" but continues to linger, especially around the waist. It also causes an increase in Type 2 Diabetes. But try to suggest to somebody that the answer to good health is to actually eat more and all hell will break lose.

3) The food industry has totally fucked any concept we have of what good nutrition is. Children are becoming increasingly obese because parents do not have consistent access to healthy food, and after watching a few documentaries on the food industry, I can't help but feel that's by design.

Why are we killing ourselves? Why are we paying for the right in some cases?

What's will power? What's determination? Why should they be so impressed because they mistakenly assume I'm starving myself? And why on earth would that be a goal they'd celebrate and encourage? "Congratulations on starving yourself!" is ridiculous on its face, and yet, it's the common, expected, offered response.  Why should I accept their praise as though I did something to earn praise beside finally live my life in a way that isn't plagued by fear and anxiety? They'll never congratulate me for those changes...because they never knew about those changes. Because, for them, I was the fat girl who lacked will-power and determination, not a person suffering and chained to a mindset that actively hurt me every single day.

It never occurred to them that I was seriously ill and that my illness was not chronic over-eating.

And I'm afraid that as a culture we're not going to wake up to what's staring at us in the face. We'll cling to the ridiculous (yet profitable) notion that our bodies are machines rather that complex organisms that constantly respond and adjust to internal and external stimuli...and it will kill us.  

8:12 PM PT: Thank you rescue rangers for adding my diary to the community spotlight. I'm very honored!

Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 12:04 PM PT: I just want to thank everybody for the amazing comments, the tips and recs, and the awesome discussion that has emerged between all you brilliant and interesting people. It's been a great experience for me thus far and I want to thank everybody for being respectful even when disagreements cropped up--this is a truly rare and precious thing on the Internet but not in this community and it's why I'm so happy to be a member here. I may not reply to every comment, but I have read, considered and appreciated every comment.

Originally posted to On a Random Painted Highway on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 02:01 PM PDT.

Also republished by Weight Loss Kos and Community Spotlight.


Have you "struggled" with your weight?

83%476 votes
11%64 votes
5%29 votes

| 569 votes | Vote | Results

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (390+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    reginahny, Horace Boothroyd III, FloridaSNMOM, klompendanser, zenbassoon, enufisenuf, Wee Mama, helfenburg, kck, Lucy2009, Bill W, MaryinHammondsport, whytewolf, Chacounne, a2nite, BlueOak, pateTX, translatorpro, Margd, Carol in San Antonio, chrississippi, SFNerd, gizmo59, corpsechorus, DRo, mamamorgaine, platypus60, TiaRachel, Kitsap River, zett, cachola, Youffraita, pico, LinSea, Miss Jones, mayim, FarWestGirl, Siri, Kestrel228, EcosseNJ, LaraJones, MrSandman, HeyMikey, Miggles, Cassandra Waites, allensl, Mlle L, wasatch, leeleedee, lorla, Robert Fuller, reflectionsv37, Diana in NoVa, OLinda, stef, 207wickedgood, twigg, sound of progress, Dave in Northridge, mwk, CJB, middleagedhousewife, indres, Thinking Fella, anafreeka, EclecticCrafter, anatman, mumtaznepal, ellenbee, VTelder, ybruti, darylita, Hyuga, PaloAltoPixie, bleeding blue, Sandia Blanca, luckydog, wonkydonkey, jdmorg, Ekaterin, JanetT in MD, blue jersey mom, Eileen B, Anne was here, Fairlithe, Matt Esler, Montreal Progressive, DBunn, Puffin, bnasley, mrsgoo, eru, Coastside Scout, ChicDemago, nio, crose, alain2112, Dreidlgirl, daveygodigaditch, WiseFerret, YucatanMan, JDWolverton, susakinovember, lorzie, rogerdaddy, dle2GA, Heart n Mind, Chi, Shotput8, wader, greengemini, where4art, ChocolateChris, flavor411, J V Calin, home solar, awakenow, qofdisks, cynndara, Oke, RhymesWithUrple, kyril, howabout, chimene, out of left field, wu ming, askyron, Terri, Sara R, Actbriniel, greycat, mamabigdog, owlbear1, La Gitane, theano, pimutant, Little Flower, cosette, grollen, 88kathy, rat racer, defluxion10, sagesource, elfling, AntKat, radarlady, renbear, kaliope, sallyfallschurch, 3goldens, No Coast Nate, Matt Z, ApatheticNoMore1966, blueoasis, sebastianguy99, Rogneid, jennifree2bme, janatallow, Twoflower, Habitat Vic, Gustogirl, SneakySnu, splashy, lotlizard, taonow, kiwiheart, riverlover, ladybug53, JanL, YaNevaNo, BPK, Stripe, Ginny in CO, Michellebird, rapala, BlackBandFedora, thankgodforairamerica, cskendrick, Lensy, Shelley99, Egalitare, berko, msdobie, tbirchard, Nina Katarina, Barcelona, coppercelt, Marihilda, Loonesta, banjolele, filkertom, marleycat, badscience, dilutedviking, gulfgal98, sweetsister, FinchJ, mofembot, NYFM, kml, JSCram3254, ChemBob, maryabein, BYw, native, Preston S, jerseyjo, Syoho, mali muso, ArchTeryx, sngmama, emmasnacker, pat bunny, stormicats, awsdirector, PsychoSavannah, anotherdemocrat, commonmass, Only Needs a Beat, Leftcandid, Emerson, Canis Aureus, edsbrooklyn, Wisdumb, Hillbilly Dem, DrPlacebo, politik, Joy of Fishes, anodnhajo, belinda ridgewood, evelette, Tea and Strumpets, real world chick, lexalou, truong son traveler, JayC, CayceP, bearette, SharonColeman, fallina7, FindingMyVoice, bookbear, VexingEyes, aravir, Babsnc, lineatus, Book of Hearts, davespicer, Amor Y Risa, Triscula, Spirit Dancer, CorinaR, BlueDragon, theKgirls, entrelac, Kurt from CMH, asterkitty, pixxer, PapaChach, buckstop, profundo, SeaTurtle, Powered Grace, trueblueliberal, Gowrie Gal, Justus, angry marmot, MarciaJ720, Janetrhodes, OldGrammy, shanikka, gloriana, Its a New Day, Hohenzollern, Oh Mary Oh, J M F, bfitzinAR, GoGoGoEverton, jfromga, BabeInTotalControlofHerself, bdizz, Mr Horrible, Medium Head Boy, Matilda, LSophia, triv33, sillia, Demeter Rising, Anthony Page aka SecondComing, limae, quill, Imhotepsings, polecat, slowbutsure, Joieau, opinionated, historys mysteries, HeartlandLiberal, karmsy, DawnN, Via Chicago, Prairie Gal, SuWho, elpacifico66, lissablack, ccr4nine, fiercefilms, dwahzon, MiddleClassMom, solesse413, FWIW, sea note, sockpuppet, wackoliberal, allergywoman, mmacdDE, FutureNow, yellowdogsal, antimony, HappyinNM, bluedust, red moon dog, Catte Nappe, redlum jak, Dretutz, Mimikatz, Sean Robertson, TDP, millwood, Spirit of Life, aitchdee, stratocasterman, ceriboo, CuriousBoston, chimpy, K S LaVida, suka, Kamakhya, bluebird of happiness, Jill, Bernie68, IL clb, JBL55, schnecke21, wavpeac, GeorgeXVIII, SoCaliana, howd, WhizKid331, Dale, ginabroom, BornAgainLiberal, greenomanic, topazOR, Involuntary Exile, Arahahex, freesia, Statusquomustgo, TAH from SLC, MNGlasnant, PurpleThistles, Sunspots, BitterEnvy, Gertrude, Jersey Girl, frodolives, maybeeso in michigan, Renee, Southcoast Luna, sb, NYWheeler, roses, MKinTN, myboo, Cliss, Ed in Montana, kathny, New Rule, djtyg, allegretto, Skennet Boch, bluezen, ramara, science nerd, Luma, ShadowSD, Nailbanger, Randtntx, rmx2630, Jollie Ollie Orange

    "There's an iPad 3 and a Mitt Romney 4 now. They've worked the bugs out. He's not killing hobos at night anymore."

    by muzzleofbees on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 02:01:41 PM PDT

  •  And I know EXACTLY how you feel. (40+ / 0-)

    ESPECIALLY what people say.

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 02:21:15 PM PDT

  •  Muzzle, you are a brave and beautiful (77+ / 0-)

    woman.  If you haven't lived with weight issues, you do not get it.  You cannot understand.  But listen, the way I look at it is that it's easy for some svelte spandex jockey to go to the gym and float through a heavy workout without sweating.  For you and me, Muzzle, it takes true grit.

    The obesity epidemic is complex.  I have a garden - it feeds my spirit to work outdoors with the smells, the feel of the air, the visual and physical stimulation.  I"m less hungry because of it.  We are sensually starved by living and working in cubicles deprived of sensory stimulation all day.  Secondly, garden produce tastes unimaginably good compared to the tasteless fruits and veggies we buy at the store.  The spinach I grow in my garden is as good as a milkshake and I crave it as much.  All the good stuff has been robbed of flavor by industrial agriculture.  All the bad stuff has been given flavor artificially by using the wrong stuff, e.g. sugar, fat and salt.  These things are part of the problem.

  •  TESTIFY, SISTER!! (79+ / 0-)

    For truly, you are my sister in the "OMG, you're so fat, lazy, disgusting, clumsy, can't-you-just-quit-eating-so-much" world.  I, too, have heard all those things that you talked about practically ALL MY LIFE.

    School was a horror-show.  By the time I hit high school (mid-1970's), the ideal figure was a 10-year-old boy with tits.  My measurements were 38-24-40; I weighed 140 pounds.  But the way I was treated, I might as well have weighed 900 pounds and looked like a beach ball with feet.

    I was literally trained out of physical activity as a small child because I was what is known as "sickly."  Basically, I could be fine at 8 AM and be gasping for breath by 4 PM with a bronchitis flare-up.  Physical activity exacerbated the condition.  So my parents (being poor) rewarded me for being quiet, sitting still and reading or watching TV, or coloring or doing crafts, and punished me for running around the way little kids do, because they couldn't afford to pay the doctor.  Believe me, I have nothing but sympathy for you, because I know how hard it is to get past childhood programming.  I'm still working on it.

    So now I really am what I was always called - obese.  And it's not because of what I eat - fast food rarely, no carbonated drinks of any sort, no sugary drinks like Snapple, no coffee or tea, no alcohol (never developed a taste for it).  I eat lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, I use cooking methods like steaming and stir fry with canola oil, I drink only skim milk (and have for years), eat unsweetened cereal like Cheerios ...  

    Anyway, I know where you're coming from, and your story is a lot like mine.  You've inspired me to try again, to just stop listening to those voices that say "You can't", and live my life.  Maybe I, too, can achieve health again.

    Thank you for writing this diary.

  •  tipped & rec'ed (14+ / 0-)

    The radical Republican party is the party of oppression, fear, loathing and above all more money and power for the people who robbed us.

    by a2nite on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 02:40:25 PM PDT

  •  Great diary, beautifully written, inspiring and (38+ / 0-)

    educational - the perfect trifecta! Thanks. I've been neglecting my physical and mental well-being the last few years, but your diary inspired me to try it again plus get rid of the old programming.

    „Wer kämpft, kann verlieren. Wer nicht kämpft, hat schon verloren.“ - Bertolt Brecht

    by translatorpro on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 02:44:06 PM PDT

  •  (((((((((((((((((muzzleofbees))))))))))))))))))))) (60+ / 0-)

    Thank you !  This is a REALLY important, and well-written diary.

    I gained serious weight (went up to about 230 lbs and I'm 5'1") during the years I was married, especially after he became disabled and I became his fulltime caregiver. After he died, I lost 70 lbs over the next few months, and lost another 10 or so over the end of 2010/beginning of 2011. I realized that it wasn't a change of eating habits or exercise habits, mostly, that did it, it was the stress leaving my body. I loved my husband with every fibre of my being, and still do, and losing a spouse is one of the most stressful experiences in life, but not having to worry about his health every day, allowed the cortisol to diminish considerably, which lead to the weight loss.


    Torture is ALWAYS wrong, no matter who is inflicting it on whom.

    by Chacounne on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 02:53:48 PM PDT

  •  Congratulations!!!!!! (58+ / 0-)

    On feeling better; getting in touch with your emotions and sorting them out; your workout progress (holy crap, I'm majorly impressed and jealous!!!); your recognition of your beauty; and anything else you feel you should be congratulated on!!     :)     :)

    My situation is vastly different, but I had stress hormone issues as well. I actually was one of those very thin, very active, very healthy people all my life and then at about 38 started gaining 25-30 lbs/year. This occured until I went from 110 lbs, to 310 lbs. I couldn't stop it, I was ravenously hungry all the time, I was exhausted, anxious and would come home and cry frequently after work. Turns out I had a tumor on my pituitary gland that sent signals to my hormonal system to release CORTISOL!!!!!!!  It was crazy, terrifying, life threatening, and eye opening. For the first time in my life, I had some understanding of what it was like to be a heavy person. The way little kids stare, and adults try not to, but you can see them do it out of the corner of their eyes. How men no longer open doors for you. I couldn't shave my own legs, or paint my own toe nails! I couldn't fit in my bathtub/shower, and had to use the kids shower stall in their bathroom, I didn't fit in most chairs, etc, etc, etc...

    So I had the tumor removed, and the cortisol levels normalized and the weight is coming off. I didn't have to diet at all for the first 72 lbs, but now I have another 130 to go, and I'm having to work it a bit!!!!  Again, even after my kids births I didn't struggle to lose the weight.  lol  Now I'm getting a taste of that too!!  lol  It's life, it's a pain in the ass, but I'm alive, and I'm healthy, and I'm active again and it feels freakin good!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I now weight 237 lbs, and I'm up to walking 2 miles/day, I do most of my own housework, etc. I had to buy new summer clothes and I bought a bunch of shorts and little tank tops, and I look CUTE!!!!!!!!!!!  Sure, I'm a rolly polly, but I'm a damn cute one!!  I've been through hell, and so have you. We are fighters, and survivors and we both deserve the best life has to offer!!!  Like you, my blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose are all NORMAL, and my insulin levels are coming down as I lose the weight.  The anxiety and depression are lifting as I get healthier and recover, and that's what's important. Not if men open doors for you. Not if your neighbor thinks you are enormous. Whatever!!! I'm happier and more hopeful about my life now than I've been in 8 years!!!!!

    I do want to get more off as I like to boogie board, surf, horseback ride, etc. So I'll be working at it, but like you, I am not going to stress over it. Life is too short and there are too many fun things to do in it, I'm not stressing about my rolls!

    I personally eat almost no carbs except for a bit of fruit, and avocados.... which I'm addicted to! I eat quite a lot of olive oil, but no other sort of fat. I eat lots of protein and lots of raw veggies, and that seems to keep the metabolism humming along and happy, and I have the most energy eating that way.  

    Sorry for taking over your diary. I didn't mean to do that!!!!   lol  That tumor was a life changing event and I don't seem to be able to be concise when talking about it! I was so sick I had to quit my job, which means I'm going to lose my condo in the next couple years, destroyed my credit, my grandmother died and my daughter graduated from college and I couldn't be there for either. Tears!  So it's quite emotional for me and I have a lot to say on the issue!

    But back to you.....  while I'm quite different, I can kinda sorta relate to you and your circumstances. Well done on taking control of your life, and making it a happy one, and being or getting content with the body you were given. Making it a healthier one, and using it to your advantage and enjoyment. Awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Corporations before people.... it's the American way!

    by Lucy2009 on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 03:02:36 PM PDT

    •  Please don't apologize! (30+ / 0-)

      If I didn't want to read other's stories, I would have typed this up in a word document and then closed it without saving it. And yours is particularly moving. I can't imagine living through that and how frightening it must have been as your body turned traitor.

      Not being able to shave your legs or paint your toenails or deal with other bathroom maintenance is the worst, and one of the signals that I had that things were getting way out of control. It still took me a long time to do anything about it, or rather, to understand how I could do something about it.

      I love avocados too. Once I start buying those things I cannot stop, for like, months. I just eat them like crazy.

      "There's an iPad 3 and a Mitt Romney 4 now. They've worked the bugs out. He's not killing hobos at night anymore."

      by muzzleofbees on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 04:25:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I am potentially dealing with Cushing's, too. (15+ / 0-)

      Except mine appears to be a milder form, if that's what I have. I've got the buffalo hump, the moon face, and the torso weight gain. Every single test of cortisol I have had shows higher than normal levels, but because the confirming test came back negative my first endocrinologist (whose area of expertise was diabetes) finally threw up her hands and said she didn't know what to do with me.
      Long story short, I am seeing an endo in the same office whose specialty is the pituitary and she ordered the test which would differentiate between metabolic syndrome and Cushing's. Finally, after four years of trying to figure out what's going on I found someone willing to take me seriously, and what happens? There is a nation-wide shortage of the drug needed to make the diagnosis, and there is no telling when or if it may be available. It's very frustrating. In the meantime, I continue to exercise daily, and try to keep weight gain to a minimum by eating very carefully.
      I'm a former high school and college athlete. For years after that my husband and I were avid hikers and skiers. The last ten years have been an eye-opener for me as a fat person and I have much more compassion for those who struggle with their weight in a skinny-obsessed society.
      Great diary, Muzzle!

      A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit. - Greek proverb

      by marleycat on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 05:10:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Hiya! Yea, mine was a difficult to diagnose (0+ / 0-)

        version as well. I had cyclical Cushings. So sometimes the pit was pumping out tons of ACTH (hormone that sends signal to the adrenals to pump cortisol), and sometimes it was suppressing the release of cortisol. So no matter which was happening, I felt like complete exhausted, anxiety ridden shit, but the tests were frequently inconclusive!! They would be low-normal, or high-normal, or just plain ole normal. The other thing I found to be true for my body, and I have a couple of Cushie friends who also found it to be true, is that the nighttime salivaries and blood tests didn't catch the true levels of cortisol swirling around in us! I had to do a BUNCH of 24 hr urine tests over a 6 month period before we started capturing what was really going on and getting some high levels registering. Shortly after that, I did the Petrosal Sinus Sampling and there was tons of ACTH being secreted. Two weeks after that I was in surgery!!!!!!  btw--some cyclical patients have full-on Cushings symptoms for weeks/months/years, and then feel totally fine for weeks/months/years. That form can be particularly tricky to diagnose!  

        It can be a tricky bastard to diagnose. I also didn't have a tumor show-up on MRI for several years. Finally about 6 months before surgery, the docs saw a tiny little cyst on the pit called a Rathke's Cleft Cyst.... which causes all the symptoms of Cushings. Then when the surgeon went in it turned out to actually be a little benign adenoma!

        The docs all poo poo'ed me for about 8 yrs. until I finally found my Endocrinologist. I LOVE that man!! He's absolutely brilliant and has patients from all over the world who come to him when they can't get diagnosed locally.  He's a full-time research doc, and studied Cushings for 15 years at the NIH. He only sees patients on Tuesday nights, and he does phone appts for out-of-town/state/country patients on Sat and Sun nights. Here's his website if you'd like to take a look. It's got several articles on Cushings, pseudo-Cushings, cyclical Cushings, the various testing protocols, etc, etc.... The other website which is awesome if you are a potential Cushingoid is Tons of info on what it is how to get it diagnosed, personal experiences and stories, doctor referrals, surgeon referrals, etc, etc...

        What drug do you need to get the diagnosis? I've never heard of that before.

        Have you done any MRI's/urines or salivaries?  

        Good luck on your adventure, I hope you get a speedy resolution!! If you want to chat, or ask questions, etc. you can private message me.     :)

        Corporations before people.... it's the American way!

        by Lucy2009 on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 10:22:55 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I have struggled all my life. (34+ / 0-)

    I managed to sort of keep it to a low roar til I had kids and then --drum roll please--My metabolism reacted to a hormonal imbalance and it all went down hill from there.

    And I felt completely unsupported.

    I hated PE too. And I was an athelete. I trained in a sport outside of the school. But it wasn't one that--like dodgeball or baseball, required the same kind of hand-eye coordination. And I was chubby in spite of this. And so no one wanted me on their team.

    But back to post pregnancy weight gain--People assumed I was overweight due to some moral failing. You know--the usual.

    Anyhow I saw your pictures and WOW! You are making serious headway. I hope you feel great, I hope you are nice to yourself in this process. And I hope you find some sort of physical activity that makes you happy.

  •  The phone rang and interrupted my first comment (39+ / 0-)

    I went back to re-read and you are somebody great in this world.

    YES YES YES! To all of it!

    The deep seated cultural malaise, the hollow foods that dull our minds and our butts! And so much more.

    Ever wonder why so many girls are going through early puberty? It's the hormones in the meat and milk, and the xenoestrogens in the biproducts of plastics and pesticides and who knows what else!

    It's a lot of stuff.

    I am overweight and I get the business at the Dr's office all the time. My stats are all perfect, except my weight, and some hormone problems. And it never occurs to them that the issue for me loosing the weight has to do with the years of undiagnosed female problems that finally reached critical mass.

    I wish all good things for you Muzzleofbees. I really do. You be happy in this world in whatever way that means to you. Your context matters.

    If we were neighbors I would take you hiking with me any time--that is if you decided that I was okay too.

  •  Thank you for the completeness of this post. (14+ / 0-)

    You can tell what I'm like when I say that I so wanted to vote BOTH Yes AND Pie... and was also hoping for the ice cream option.   :^)  

    Dance lightly upon the Earth, Sing her songs with wild abandon, Smile upon all forms of Life ...and be well.

    by LinSea on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 04:08:37 PM PDT

  •  We have a lot in common. My weight drops like (21+ / 0-)

    a rock when I'm happy. And piles on when I'm stressed. And it's been a long time since I was unstressed. ::sigh:: Same sort of crazy, violent, chaotic household growing up, similar struggles after.

    Obesity and substance abuse are both related to unmitigated stressors. I've watched over the decades as our culture has become less supportive in general and more harsh and demanding, the rates of obesity and drug abuse rise in concert with them. One of the reasons I didn't 'diet', per se, was because I knew instinctively that that wasn't the issue, I'm glad there is finally some recognition of there being more factors than just 'pushing away from the table'. Thanks for the book cites, I'll look into them. I'm glad you've found some balance and are feeling more whole on your own.

    Best of luck and peace.

    Information is abundant, wisdom is scarce. The Druid

    by FarWestGirl on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 04:39:18 PM PDT

  •  Keep up the good work! (6+ / 0-)

    I know you you feel, been battling my weight for 30 years. Luckily I have an awesome best friend who is giving me support!

  •  The diary I've been thinking about writing (23+ / 0-)

    but you just wrote it. I am so right there with you sister. I got choked up reading this diary because you are such a wonderful, beautiful person. People can look past incredible arrogance, vicious gossip, and many other faults and see the good hiding in people. But most people can't or won't see past fat, which is not a fault, but a symptom. (Yes!)

    We assume: Fat bad. There's fat. Fix fat. When that's useless; you can water and fertilize the apple at the end of the tree branch all you want, but it won't water or fertilize the tree. You must feed the tree generously and water it lavishly for the apple to live and grow to its best potential.

    Obamacare: That hopey-changey thing is working out great for me, thanks for asking.

    by LaraJones on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 05:07:37 PM PDT

  •  Thank you for this diary... (27+ / 0-)

    I hope that some day I can gain your happiness and acceptance. I used to be a stick. I didn't break 100lbs until after I graduated high school. I gained a bit after two kids, but I lost it pretty quick, a lot of that is because I was hyperthyroid and the meds weren't working. When my youngest was about 3 I starting having tremors, then full out seizure like things that would last for hours. I ended up in the hospital for a week and a half while they ran tests and decided what to do, trying to stabilize me. I was in Thyroid Storm. They chose irradiation because apparently the type I had/have, my thyroid acted like sponges, soaking up the extra hormone, and they were afraid it would kill me when they cut into the thyroid to extract them.

    Fast forward to today. My asthma which I've had since 15 has mutated into COPD, so I'm VERY limited on what physical activity I can do. I also still get periods of tremoring and even the seizure like activity. I think my thyroids are still sponges, they just take longer to overload. I've been on prednisone for almost two years... 10 mg a day. So my weight has gone from 130 to... 250. None of my clothes fit, I literally have one dress, one pair of shorts and one pair of pants that I can wear, other then my pj's. I try to exercise but end up out of breath so quickly and it takes me so long to recover... I doubt it's doing a lot of good. I don't eat much at all, but it doesn't make much difference. And emotionally.. well I probably don't need to explain how I feel.

    "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

    by FloridaSNMOM on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 05:19:31 PM PDT

    •  Hugs (15+ / 0-)

      I've had a few trials but it sounds like what you're experiencing now far exceeds the stress I've had. Honestly, I used to wish somebody would say "Oh, it's your thyroid!" All the test I had came back normal, and of course we were all supposed to act relieved...when I got older, I had the good sense to be very fucking relieved my thyroid was never to blame.

      Exercising, playing, walking, (I don't like the term "working out" so much) may not have any impact on the weight loss itself, but consider that you can lose bulk without losing pounds (a fact that I've been regularly introduced to. I'd notice a difference in inches but not on the scale). But beyond that, your heart will appreciate the exercise and the endorphins released can have several positive effects. The fact is, while there are several positive results from working out, the books I've referenced and other things I've read strongly suggest that exercising to lose weight doesn't work. But exercising to build muscle and endurance does! (I will note that my friend who helped me get started at the gym was quite strict...there were times when I would have stopped that he would not let me, and I'm exceedingly grateful for that).

       I hope you can find an activity that you enjoy (so it's worth how taxing it is on you right now). for me, the activity is swimming. I swim 1/2 mile because it's my reward for doing the treadmill/'s funny how much I love swimming and for many years, I felt I couldn't b/c of the way I looked in a swimsuit (if I could even find one to fit me) and I was so self-conscious of how slow I swim.

      I'm glad you took the time to share. I think it's very necessary for people to tell their stories to help change the overall mindset...."coming out" in a way.

      "There's an iPad 3 and a Mitt Romney 4 now. They've worked the bugs out. He's not killing hobos at night anymore."

      by muzzleofbees on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 05:32:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Exercise.. (9+ / 0-)

        the problem is that my lungs are crap. I have 60% of 'normal' lung volume (keep in mind also I sang in choirs for years, my lung volume was probably above average to begin with). Swimming I can do, but walking the two blocks to the pool I have to stop to breathe four times and if it's too humid, forget it.  I've been trying to do some pilates and yoga.. low impact, slow things that won't kill my breathing.
        When my lungs started to shut down I was walking 3-5 miles a day and working in a hospital, running up and down stairs all day. My thyroid was an issue then, but I was able to stay at about 180.  Now I can't get to the pool and my weight has been at 250 for a couple of months, at least it stopped going up.

        And yes, be glad it wasn't your thyroid. My sister's doesn't work at all, and that's just as dangerous as mine which worked way too much. Now it seems to fluctuate between low and high, but it's not life threatening. It doesn't stay high long enough for me to drop weight, so it can't be that high, or high for very long.

        "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

        by FloridaSNMOM on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 05:41:06 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I didn't think about the lung issue (8+ / 0-)

          I hope that yoga and pilates offers a long-term solution for you.

          "There's an iPad 3 and a Mitt Romney 4 now. They've worked the bugs out. He's not killing hobos at night anymore."

          by muzzleofbees on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 05:53:31 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I don't know (3+ / 0-)

          if you have received any medical diagnosis for your lung problems, but all of a sudden my lungs started aching when I exercised. I walked outside for exercise and slowly over time they started  hurting toward the end of the walk, then in the middle of the walk, finally right at the beginning.

          I went to Florida w/my family and was concerned that for a week straight we would all be walking all day every day.
          Those fears were unfounded however when I was able to walk everywhere with NO problem. I became a sleuth on the trail as to why this might be.

          Long story short, it was our local ozone level that was killing my lungs. In Florida the breeze from the ocean negated any harmful ozone effects. At home wow, some pretty bad days.

          I couldn't change our bad ozone days but I did find a way to protect my lungs. I take Alpha-lipoic-acid, and Milk Thistle as a supplement. Go look them up and read about them. It has been 2 years and I still exercise outside, even on bad ozone days without any hurting or problems.

          Truth is harmonious, lies are discordant.

          by Babsnc on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 07:02:46 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Diagnoses (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Only Needs a Beat, muzzleofbees

            I have Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease secondary to fragile asthma and numerous bouts of pnemonia and bronchitis in part due to lack of access to health care for years.

            I moved to Florida years ago because it was a better climate for my asthma than the severe seasonal changes up north, but now the humidity is getting to me.

            I do understand about the lungs aching though, mine do a lot of the time, sometimes even when I'm sitting still.

            "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

            by FloridaSNMOM on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 07:15:00 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  If you'd like some support on the clothes issue (10+ / 0-)

      please Kos mail me. I'd love to help. I can't help fix the rest of it, but there's no reason not to have cute clothes while your dealing with it.

      Democracy, if done properly, is rude, messy, and loud

      by allensl on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 05:38:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I went through a thyroid storm. It hurt alot. (12+ / 0-)

      It was like coming down with the flu everyday for 8 months; chills, body ache, tender skin, fevers, fatigue.   My throat hurt like somebody hit the front of my neck with a pipe.  It was like getting punched in the throat every time I turned my head. It is extremely inflammatory and dangerous for the heart.  My resting heart rate was 130 and my heart rate would sky rocket just walking across the house.
      Acupuncture saved my thyroid gland.  The needles bled off the heat from the gland preventing it from frying itself.  
      My thyroid is producing normal levels of hormone and is fully functional and healthy today.  I could not afford to see an endocrinologist so me and my nurse practitioner decided to ride it out with beta blockers and Ibuprofen.  I received only 2 acupuncture treatments on either side of the "peak" at a cost of 70 dollars.  Thyroid tests ran 35 bucks a pop so I did that every 2-4 months and seeing the nurse practitioner every couple of months was at 35 buck a co-pay.  Meds ran 6 bucks a month.
      I ran that radiation option through my head to destroy the gland.  God knows, it wanted to rip it out of my throat with my own hands.
      The acupuncture treatments were some of most painful that I have experienced with the same aching pain emanating from related points to the condition.  I could feel the heat literally bleeding away from my throat as the needles throbbed and felt like they were on fire.  After the second treatment, I knew I had turned a corner and it was only a matter of waiting for my body to dissipate the hormone over a couple of months after that.  My body returned to normal hormone levels and my thyroid regained normal function without even experiencing the backlash of hypothyroidism thereafter.

    •  I've never lost 120 lbs... (9+ / 0-)

      but I did lose ~65 a couple years ago, a consistent 2 pounds a week, by calorie reduction.  No change in what I ate, no change in exercise, just basically halved portion sizes and keep track of roughly how many calories were in everything (you don't need exact figures, but you do need to have a rough sense and a daily limit!).  But I don't know how that will play in with your thyroid condition, however.  I know that can make it a lot harder  :(

      As much as I want to sympathize with the diarist... to put this in terms that aren't incredibly insulting... just "the diary is about as wrong as you can get".  I'm sorry, but it's not a "myth" that your weight is "calories in" vs. "calories out".  It's simple laws of physics.  The laws of physics work, people.  The human body is not run by magical pixie dust.  It's run by ATP, which comes from glucose, glycerol, and fatty acids, aka, basic building blocks of food, using their caloric energy (joules) by reducing them to a lower energy state and discharging the waste products (H2O, CO2).

      What's probably confusing the diarist is that calories-out can change in different circumstances.  Anyone who is concerned that their calories-out may not be normal for a person with their height, weight, and activity level can talk to a nutritionist who can determine how many calories your particular body is burning at a given activity level so that you can determine your necessary intake accordingly.  Because while the relationship between calories and ATP production is simple, ATP usage doesn't need to happen at the same rate (thyroid conditions can be problematic on this front).   However, the ultimate waste product of all energy consumption, heat, must remain the same.  Differences are usually not that skewed between individuals, however.

      I was only burning about 2000 calories a day.  I lived a fairly sedentary lifestyle.  Losing two pounds a week meant eating only 1000 calories a day (That's not much!  A single can of coconut cream has 1400 calories, lol!)  And so that's what I ate - 1000 calories a day.  For 2/3rds of a year.

      The type of calories you eat don't make a difference... within two constraints.  One, calories are measured based on the raw energy of the food, but different types of food take different amounts of energy to digest.  Carbs (including sugars) and fats take almost no energy to digest.  Fiber doesn't take much, but since it provides no net calories (by definition), it's a win.  Protein can take significant energy, sometimes as much as a quarter of the energy it contains, to digest.  The other factor is that if you're not counting calories, you're probably relying on fullness.  Protein, fiber, and fat readily provide fullness.  Carbs, and especially simple sugars, move so rapidly through the digestive process that you tend not to stay full.  If you limit your calories by counting it's not an issue, but otherwise...

      To anyone dieting: it gets easier after 2-3 weeks of consistently sticking to it.  Your stomach shrinks and you don't feel as hungry, at the same time you've gotten used to your new eating habits.  You still have to keep it up, and it may never become "easy", but the big hurdle is the first few weeks.  I recommend 2 pounds a week - dieting is difficult whether you do it quickly or slowly, and there's no point to dragging out your suffering - but at the same time, more than 2 pounds a week and you start putting yourself more at risk for deficiencies.  

      •  My wife lost 35 lbs doing just that (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        SuWho, mahakali overdrive

        Cutting down the calories.
        And she's on track to lose the last 20 lbs she wants to. She's been overweight for 10 years. I'm very proud of her, told her if she got down to under 130 and stayed there for a year I'd give her $5,000.

        My own weight situation is trying to lose weight to make up for shrinkage. I used to tower all the way up to 5'8" but now barely make it up to 5'5" so I have to keep losing weight to maintain the right BMI. I weigh 155 now which would have been great at 5'6" or more but need to lose 5 more lbs now to be inside the parameter.

        Happy just to be alive

        by exlrrp on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 03:43:29 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  What many of us have dealt with Rei, (15+ / 0-)

        is those numbers and the physiology are the basics. If there are no other reasons for your weight to be off, adjusting the calories in /calories out will not bring about weight loss. Been there, done that, both ways.

        I started paying attention to nutrition 51 years ago, when I was 8. It has been the center of my nursing practice for 35 years. I've done diet teaching based on all kinds of research, worked with people who succeeded and failed.

        Went through all kinds of problems after my second child was born, in Anchorage. I'm not going to go into all the details but my doctor there finally said something that got me to that wake up moment. It wasn't what I was eating and how much I was  exercising, because if that were true, I would have been 130#, 35 -24-36. It turned out to be SAD and hyperinsulinemia/metabolic syndrome.

        Stress, food, activity, sleep, hormones, genes, illness and meds (prednisone) all contribute to the amount of fat and muscle we have. I explain to patients that my analogy of weight loss is based on an apartment door in ghetto housing. There is a deadbolt, the doorknob lock, a chain or two, a flip lock, slide lock. There is a dresser in front of the door, a rug that rises near the door and a door wedge just inside the door should it come open at all.

        Until you find out how many locks, what kind, where, what key or other means to open or remove the barriers, you won't lose weight. Even if you do, you may gain weight again. This time it may be a different lock or two.

        Great diary muzzleofbees. Many key aspects and a great discussion. Thanks.

        "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

        by Ginny in CO on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 04:20:49 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  To reiterate the key points: (9+ / 0-)

          * Barring health disorders preventing it, the human body uses nearly all non-fiber carbs (including sugars), protein, and fats that it consumes.  
          * They do not magically teleport out of the body.
          * Barring health disorders, the only way any sizeable quantities leave is through being "burned" - that is, converted into waste products to produce ATP from ADP, aka, making the common fuel used by the body's cells.
          * Any health disorders in the above would simply make it easier to lose weight, not cause gains.  The healthy default is "absorbing and using nearly all human-digestible matter in food".
          * ATP must be used for "something" to turn back into ADP.  Humans are evolved to make that "something" be as efficient as possible (as much of it as possible go toward activity that inherently requires energy as possible), but there nonetheless is a "metabolic baseline" (BMR)
          * Basal metabolic rate is generally proportional to weight, gender, age, and height.  However, there are also genetic and hormonal factors that can influence it as well.  
          * To give a sense of how much the basal metabolic rate varies among individuals depending on such genetic and hormonal factors (aka, things not accounted for in standard BMR calculations), the scientific approach is to look at peer-reviewed studies.  Four studies found for their participants: 6.22 +- 0.53 (Razalee, Poh and Ismail); 6.78 +- 0.32 (FAO/WHO/UNU); 6.25 +- 0.28 (Henry et al); and 5.78 +- 0.28 (Ismail et al).
          * The number after the +- is "one standard deviation".  For a standard distribution, 2/3rds of people fall within one standard deviation, 95% within two (double that figure), over 99% at three, etc.  This means that while basal metabolic rate does vary, all of these peer-reviewed studies show that it doesn't vary that much for most people.

          These are facts and are not up for debate in the world of reality.  All of that said:

          * Even a small rate of difference in metabolic rates can add up.  If you're a 5%er, then you've probably got about an 8% basal metabolic rate disadvantage going for you.  So for someone whose stats would normally burn them a base 1600 calories a day, yours would burn you about 130 calories less.  To pick a random example, that person gets a free extra 2 scoops of Ciao Bella orange sorbet, or perhaps 45 Pepperidge Farm vanilla grahams goldfish,  per day without having to work at it.  If you ate them, they'd go to fat, accumulating at a rate of over a pound a month, slowly slowing with time until your weight gain boosted the metabolic rate up enough to counter it.
          * Genetic and hormonal factors can also change how hungry you get, significantly disadvantaging you.
          * Correcting any factors that affect how hungry you are or which change your basal metabolic rate by even a few percent can have a big impact on your ability to lose weight.

          I have no objection to people trying to focus on factors other than simply calories in and calories out, to try to reduce basal metabolic rate or hunger.  But to pretend like facts aren't facts, well, that's always going to bug me.

          •  I have a medical background (8+ / 0-)

            and I didn't understand most of that LOL. However, I will say that the body reacts to more than just calorie burn and scientific equations. No one is saying calories don't have a part in it. But, for example, I eat a lot less now than I used to, and yet my weight is holding steady, not dropping. For one, metabolic rates change with some of the illnesses and stress factors mentioned above. I don't burn as fast now that I'm (mostly) hypothyroid as I did when I was hyperthyroid. Then I had to eat to keep weight on, because I'd loose it too fast and get sick. Now I have to not eat in order to not gain more, but at the same time, malnutrition is an issue when you have COPD because you don't absorb many things as well, and often you have a suppressed appetite. (meds get in the way). Steroids (both oral and inhaled) and albuterol do bad things to the body so far as absorption, metabolic rate, stress reaction, sleep, and hunger. Albuterol, for example leeches potassium from the body, while the steroids leech calcium.
            You have to view the body, and weight lost as a whole, not just the one metabolic part of it. Then you add in the effects of estrogen and aging in the female body and you open a whole other can of worms.

            "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

            by FloridaSNMOM on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 05:46:44 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Did not know that about albuterol. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Ginny in CO

              My husband's craving for bananas now makes quite a lot of sense.

              When you come to find how essential the comfort of a well-kept home is to the bodily strength and good conditions, to a sound mind and spirit, and useful days, you will reverence the good housekeeper as I do above artist or poet, beauty or genius.

              by Alexandra Lynch on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 01:02:41 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  If you aren't aware of this and it appeals (0+ / 0-)

                as another source of potassium, dried apricots are a very good source. He can eat a couple every time he uses the inhaler to get a boost, as opposed to eating a banana once during the day.

                "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

                by Ginny in CO on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 01:07:32 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  He will eat apricots til they come out his ears. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Ginny in CO


                  When you come to find how essential the comfort of a well-kept home is to the bodily strength and good conditions, to a sound mind and spirit, and useful days, you will reverence the good housekeeper as I do above artist or poet, beauty or genius.

                  by Alexandra Lynch on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 02:04:18 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

          •  Insulin resistance & type II diabetes are problems (8+ / 0-)

            that cause weight to be stored around the belly. Unfortunately, because of our stress, diets and lifestyles insulin resistance and type II diabetes have become much more common.

            Consumption of high glycemic index foods leads to a spiral of metabolic and weight problems once insulin resistance begins.

            The diarist is correct to focus on overall health.

            look for my eSci diary series Thursday evening.

            by FishOutofWater on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 06:02:32 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Indeed, where you store food can vary (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              mconvente, bluedust, splintersawry

              But it should be noted first that you're talking about a chicken and egg problem: becoming overweight is a risk factor for getting diabetes.  80% of type 2 diabetes patients don't develop it until they're already overweight, and weight loss surgeries have been shown to be effective treatments for the condition.  Secondly, a did a quick search of the literature and found this paper which lists weight loss as a classic symptom of Type 2 diabetes when untreated and controlled for other factors such as caloric intake## .  But there are two factors that can mess this up.  One, most of the medications used to treat diabetes cause hunger as a side effect, and two, hypoglycemia typically causes people to eat more on its own (due to increased hunger and due to deliberate attempts to counteract the low blood sugar).

              ## Wait, how could weight loss happen just from getting a condition when you just said that it's calories in versus calories out that matter?  Simple: as mentioned in the previous post, that's for healthy individuals, and as also mentioned in the previous post, various conditions can cause weight loss by taking the high efficiency of a healthy human body and lowering it (something that can't work in the other direction).  In the case of diabetes, the person loses sugar through the urine.  The calories are getting flushed out of the body, something that's not normally supposed to happen.

          •  Thanks for your comments, Rei (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            onanyes, AmericanAnt, splintersawry, SuWho

            I have commented a bit as well on this issue (please look through the diary or follow through my comments page).

            I think it's great that the diarist has lost a lot of weight (the progress shown in her picture is amazing), but I'm uncomfortable whenever any one starts discounting science that has been shown for over 100 years (the concept that excess calories are stored)

            Additionally, as I pointed out in a comment a little while ago, if calories in != weight gain, then how come gastric banding works?

            Also, what about the phenomenon of caloric restriction?  That has been very well documented in the scientific community.

            Sure, a lot of members here have had similar experiences to the diarist, but I'm confident that if we did a random patient selection of 1,000 people, it would set up as a normal distribution, meaning that a lot of them would see results from controlling calorie intake.  Again, there always are those sub-populations 2+ standard deviations from the mean, but that's true with anything.

            "Give me a lever long enough... and I shall move the world." - Archimedes

            by mconvente on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 06:03:24 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  again.. I don't think anyone is discounting (7+ / 0-)

              caloric intake as a factor. It's just not the ONLY factor. As with anything with the human body it's a complex issue, and there are other things that affect it other than how much you eat.

              Most diets and most common thought however (and thus most ridicule) is based on the caloric intake and exercise ONLY. And as soon as other equally valid reasons are mentioned they are seen as an 'excuse' and dismissed.

              "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

              by FloridaSNMOM on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 06:30:55 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  It's not that other issues don't matter. (4+ / 0-)

                It's that they're part of the caloric intake and outtake picture, not instead of it.  That's the issue with this diary.  These other factors change your hunger (caloric intake) and/or your basal metabolic rate (caloric outtake).  Instead of dismissing the indisputable process of "Healthy human body takes in food / healthy human body captures almost all of the capturable caloric nutrition / healthy human body does not get rid of caloric nutrition except through burning it / any changes to said processes resulting from disease means wasted energy (meaning weight loss, not gain)", people should be focusing on what's actually happening.  That other factors can change how much you eat (even without you noticing it) and/or how much energy your body uses wastefully (caloric outtake), and should note that caloric outtake is measurable, so an appropriate caloric intake can be determined.

                I'd also add that if there's anyone who doesn't accept that the body can't just "ditch" food, please note: caloric matter leaves the human body in any relevant quantity generally through only one of these mechanisms: excretion, urination, exhalation, and sweat.

                * Stuff cannot be "added" to excretion (it's a one-way process) except by the (proportionally small) quantities of digestive compounds (digestion is a rather small portion of basal metabolic rate), and nearly all non-fiber carbs, fat, and protein is absorbed before the remainer is collected and excreted.
                * A healthy individual loses essentially zero calories through urination (diabetics do, however, which is a net loss of calories).  The urea component of urine is nitrogen waste, generally from the metabolism of protein, and is not caloric in and of itself.  There is a small amount of protein excreted in urine, but generally under 150mg per day (less than one food calorie)
                * Caloric substances usable by the human body are non-gaseous, which rules this right out.  The body loses predominantly water vapor and CO2 through exhalation, waste products of metabolism.
                * Sweat contains essentially zero calories.

                (There are other methods of losing caloric matter, such as sebaceous gland secretions, blood loss, tears, hair and fingernail growth, etc, but they're generally trivial).

                If you think the caloric matter usable by the human body - carbs, protein, fats - from a healthy person's food is going somewhere other than metabolism or storage.... then where?  The body isn't a portal to another dimension.  What goes in must stay or come out somehow.

                Concise summary: A healthy human absorbs and metabolizes what they eat, and anything that's not metabolized is stored.

                •  Hyperthyroid and calories (4+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  BlueDragon, TiaRachel, Jill, Ginny in CO

                  Thyroid conditions and anything that affects absorption actually do affect how much the calories in/calories out works. When my thyroid was high, I wasn't digesting food, it was coming back out whole. My body was sending it through before it could be digested. Hypothyroid SLOWS the digestive process and the food sits in the body longer. Some meds inhibit the digestion of protein, or carbs, or nutrients.
                  It's not a simple calories in/calories out equation once you look at the whole picture. We're not talking about 'healthy human's' here. That was the whole point of the diary, she's becoming a healthy human, which is letting her shed the weight. Not that she is shedding weight and THEN becoming healthy.

                  "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

                  by FloridaSNMOM on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 07:22:04 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Sending through to where? (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    Whether food is sitting longer in your body (let's just take that medically dubious statement at face value) is irrelevant.  You can't take more than 100% out of something.  If I remember the figures correctly, it's about 95% of fat, 99% of carbs, and 90% of protein that gets absorbed from food in a healthy individual.  Even taking laxatives to rush food through your body has a relatively minimal effect on the percent absorbed.   A healthy human absorbs nearly all of the carbs, protein, and fat from the food they consume.  Do you think you're getting more than 100%?  New math?

                    We're not talking about 'healthy human's' here.
                    And has been pointed out many times, the only exceptions due to disease would result in you losing weight - aka, lowering what gets absorbed or losing caloric matter through the urine.
                    •  Either I'm not explaining things properly (6+ / 0-)

                      or you are not reading what I'm writing.

                      We're not talking about taking laxitives. We're talking about the body NOT absorbing things normally. For example... I'm on two versions of steroids currently. One is inhaled, one is oral. Steroids reduce the amount of calcium that is absorbed by the body, so in order to prevent osteoporosis and keep my teeth from falling out, I take about twice the normal dose of calcium as a supplement, as well as increased calcium in my diet. I also have deficient potassium. Part of that is hereditary, my body doesn't process it well. Part of it is my reliance on albuterol to make it through the day (emergency inhaler plus nebulizer treatments). So I take Potassium and have increased foods high in potassium in my diet as well. Some people can't process carbs, some have trouble with proteins, some have food allergies that affect how the body absorbs different things.

                      Stress and depression can cause metabolic disorders that cause fat retention, high bp, muscle tension, etc. This is proven scientific fact.

                      If you want to help someone lose weight you have to look at the whole person, not just what they eat and do. The body is too complex and there is so much more we are learning every day about it. Heck, it wasn't that long ago that it was common belief that once you had a stroke, what you didn't recover in 3 months was gone forever. Now we know recovery from stroke can take years, and therapies are now extended over longer periods of time, and people are making much better recoveries.  Science is a great tool, but it's not a finite one. The knowledge of the science of the body is changing constantly.

                      "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

                      by FloridaSNMOM on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 08:01:33 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  So, to sum up... (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        mconvente, splintersawry

                        * You're taking more calcium.  Calcium has no calories, so no change there.

                        * You're taking more potassium.  Potassium has no calories, so no change there.

                        * You mention "foods with more calcium" and "foods high in potassium".  If you're eating more food calories total, then there is your answer, but it has nothing to do with the equation of "calories in" vs. "calories out".  Your calories in is simply going up.

                        * Albuterol has no calories, so no change there.

                        * "Some people can't process carbs, some have trouble with proteins, some have food allergies that affect how the body absorbs different things" - all of which would mean less calories, aka, reduced weight.

                        * "Stress and depression can cause metabolic disorders that cause fat retention, high bp, muscle tension, etc. This is proven scientific fact." - if by "fat retention" you mean "increased weight", only with a corresponding increase in calorie consumption or reduced metabolism.  What your body absorbs is not disappearing into a black hole.  It has to go somewhere.

                        * "If you want to help someone lose weight you have to look at the whole person, not just what they eat and do." - Not arguing against that one bit.  As I've pointed out many times, all sorts of conditions can change hunger (caloric intake) and basal metabolic rate (caloric outtake).

                      •  AMEN -- look at the whole person (3+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Ginny in CO, FloridaSNMOM, renbear

                        Calories in/calories out is basic AND very simplistic.  Yes, it's critical, but as mathematicians always say:  it's necessary, but not sufficient.  :-)

                        Thank you so much, FloridaSNMOM -- your comments are pragmatic, sensible and logical, while recognizing that societal approaches to weight gain/loss tend to be simplistic and single-threaded (or at most, double-threaded -- calories and activity, for example).  Both the topics of caloric intake and activity are critical for good health, but they aren't the totality of good health.  There are any number of very skinny, healthful-looking people who are a mess.  They just don't get the attention because they match the societal image of "health", even if the numbers and underlying conditions are not healthy.  

                        Fascinating that we, as a society, always think that we know what's going on with health...but what we think continues to evolve, as we learn more.  I tend to take anything I hear regarding health with a grain of salt -- believing MORE of what I see scientific evidence for, but not  necessarily believing that it's the final word.  One more experiment or "miracle" drug, and  things may very well shift again.  

                        Thanks again!

                        I'd much rather be a champion of the powerless than a lickspittle of the powerful. -- Rodney Ellis, Texas State Senate (D)

                        by Jill on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 11:09:44 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                    •  For example (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      TiaRachel, Ginny in CO
                      Recent studies have examined the link between weight management and stress. In addition to the effects described above, the body also releases a chemical called neuropeptide Y (NPY) during stress. This chemical is linked with appetite, weight gain, and obesity. A team of researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington found that this neurotransmitter NPY can “unlock” certain receptors in the body's fat cells, thus promoting growth of the cells both in size and number (Kuo et al., 2007)
                      Full text here

                      "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

                      by FloridaSNMOM on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 08:09:12 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Precisely. (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        This chemical is linked with appetite, weight gain, and obesity.
                        The latter two follow from the former.
                        •  appetite is the only word you saw.. really? (3+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          BlueDragon, Ginny in CO, renbear

                          Not this at all?

                          neurotransmitter NPY can “unlock” certain receptors in the body's fat cells, thus promoting growth of the cells both in size and number
                          And further on, on the webpage it states that the mice fed the exact same diet, those with the increased stress and NPY increased in weight faster than those who did not.

                          As I said I'm not saying calories have no affect, but they aren't necessarily the MAJOR contributing factor. And I used my meds because I know them. There are other meds that cause an increase in weight gain... look at Ritalin for example.

                          "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

                          by FloridaSNMOM on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 08:21:03 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Please show me where.. (3+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            AmericanAnt, mconvente, splintersawry

                            the article continues to say, "... using nothing more than magical mass pulled from the ether, rather than by increasing the person's appetite so that they consume more food"?

                            As I said I'm not saying calories have no affect, but they aren't necessarily the MAJOR contributing factor.
                            They are the only factor.  Mass is real.  It does not appear or vanish at a whim.  Sorry if you disagree.
                          •  And also where... (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            mconvente, splintersawry

                            it says that the mice "ate the same amount of the food", rather than "the same food".

                          •  You seem to be assuming that if there is weight (5+ / 0-)

                            gain, then more food has been consumed, rather than more of the food that's consumed being stored as fat, and less burned for energy.

                            Either one fits with your stated basic formula for a "healthy human."  But you always assume that weight gain means there was more hunger & hence more consumption of calories.  This seems to contradict many people's experience. For instance, the experience of eating basically the same diet, having increased stress, and gaining weight.  Or, eating the same diet, reducing stress, and losing weight, as the diarist has done.

                            I think you and others here are talking past each other quite a bit, simply because of not acknowledging that the same diet can produce more or less weight gain due to factors that influence fat storage -- cortosol being a primary one but probably not the only one.  OF course, that situation would mean less food is converted to energy, contributing to the tiredness, lethargy, etc that people under chronic high stress also often experience.

                            Your basic formula is true, but leaves out so much that it seems to dismiss people's actual experience as trivial.  What we've learned over the past decades is that many people can't solve their eating/weight/health problems with only the information in your basic formula.  So people often reject and resent it.  It's better not to reject it, to acknowledge its truth, but then to keep looking for more information, because it's only by understanding additional factors that many of us are able to bring health and weight to a better level.    

                            --------------- --------------- --------------- "Every part of you belongs to you." -- from a story of Virginia under the Personhood law. Read it here.

                            by Fiona West on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 12:08:01 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Ah, here you go - found the graphic from the study (3+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            AmericanAnt, mconvente, splintersawry


                            Note the chart in the lower left, "food intake g/day".

                            Any other comments?

                          •  NPY counteracts leptin, the appetite hormone (0+ / 0-)

                            I used to work in a stress lab in undergrad, so I know what I'm talking about.

                            NPY is upregulated during chronic stress.  This increase in NPY counteracts leptin, which is the hormone that limits appetite (it basically signals when you are full).

                            By saying the "same exact diet" you are not seeing the full story.  As noted by Rei below, even though the mice are on the same diet, the increase in NPY causes them to think they aren't full, even though they are.  Thus, the mice eat more, so it's not wonder they increase their weight faster.

                            See the lower left portion in Figure G here.  Food intake is higher; just because they have the same option of diet doesn't mean their intake is the same (which it's clearly not).

                            "Give me a lever long enough... and I shall move the world." - Archimedes

                            by mconvente on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 08:49:59 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  The problem is you are taking one (0+ / 0-)

                            aspect of a research study and not putting it in as the piece that it is. The basic physiology is always there. The number of ways it is triggered, or not, is extensive.

                            Some of the issues are how people react to these changes, not mice.

                            Unfortunately last night and today, the brain fog from my hormone imbalances is stalling out being able to explain the bigger picture.

                            "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

                            by Ginny in CO on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 12:47:10 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Mice aren't perfect models, but (0+ / 0-)

                            they are still pretty damn good.

                            They're genetic make up is about 96% similar to humans, their breeding time is relatively short (gestation is 3 weeks), they reproduce in high numbers (good for statistics), and they are relatively cost-effective to maintain colonies (as opposed to large animals).

                            Literally almost all pharmaceuticals were tested in some animal model before making their way to human clinical trials.

                            In any event, I just get concerned when a lot of people start discounting the basic scientific dogma that excess calories = weight gain.  Sure, some individuals might have other issues going on in their life (stress is definitely one of them) that could skew their normal metabolism rate, such that even a normal intake of calories is still in excess.

                            But when the diarist states, and I quote, "calories in=weight gain is a myth, a misunderstanding of how the body works", that's just not accurate.  As mentioned by user Rei, calories don't just disappear; they either are used as energy to power our life processes, and if there is excess, the calories are stored, predominantly as excess adipose tissue.

                            "Give me a lever long enough... and I shall move the world." - Archimedes

                            by mconvente on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 01:09:24 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  But that model (7+ / 0-)

                            Presupposes something that I don't think bears out in reality.

                            Let's say I eat 2000 calories a day and I maintain my weight with no fluctuations for an extended period of time. Then let's say I decide to lose 20 pounds and so I re-work my daily diet to reduce 500 calories, and I start hitting the gym to burn an extra 200 calories (have you ever watched the calorie counter as you huff and puff? Man that thing can be discouraging!), so this is a net deficit of 700 calories.

                            I was maintaining at 2000 calories and the logic of "calories in/calories out" tells me that if I reduce my "net" calories to 1300 a day, I will begin losing weight. Logically, since there are 3500 calories in a pound, I will lose the first pound within the first week (5 days X 700=3500 calories).

                            Now if this held true as the "experts" would have us believe, anybody could make the decision to lose a pound a week and be successful at it.

                            But our bodies are not beholden to mathematical equations. A pound may be lost in the first week, and even in the second week, but then there's an adjustment period. "Oh," your body says to itself, "we are in a famine. There's a food shortage. A crises. Let's change things around."

                            So instead of my body requiring 2000 calories a day, it shuts down some functions. My body temperature drops, I become tired, I find I actually lack the energy I need for my workout. And I am hungry. Constantly. Because my body knows that operating at 1300 calories is NOT optimal, in fact, it was quite content at 2000.

                            The equation has shifted but I'm not aware of it. Now instead of operating at a deficit, my body is working to make 1300 "the new normal."

                            The model of "eat less, exercise more, lose weight!" fails to account for that one simple fact. Now what is the solution? Well, science(!) tells me that I must reduce the calories even further if I don't want to get "stuck" more than 50% away from goal.

                            So I increase exercise until I'm burning 400 calories a day and I cut another 300 from my diet. Back to a deficit of 700 calories, so my net gain is 600 calories a day. And it works! maybe another 3 pounds drop off before the body's natural reaction is to go into panic mode.

                            Because now shit is getting real. Very real. Now instead of cruising along happily at 2000 calories, my body is forced to subsist on 600. Something is seriously, seriously wrong and millions of years of evolution is now going to kick in. Insulin production spikes radically and every calorie that I do allow my body is now hoarded in fat (typically around the waistline). Because it's a state of emergency, and there's so much insulin (and other hormones) surging around as a result, fat is not released. At all. Meanwhile, important functions continue to adjust and now its affecting your body at the cellular level. Hunger pangs increase sharply because your brain and your stomach are trying desperately to keep each other at a fully functioning state, and it can't do that without energy!

                            But I continue, doing my best, showing my great will power, and finally, finally, I reach goal. Hurray! I'm like a fucking hero all of a sudden because everybody is so impressed that I tricked my body into starving but didn't die as a result.

                            But fuck I'm hungry. And since I've shed the twenty pounds, it can't hurt to maybe go back up to 1000 calories, right?

                            More energy hits the system and there's great rejoicing! The famine is over! But your body is now suffering from insulin resistance--the famine might be over but the fat can't be burned. Actually, there may be a famine again in the future and so the body works to return to the balance it had before, the weight it maintained at a comfortable, even keel with the calories necessary to do all the work.

                            A yo-yo dieter is born.

                            And what part of any of that was healthy?

                            And I haven't even addressed the people who eat and eat and eat and never gain weight, even if they do not live an active lifestyle. These fortunate ones claim a "fast metabolism" but what does that mean? How does the calories-in/calories-out model account for that? It doesn't. (They have the opposite problem of insulin resistance hence a "fast metabolism.").

                            Any model that doesn't address the crucial role that insulin plays in creating and storing fat is incomplete at best, harmful at worst.  

                            "There's an iPad 3 and a Mitt Romney 4 now. They've worked the bugs out. He's not killing hobos at night anymore."

                            by muzzleofbees on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 01:30:09 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Well-said, muzzleofbees! n/t (0+ / 0-)

                            ... there is always an easy solution to every problem -- neat, plausible and wrong. - H. L. Mencken

                            by renbear on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 10:25:22 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

            •  A hundred years of science huh. (5+ / 0-)

              Unfortunately, for 50 years the low-fat group blocked all formal research into low-carb diets.  Research on low-carb has only occurred within the last ten years.  The low-fat researchers didn't like the fact that when they did research on normal diets versus low-fat the patients on low-fat died at a much higher rate.  

              •  indeed (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Ginny in CO, Only Needs a Beat


                British Medical Journal recently published a study from Sweden on low-carb "atkins style" diet and found increased risk of heart disease when the details are ignored (avoiding all carbs without concern for type of carbs, same for eating tons of protein without regard for animal vs plant-based).

                When life gives you lemons, don't elect them to Congress.

                by papa monzano on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 07:13:59 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Indeed, plus, to point out the fallacy of... (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  splintersawry, FG, Only Needs a Beat

                  "People have made mistakes before, therefore, science is wrong wherever I want it to be wrong."  The same thing that drives creationism and global warming denial.

                  Making general statements about "health" and "food" is extremely difficult because "food" is a mix of a truly massive number of chemicals, "health" has a truly massive number of aspects, and the massive diversity of human genetics plays a role as well.  So for example, it used to be, "fats are bad for hearth health".  Then we broke them down: "saturated fats are bad, non-saturated fats are good".  Then further: "trans and saturated fats are bad, omega-six poly are bad, omega-three poly are good, mono are good."  And now it keeps getting broken up further into different subgroups of each and even individual molecules of each, as well as the health effects of the various fat-soluble compounds that tend to come with each different fat source.  It's not that the earlier data was wrong; it was just imprecise.

                  There seems to be pretty compelling evidence that the Atkins diet is effective at reducing weight.  The evidence also seems pretty compelling that if most of the fat and protein is from animal sources, even with the weight reduction, it'll hurt your overall health.

                  Some people talk about paleolithic diets.  The diets of our ancestors!  The diets we evolved from!  Just eat a lot of meat like a caveman!  But there's two glaring problems with this.

                  One, we have clear and obvious evidence that we've not only evolved in our ability to process food, but pretty radically, pretty fast.  For example, lactose intolerance is pretty much universal in mammals.  It's a way to force the young to stop breastfeeding once they hit a given age.  But a sizeable portion of the world's human population is lactose tolerant, a rare mutation which became near universal in societies that consumed significant diary.  Given that milk production for human consumption has only been around several thousand years, this normally rare, quickly lost mutation has spread to most of the world's people that fast.  

                  Agriculture began tens of thousands of years ago.  Grains were already showing signs of domestication 10,000 years ago.  Why would one think that the same hasn't happened with human evolution concerning such food sources?

                  The other issue is that hunter-gatherers actually didn't eat that much meat.  Well, it varies, because as in present, different tribes vary dramatically in their diets (lending credence to the notion that humans are generalists).  But for most, meat was a relatively small portion of their diet, 15-30% of their calories.   And not "eat a bunch of steak or hamburgers", but a lot of it being lean meat (fish, rabbit, etc), and all parts of the animal.  The rest was plant matter, but to note, it was much higher fiber plant matter than today's domestic crops.  The real "paleolithic diet", if you want to generalize, is an balance of reasonably small portion of lean meat, various animal and vegetable fats, and lots of very high fiber vegetable matter.

                  •  imprecisely! :) (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    SuWho, Ginny in CO, renbear

                    "It's not that the earlier data was wrong; it was just imprecise."

                    exactly. just like the diarist's friends, family, and others just saying "comsume less and you'll be smaller"...imprecise advice is no advice at all.

                    the devil's always in the details, and as you pointed out "health" and "food" are incredibly broad subjects where precision depends on a knowledge of both the science of metabolism, the foodstuff itself, and your particular body.

                    I wish muzzleofbees the best success in continuing to find the precision she needs for her health to continue to improve...and not just because her nick is a wilco reference :)

                    When life gives you lemons, don't elect them to Congress.

                    by papa monzano on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 09:05:07 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  you might start with this video (5+ / 0-)

                    which ends with a UCSF endocrinologist saying "a calorie is not a calorie"

                    just wind to the last ten minutes to hear him say this.

                    and this is a political issue for sure.

                    i found this video via a comment in this diary.  it is part of what appears to be a famous series.

                    your thinking is far too simplistic for this topic.

                    we have a lot to learn, but calories in, calories out is just not the answer.

                    Donate to Occupy Wall Street here:

                    by BlueDragon on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 09:16:14 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Can't see videos here, sorry. (0+ / 0-)

                      Do you have any papers?

                    •  simplistic (0+ / 0-)

                      i agree. for me, calories in-calories out seemed to more or less work. i recently started eating plants instead of animals (i diaried my shift to this, though not as well as muzzle did hers :), tracking what i intake, and exercising a lot more. it paid off really well. that's not to say that something more complex isn't happening in me to create that change, but from the outside it appeared the simple formula of "less food/better food/more sweat" worked for me.

                      that said, i'm still consistantly amazed at the difference the timing of my eating makes (i dont eat late at night before bed) and the difference my sleep quality and amount make.

                      but the calorie-in/out formula clearly doesn't get it done for everyone. it wasn't working for muzzleofbees.

                      while there's always going to be a bit of a rabbit-hole to fall down when it comes to conflicting (or just nuanced) foodscience, i think we can all agree that "eat less, fatty" is the worst possible advice anyone ever gets. not only is it too simple a formula to describe the metabolic processes of our amazing bodies, it ignores the laughable definition of "food" in our modern western society.

                      When life gives you lemons, don't elect them to Congress.

                      by papa monzano on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 02:21:02 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

          •  One additional fact to consider (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            FloridaSNMOM, SuWho, Ginny in CO, freesia

            I like your synopsis.  But recently I learned something that adds a not-inconsequential variable.   (I got there through paleoanthropology, btw, a fascinating read about the impact of cooking on human evolution.)   Our current method of measuring calories-in may be much more faulty than we realize.    

            In general, the more "raw" a given food is, the fewer of its calories will be absorbed by the human eating it.   In other words, 100 calories of raw carrots (under the methodology we use to measure the caloric content of foods today) will add fewer actual calories to one's daily count than that same amount of carrots after you've cooked them.  The more a foodstuff is processed, whether manually (by grinding, for example) or by heating, the more of its calories are available on the molecular level.

            Since most processed foods start with lots of powered ingredients, practically every calorie within them is available to the human metabolic system.  

            Sadly, that Twinkie you're eying is not the caloric equivalent of a large apple after all even if both are rated at 150 calories each.  And it's not the Twinkie's fault.  The measurement system needs updating.

          •  There are more things in heaven and earth (5+ / 0-)

            and especially in biological systems, than are dreamed of in your reduction.  Physics may be physics, but The Great Modern Age made major errors in the early 20th century when that zeitgeist decided that it was possible to reduce living processes, and especially humanity, to a bare-bones understanding of physics.

            First of all, you have to realize and remember that all Life is a process of dynamic Order derived from Chaos.  If living things simply burned fuel in the simplest way possible by mechanical means, they wouldn't stay alive.  Life involves changing that process by millions of tiny anti-entropic subprocesses.   And that ends up meaning that in any organic system, chaos can run BACKWARD, which is not the normal order of the universe.

            Yes, I know what you mean with ATP, ADP, absorption and teleportation.  I'm a witch; combining intellectual and intuitive understanding of microscopic chaotic processes is my job.  But scientific studies that choose a HIGHLY SELECTED SAMPLE of relatively healthy, relatively "normal" individuals to perform reductionist measurements that ignore metabolic extremes are naturally going to produce nice, "normal" results without extreme outliers that "prove" the researchers' fundamental underlying assumptions.  Having worked for a decade in medical research, I have to point out to you that  the criteria for inclusion of subjects are usually quite narrow, and the study requirements themselves exclude almost anyone who has serious physical or emotional or even economic problems.  Simply being FEMALE is an exclusion criteria on about a third of basic research studies, because dealing with female hormones is just "too complex" for simplistic reductions.  These ladies have been talking about Real Life in the experience of many, many people  -- the kind of people excluded from "normal" studies on metabolism.  

            You cannot get terribly new or unexpected results inside of the scientific hothouse, because the unexpected is systematically and deliberately removed from the process.  As a result, many studies, if not most, show substantial variances from "Real Life".  That's why we end up recalling so many drugs that worked so wonderfully in clinical trials.  90% of the drugs that got through PRE-clinical trials don't even make it that far.  If you're one of the people who falls within the applicability of the Standard Meme, go for it.  It works for you; that's great.  But don't lecture those who are dealing with problems outside of "normal" limits.  "Normal" as defined by our society is a very narrow little box where despite claims to the contrary by statisticians, no more than 20% of Real Live People actually fit.

            •  Quick response: (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              The body absorbs nearly 100% of the carbs, protein, and fats in food, something easily demonstrated by comparing food consumed to stool contents.

              What do you think happens to it?

              •  It's either absorbed by the body or excreted. (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                TiaRachel, Ginny in CO

                If absorbed, it's either burned for energy or stored as fat.  Factors that determine the ratio are complex.  They include exercise, but also hormone balances, sleep patterns, and psychological states (mediated probably through hormones and stress chemicals, maybe other factors as well).  

                "Calories in" is also an area of complexity, since which calories you choose (animal fat or mono-unsaturated fats, for instance) can effect things a lot, including satiation and rate of fat storage.

                A lot of the conversation here is in the areas of complexity.  Your formula doesn't contradict that complexity, but it doesn't deal with it, either, and therefore often comes across as telling people that "This is the only thing that matters."  But many of us have (for instance) gone the route of cutting calories and increasing structured exercise and NOT LOSING WEIGHT.  So we know that on a practical level "calories in" and exercise (as usually understood) are not all that determine the results we're looking for.

                Talking about stress or about how MUFAs affect satiation, or about body image and self-worth, may be more pertinent.

                --------------- --------------- --------------- "Every part of you belongs to you." -- from a story of Virginia under the Personhood law. Read it here.

                by Fiona West on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 12:36:49 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Ok, that is a key to your problem. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                The body absorbs nearly 100% of the carbs, protein, and fats in food, something easily demonstrated by comparing food consumed to stool contents.
                Source?  A healthy body absorbs nearly 100% of the nutrients? The studies I've seen show how much is NOT absorbed. There is a whole lot of research on what fiber does to interfere with absorption of fats and sugars that led to the marketing of foods because they added a smidgeon of fiber.  
                 I prefer the tests that actually check blood and body tissues to determine the level of nutrients in the body. They don't measure the levels of stored nutrients, including bone which stores minerals. So it is a guide. If the body is missing the enzymes or other chemicals it needs to USE the nutrient, it is just taking up space somewhere, until the body gets those chemicals finds a way to excrete it.

                I need to get to other things. Let me give you a really wonderful link about medical science.

                Alliance for Human Research Protection - Lies, Damned Lies, and Medical Science

                Dr. John Ioannidis, who says that as much as 90% of the published medical information that doctors rely on is flawed.
                is my hero of medicine.

                On the paleo versus current diet debate, do check on the diseases of civilization research. It is almost as mucked up as the rest, a lot because some of us have newer genes, and some don't. Learn about lectins.

                Look up Milk A -Z, some of that is incomplete or wrong, it is dated. Some people tolerate a lot of dairy products, up to a point. We need more and better research that is not controlled by the dairy and food industries and pharma. Think about this: the mustache commercials are from the dairy industry. Do cereal manufacturers want milk to be an unhealthy food?

                "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

                by Ginny in CO on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 01:40:28 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  What are you talking about... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              Criteria for clinical trials are selective in order to reduce the number of variables that could add statistical uncertainty to results.  This isn't because of some grand conspiracy or anything.

              And drugs get recalled because of unforeseen side effects, especially long-term manifests.  Even a clinical trial of 1,000 patients will miss some side effects if those drugs eventually get approved and taken by millions of individuals.

              On the whole, I'm very suspect of "New Age" type of treatments and such because many of them have not undergone rigorous, double-blind studies to determine their effectiveness.  And sure, some of them may actually work, but support for those types of studies and treatments are how we get to the situation of people believing pseudoscience.

              "Give me a lever long enough... and I shall move the world." - Archimedes

              by mconvente on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 08:57:46 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Science is a very complicated mix of (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                good, bad, ugly and ignored.

                check the link on medical science in that comment

                On the whole, I'm very suspect of"New Age" type of treatments and such because many of them have not undergone rigorous, double-blind studies to determine their effectiveness.
                While there is plenty of unsupported alternative medicine treatments, do you follow the rigorous, double blind studies that are establishing effectiveness? I have been dealing with physician specialists in one field telling patients whose specialist in another field properly prescribed a supplement, herb or nutrient, not to take any of that stuff because 'it's all a racket'. One of the patients had the supplement prescribed by an internationally known specialist at an internationally known clinic. Her physician husband was with her and confirmed this.

                Are you lumping Chinese and Hindu medicine with New Age? They've been around longer than western. What research is discovering there is why they work.

                A study of shamans in tribal cultures was to find out why a significant number of their patients recover without modern diagnostics, drugs and procedures. Turns out the above normal recovery was that the Shamans, because of the trust and caring relationship, allowed the patient to rest and let the body heal itself. Stress reduction.

                James Herriot in one of the "All Creatures Great and Small" books related a vet example. Owners of a small dog that was very sick but just getting sicker, not responding to Herriot's treatment, decided to euthanize it to put it out of it's misery. Herriot gave him a lethal IV injection and left the couple to grieve alone. He stopped by a day or so later for support. The dog had recovered. The couple realized the dog had gone to a deep sleep, so they let kept it comfortable and clean. When it woke up, just fine and normal. The diarist had a significant sleep issue in childhood. I see it constantly in patients in the hospital - not so much at home.

                What many of keep trying to get across is that we can combine various strategies and get a better result than trying to use just one. Human and mice genes are very close and it gives us a lot of preliminary information about where the function takes place, how, etc.

                Then you get into combining biological science with social science, which is a 'soft' science. Much harder to rule out all the variables the human species can express. All the parts that mice don't have. Social sciences are very important, even if they are less clear.

                Killer of Sacred Cows sig line hits this.

                Science can tell you how to clone a dinosaur.
                Humanities will tell you why this is a bad idea.
                As Gandhi, Einstein and others have pointed out, we need both.

                "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

                by Ginny in CO on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 02:28:07 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  I am the last person to dispute the basic (6+ / 0-)

            physiology of how the human body turns absorbed nutrients into energy or stored fat. I spent 3 years in pre-med doing all the chem and biology courses. Because I had become interested in nutrition at such a young age, the whole physiologic piece was essential to learn. As I said, I spent years as an RN (BSN) following the research, teaching patients based on it. I saw success. I saw failure. I experienced both. A lot of the problems that people have with losing weight (the locks on that door) have been discovered by people who are registered dieticians, physicians and nurses - that finally realized what we were teaching was incomplete.

            Let me cite one critical piece of that first sentence.

            Absorbed nutrients.

            Studies of what different people consume, with basically the same # of carbs, protein and fat, adjusted for sex, age, weight, body mass, fat index, and exercise show very different use of the nutrients. Some maintain healthy weight, others deposit more of it as fat. The amounts were appropriate in calories for the individuals weight, not excessive.

            One of the current research investigations of this is: gut bacteria. Ultimately they showed that fat people in the group had more efficient bacteria so they absorbed more of the nutrients than the normal weight group. They cleaned out their guts completely, then with gastric tubes instilled the gut bacteria of normal weight people. The weight came off.

            The gist of what I am saying is, once the person who has trouble losing weight finds the locks that prevent or interfere with the normal physiologic pathway, it will work for them. Until you find them all and can stop them, it won't.

            SAD sets up what is actually a normal pathway. The same one that bears and other hibernating animals use in the late summer and fall. Calories are stored, the body manages by using minimal calories to function. Those animals go hibernate and use the calories then. Humans can't hibernate. If you have SAD that kicks in, you have to use several ways to get around that process, including calorie restriction and exercise, to keep from piling on weight. In the spring, the process is reversed and the calories tend to fall off. Depending on many factors, some individuals can maintain. I could not in Anchorage, had to move back to a lower latitude, as much for the depression as the weight.  After I got here and also realized the SAD had put me into metabolic syndrome, using the protein power diet for those ratios, with the calorie restriction and exercise program did it.

            Then the hormone stuff kicked in. After I hit menopause, the tired was just unbelievable. Took six years to get a doctor to check the right labs and change the thyroid supplement I had been fine on for decades, from all synthetic to partially natural. Some women after menopause cannot convert the synthetic precursor into the active form. Too many doctors don't believe it.

            A genetic issue I just found out about can also interfere. Some of us cannot absorb folic acid properly, it is a key B vitamin in the energy pathway. If we supplement with the methyl form, it can be used. B12 has a similar genetic problem, supplements must be the methyl form.

            The ultimate message on calories in and calories out being the solution to obesity to many people who have been on this path, is invalidation. We aren't doing it right. Too many calories, not enough exercise. Not measuring the serving portions, every last bite you put in your mouth. Not doing enough cardio, weight, not doing them right. Well, if you could follow us around,  maybe the reality would help you stop repeating the physiology lecture a lot of us may well know better than you do.

            "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

            by Ginny in CO on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 12:23:41 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Do you have a cite on that gut bacteria study? (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Ginny in CO

              I remember seeing something about the topic, but haven't followed it up.

              (& now I'm wondering about antibiotics/pro-biotics...)

              •  No, I am still dealing with the change (3+ / 0-)

                of computer, OS, browser, etc. And really should be doing other stuff. It was done in Scandinavia - pretty sure Sweden. Generated a lot of disgust over the idea of having someone else's gut bacteria put in your body ;)

                yes, the antibiotic/probiotic link is the next obvious connection, which had already generated a whole bunch of research. Linked to our diets because the food we eat is so processed, it is missing many probiotics and enzymes necessary to digest and absorb the food we eat. Since the enzymes aren't there, the body has to produce those and can't always produce the enzymes needed to USE the food in the body, so it gets stored.

                article in my mail box yesterday was another piece of how our healthy systems can be sickened by drugs that are supposed to be controlling disease. Proton pump inhibitors that are used for gastric acid reflux, especially in the elderly, are probably contributing to the epidemic of c-diff, a horrible diarrhea that is difficult to stop, affects the elderly and has become a huge medical expense nationally. I attribute the extensive malnutrition in the elderly to fear of eating protein and the PPIs changing the acidity of the stomach which interferes in digestion.

                One of the interchanges with Rei and FlSNmom was pretty classic. Where did the food  with all the calories mysteriously pass through too? The toilet hon. If it isn't digested, it goes into the sewer.

                "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

                by Ginny in CO on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 01:03:29 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  Oh, fu fu. There is a problem with a sentence (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          at the beginning.

          If there are no other reasons for your weight to be off, adjusting the calories in /calories out will not bring about weight loss.
          The no changed what I meant completely and my edit missed it.

          The rest did not follow logically so I think a lot of people got what I meant.  

          Further comment here.

          "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

          by Ginny in CO on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 12:34:35 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  The diarist is not confused (4+ / 0-)

        The literature I've read, and linked to in this diary, deals with your points with lovely studies, facts, and figures. I tried to find one really juicy quote I wanted to pull to reply to you, but reading through Why We Get Fat forced me to conclude that it's all a big juicy quote. Judging from your comments, you appear to think I'm quite ignorant, both of what is said in favor of the calories in-calories out model and how the human body works. I'm not, and I believe that the evidence provided in the books I've cited is extremely compelling, and makes the very sound argument that counting calories is not the problem and it's certainly not the solution.

        Under the calories-in, calories out model, an extra 20 calories a day over the course of 25 years could result in 50 pounds of weight gain. Think about what a small amount of food 20 calories is.

        If what's necessary to maintain weight is to "balance the energy we eat with the energy we use" then consuming an average of twenty calories a day more than you expend, according to the logic of calories-in/calories-out, will eventually make you obese.

        Ask yourself: How is it possible that anyone stays lean if all it takes to grow gradually obese is to overshoot this point of energy balance by twenty calories a day?


        But if eating in moderation means we consciously err on the side of too little food, why don't we all end up so lean that we appear emaciated? The arithmetic of calories-in/calories-out doesn't differentiate between losing and gaining weight; it says only that we must match calories consumed to calories expended. And if it's simply the case that lean populations are only those populations that don't have enough food available to overeat (by twenty calories, on average, every day) why is it that populations in this situation--like the discussed earlier in which the children are thin and stunted and exhibit 'the typical signs of undernutrition'-- can still have plenty of obese adults?

        "There's an iPad 3 and a Mitt Romney 4 now. They've worked the bugs out. He's not killing hobos at night anymore."

        by muzzleofbees on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 06:43:05 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Is that your only issue? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          splintersawry, mconvente
          an extra 20 calories a day over the course of 25 years could result in 50 pounds of weight gain. Think about what a small amount of food 20 calories is.
          If so, you haven't paid much attention to how BMI works, because one of the factors in determining your BMI is your weight.  The more you weigh, the more your basal metabolism.  An excess of dietary consumption eventually evens out with you at a higher body mass; it doesn't go on indefinitely.  For most people, an excess 20 calories every day means a steady-state increase of about 2-3 pounds for the BMI to equal out.

          Any other questions?

          Now my turn: your body is taking in and absorbing carbs, fats, and proteins.  Where are they going?  Do you have a black hole inside of you?  This is not a rhetorical question: where are they going?

          •  Ease up, girl. It's not that simple. (6+ / 0-)

            You stated your diet is 1000 calories a day until you get where you want to be?  Your body throws itself into starvation mode and slows down your metabolism so that those calories go further. The chances of being successful after five years is miniscule. The "set point" that keeps your body weight stable doesn't change easily or quickly. Over 95% of dieters gain ALL the weight back.  You will almost certainly gain that weight back without other major changes in your life.  Extreme calorie restriction doesn't work. Proven fact. Makes you cranky too.  

            The poster is doing very very well.  She is bringing her body into a healthier balance.  All those things, better sleep patterns, exercise, stress reducing, all help her be healthier.  All those things help raise her metabolic rate, which affect the calorie output.  She is resetting her "set point" in a healthy way.

            •  Doesn't work that way. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              splintersawry, mconvente

              As I showed from four peer-reviewed studies, even two standard deviations from a typical BMI is only about 8% change.  BMI simply doesn't alter itself that much.  In fact, it's pretty much impossible for a human to survive indefinitely on 1000 calories.  First you burn through your fat, then through your muscle, and then you die.

              You're confusing "not giving up on a diet" and "keeping weight off" with "losing weight".

              And, FYI, through caloric restriction alone, I went from 93 kilos to 70 kilos then and have fluctuated in the range of 65 to 70 kilos, with the occasional mini-diet thrown in to keep me there, for the past two years.  And wasn't the slightest big cranky from it.  Actually, it felt really awesome, getting to see those results.  Gotta love loose pants!

              •  As noted below, that should read BMR, not BMI (nt) (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                •  I wasn't confused, just critical (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  SuWho, Boston to Salem, LaraJones

                  of extreme calorie restriction diets because of their very high failure rate. People who diet that way tend to yo-yo up and down on their weight over time. Healthy people tend to stay within a relatively stable weight parameter, within five pounds altogether, or a little over two kilos.

                  I'm happy you lost weight that way but I would not recommend it to anyone else because it is an unhealthy way to approach permanent weight change.  Most people would not be able to keep the pounds off using that method, never mind sustain the diet over time because it is a starvation level of calories, as you pointed out.

                  •  I'm not even arguing that point. (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    splintersawry, mconvente

                    Simply against the pseudoscience that the balance doesn't ultimately come down to calories in vs. calories out, no matter what method is used.  Matter is not just disappearing or appearing in our bodies.

                    •  Point (5+ / 0-)

                      I feel like things have gotten muddled. I just want to make the point that what I'm resisting is the notion that if everybody just "ate less and exercised more" then ideal weight would be achieved. Of course your body needs to maintain a balance between the consumption and use of energy, and a radical imbalance will disrupt the organism. But achieving the optimal balance for good health and your body's naturally appropriate weight can require far more work and effort than the simplistic model that dieting industry would like us all to accept as the gospel.

                      "There's an iPad 3 and a Mitt Romney 4 now. They've worked the bugs out. He's not killing hobos at night anymore."

                      by muzzleofbees on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 11:41:50 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

          •  You are aware that BMI was never designed ... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            bluedust, LaraJones

            ... to measure an "individual's" body mass.  It was designed to be used on populations.

            Here's a link:  Wikipedia

            Here's another link:  Beyond BMI

            I always thought it was hilarious that Arnold Schwarzenegger, in his prime as a weightlifter, would have been declared "morbidly obese" using the BMI.

          •  That is deceptive (0+ / 0-)

            Our basal metabolic rate is based not on the present weight of an overweight person, but on their ideal body weight. Extra stores of fat do not increase the metabolic rate as extra muscle does. So it is easy to see how a fat (but necessarily sedentary, because of the inconvenience of exercising) person can eat less than a person of ideal weight, but still gain.

        •  I'm glad you've found solutions (0+ / 0-)

          And read "Why We Get Fat." This book is a leaner version of "Good Calories, Bad Calories," which sifts through all of the dietary research. I had a hard time getting through it; I kept putting it down, mad as fire at the calorie-counting, low-fat lies we've been told.

          It sounds like what you're doing is very healthy for you. Congratualtions

      •  It was only a matter of time... (4+ / 0-)

        ...before Fat Hate Bingo! got started.

        Here's the link to a card:  Bingo Card

        Here's a second card:  Bingo Card 2

        Let's play!

  •   Do you think not sleeping is connected to weight? (25+ / 0-)

    Didn't they find even young and healthy active young people could exhibit insulin resistance when sleep deprived?

    Very cool of you to share. Thanks a bunch; your attitude inspires.

  •  My initial experience with going to a gym was (22+ / 0-)

    that having lungs that functioned at a high capacity was much more valuable than reducing my body fat.

    Once the respiration got kicked up a few notches, the rest fell into place.

    You can call it "class warfare" -- we call it "common sense"

    by kenlac on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 06:12:18 PM PDT

  •  What a powerful, moving diary (18+ / 0-)

    Tipped and rec'd for the honesty, the heartfelt feelings that have poured out.  I take my hat off to you, muzzle.  This is one of the most inspiring diaries I have read for some time.

    "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

    by Diana in NoVa on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 06:34:18 PM PDT

  •  Congrats on the weight loss (9+ / 0-)

    and don't forget to take some strength training; building muscle - even a little - is very important for women as they get older.

  •  If you are inspired by Taubes check out Sisson (6+ / 0-)

    You are absolutely right IMO and I hope you take a look at the Paleo movement as a next step, it is right in line with your way of thinking. Check out Mark Sisson or Robb Wolf. I like Sisson's msg boards at for like-minded discussion. Totally agree, we suffer from malnutrition and deranged metabolisms as a result. Excellent post, congrats.

  •  It's been a long strange road. (25+ / 0-)

    I am a big woman. AND I am fat. I was 280 on a 5'7" solid frame. I think ideal for me is about a size 14; my family are draft mares, not thoroughbred fillies.  Currently I'm a 22. I wear a size ten shoe, and have an x shaped figure, with a belly. (So even if I were to lose to a size eight at the waist I'd still be buying a twelve to accomodate bust and hips.)

    I want to weigh less because of my orthopedic issues; it would just be easier and hurt less if there was less weight on my ankles and foot when I walk, and that's physics. But I don't want to be THIN. I am thoroughly fond of the mindset I found as a woman who takes up room in the world, and don't want to lose that.

    I had to get diagnosed with thyroid issues, and when those are medicated properly I can lose weight. I am also having to work around the teenage girl inside me who is starving, growing a shoe size and a half inch in height every three months, but on 1200 calories a day so she wouldn't get fat. She tends to panic when I save food for later. But love and patience, and single serving ice cream cups (lol) are teaching us how to eat a more normal portion.

    You understand, I've got nothing against demolishing a full slab of baby back ribs with all the fixin's.  I just don't want to think that that's a normal meal, because that's just more food than I want to eat on a regular basis. It makes me feel bloated and awful. So I am learning to eat smaller portions, more protein, more often, and to work around the dietary restrictions of the hypoglycemia and the IBS.

    My husband and I are working on an "eat less and move more" sort of plan. His is a little more on the "eat less side, because he has COPD and two bad knees. Mine is on the move more side, as I try to be diligent with my strength training and my yoga. I do what I can to reduce stress, but we are poor, and stress goes with that. I am hoping that we get Medicaid and can get some needed surgeries, and that my husband can learn to comfort himself in ways that don't involve food.

    When you come to find how essential the comfort of a well-kept home is to the bodily strength and good conditions, to a sound mind and spirit, and useful days, you will reverence the good housekeeper as I do above artist or poet, beauty or genius.

    by Alexandra Lynch on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 07:40:04 PM PDT

    •  Re-Learning portions is a huge deal (21+ / 0-)

      I'm not going to lie and say I've always been a dainty eater. There have been some dark times when my depression was so bad I just did not give a fuck and I would eat anything that had the misfortune of crossing my path. My husband is a big eater as well, and so it kind of got to feel normal to eat his portion sizes, even if at times I went well beyond the point of "I'm full" signals. Also, because of my upbringing, leaving food on the plate was always associated with major guilt.

      Then I started focusing on eating until I was full, and if that was half a meal, a whole meal, or five bites in, then that's what it was. Increasingly, I discovered I could feel satisfied on much less food, and it became easier for me to abandon a plate with food on it--generally my husband ate it anyway! That's helped me let go of a lot of guilt I've always had. True, the stomach and the brain aren't always in harmony and the "I'm full" signal can be delayed, but generally, I've found that my body knows what it's doing and I should trust it.

      I come from similar stock as you. My sisters aren't twigs, though they've always weighed less than me, but they are definitely not "overweight" even if the BMI says so (and what a crock of shit THAT is).

      "There's an iPad 3 and a Mitt Romney 4 now. They've worked the bugs out. He's not killing hobos at night anymore."

      by muzzleofbees on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 08:07:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Bless your heart Alexandra. (5+ / 0-)
    •  I've been struggling with my (5+ / 0-)

      weight for years. Over the last three years I've managed to completely change my relationship to food and have lost over 20 pounds and kept it off. My biggest problem was not being able to stop eating, feeling panicked about food and eating until I was bloated and too full. I found that I was rewarding myself with food too often. I would always think "It's been a long day, why don't I make some mashed potatoes and fried chicken, that will make me feel better and give me something to look forward to" This is not a healthy way to look at food. Especially foods that aren't good for you. I no longer do that, but it took me years of recognizing this behavior and working on mentally changing it. I also, slowly, slowly started cutting back portion sizes. Now I'm very close to eating normal portions. It can take years to change habits, but as long as we try, and don't beat ourselves up, then it will be worth it. I also realized I hated jogging, hated hated it. I decided to try something that I always wanted, boxing. It's been amazingly hard and fun as hell. I've dropped five more pounds in one month going three times a week for an hour. I also pretty much eat whatever I want, within reason. I eat ice cream, sometimes fried foods, but l maintain healthy portion sizes.

  •  You (13+ / 0-)

    are beautiful.  And funny and smart.  

    I have many of the same issues.  Your words are so true.

    Be well.  Be happy.  And f*ck those who don't recognize what that looks like.  :-)

    Can you call yourself a real liberal if you aren't reading driftglass?

    by CJB on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 08:36:16 PM PDT

  •  What an awesomely insightful diary, in a multitude (8+ / 0-)

    of different ways - THANKS!

    I believe we help each other in times of need. I want all our children to get an excellent education. Every American deserves health care. I love my country. I am a patriot. I am a voter. I am a Democrat.

    by mumtaznepal on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 08:46:43 PM PDT

  •  So many of us 'in the same boat' (22+ / 0-)

    In my early childhood years, I was slender.  Then, around age 10 when the earliest puberty hormones kicked in, I gained weight.  After that, I got the mean comments, mom signing me up for Diet Center and Weight age 18 I lost weight for a couple of years (being more active and eating less) then weight came back, slowly over time.  Then other weird problems cropped up.  I would tell doctors about my weird symptoms (highly irregular periods that would disappear for for 6 months, odd darkened patches of skin, etc).

    Finally at age 31 I got my diagnosis - PCOS.  Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.  FOr some reason, PCOS women tend to have nasty intractable insulin resistance - which piles on the weight.  And the ovaries produce hormones in all the wrong amounts.  Higher the weight gain, more out of balance are all the hormones...on & on it goes.  I can eat healthfully and carefully every day, and go to the gym all the time - but without something like Metformin to control the insulin resistance, the rest amounts to diddly squat.  Now I am on metformin & that is helping me.  I have a lot more energy and feel better - and I've lost only 30 pounds.  But it isn't just pounds, it's having my biochemistry more in balance.

    I think there are a lot of women out there with undiagnosed cases of PCOS.

    •  I am diagnosed with PCOS (9+ / 0-)

      My doctor said "Yep, looks like PCOS." And then that was it. Literally. He didn't tell me about any medications that might help with the insulin resistance, he didn't tell me about any specialists to talk to or support groups. He made the diagnosis off the cuff and moved on and I was just so happy that somebody finally said it. I've known I've had nearly all the symptoms since I was 18 and even had an ultrasound to check for cysts, but apparently none were found?I don't know. That doctor sure didn't seem terribly concerned about helping me find an explanation.

      If I go on hormonal BC, I will have my period on a normal cycle. Unfortunately, they last for 10-14 days with a very heavy flow and heavy cramping, and I can't live like that, so I've gone off the BC because I'd rather deal with it once every six months than once every two weeks. Sometimes I wonder what will happen if I ever want to have a kid since my whole reproductive system seems messed up.

      One symptom I have is facial/body hair. One day I took a razor to my face b/c I was so tired of the endless I just have to shave on a regular basis like a dude.

      "There's an iPad 3 and a Mitt Romney 4 now. They've worked the bugs out. He's not killing hobos at night anymore."

      by muzzleofbees on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 09:06:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  thank you for this honest, heartfelt diary. You (9+ / 0-)

    have taught me a lot. God bless!

    Republicans only care about themselves, their money, & their power.

    by jdmorg on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 09:07:39 PM PDT

  •  Great diary, muzzleofbees. (14+ / 0-)

    I admire your honesty very much, and I agree with your eventual conclusions. I think people are not only stressed, but very unhappy, as you say; stress is sort of a euphemism, really. And that we are undernourished in many complicated ways that have little to do with food in and of itself.
    Brilliant analysis, and I wish you many more successes in terms of insight and self-love. You go, girl!

  •  Beautifully written. (18+ / 0-)

    This quote in particular touched me to the core.

    "For the first time in my life, I realized the weight on my frame was not a reflection of who I was as a human being, but the acquired pollution of a life I didn't want anymore."
    I can relate to this in many ways and wish you nothing but continued success through this journey!

    “Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

    by Josiology on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 09:11:33 PM PDT

  •  An amazing diary... (10+ / 0-)

    ...written by an amazing woman! This is a masterpiece of wisdom.♥

  •  kudos just for spending 2hrs @ gym daily (13+ / 0-)

    i was out of breath just at the end of that sentence.  will... finish... diary... when... breath... caught...

    seriously, though, kudos on your discpline

    "Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean there isn't an invisible demon about to eat your face" & "Polka will never die." - H. Dresden.

    by bnasley on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 09:29:53 PM PDT

    •  Thank you (9+ / 0-)

      The discipline comes in at 7:00 in the morning when I want to groggily read Dkos diaries from the night before and watch cartoons lol instead of drive all the way to the stinky gym. But I'm always glad I get there...

      "There's an iPad 3 and a Mitt Romney 4 now. They've worked the bugs out. He's not killing hobos at night anymore."

      by muzzleofbees on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 09:38:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  what is this '7AM' of which you speak? (7+ / 0-)

        "Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean there isn't an invisible demon about to eat your face" & "Polka will never die." - H. Dresden.

        by bnasley on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 09:52:52 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Hell. It's hell. (7+ / 0-)

          Because of my insomnia, I've always been a very late sleeper. If I didn't have to wake up in the morning, then 10 was my natural rising time, and if I did have to wake up...shudder. Let's just say that I tried to arrange my life to avoid that. But now that my sleeping habits have improved, i'm in bed at some terribly reasonable hour and up at 6. Automatically. Every day.

          I'm turning into my grandfather...

          "There's an iPad 3 and a Mitt Romney 4 now. They've worked the bugs out. He's not killing hobos at night anymore."

          by muzzleofbees on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 10:21:50 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I have black cloth over my bedroom window (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Only Needs a Beat, bnasley

            so I can sleep a reasonable amount.  I'm a morning person by nature - I have no trouble getting up at 5:30 in the morning, which I like to do so I have plenty of goof-off time in amongst getting ready for the day.  

            I also tend to be awake when it's light, which is a bit of a problem in summer, and there is a street light outside my bedroom window, which gets to me at the other times of the year.

            The cloth over the window lets me sleep, so I get 7.5 to 8.0 hours a night ordinarily.  

            Some nights (not many - insomnia isn't a problem for me) I wake up at 2 or 3 AM and am just awake - so I pick up a book and read.  Until my cat notices and decides he wants to be fed.

            Strength and dignity are her clothing, she rejoices at the days to come; She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the law of kindness is on her tongue.

            by loggersbrat on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 02:13:35 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Healthy mind = healthy body (6+ / 0-)

    "For the body cannot live without the mind."  yay Matrix references.

    Anyways, I'm glad you have had success.  Stress can really mess up everything, so staying stress free as much as possible is good for our entire body's health.

    I'm interested in learning more about why you are not favorable to the "calorie in = weight gain" paradigm.  Obviously, biology (and particularly, metabolism) is very complex, with some of the most intertwined molecular pathways that we have.  However, even keeping in mind that nothing in biology is straight forward 100%, the overall concept of calories taken in > calories burned = stored excess energy (aka fat tissue) is scientifically sound.

    This is a significant part of the reason why lower income people are actually more likely to be overweight and obese.  They can only afford very fatty and non-nutritious foods, so losing out on key nutrients compounded with lots of calories = weight gain.

    Also, in lab studies, mice fed a high-fat diet are reproducibly way more likely to be obese than mice fed a normal diet.  So there definitely is the science there in favor of excess calories in = weight gain.

    But for a living being as complex as we are, obviously there is more at play.  But don't totally discount the calorie theory.

    "Give me a lever long enough... and I shall move the world." - Archimedes

    by mconvente on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 09:40:46 PM PDT

    •  Read the books I linked to (12+ / 0-)

      Their arguments for the inefficacy of the model are thorough, complete, and very persuasive. They have ample evidence to support their claims from laboratory experiments to mathematical equations. It's quite a good one-two punch, as both authors approach the problems from different perspectives for different reasons and yet present equally compelling arguments. I fear that if I even begin to replicate them I will do them an injustice and not only do them a disservice but fail to actually inform/educate.

      They also both address the issue regarding the link between weight gain and starvation. The case studies they site (including a specific Native American tribe with very compelling statistics and information make it clear that eating a diet full of simple carbs rather than their traditional diet of "fatty" foods essentially doomed their community to obesity and all of the problems associated with obesity--the effect is immediate in the community and profound, taking place almost from one generation to the next as they were forced to change their diets due to the pressure suddenly exerted on their community. They are a perfect microcosm that turns the "accepted" wisdom on its head and "Why We Get Fat" is worth the price just for that chapter, imho.

      There's going to be evidence on both sides of this debate, and I recognize that. My beliefs on the issue were reached in the same way my atheism was reached--after years of reading and debating and weighing the evidence. And at this point in my life, I see a preponderance of evidence that suggests that an increase in calories may play a role in individual weight gain, it is not the solution for people who wish to improve their health by losing weight. It simply doesn't work in the long term because everything about the human body is wired to 1)Eat and 2)Fuck. No matter how you abstain, no matter how disciplined you are or think you are, no matter how hard you work, your body will only be pushed so far before it snaps back and it does what it's designed to do--acquire and store calories to ensure that you can continue to fuck and pass on genes. No amount of lab mice will change that fact. Reducing calories to lose weight is literally a conscious decision to induce your body into starvation mode, and you don't need to be a biology major to understand how your body will naturally defend against what it perceives as a (hopefully short term) famine. When people say that "yo-yo dieting" will mess up your metabolism, they are acknowledging the fact (perhaps unconsciously) that when you starve your body you train it to respond to future emergencies in even more drastic ways to perserve the body and guarantee our big, beautiful brains can keep the lights on.

      "There's an iPad 3 and a Mitt Romney 4 now. They've worked the bugs out. He's not killing hobos at night anymore."

      by muzzleofbees on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 10:00:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Then why do gastric bands work? (0+ / 0-)

        Gastric bands works exclusively by shrinking the entrance orifice into the stomach, i.e. - by reducing the food AKA calories you are able to keep in your stomach.

        Obviously we are all different in our genetic makeup, and tweaks here and there will help each of us, but as Rei said in this comment (albeit a bit tersely), you can't ignore the laws of physics.

        Also, there is a phenomenon in the metabolism field called caloric restriction, which has shown that reducing caloric intake while maintaining nutrition (the key part) has repeatedly shown to extend lifespan in a wide range of animals, including some mammals.

        Whatever you are doing is obviously working for you because your picture is showing amazing progress.  But as a scientist, I get a bit uncomfortable whenever anyone discounts science that has been demonstrated for over 100 years.  Obviously you and many members commenting have had a similar experience to you, but I suspect that if we took a random sample of 1,000 overweight patients, reducing calorie intake would work in a lot of them.

        "Give me a lever long enough... and I shall move the world." - Archimedes

        by mconvente on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 05:55:40 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The science has NOT been demonstrated for 100 year (7+ / 0-)

          If anything, precisely the opposite is true. We believe that as a society because that's the science that the health reporters and medical professional reveal to us, but the reality of the science and the actual laboratory work done for the past several decades show the complete opposite of is true. Your hypothesis was tested, but it wasn't 1000 overweight patients, it was a study of 20,000 and the results were extremely underwhelming.

          From Chapter 2 of Why We Get Fat, and again, I recommend reading the entire book because this is one example of many.

          In the early 1990s the National Instutes of Health set out to investigate a few critical issues of women's health. The result was the Women's Health Initiative...among the questions that the researches hoped to answer was whether low fat diets actually prevented heart disease or cancer, at least in women. So they enrolled nearly fifty thousand women in a trial, chose twenty thousand at random, and instructed them to eat low-fat diet, rich in fruits, vegetables, and fiber. These women were given regular counseling to motivate them to stay on the diet.

          One of the effects of this counseling, or maybe the diet itself, is that the women also decided, consciously or unconsciously, to eat less. According to the WHI researches, the women, on average, consumed 360 calories a day less on their diets than they did when they first agreed to participate. If we believe that obesity is caused by overreating, we might say these women were "undereating" by 360 calories a day. They were eating almost 20 percent fewer calories than what the public health agencies tell us such women should be eating.

          The result? After eight years of such undereating, these women lost an average of two pounds each. And their average waist circimference, a measure of abdominal fat, increased. This suggests that whatever weight these women lost, if they did, was not fat but lean tissue--muscle.
          A pound of fat contains roughly thirty-five hundred calories worth of energy. If these women were really undereating by 360 calories every day, they should have more than two pounds of fat (seven thousand calories worth) in the first three weeks, and more than thirty six pounds in the first year. And these women had plenty of fat to lose. Almost half began the study obese, the great majority were at the very least overweight.

          one possibility of course is that the researches failed miserably at assessing how these women ate

          Another possibility is that this reduction in calories, this multi-year exercise in underdeating, just didn't do what it was expected to do.

          It's not a simple matter of physics. He also addresses that in the book and since I don't want to type out a whole chapter, I'll just recommend the book itself again!

          "There's an iPad 3 and a Mitt Romney 4 now. They've worked the bugs out. He's not killing hobos at night anymore."

          by muzzleofbees on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 06:25:20 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Calories are not the only factor (5+ / 0-)

            But they are a factor. Given the real world difficulty of getting people to go on a diet and stay on it for test purposes, there are so many factors at work that it is often impossible to say exactly what the cause is of one thing or another.

            What your quote shows is that a change to a high carbohydrate diet results in increased fat and decreased lean muscle mass. Because the women cut calories, they lost weight. Had the calories been held constant, given the new dietary composition, they would have gained significant weight.

            This quote also points up several other problematic concerns. One is that when a dietary plan recommends eating certain foods, but makes no recommendation of quantity, calories are not controlled. A real reason why many people lose weight on Atkins is that they actually eat fewer calories. They might not realize it, because they may be more satisfied. But on other diets, where people are told to eat plenty of X or Y, they may end up eating more overall.

            Remember when oatmeal was considered a "superfood"? In the laboratory, people had all sorts of improvements when they ate oatmeal for breakfast. In real life, not so much. Or they gained weight! In their own homes they ate far larger portions than intended, and added lots of sugar, while leaving the rest of their day's diet unchanged.  

            Of course, changing the composition of a diet can have unintended body effects. But calories still count. Both are true.

            Our instinct are weak, and easily influenced by the fact that we are surrounded by tasty, addictive food that is ready to eat. Some people are affected more by these influences than others.

            Unless one is carefully weighing, measuring, and calculating, it is not possible to say with any certainty how many calories have been consumed. And doing so is hardly a natural thing to do.

            But if people whose weight was stable were to maintain the composition of their diet and simply decrease their calories, they would lose weight. If they were to increase their calorie intake, they would gain weight.

        •  My suspicion is that gastric banding (7+ / 0-)

          forces people to eat in ways that are more conducive to proper weight maintenance: smaller, more frequent meals. (There is solid scientific evidence that this is better for a lot of people than three big meals spaced out widely.)

          Also, if "reducing caloric intake" were all there was to it, the most successful long-term weight loss strategy would not be the one that involves taking a regular day off to eat whatever you want. But, surprisingly, "six days on and one off", or even "three on and one off", has been shown to be startlingly effective. (There are also variants that restrict two out of three meals per day and then allow a great deal of latitude on the third.) My suspicion here is that it breaks things up so the body doesn't go into calorie-hoarding "starvation" mode.

          There's a lot of "conventional wisdom" involved in this field, and some of it is, frankly, not all that scientific - it's just that the scientists have bought into it too and tend to find what they're looking for.

          If it's
          Not your body,
          Then it's
          Not your choice
          And it's
          None of your damn business!

          by TheOtherMaven on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 06:39:34 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  gastric bands probably work (0+ / 0-)

          because they change the hormonal balance.

          this theory comes from the scientists involved.

          Donate to Occupy Wall Street here:

          by BlueDragon on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 07:49:04 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  BTW your points have given me much to think about (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          And while I was composing another response to you, I realized that it was going to be much longer than a comment and require much more work and time than i have available right now. I hope to turn it into another diary so I can expand the research section, and I hope when I post it you'll be able to continue the discussion there.

          "There's an iPad 3 and a Mitt Romney 4 now. They've worked the bugs out. He's not killing hobos at night anymore."

          by muzzleofbees on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 11:59:44 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I have to say, I like you already (6+ / 0-)

        For that comment, because it is absolutely my perspective as well, and I think the more we try and get our society around us to realize this, the better off we all will be.
           I like to only semi-joke that if we would all just 1)Read more books; 2)Fuck more 3)Tell more jokes and 4)Eat more prunes (a highly delectable source of both soluble and non-soluble fiber we would feel a whole lot better, and maybe our society would be a lot less screwed up and predisposed to cause people the very problems you battle.

        An empty head is not really empty; it is stuffed with rubbish. Hence the difficulty of forcing anything into an empty head. -- Eric Hoffer

        by MichiganChet on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 06:40:57 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I read Taubes recently (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        and switched to a "Paleo" way of eating.  Plus all the stuff that Sisson and others recommend to go with it -- lifting heavy things, not getting sucked into chronic cardio.  Sleeping like it's my job.  Not gonna diet no more!  Incidentally, I feel great, and I don't know which of the things I gave up has done it, but I can BREATHE.  Through my NOSE.  And it's looking like I can give up the asthma 'roids.

        Do you not see that it is the grossest idolatry to speak of the market as though it were the rival of God?

        by kismet on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 03:24:22 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Furthermore blaming "fatty" foods (7+ / 0-)

      Fails to recognize that your body needs fat. More specifically, your brain. Nothing in your body needs carbs, but in my experience, people can be extremely resistant, even mortified, to the notion that increasing fat for your brain and decreasing carbs to stabilize your insulin is necessary, believing it to be somehow dangerous.

      Of course, you're not suggesting that, and I don't mean to imply you are, but that one line really stood out to me. I've read countless arguments against low-carb diets and in favor of low-fat diets and the low-fat supporters never adequately explain why depriving the brain of necessary nutrients while constantly encouraging the (dangerous) spiking of insulin is supposed to be a healthy way to live.

      "There's an iPad 3 and a Mitt Romney 4 now. They've worked the bugs out. He's not killing hobos at night anymore."

      by muzzleofbees on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 10:28:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's part of the "conventional wisdom" (9+ / 0-)

        The whole "Fat = BAD" thing came out of a set of seriously flawed studies done decades ago, on which the popularizers pounced and which they further distorted and oversimplified.

        Later, more detailed studies have indicated that the type of fat is also highly significant: heavily hydrogenated fats are Bad News, especially where the cholesterols (plural!) are concerned (elevates the wrong kind and by too much). But egg yolk is not only not harmful, it actually promotes the proper balance of high- and low-density lipoproteins - so anyone avoiding egg yolk because of the "fat" in it is actually making things unnecessarily harder for themselves.

        And that's just the tip of the iceberg....

        If it's
        Not your body,
        Then it's
        Not your choice
        And it's
        None of your damn business!

        by TheOtherMaven on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 06:47:41 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Depends on what kind of "fat" though. Don't (4+ / 0-)

        lump all "fat"'s common knowledge that "saturated" fats are not good in any notable quantities, whereas "unsaturated" fats can be very useful. More olive oil, less McDonald's.

        •  Actually (0+ / 0-)

          Research more and more is showing the opposite. Unsaturated fats are not especially healthy in quantity, whereas saturated fats are not all that unhealthy in moderation.

          Factory-extracted plant oils have never been a part of the natural human diet until the creation of factories. Plant oil was normally consumed with the seeds it is part of.

          Olive oil is not unsaturated. It is monounsaturated.

          Earlier recommendations to add lots of vegetable oil and eliminate saturated fats are based on faulty research. Moderation in the consumption of a variety of natural foods is healthiest.

      •  Yes but your body can make fat from carbs and (0+ / 0-)

        even protein. I'm not advocating high-carb diets (I think simple carbs are the most dangerous food) but you don't necessarily have to provide all the nutrients to your body, it can make some of them from others.

      •  I have anecdata on low-fat diets. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        In the 90s, I dated a marathon runner for several years.  He was on a super low fat (Dean Ornish style) vegan diet.  I joined in the fun for a while because well, hey, it was supposed to be healthy.

        He got ever-skinnier.  I could see his skeleton through his face during race training.

        I, on the other hand, kept blowing up.  Gained 40 pounds on that high-carb low-fat plan, and whenever I was most adherent, I spent my days in a constant state of gnawing, low-grade hunger no matter how much (healthy!  low fat!) food I'd just stuffed in my mouth.

        After I eased back into eating meat and fat the 40 pounds came off fairly quickly.

        This is the point when I sheepishly apologize in my heart to anyone I ever evangelized about lowfat diets or veganism.

        Do you not see that it is the grossest idolatry to speak of the market as though it were the rival of God?

        by kismet on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 03:30:49 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Lab mice (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      splintersawry, Only Needs a Beat

      are a VERY bad model on which to base predictions for 1) humans 2) who don't live in cages and 3) have the freedom to choose a wide range of their parameters from specific dietary intake to forms of activity.

      Lab mice are a crucial first step in refining hypotheses for further experimentation.  They are NOT the final word on ANYTHING related to any creature other than inbred albino  mice living in cages.

  •  Well done, (9+ / 0-)

    MoB! I am glad to see things have changed at DK since I wrote my fat girl diary back in 2006. Whatever you are doing, keep it up.

  •  Great diary. Thank You. I was diagnosed type II (12+ / 0-)

    diabetic in March. Changed eating habits a lot. Have been dropping weight without adding exercise. 13 pounds so far. So that insulin thing really makes a difference. And stress, lord knows, stress it's a real mind fuck. Hope to be reading more diaries from you muzzleofbees, you are a good writer. This was informative.

    if a habitat is flooded, the improvement for target fishes increases by an infinite percentage...because a habitat suitability index that is even a tiny fraction of 1 is still infinitely higher than zero, which is the suitability of dry land to fishes.

    by mrsgoo on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 09:52:06 PM PDT

  •  Wonderful diary! (5+ / 0-)

    Your journey is inspiring.  Thanks for sharing that with us.

  •  it's a symptom of a messed-up society (16+ / 0-)

    you got that absolutely right. the way our cities are laid out makes a huge difference too, i always gained weight the first several months after i moved back to america after living abroad, and i think a big part of it was moving from an urban to a suburban environment (and the corresponding shift from a walk-up 5th floor taiwanese apartment to a ground-level single-story california home).

    but stress, insomnia, and all the awful messages we get about food are a huge part of it as well. i'm glad you're working out a healthier way to live. i've sort of taken it as a decades-long project to try and get myself into healthier patterns, so my quality if life when i'm old is good.

  •  Great Diary & some tips (11+ / 0-)

    Though not a certified Physical Trainer or Nutritionist, I do consult on fitness & healthy living habits and have helped several people become healthier through sheer fact based persuasion & motivation. I focus on food habits, exercise & rest in that order. I also advise folks to note down their family history & get a cholesterol/BP check plus have their muscle mass/fat % count as a barometer on where they were before starting or restarting serious exercise. Muscle = strength and I wish more focus would be on muscle mass rather than BMI as a means to estimate obesity or lack thereof. Please get your muscle mass checked either on a DEXA machine ($99-$149 for those who can afford it) or at your local gym (may not be very accurate as compared to DEXA). Pl do not go to the gym to just jog on the treadmill. I advise folks especially ladies to start lifting weights. There are so many misconceptions out there, I feel like tearing my hair out. My mantras:
    1. Never skip a breakfast 2. Eat 6-7 small meals a day 3. Exercise 45-60 minutes every day 4. It all starts at the grocery store 5. Know how to count calories 6. Track your progress/body measurements/weigh yourself monthly 7.  Love & respect your body 8. Its ok to indulge once a while 9. Kick your bad habits/vices 10.  Get support from family & friends.
    Ever since my dad died of lung cancer in 2002, I have made it my mission to motivate, cajole & beg unfit folks to get back on track. I am 45 & my fat% is <18% (can be better) and supposed metabolic age is 23. I consult for free so Kossacks looking for some help, pl drop me a line. All the best in your fitness efforts. According to me, the ill-health of our folks is the biggest danger faced by us and threatens the entire country.

  •  I wish I could hug you! (17+ / 0-)

    I'm sitting here nearly in tears at your post- so much of what you've said here is reflected in my life, except that my home life was better but highly stressful in other ways.  

    Depression, anxiety and health problems have followed me for years.  In the past 3 years I have finally decided to fire the doctors who won't help or who are dismissive because of my weight, and I find doctors who really want to do the right thing by their patients, even when they're not perfect.  I am finally being treated for chronic acute anemia which was masking type II D.  I will have surgery next month to remove my uterus which won't stop producing.  It's been six weeks straight of nonstop heavy period, to the point of having to carry extra clothes all the time.  I'm seeing a therapist for the first time in 20 years.  Once I'm healed from the surgery, I'm going to the gym.  No more excuses.  

    I know how good I feel when I exercise.  I did it when I was a teen, and I did it again about 8 years ago and lost about 30 lbs.  But I know it's the stress that is truly doing me in.  The last couple of years have been horrendous, but I feel as if I'm turning a corner in my life in recent weeks.  Major changes have happened that I believe will facilitate lasting positive impacts for me and my husband who needs this as much as I do.   I want us to be together for a long time to come, and I know he will support me 100%, just as I will him.  

    I can't tell you how happy I am to see your diary here, and to see the positive response you've gotten.  I've been around a long time, and at least once a year someone writes about obesity and the comments become a trainwreck of blame, shame and accusation.  I don't see that here, and I think it is because you have so clearly written from the heart, and your experience cannot be denied.  There is so much truth here, so much that many of us have personally experienced, you have given voice to more than you know here.  

    Thank you for your honesty, for sharing your story and showing us that we are worthy of the fight for our lives and that we can do it on our terms.  

    •  I'm very heartened (14+ / 0-)

      I'm not new to the Internet, and I know exactly how these diaries can and do go. I really debated with myself whether I should even write it, much less post it, and it's been living in my head for a long time. But ultimately I decided that I'm only a mere scientist in the great laboratory of life and these are the findings I have to report.  I knew that I wasn't alone, that my observations didn't only apply to me, and I'm really very frightened for the health of our society. It's so demonstratively maladjusted--if you can't talk about this sort of thing on a blog for Progressives, where can you talk about it? The personal is political. Look at all the comments in this diary from people who desperately need medical intervention and who either never received it or didn't receive it a timely fashion...that's not just a political issue it's the political issue today and their weight is the visible symptom of poor health. Consider the people who grew up in poor households with limited access to food and the (sometimes horrific) ramifications on future mental and physical health, and how that will only be magnified as the middle class shrinks, the 1 % gets richer, and the poor get poorer.

      I'm glad you are on the beginning of a new healthy path! Good luck to you and your husband. :)

      "There's an iPad 3 and a Mitt Romney 4 now. They've worked the bugs out. He's not killing hobos at night anymore."

      by muzzleofbees on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 12:23:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I want to comment about the hours at the gym. (10+ / 0-)

    I have been through periods in my life when I worked out alot.  In my case, I was training for weekend excursions hiking and climbing.
    Then, I became a mom.
    You have to realize that you will not always be able to keep up with putting in that kind of time.  Enjoy it while it lasts but, it will come and go.
    It is important to try to find milder, less time consuming and lifelong consistent activities.  It is the little things like taking stairs, daily walks for pleasure, taking the kids out for active fun, being outside in the garden, chasing chickens around, mucking out the coop, checking stuff out on the roof, weeding, projects and housework and community.  Move, move, move and live, live, live.
    The older and ooglier we get, the more gloriously beautiful we become.

    •  Excellent Points! (8+ / 0-)

      Though my main source of physical activity is the hours I spend at the gym, I'm also more active in general these days. Though I wish it wasn't so gosh darned hot outside. Love going to the park, hate getting drenched in sweat within seconds...

      "There's an iPad 3 and a Mitt Romney 4 now. They've worked the bugs out. He's not killing hobos at night anymore."

      by muzzleofbees on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 12:28:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm Also a Sucker for the Gym (9+ / 0-)

        I think part of the reason is that it is a partially-social activity. It gets you out of the house and around other people -- but you are not necessarily required to interact with them in any sort of deep way. You can wave, say hi, etc., etc. You feel like you are with other people, but you can all do your own thing, no pressure.

        I once had some fitness equipment at home, but I never used it. It wasn't the same.

        "I'll believe that corporations are people when I see Rick Perry execute one."

        by bink on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 04:25:41 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  It's true (5+ / 0-)

        that exercising in extreme heat is dangerous, but remember that sweat carries a lot off toxins out of the body.  Like tears.  I almost always feel more at peace following a sweaty workout than I do a non-sweaty one.
        And exercise is key.  Not only because it burns some calories but because it makes us happy.  Like you, I suffer from anxiety.  I only noticed it, though, after I stopped running.  Humans are animals and are supposed to move.  We work better in every way when we do.

    •  Yes. (3+ / 0-)

      Frankly, exercise is BORING.  And useless.  You accomplish nothing except for the health benefits by driving to someplace away from home (time, using gas) to go through repetitive drills on various expensive equipment.  You can't point to anything you actually got DONE.

      When I pick up a weedeater and clear out the front yard in front of my cabin, I work out my poor arms and legs AND end up with a clear space to pitch a tent, light a fire, or someday plant a garden.  When I run the quarter mile up the hill to fix the plumbing, I end up with running water.  When I'm lazy and DON'T run up the hill, I still walk a hundred feet to the downhill culvert, fill the buckets, and walk back in order to flush the toilet.  And climbing the ladder and crawling up into the (hot) attic gets my electricity put in.  Then I can walk up the mountain a quarter mile to chat with my 90-year-old neighbor.  I may be hot, sticky, bitten by insects poison ivy, but I get plenty of exercise and it's not BORING.

  •  calories in-calories out (11+ / 0-)

    another fine example of how our ends-driven social structure causes more harm than good with it's relentless focus on the quantitative and general disregard of the qualitative

    congratulations on your health and happiness

    "a lie that can no longer be challenged becomes a form of madness" -Debord

    by grollen on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 12:32:03 AM PDT

  •  I lost a lot of weight. The best part is not (7+ / 0-)

    having to listen to 'experts'.  I know how I did it.  It worked and is working for me.  It annoys those who used to be able to bla bla about their theory.

    . . . from Julie, Julia. "Oh, well. Boo-hoo. Now what?"

    by 88kathy on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 12:39:50 AM PDT

  •  Thank you for sharing (12+ / 0-)

    This is a really wonderful, heartfelt, and informative diary.

    My favorite fun fact about the human body is that only 10% of the cells in your body are human - the rest are various symbiotic lifeforms, and only a few are well understood.

    It seems obvious, for example, that different intestinal flora and fauna would change how many calories your body can recover from food. And yet, it's never discussed.

    Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

    by elfling on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 01:03:53 AM PDT

    •  And many (5+ / 0-)

      of the appropriate microbes are probably living on fresh foods direct from the garden, just as many essential vitamins are available in freshly killed game meat and DESTROYED by time, storage, and various methods used to prevent spoilage in anything you buy in the grocery store.  Very likely -- and a good subject for research that will never be done for obvious reasons -- one reason for obesity and malnutrition on a processed food diet is a lack of the necessary symbiotes.  It's well-known in agriculture that most of our domestic animals and plants require symbiotic microbes in order to survive.

  •  Wow! Perhaps I was meant to be awakened from a... (6+ / 0-)

    deep sleep by one of my dogs tonight! Otherwise I wouldn't have finished reading the myriad of diaries I had left from the previous day.

    Thank you for sharing your story and the resulting journey you travel. This is exactly what I have needed to read for probably a few years and I am sure will re-read it a few times later in the day after the tears cease. This diary seems to have broken through to that part of me so resistant (or perhaps apathetic...maybe just weary) for the past eight or ten years and can help me see how I must begin to live again. I won't go into any detail...not necessary for now.

    Again, thank you for your powerful diary.You have truly spoken to my condition.

    Like all dreamers, I mistook disenchantment for truth. - Jean Paul Sartre

    by ApatheticNoMore1966 on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 02:32:04 AM PDT

  •  I've struggled both ways (6+ / 0-)

    Too thin for my body type when younger, now quite a bit heavier but healthier when older.

    I'd rather be heavier and stronger than thinner and weaker. I get sick less often. That's my bottom line. How do I feel, not how do I look.

    Women create the entire labor force.

    by splashy on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 02:49:34 AM PDT

  •  ★★★★★ (10+ / 0-)

    Five stars out of five for this diary! Thank you so much — mahalo nui loa!

    It's heartbreaking to see so many girls and women, because of their body configuration, suffer ostracism and struggle with self-esteem problems every step of the way.

    The Dutch kids' chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen wishes all the world's children freedom from hunger, ignorance, and war.

    by lotlizard on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 03:30:36 AM PDT

  •  logged in just to tip, rec and comment here (5+ / 0-)

    Such a beautifully honest, direct and insightful diary!

    Just - wow, amazingly great piece of work.

  •  In empirical terms it's a multi-whammy (15+ / 0-)

    and it starts young.

    Most people's current lives involve

    1. holding a mentally stressful sedentary job
    2. driving (not riding and certainly not walking) to said job and often for long stretches
    3. relaxing from said job and commute with sedentary entertainments which can be as stressful as the work in terms of physiological effects
    4. which crowds out time to plan, shop, prepare and enjoy healthy nutritious meals (this is especially bad for people with kids)
    5. And we all sleep less which only adds to the stress
    6. I've not even gotten to exercise yet have I?

    My own opinion is sleep deprivation is one of the primary 'translators' from emotional/mental distress to physiological distress and about the one common thing across all ages, health conditions, body  types and lifestyles. NOT the only one but I know in my own life that when I sleep more I weigh less. When not? I gain, inexorably.

    •  i worked nights (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cskendrick, SuWho, schnecke21

      for a couple of years, many years ago. job was stressful at times.

      it was awful for my health.

      couldn't sleep well during the day, which lead to constant fatigue, which lead to reliance on artificial stimulants (specifically, coffee and cigarettes) to make it through my shifts, which led to decreased aerobic condition, which led to less exercise, which led to general crabbiness, which led to eating crap for the quick rush they provided, etc., etc., etc. a vicious circle which led to weight gain, poor fitness, high get the picture.

      agree that sleep deprivation is huge problem.

      ironically, i've found that the more i exercise and the better my fitness, the better i sleep, which makes it easier to exercise, better mood, etc.

  •  Just a wonderful diary (5+ / 0-)

    Informative and inspiring. I wish you continued success. I think you have really hit upon something with how stress plays a role here.

    Thank you.

    Disclaimer: Weapons of Mass Destruction and terrorists may vary according to region, definition, and purpose. Belief systems pandered separately.

    by BlackBandFedora on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 03:51:21 AM PDT

  •  Thank You for Sharing Your Experiences (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Only Needs a Beat, ladybug53, LSophia

    I really do think that your outlook and state of mind have a lot to do with the body's response to both exercising and diet. I also suspect that holistic lifestyle change is better than either simply dieting or a fitness regime, in terms of losing weight.

    "I'll believe that corporations are people when I see Rick Perry execute one."

    by bink on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 04:21:25 AM PDT

  •  Thank you for a great diary (12+ / 0-)

    I've been reading more about weight and the body (including Gary Taubes' books) recently and have completely changed my attitude. We really don't understand obesity and weight management very well, and that's clear by the failure in the way we try to "treat" overweight and obesity.

    I think your comment that

    1) People are very, deeply unhappy.
    is a really interesting idea.

    I live in Norway and have found that Norwegians often mock the size of Americans. Norwegians, in general, don't seem to eat much better than Americans. They do, however, spend a lot less time at work (and I mean A LOT LESS) and often a lot more time outside - some ski or run or bike, but many just stroll. And they're happy.

    Certainly in the US we have a problem with access to healthy food, and that's generally not a problem in a country like Norway. But I think your idea about stress and happiness is a solid one worth looking into.

    •  Same here in Finland. (11+ / 0-)

      I often feel that I escaped an insane asylum (the States) and I have to relearn how to just enjoy life.

      It is strange not having to worry all the damn time about money (although I still do since I can't work until January), health care, whatever. Even if you are alone, you know that you haven't been left alone by society. Society has your back. (yes, there are social problems in Finland, but not on the scale as in the States)

      I think it'll take me years to unwind from all the stress that life in the States has brought me.

      A Victory Garden documents my family's experience transitioning from suburban lawn to edible food forest based on permaculture principles. A new blog following my life as an immigrant in Finland will be up soon.

      by FinchJ on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 05:06:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The gym IS helping. (8+ / 0-)

    Effort to increase the metabolism is what is at play.

    Your description of workouts moving from 2-3 hours a day - expanding was the term you used - is what happens when your body starts to adjust to proper exercise. You get more energy. Your body says "hey... I can do a little more".

    Running on a treadmill - running and working up a nasty sweat - is a foundation of building up a proper exercise routine and is what - for me - really burns off calories.

    My martial arts teacher from a million years ago called me recently and told me about tabata routines and I am starting to work these into what I do.

    The OTHER THING that gym and all this physical effort is doing is burning off stress-related tension. Stress stores itself in your muscles and only physical exertion will really discharge it.

    Lastly, after EACH workout, you MUST high-5 yourself.

    You earned it.

    T & R.

    The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.

    by xxdr zombiexx on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 05:13:36 AM PDT

  •  This was just what I needed to see. (8+ / 0-)

    My significant other's definitely on the obese side of the equation, and I'm fairly overweight myself.  Stress is the thing we have in common, as she grew up poor and I grew up chronically ill.

    But one of the most liberating things we ever did was go to a water park.  She was scared to death to do it because she was afraid people would point and make nasty comments to her.  I told her that if someone did, they'd catch absolute hell from ME.  In no way did I act ashamed to be seen with her, bathing suit and all.

    It helped that this was Ohio, land of the "average" people.  We fit right in, and the day went without incident.  It helped her confidence a great deal (though we both ended up with the mother of all sunburns).

  •  I appreciate your story (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JesseCW, Only Needs a Beat, shanikka, SuWho, FG

    And congratulations both on your efforts and your results.

    Furthermore, I agree with you that "calories in = weight gain" is wrong.

    The actual equation is "calorie surplus = weight gain".  In other words, calories in - calories out = weight gain (if positive) or weight loss (if negative).  It's a matter of thermodynamics, and THAT is not a myth.

    Where people get hung up is confusing water weight fluctuations with weight gain or loss, with miscounting calories in, and with not correctly accounting for calories out.

    Many are the people who claimed to have disproven the caloric balance equation.  When such folks are put in a clinical setting and calories in and out are managed for them, they lose (or gain) weight, like clockwork.  Every time.

    As always, do what works for you, if you want to lose weight.  But diets, if they work, are ultimately managing calories.

    •  As a follow-on (4+ / 0-)

      One thing I thought your diary might mention is this, and it's pretty big:

      People who are obese, yet get regular, vigorous exercise, have a lower mortality rate from all causes than people at a 'healthy' weight who are sedentary."

      In fact, people who are obese, yet get regular, vigorous exercise, have a mortality rate from all causes comparable to active people at a "healthy weight".

    •  Please read the books I linked (3+ / 0-)

      Why We Get Fat goes to great lengths to talk about how the law of thermodynamics applies to the human body (or doesn't) and how it actually is a myth.

      Thermodynamics tells us that if we get fatter and heavier, more energy enters our body than leaves it. Overeating mean we're consuming more energy than we're expending. It says the same thing in a different way. Neither happens to answer the question why. ...

      The experts who say we get fat because we overeat or we get fat as a result over over-eating are making the kind of mistake that would earn a failing grade in high school science class. They're taking a law of nature that says absolutely nothing about why we get fat and a phenomenon that has to happen if we do get fat--overeating--and assuming these say all that needs to be said. This is a common error in the first half of the twentieth century. It's become ubiquitous since.


      The assumption is that the energy we consume and the energy we expend have little influence on each other, that we can consciously change one and it will have no consequence on the other, and vice versa. The thinking is that we can choose to eat less, or semi-starve ourselves (reduce calories-in) and this will have no effect on how much energy we subsequenty expend (calories-out) or, for that matter, how hunger we become.
      And by the same token, if we increase our expenditure of energy, it will have no influence on how hungry we become (we won't work up an appetite) or how much energy we expend when we're not exercising.

      Intuitively we know this isn't true and the research in both animals and humans, going have a century, confirms it. People who semi-starve themselves, or who are semi-starved during wars, famines, or scientific experiments, are not only hungry all the time but lethargic and they expend less energy. Their body temperature drop, they tend to cold all the time. And increasing physical does increase hunger; exercise does work up an appetite, lumberjacks do eat more than tailors. Physical activity also makes us tired; it wears us out. We expend less energy when the activity is over.

      In short, the energy we consume and the energy we expend are dependent on each other. They are dependent variables...change one and the other changes to compensate...the energy we expend from day to day and week to week will determine how much we consume, while the energy we consume and make available to our cells will determine how much we expend.

      "There's an iPad 3 and a Mitt Romney 4 now. They've worked the bugs out. He's not killing hobos at night anymore."

      by muzzleofbees on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 06:56:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  What makes the book an authority (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Jonathan, splintersawry, mconvente

        Just because somebody has written a book doesn't make them right.

        For example:

        In short, the energy we consume and the energy we expend are dependent on each other. They are dependent variables...change one and the other changes to compensate...the energy we expend from day to day and week to week will determine how much we consume, while the energy we consume and make available to our cells will determine how much we expend.
        If this were true, nobody would ever starve to death, since the body would just adjust by expending fewer calories. That's clearly not how it works, so I find the whole premise to be flawed.

        Again, I'm not taking exception to your accomplishments, nor to the notion that there is more to it than just counting calories, but I think that the "more" is centered on making lifestyle changes that enable you to maintain a lifestyle where you consume fewer calories than you expend until you have attained the weight you desire.

        •  Very well said. And... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          AmericanAnt, splintersawry, mconvente

 should be noted that Mr. Taubes is not very well thought of among those in the nutrition sciences.  In fact, he's known as a bit of a hack.

          As I wrote above, people should do what works for them.  Taubes' understanding of (or description of) the science is way off, but if his prescription ultimately results in a person losing weight (wrong reasons, right actions) when they want to, then for that person, that's the bottom line.

        •  Exactly. (0+ / 0-)

          Actual scientists making a contribution to the field of metabolism and nutrition are publishing (often under the radar, at least outside of the scientific community) in respected peer-reviewed journals, not writing books for sale.

          Sure, some things may be correct and good for our health, but there's a reason we have double-blinded studies to understand biology, and more specifically, human biology.

          Some people might have perturbed ideals about "evil" pharmaceutical companies and whatnot, and I admit that science isn't without its faults and problems, but I think I'll trust well-designed scientific studies more than some guy selling a book on

          "Give me a lever long enough... and I shall move the world." - Archimedes

          by mconvente on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 11:09:21 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Any book that claims that thermodynamics is (0+ / 0-)

        a myth is BS. Although your quote makes sense so maybe the book doesn't actually make this claim.

        •  I'm sorry I mis spoke this morning (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mconvente, FG

          He did not claim that the the 1st law of thermodynamics was a myth. And I did not mean to imply that he did.

          "There's an iPad 3 and a Mitt Romney 4 now. They've worked the bugs out. He's not killing hobos at night anymore."

          by muzzleofbees on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 12:30:09 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  The quote makes sense.... (0+ / 0-)

          ...up to the part where it heavily implies the human body can significantly adapt its energy needs to energy availability.

          Now, that does NOT mean that certain mechanisms aren't available to stave off death during true starvation.  "Significantly" in this context refers to what many folks euphemistically refer to as "starvation mode" during dieting: creating a calorie deficit allegedly causing "downshifting" in metabolism such that one not only does not lose weight, but actually gains weight.  

          Things don't happen that way.  Unfortunately, Taubes taps into this very myth.

  •  Live in an urban neighborhood with sidewalks (4+ / 0-)

    and lose weight. If you walk, you can eat more than someone who rides everywhere.If you live on a cul de sac and drive everywhere you're much more likely to put on weight.

    Cities are good for the environment

    by citydem on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 05:27:33 AM PDT

  •  right on, sister! (11+ / 0-)
    Because "calories in-calories out" model is completely skewed and inaccurate
    I'll put what I eat daily - or weekly - up against any so-called "normal sized" person any time you ask. I eat healthier than most everyone in the lunchroom at work. In fact, I'm known for being the healthy eater in my workplace. I work out. I do triathlons - have completed over a dozen sprint-distance ones; have walked 2 half marathons & am training for 2 this winter.

    But the weight hasn't come off yet. I'm still well over 200 lbs. I'm working on losing weight because it'll make me a better triathlete - I want to finish the Danskin in under 3 hours next sprong. And those half marathons in January & February will hurt far less at 195 than the 2011 & 2012 halfs I did at 245. But I'm doing this for me, because I want to get better at stuff I do that I like. I am a triathlete, and getting under 200 lbs will make me a better triathlete.

    Thanks so much for this fantastic diary!

  •  You got it right here: (10+ / 0-)
    1) People are very, deeply unhappy.
    2) People are starving. Literally.
    3) The food industry has totally fucked any concept we have of what good nutrition is.
    So much of my own weight struggles have been a reflection of this trifecta of problems. I've long been on a slow curve upwards in the quality of food I eat, and increasingly stricter standards about what I'll accept, but it had to come when I was ready.

    I have been fortunate through the years in that my participation with the Army Reserve has forced me to maintain a certain standard of weight and body mass, but it has (at times) come at great struggle as I try to wrestle with these factors.

    Your experiences are enlightening, and your candor is refreshing... but the insight, I think, is most valuable of all. Good karma to you.

  •  I agree I don't think (9+ / 0-)

    weight gain/loss is strictly related to food intake or exercise.

    However, I was watching tv last night and there was ad after ad for restaurants, drinks, and food.  I think we are programmed from a young age to make food a pleasurable past-time and not what it is for - nourishment.

    •  Food changes (10+ / 0-)

      ...USDA figures for average caloric intake over the last 30 years show it's increased by roughly 500 calories per day -- enough to support an additional 70-100 pounds on every individual.  IMHO the answer to why the average person has gained weight is pretty straightforward.

      I DO agree with the diarist that the reasons for overeating/under-exercising are multi-factoral.  Stress is a big driver.  Portion size doesn't help, and neither does the easy availability of foods with high calorie densities.

      But the bottom line, however you get there, is STILL calories.  

      The problem, IMHO, is that people think managing calories is simple.  It isn't.  To begin with, we all tend to underestimate calories consumed and over-estimate calories burned (there are even studies to prove it).  And it doesn't take much mis-estimation to change a caloric deficit to going nowhere.

      •  The big problem with the 'a calorie (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Boston to Salem, renbear

        is a calorie' approach is that the human body is not a calorimeter. There's a whole lot else happening, and narrowly focusing on kcal numbers & hours at the gym (along with the Standard Magazine-Recommended Diet) ignores a whole lot about people. Almost as if the numbers on that scale are the only thing about a person that's relevant...

        •  kcals are simply a unit of measure (0+ / 0-)

          ...and kcals, when it comes to food, are generally calculated such that they take into account what the human body can metabolize.

          When it comes to THOSE kilocalories, the body, long ago, became quite efficient at metabolizing food eaten, largely regardless of the composition.

          •  Right. And the numbers re: those units of measure (0+ / 0-)

            (and a couple others) are given much more emphasis than just about everything else about the person involved (culturally generalizing here).

            It's a reductionary, isolationist mode of thinking, where 'the' problem is so precisely defined as to leave out a whole lot of interacting conditions. And when the prescribed solutions fail, the message people get is too often "you didn't do it right!" rather than "maybe we're looking at the problem wrong."

    •  All of those other factors affect your in/out rate (6+ / 0-)

      There seems no doubt that having extra stress in your life, negative messages about how much of a loser you are, and any number of other problems, is going to affect how you interact with food and exercise.

      However, there is a big jump from that view to "calories in minus calories out has no effect on your weight." Unless you think that the entire notion of your body using calories for energy and storing the excess is wrong, I don't see how it could be otherwise.

      I also think this is a controversial subject, and like any such topic you can find published books that will support almost any viewpoint. That doesn't make them any more or less correct than any other sources. Hell, the Atkins Diet was one of the original "it's in a book written by an M.D." takes on how to get there, and it seems clear in retrospect that it's a flawed approach.

      Congrats on the weight loss, and I hope you continue to be happier and healthier in the years to come.

  •  Never underestimate stress. (11+ / 0-)

    In the medical community, people often think of "stress" as a code word for "I can't figure out what's causing it but need to say something."

    That's a bad thing when you consider the very real effects that cortisol can have. I ended up learning this first-hand when I had to sue my medical school. In just six months of searching for a lawyer and litigating, I put on 55 pounds and went from being in excellent shape (as a former college athlete) to borderline obese. I've steadily and gradually lost weight since then, but five years later I'm still about 35 pounds above my soccer playing weight.

  •  You are right! At 51 I've been down at least part (10+ / 0-)

    of the same road you have traveled. I was over 300 pounds when I was 18 and took a lot of it off by the time I was in my late 30's, but it has continued to be a learning process for me. Only now have I really started to eat well. Being a guy I was able to avoid some of the abuse that overweight kids get. I was strong and spent a lot of time outside. I think I grew up just when the TV world started to take control of our culture. Once the food companies learned that through TV and the use of harmful addictive additives to food (sugar, trans fats etc.) they could get us to buy and eat anything we began to lose control of our own health.

    My first advice to anyone is to stop listening to the media and everyone else. Listen to yourself. Get out do anything that you like to do that involves moving. Eat food that is as natural as you can afford and get. Enjoy life. Enjoy how your body can move and change and become stronger. We win when we are healthy enough to spend a lot of time fighting the corporate monsters.

    "Even a man who is pure in heart and says his prayers by night may become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms and the autumn moon is bright" Curt Siodmak

    by Wisdumb on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 05:50:48 AM PDT

  •  Kudos muzzleofbees (9+ / 0-)

    In writing this excellent diary you are a very brave lady.

    I think the link below will be helpful to you. No one else here has mentioned the link between fructose and obesity. Please take the time to view this presentation.

    Some of what you will hear in this presentation might well surprise you.

    Sugar: The Bitter Truth

    Orwell - "Political language ... is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable"

    by truong son traveler on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 06:19:25 AM PDT

  •  Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. (12+ / 0-)
    My weight gain was not a simple matter of calories=fat. I would be surprised if anybody really had that simple story because the concept of calories in=weight gain is a myth, a misunderstanding of how the body works.
    Also, I am really sorry about all the fantastically shit diet "advice" you're probably getting in the comments.

    It gives a lovely light.

    by CayceP on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 06:29:25 AM PDT

    •  Not as much as I expected! (6+ / 0-)

      "There's an iPad 3 and a Mitt Romney 4 now. They've worked the bugs out. He's not killing hobos at night anymore."

      by muzzleofbees on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 06:58:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Your diary has too many posts for me to get into (4+ / 0-)

        There were a few things I wanted to say, tho.

        Imo, it's not just stress---it's an entire cultural obsession with measuring and labeling.

        For example, I have a lifelong eating pattern of eating huge amounts of food (comparatively speaking), then not really all that much for a few days.

        In the past, I've tried staying on a "measured" amount of food in terms of calories, etc., with disastrous results---I last a few weeks, then WHAMMY, my body goes nuts, and not just in terms of eating, but in terms of migraines, muscle spasms, you name it.

        I finally found a way of tracking that isn't particularly punitive, however, and what I've discovered is that, if I just follow my body's instincts, there's a clear ebb and flow to what and how much I eat, that this ebb and flow correlates with activity levels, the weather, stuff like that, while "over-regulating" my eating--- and, for that matter, activity---just results in me getting sick or something.

        I've also thrown out everything I've ever learned about food. I get migraines if I don't eat carbs, I suspect because my serotonin levels get messed up. So I "carb binge" once or twice a week, and they stay at bay. I thrive on dairy and nut butters and fruits, but I get physically weak if I don't eat a big slab of meat every few weeks. And that big slab of meat holds me for a long time---I get an immediate feeling of peaceful well-being and energy that lasts.

        Don't even get me started on exercise. My mantra is "just do stuff." I was close to a competitive athlete at one point in terms of what I could do in and out of the gym---but I also got sick a lot. These days? Not so much because I just do stuff, whether it's moving furniture, standing at work, walking to the store, mowing the grass, whatever, and it holds me without making me sick.

        I understand that maybe some people need lots of regulation---but maybe that over-regulation is part of the problem. Losing that has made a big difference in my health, including my weight.

        Anyway, it sounds to me like you're figuring some things out. Good for you. My hope is that more people start figuring things out and understanding their bodies and their lives.

  •  Thanks for this truly remarkable diary! (7+ / 0-)

    Until the medical profession looks at all aspects of obesity and treats the whole person, it's up to people to do as you have done: determine what is going on, make changes, and reject conventional "wisdom" and the witless remarks of outsiders.

    I have recently taken charge of my creeping weight gain through diet (Atkins) and with even a 10% reduction in body weight noticed more energy, much better sleep, and a cessation of snoring (mine as well as my also-dieting husband's).

    Sleep, it turns out, is a key element in the vicious cycle of weight gain and loss. If we can't sleep long enough/soundly enough, nothing we do to lose weight will be very effective. It's only once we begin losing the weight that we can make progress with the weight loss.

    Chronic stress has been an ongoing theme from my high school years (yes, one can be taunted for being too thin and small, too) through college through my first marriage (try marrying into an Irish Catholic family and finding out you're infertile) to the stresses of work, becoming a stepparent in a second marriage, and now launching my own business after being laid off (thanks, Bain).

    We're conditioned to accept stress as the "normal" condition when it's anything but.

    In this modern world, we have many more triggers of stress to try to outwit. Until we figure out how to manage our own stress (and help the next generations learn these skills earlier in their life than we did), we're going to have all manner of problems.

    Thank you again for writing this excellent diary, and sharing your observations with us.

    Some drink deeply from the river of knowledge. Others only gargle. -- Woody Allen

    by cassandracarolina on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 06:32:47 AM PDT

  •  There are no EASY or SIMPLE fixes to weight issues (6+ / 0-)

    You can't run for a week and lose all the weight you want.

    You can't get a good night's sleep and think your metabolism will be fixed.

    It takes mental health, physical health, and work/commitment/discipline.

    And while I abhor excuses and we've all get dealt bad hands in life from time to time, there is absolutely NO good reason to ridicule someone simply because of their weight problem.

  •  this line (7+ / 0-)

    "The food industry has totally fucked any concept we have of what good nutrition is"

    totally true. Watching the doc Forks Over Knives, I was amazed at the japanese kids being interviewed saying "yes, a glass of milk is important for calcium, and beef you need for protein". Asians, likely lactose intolerant, from a tradition of fish and rice. Advocating the very diet that is spreading heart  disease and cancer worldwide.

    I think of the character "famine" in Good Omens, who is thrilled that he's gotten all the celebs and models to start eating a nutritionally empty diet that is starving them to death.

    thanks for the diary, and for so eloquently showing the internal pressures of weight and diet. When people talk about the shame in america in asking for help (whether it's employment problems, homelessness, body image, whatever) i just think of the judgement i felt my whole childhood being put in fat camps while feeling unwelcome in physical activities with other kids (no one likes the fat slow teammate).

    thanks for writing.

    When life gives you lemons, don't elect them to Congress.

    by papa monzano on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 07:05:14 AM PDT

  •  here's me theory: whatever works for you! (5+ / 0-)

    There are people like you who find a way to do it that is drastically different than the what is working for me. My way is much more in line with calories in v.s. calories out. I focus on quality calories more than just total number, but still. I eat at what my maintenance is without exercise, then I exercise. Its a slow process but its working and its not hard to stick to at all.

    Good job and good luck going forward.

  •  You are an amazing woman! (9+ / 0-)

    Thank you for writing this diary.  I've been weight obsessed my entire life, my mother was weight obsessed, my sister is weight obsessed.  I am not obese but I can't get on scales or know that "number" or I will go into panic mode and want to starve myself.  I had a panic attack on my doctor one time and he finally stopped making me weigh.

    The most attention and complements I ever received on appearance in my life was when, in my early 20s, I decided that I could only have a good life if I were a properly thin woman.  I lost down to 103 lbs (I'm 5'7") and my period stopped and I was keeping at or below 1,000 calories per day and exercising every spare minute.  I received so many complements during this time!  And if I ever ate a meal more substantial than a plain baked potato or rice cakes I had to purge.  Yea, that got me what I wanted, positive attention for sickness.  When my life changed and I got a "real" job after grad school I fell apart and gained a bunch of weight and became a monster to people, it seemed.

    The focus on weight is killing us and making a lot of companies a lot of money.  The message we get is that you either go through a fast food drive-thru 3 times a day or you need to order pre-made meals and lose that weight!  There's never a message about what are healthy foods and how simple it is to choose foods for health.

    I have been at a size where I am happy for years, so long as I don't get on scales and hate myself no matter the number.  What worked for me was to get interested in feeling good, being healthy.  I am healthy doing this.  The whole "weight" thing is insane; and the stress of it along with our culture and the food processors have created the obesity epidemic, diabetes epidemic, you name it.  I too have suffered from depression since I was a kid, and I can tell you when you can't get out of the bed you aren't going to be getting much exercise!

    Thanks again for this brilliant diary.  More voices like yours need to be heard loud and clear on this issue.

  •  You're beautiful! (4+ / 0-)

    Thanks for the great diary, you are awesome!


    There is a sufficiency in the world for man's need but not for man's greed. Mahatma Gandhi

    by houseless on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 07:16:28 AM PDT

  •  Great diary! (8+ / 0-)

    Your diary is wonderfully written. My husband has struggled with his weight, and there is no question that when we eat the same portions, his body handles it differently than mine. Your insight that stress affects metabolism is right on the mark. I also heartily agree that it's time to take obesity out of the realm of the purely personal and do a broad sociological study bringing it into the realm of culture and society.

  •  your basic thesis could not be (11+ / 0-)

    more true.

    there is something profoundly wrong with the way Americans and by extension all of the industrialized world which is coming under our cultural pressure 'eat.'

    it is my contention that we don't eat food anymore, we eat product.

    food product is poison.

    i have many of the same issues you do although my maximum weight has been much less extreme.  nevertheless, at the best of times, i fight the same 10=15 pounds.

    here is my latest story: after a harrowing two years of emergencies of all sorts, culminating in the death of my mother, my wonderful doctor sends me to a hypnotist to try and lower my suddenly extremely high blood pressure.  he gives me a lot of goals far beyond my capacity and then tells me to weigh myself everyday because i need to lose weight in order to reduce strain on my broken ankles.  i am a size twelve right now.  i should be a size 10, something that belies the fact that i need to lose more than 15 pounds, but even so, a size twelve.

    i was so very angry that he would go there with all the serious issues i was facing, i couldn't even stand him after that day, not that there weren't other issue with this guy.

    can you imagine telling me to stress myself out more about my weight when my mother had died just a few weeks earlier?  we are sick, sick, sick.

    my hormones, insomnia, chronic pain, depression are all issues, but this guy could only see the 25-30 pounds that i needed to lose.

    god help us.

    Donate to Occupy Wall Street here:

    by BlueDragon on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 07:20:40 AM PDT

  •  Health At Every Size is AWESOME!!! (6+ / 0-)

    Hi Muzzle :)

    I'm a fellow fit fat person, and a member of ASDAH

    Association for Size Diversity and Health

    We are the primary organization that promotes HAES. I am glad you found HAES and are learning how to take care of your awesome body.

    You might find Fit Fatties to be a great forum for joyful exercise that doesn't focus on weight loss.

    Fit Fatties

    Have fun out there!!

    Lisa :)

    All Kossacks are my allies, but if you can't express your thoughts in a civil and kind manner, I won't be engaging in a conversation with you.

    by Boston to Salem on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 07:44:57 AM PDT

  •  You have done an amazing job (4+ / 0-)

    And I can tell it will continue.

    Personally I find that counting calories works for me, more or less--although I will admit that I went back to Weight Watchers a couple months ago after losing 40 pounds and having it start to creep back again. I'm eating pretty much the same as when I was dieting on my own but that weekly weigh in plus the support group keeps me in line, and I'm very much back on track. I was determined not to give them any more of my money after losing the same 40 pounds with them ten years ago and surprise! gaining it back, but I can't blame them for that. So back I went. I've accepted that it's what I'll have to do forever, because there's never going to be a time when I can eat whatever I want without keeping track of it, because I lie to myself when I grab a handful of this, a few bites of that. I'm not a binge-eater, I'm a grazer, and it it's my undoing. Being post-menopausal now doesn't help my metabolism, but not having the constant hormonal up and down has put my brain more in charge than it was ten years ago, and I find I'm much more successful than before. It's just not as hard mentally. Or maybe I've finally grown up!

    I do find that although I seem to lose at the same rate whether I skew my alloted points towards more carbs or more proteins and fats, I am hungrier if I eat more carbs. A salad with chicken and a little olive oil dressing is more filling than a sandwich for the same "point" total. More carbs seem to equal more hunger for me, and certainly more water retention.  And when I get too hungry, that's when it all falls apart!

    Keep it up, muzzle, you're fantastic.

    •  Oddly enough (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bdizz, Only Needs a Beat

      I found myself losing weight for the first time in years when I went back to school lived by myself and ate when I felt like it. Now that I'm back living at home, it has mostly come back. Personally it's both meat and carbs that pack it on and my husband loves his meat and starch. Good thing I really like his company ;-)

      "There's a crack in everything; that's how the light gets in". Leonard Cohen

      by northsylvania on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 08:10:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  To call this diary profound is an (9+ / 0-)

    understatement.  Is there anyone who grew up in this nation without a food related issue?  When I was younger I had a  friend from France, she was only about a year in our country and she was having a hard time in ways.  She told me one day, you guys eat crap.  I was taught to always be grateful for what was on my plate.  This crap is all I've ever known and I was grateful for it :)

    And our culture is so competition based.....over the cliff, I do think that most Americans are deeply unhappy at this time.  We used to be spiritually bankrupt, but now we live on derivatives of spirituality which is even worse and we call it great.....and great is swell enough damn it.

    That is only the scratched surface of what this diary speaks to me.

  •  genetics and hormones (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LSophia, DawnN, mconvente, TiaRachel

    Causes of obesity are rarely simple. On the surface, the cause of obesity seems simple enough: A person who consumes more calories than he burns through exercise or other activities gains weight.

    This relatively simple reason for weight gain is complicated, however, by additional causes of obesity. There are links between genetics and obesity, as well as certain medications, environment and hormone levels.

    Genetics are clearly involved as genes produce all hormones. It bears repeating that scientific knowledge on these matters is incomplete and much research is still being undertaken by the scientific community to understand these genetically produced hormones and their functions, and even to discover other currently unknown hormones.

    That said, if you have a chronic overweight or obesity problem that has not been responding to genuine and determined dietary and exercise therapies, you should ask your doctor (or specialist endocrinologist) for a thorough blood and urine examination of all of the following hormone levels - along with other tests such as mineral deficiencies. You may just gain a better insight into your condition, or even identify some other disorder that can be treated that is producing the side effects of weight gain.

  •  an amazing diary, an amazing woman (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LSophia, SuWho, Only Needs a Beat

    Yours is a remarkable story, beautifully told. I'm so proud of you, because one of the most important gains I see here is self-awareness. Brava!

    Life is a shipwreck. But we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats. — Voltaire

    by agrenadier on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 08:40:58 AM PDT

  •  I puzzle over the unhappiness (7+ / 0-)

    that is clearly endemic in our culture.   Clearly our access to food and safety is better than that of most peoples at most times in history.  Some point to  shifting ,gender roles, or greater mobility, or decreased family ties, or less religion,or media addiction ...

    My own pet nomination for high contributor to the modern malaise:  not enough time outdoors.   It's hard to feel quite so anxious and stressed when you can smell the grass, hear the brook, see the clouds.  

    And right along with needing time in nature, we need plenty of physical activity.  

    "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

    by lgmcp on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 08:44:02 AM PDT

  •  Great diary! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SuWho, Only Needs a Beat

    Thank you so much for posting.  Powerful stuff.

    I have a seriously beautiful older sister and a mother who never gains weight, no matter what she eats (that's true of both of them).  I gain weight very easily and my mother's mother was seriously overweight, so the pressure on me to be careful of what I ate or stay slim was unrelenting.  I'm surprised I didn't get an eating disorder.  It didn't help that I was bigger-boned than either of them.

    I think I was saved by school sports, music, and, later on, martial arts.  My body might have been fuller-figured than the rest of my family, but it could still do nifty things like hit high Cs or chuck a 300-pound man across a room.  So, it must have been at least semi-okay.

  •  Everybody thinks their way is the only way (8+ / 0-)

    "I lost weight by ...." so it must be the one only true way!  I was one of the few who lost weight only by portion control and counting calories, so I ran around and professed that as the only truth for awhile.

    But different things work for different people and it's not always even the same thing that works for both the long and short term.

    One thing that's always good to do, whether it helps with weight loss or not, is exercise.  I love your reasons for doing it and your descriptions - there is such joy there.

    Great diary, M.O.B. Continued happiness on your journey.

    "The best song will never get sung..."

  •  Healthy & strong is the key (7+ / 0-)

    I got my attitude changed in a Yoga teacher training class. One of the other students was a "big girl" - tall, large and fit and STRONG! I admit I stereotyped her the moment I saw her in the class with us "skinny" people (had been semi-smug since loosing ~80 lbs 10 yrs earlier - mostly through changing how and what I ate) - but I got schooled.

    Kimberly was able to just step into a hand-stand and hold it when I couldn't even think of doing that with lots of help.  She could gracefully move and balance in any pose while the rest of us struggled. On a hike, she was the only one who wasn't struggling for breath on a steep hill - and she was having a blast the whole time, obviously not caring a bit about what our opinions of her were.

    Turns out she specialized in teaching large people how to move, stretch, get flexible and strong - without judgment about their weight or eating habits.  From her, I learned to quit judging MYSELF so harshly and accepting judgment from others so readily - it really was liberating. Learning to see past her presented exterior let me accept myself and my flaws and has allowed me to have a more positive relationship with my body and health.

    ACTUAL strength and health are far more important that what you look like. When you let go of the baggage - you get what you were seeking all along with a lot less effort.

    "Curiouser and curiouser!"

    by TechBob on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 09:07:22 AM PDT

  •  So glad you've found what works for you. (5+ / 0-)

    I've thought for a while that everyone must have different needs for calories and exercise and different ways it will work, or else these cookie-cutter diet plans would have been adopted and worked for everyone already.

    I'm working on what works for me, weightlifting and standing for at least 1/2 of every hour at work. And I got an unsolicited compliment recently, too! :)

  •  My weight was caused by depression (6+ / 0-)

    First, I want to say congratulations on your achievement.  It's not easy to make substantive changes to one's life, and you really seem to be succeeding.  Kudos!

    I suffered from ... how best to describe it ... low grade neglect ... for most of my childhood that caused me to develop dysthymia, and part of being depressed all the time was my weight gain.  I don't really remember when it began ... I know I was a bean pole when I was really little, and I know by middle school I was overweight.  I tried a number of diets that never really worked.  It was only after having a Major Depressive Disorder episode that I'm really lucky to have lived through that I started seeing a therapist and went on medications.  After getting more-or-less straightened out, I started kung fu and Weight Watchers, and I don't know whether those things directly helped or it was the inner peace (from kung fu) and having defined structure (from Weight Watchers) that reduced my stress to the point where I started losing weight, but now I'm really close to my goal weight and I teach at the kung fu school I attend.  My life is really good, and none of that would have been possible had I not addressed the underlying issues that led to my weight gain.  The obesity, as you said, was a symptom, not a cause.

  •  Thank you for this diary. (10+ / 0-)

    I feel the same way, but you have put it into words that I could not. Your words are golden.

    My friend and I have often shared our disgust that women are often proud of having lost weight after a particularly bad illness, such as the flu pr a stomach bug. It's almost as if people are congratulating you on being sick and throwing up for the past week! Good job! It's sick and wrong and completely acceptable in our society.

    I'm obese. I feel fine, but I can see where I am on the chart, and I'm well over the line. However, when I decided two years ago to start jogging (or micro-jogging as I call it, since it's more of a shuffle). I haven't lost an ounce. In fact, I've probably gained a couple of pounds (my yearly two), but I've gone from jogging .1 miles and having to stop, to jogging 2 miles and knowing I can go further if I want to. This Sunday will be my second 5k race (I do the Petit Family race every year), and this time I plan to finish running (last year I made it 2.5 miles before I had to walk).

    My point is this. I try to reflect a healthy attitude and a willingness to try to my daughter, but it's not easy in a society where fat = bad and the teen role models are paper thin (like Victoria Justice and Miranda Cosgrove). If someone in my high school gym class had told us HOW to learn to run a mile (practicing daily a little more each time for a couple of weeks) instead if failing us for not running a 10-minute mile when they said to, I may have become a jogger long before I turned 36.

    My life is defined not by religion and ritual, but by attitude and action.

    by World Citizen on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 10:07:06 AM PDT

  •  Bowling for Columbine (4+ / 0-)

    the most powerful moment in that documentary is when Moore is talking to an author about fear:  we are a culture based on fear.  You can see it every day in pronouncements from Republicans but also the news.  When I saw that segment, it crystallized what I had been thinking / feeling.  Ever since I've been able to observe myself and if I am responding with fear.  Also, I try to find joy whenever it is present.  A beautiful sky, a nice walk, greeting strangers, being nice to others, it all works and there are so many times in the day when a laugh is appropriate - and it's good for the health.

    I've long felt that one should eat what the body wants as long as it is not processed.  Indulge in fresh fruit.  Eat corn like a fiend when it's in season.  I've taken to eaten beans and grains lately.  I add other stuff to it but I just enjoy eating them.  I'll be eating potatoes for week when they are ready in the fall.

    What a wonderful diary about life.  Thank you.

  •  Found some inspiration here... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    That got me started on DDP Yoga, cut out gluten and most processed foods... down 17 pounds in a month (some increase in muscle mass, that counts!), more flexible and feeling better, and more likely to be here longer for the kids. I wasn't too bad yet, up to 217, but I was going the wrong direction and not happy.

  •  You've given me a lot to think about... (4+ / 0-)

    I've been struggling for over a year with my weight. I've always been the kind of person who ate whatever I wanted, was probably 10-15 lbs overweight, but was generally content with my body.

    That changed about 18 months ago. I'm not sure exactly what happened but I've been slowly gaining weight every month since they despite various changes in my diet (calorie restricting, carb restricting, going back to eating whatever, etc.).

    Recently I became familiar with Paleo and I've actually read one of the books you linked to "Why We Get Fat" which has led me to all other kinds of resources that are helping me understand what's going on with my body, from leaky gut, to high levels of triglycerides and insulin resistance.

    I've even started to transition to a diet that avoids grains and legumes, although I haven't sustained that kind of eating long enough to reprogram my body to burn fat instead of sugar.

    What I haven't taken into consideration is the pretty severe depression I've been in for a while... or at the very least I looked at it as a separate problem.

    At any rate, I don't know exactly what's going to work for me, but I appreciate you sharing your story and it's given me a lot to think about. So THANKS! :)

  •  thanks for a spectacular diary (8+ / 0-)

    Not that anyone is probably going to read this comment, because I'm late to the party....

    But I agree, there is a cultural sickness of sorts, a combination of stress and social alienation, loneliness, pettiness, cruelty, and meaninglessness, coupled with a lack of nutrition and really bad food and few ways to leave the house that don't cost money, and on and on.

    In my youth I was alternately starving and binging, and after I got over my bulimia switched to alcohol abuse. Then after I realized that if I stopped treating myself like crap, I might feel better, I tried a more sane approach to food.

    Like you, I've found that walking a lot helps, and these days, now that I am getting older and don't care so much what I look like or whether anyone loves me, I am more interested in physical fitness for the sheer pleasure of it. It feels good to feel good.

    I also had some success with Atkins but it is not sustainable for me, and now that I think about it, the state of mind wherein I'd try to force myself to do anything is really not healthy for me. Willpower is bullshit. The path of least resistance is the better way.

    I know my body. Sugar makes me crave more sugar. The more junk food I eat, the more I want - and conversely, the more protein and low-carb fruits and vegetables I eat, the better able I am to sustain an even energy level throughout the day - and be free of cravings so that food becomes more about keeping my body going and less about trying to cope with unpleasant emotions - most notably because when I eat well, I feel happier and don't have as many mood swings. I don't think gluten is so great for me, but my body seems to appreciate animal protein and eggs, and there are some really awesome vegetables out there that I like when I don't pollute my body with processed foods.

    So I agree it's best to listen to your own body and not to the diet industry or idiotic know-it-alls or one-size-fits-all solutions or magazines that tell you you're worthless because you don't fit an impossible standard of beauty that not even the people in the magazines really fit because they are all air-brushed. Feeling things out for yourself has a real ring of truth for me. And to just calm down.

    Really: Thank you so much. This is very affirming.

  •  Great Diary (3+ / 0-)

    now if only the magazines would stop with the photoshopping: as you say, you can be healthy at any weight or size. It's only pop culture that makes us desire a specific stereotype.

  •  Interesting diary (4+ / 0-)

    It makes me think about how societal attitudes and expectations on weight have changed.  It also makes me think about how complex many of our problems are, not just weight/obesity, but global warming, the economy, etc.  Anyone who says they have "the solution" to these complex problems should be looked at with extreme skepticism -- most of these problems came about through a myriad of factors, and without addressing ALL of them, it's going to be difficult to SOLVE the problems.

    Each of these factors (with proposed single-threaded solutions) will affect the problem, if addressed, but probably not solve it.  

    Until we recognize in many areas that complex problems require complex solutions, we're not really going to be able to make a lot of progress on any of them.

    Congratulations in finding some ways to address your weight -- I do think you're right that the weight isn't the problem, your health is.  If you're healthy, then who cares about your weight?  

    I was pretty healthy, even when heavier than I "should" be, but I kept gaining weight, and even though I play tennis several times per week and go to the gym (sometimes regularly... :-), I got to a point where I didn't FEEL good.  So, I've tried some other ways to get good nutrition, and I've started losing the weight, and feel much better.  I have a ways to go, but even if I get to where I was in college, my weight NUMBERS would still indicate that I am "too heavy" and possibly obese.  Even though I know that if I got to that weight, I'd be in fabulous shape -- I've always weighed more than people thought.  :-)  

    Numbers can lie.  :-)  Probably because it's not the numbers that are's the interpretation!

    I'd much rather be a champion of the powerless than a lickspittle of the powerful. -- Rodney Ellis, Texas State Senate (D)

    by Jill on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 11:22:45 AM PDT

  •  Go Broncos! (3+ / 0-)

    ...btw, nice t-shirt.  
    -- from a fellow Broncos fan!

    I'd much rather be a champion of the powerless than a lickspittle of the powerful. -- Rodney Ellis, Texas State Senate (D)

    by Jill on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 11:24:14 AM PDT

  •  Thank you for this......... (7+ / 0-)

    Muzzle thank you so much for this diary and I wish your life to be full of stress free happy moments.

    I too am overweight and do not seem to be able to become a smaller more socially acceptable size.  My story is that I was a completely normal weight until I turned 32 then I started to feel bad and gained weight.  The only way I was able to lose weight was to starve myself and run and aerobics three hours per day.  I would get so frustrated because I would look at others that were able eat real meals and wonder why that wasn't me.  Doctors would not believe me and so it took 8 years until I went to an top of his field ENT that they found out I had mutiple tumors that secret cortisol and other stress hormones.  They ended up being inoperable so I'm still living with them and screwed up hormones.  My issue is that I try to explain why I'm overweight and no one believes me.  I get the "your just not trying hard enough" look.  Kind of sad story.  I had to have radiation and the oncologist sent me to a nutritionist for counseling on not loosing weight.  They didn't even look at the file and lunched into what I must be doing wrong and the proper foods to eat to lose weight.  I explained why I was there and that they wasted my time by not reading the file.  The ladies mouth dropped open but she did not apologize.  Needless to say I never went back.

    Sorry for adding my story but stories like yours give me hope.

    I do think the patriotic thing to do is to critique my country. How else do you make a country better but by pointing out its flaws? Bill Maher

    by gtghawaii on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 11:47:10 AM PDT

  •  Losing it freely...women food and god. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Only Needs a Beat, LSophia

    Not a god book or a woman book. A great book about how we manage stress through avoidance. I followed her book and spent at least a year eating mindfully as I gained weight. Then one day, truth came...and I have been successfully losing weight, eating mindfully...very slowly but for the first time I feel free of the compulsion!!!

    I work a dbt program, and have been practicing mindfulness as I eat. I now know when I am full, what I crave, when to eat and when to stop.

    I eat what I want, but I pay attention to how it feels in my body. I crave fruits and veggies and some carbs....

    I absolutely recommend this book!

  •  WOW (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Only Needs a Beat, LSophia

    I need more time to read this thoroughly.

    But my immediate reaction is RIGHT ON

    "Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D."

    by TrueBlueMajority on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 12:00:54 PM PDT

  •  word (4+ / 0-)

    I applaud your patience in the comments, and in telling your story.    There are so many broken narratives about weight in the US it's staggering, and it's good to see people talking about them.  

  •  There is massive bad informationi (0+ / 0-)

    In this diary.  For starters you use losing fat and losing weight as interchangeable.  Losing weight IS as simply as calories in/out.  Losing fat is not.  Body composition is 80% diet 5-10% activity and 5-10% genetics.  Congrats on the exercise but you are doing yourself a massive disservice.  And yes YOU ARE ON A DIET!!!!!  A diet is what you eat.  Babies diet consists of mothers milk, birds diets consist of seeds and berries, YOUR DIET consists of what you eat.  

    Losing weight, for 90+% of people, is as simple as dietary changes.  Massive amounts of peer reviewed research available on pubmed bears this out.  We are the party of science.

    •  I have read studies and I am familiar with the (5+ / 0-)

      current science. This isn't a passing fancy I have had, but rather an ongoing interest because it's my life and I need to know.

      I think you are being a bit anal about the use of the word "diet." I'm sure most readers realized that I meant it in the colloquial term, as in "Oh, you look great. Have you started a diet?" I am aware that technically everything we eat is collectively known as our "diet" but I can't help the fact that there's a difference between connotation and detonation.

      Creating a calorie deficit does cause pounds to leave your body and the scale to move. But it is not a long term solution for this health problem ravaging our nation, and if it were a long term solution, we wouldn't be facing the problems we have!

      You throw out numbers like "90%" but do you have a cite that 90% of people who participate in semi-starvation "diets" 1)reach their goal weight and 2) stay there without remaining in the semi-starvation state and 3)never find the weight "creeping" back? Because the cite I provided in the diary seems to indicate that if anything 90+% of people who "diet" are not going to experience long-term success and most would be deemed failures by our oh-so-helpful medical community. Why is that? If creating a calorie deficit is the answer, and the dieting industry is worth literally hundreds of millions of dollars every year, why are we not a nation of lean, mean fighting machines? Could it be because there is a disconnect from what we've been told and the reality of the situation? We are the party of science, but we're also the "reality based community" and I'm not obligated to ignore the facts that I have seen and experienced in order to fit a narrative that has no bearing on my life.  

      I'm not doing myself any sort of disservice. I had the choice between accepting common wisdom or relying on the amazing brain evolution has blessed me with to study, analyze, and understand the facts for myself. For me the "common wisdom" is a failed hypothesis, and that failure can be supported by scientific studies and anecdotal information. My current understanding/hypothesis may be incomplete, but that isn't the same as "bad information" and my heroes in science have taught me that "incomplete" is another word for "opportunity."

      "There's an iPad 3 and a Mitt Romney 4 now. They've worked the bugs out. He's not killing hobos at night anymore."

      by muzzleofbees on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 12:54:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Blah blah blah blah blah (5+ / 0-)

      How to miss the point by a distance greater than from here to the Andromeda Galaxy!

      It MAY be true that it's a matter of achieving a "proper" dietary balance - but no two people have exactly the same needs. And no two people will have exactly the same results.

      Anyone who presumes to tell anyone else, "Oh you MUST do it THIS way!", is not only doing them no good but may very well be completely wrong.

      If it's
      Not your body,
      Then it's
      Not your choice
      And it's
      None of your damn business!

      by TheOtherMaven on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 01:37:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Depends on how you define 'in/out', I guess. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I'm on a diet and losing weight too.  I'm cycling a few days without carbs, a few days with, and I've dropped 18.5 lbs over the 7 days so far that have been 'without', thanks to gluconeogenesis, a metabolic pathway well-documented in peer reviewed literature, that you'll find in probably any good pathology textbook to boot.

      I'm eating a lot of calories, but my body is burning through even more than I'm eating, without any exercise at all, because I'm not giving it any carbs it needs to make serum glucose, so it has to go grab off stored fats so that insulin can push amino acids into my cells.

      But I'm doing squat for 'work' or 'exercise', which is what everyone thinks of when they talk about 'calories out'.  I don't need to, because I learned about how my cells actually 'work' themselves.

  •  Sorry to disagree. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    As much as the diarist is resistant to the idea, the ONLY determining factors in weight gain/loss are diet and exercise. This is not some ethereal theory to be bantered around, but hard science. Matter does not appear or disappear out of thin air. If your caloric intake exceeds your metabolic burn, you gain weight. If that is reversed, you lose weight. That's the science of it. We are, in fact "machines" in this regard.
    I'm glad you have finally found a method that works for you, but don't fool yourself: the reason you are losing weight is because your caloric intake is less than your metabolic burn. That's the ONLY way it happens. Ever.

    •  See my response (3+ / 0-)

      Just above yours

      It was "hard science" in the 20th century. It's not "hard science" in the 21st century and this so-called "hard science" wasn't accepted until the 1950s, until then all the other science supported the opposite conclusion. That evidence (and the evidence being gathered now) shouldn't be dismissed because it doesn't fit into the narrative we've established for ourselves.  And no person who is interested in science should ever be completely beholden to a single hypothesis/theory. Evolution is widely accepted as fact despite what the rightwing would have us believe, but if there was no evidence found tomorrow that evolution as Darwin proposed it was "bunk" then you'd better believe scientists would take a good, long look at the "hard science" they've always considered to be true.

      The study of nutrition and biology is ongoing, as is the study or everything in this amazing world. We know so much but there's still so much we haven't discovered.

      "There's an iPad 3 and a Mitt Romney 4 now. They've worked the bugs out. He's not killing hobos at night anymore."

      by muzzleofbees on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 01:00:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Here's the fallacy, boomonkey: (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Only Needs a Beat, LaraJones, renbear

      You (and Hind2, for whose opinion I have no respect on any subject whatsoever) are assuming that all people are absolutely identical and totally interchangeable - in the face of HUMONGOUS quantities of scientific evidence (and your own lying eyes) that this is complete and utter hogwash.

      The bottom line is actually this:
      1) No two people are totally alike.
      2) No two people have exactly the same needs.
      3) No two people will have exactly the same results even if all other factors could be identified and controlled 100% (which they can't).
      4) Therefore, what works for one person will not necessarily work for another.

      In the long run it doesn't matter how somebody gets to the goal of a properly balanced lifestyle - as long as they get there.

      If it's
      Not your body,
      Then it's
      Not your choice
      And it's
      None of your damn business!

      by TheOtherMaven on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 02:05:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you for this diary..... (3+ / 0-)

    I really enjoy hearing about your struggle and success.  I struggled with another type of addiction earlier in life, and like you,  the light bulb when on when I realized I was "self medicating" symptoms of depression.    Just to give my 2 cents on your story BTW, I'm sure the gym does help with your mood, which ultimately keeps you from needing to self medicate in an unhealthy way.   I find I have to get some physical exercise (even if it's just a walk) in order to keep myself from falling back into depression (I do take anti-depressants, but I still can fall back into it when I don't take care of myself).  

    Inspiring story!  

    (-6.25, -4.36) Just another socialist lesbian undermining the sanctity of marriage by breathing

    by Gertrude on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 01:33:36 PM PDT

  •  I admire you for speaking this truth. (4+ / 0-)

    Lot of people still feel perfectly justified dumping on fat people. It makes me angry.

    I'm posting this to my facebook page. Hopefully it will give people something to think about.

    Poverty = politics.

    by Renee on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 02:07:45 PM PDT

  •  Do you think that your weight loss... (0+ / 0-)

    could be connected to the large amounts of time you spend in the gym?

    It's a rare person that's willing to work out for 5-6 hours a day.

    You can't simultaneously fire teachers and cruise missiles!-Jon Stewart

    by djtyg on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 03:14:22 PM PDT

    •  I don't do 5-6 hours regularly (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      renbear, BlueDragon, TiaRachel, LSophia

      Only when Im with my buddy! On my own it's half that time.

      I know that the gym has had and continue to have a huge impact on the way my body is changing. If I keep it up for a week, by the end of the week there will be visible changes (mainly around my waist and back). And I could very well be metabolizing far more calories than I'm taking in right now.


      I failed to mention my past experiences in the diary, and so there is probably a part missing from the narrative. In high school as a senior I enrolled in PE courses at the local junior college. The first semester it was Power Walking and Kick Boxing, the second semester was weight training and circuit training. I had classes 3 times a week, every week, for the entire year. I worked very hard and my endurance and strength went up as did my energy levels for the whole year.

      I didn't lose any weight.

      I never slimmed down. To look at me, nobody could ever know that I was working so fucking hard.

      So when my friend literally tricked me into working out with him the first time, I was really skeptical and not excited about my chances. When things started to change and it wasn't like any experience I had before, that's when the wheels started turning and I began to wonder "What the hell is going on here?"

      "There's an iPad 3 and a Mitt Romney 4 now. They've worked the bugs out. He's not killing hobos at night anymore."

      by muzzleofbees on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 04:21:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  You have to pay to 'atkins diet'? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I haven't looked at Atkins directly, but I've heard it's based on the gluconeogenetic metabolic pathway, and I don't see why you'd have to pay for any special training or foods.

    I just cut out carbs for 7 days and dropped 18.5 lbs.  If anything, it cost me less, since I was buying far less to eat.  And I'm not blaming insulin, insulin is my friend, because the cells need it to move the amino acids inside, and since I'm not supplying easy to convert carbs for blood glucose, my liver has to go in and break down that stored fat so that my blood sugar stays up.

    I'm glad, though, that I didn't decide to pay anyone to provide me with 'special foods'.  Those sorts of 'diets' are all rip-offs.

    •  Atkins doesn't require you pay for it (5+ / 0-)

      But consider the economics of the grocery store. I have $100 for a month for three people to live off of. That's what...90 meals? So I basically have a $1 per meal per person.

      Do I buy red meat? Fresh produce? Do I have the funds necessary to construct meals that reach the required carb, fat and calorie levels?

      Or do I buy beans, rice, pasta and cans of tomato sauce?

      When i was in grad school, I devoted 40 hours a week to the program and 40 hours a week to my own writing (this was from 2006-2008 when the weight gain really picked up momentum). My time was as limited as my money, and unfortunately, that led to poor eating decisions out of convenience and economics.

      So yes, I've found that sticking to Atkins could be far more costly than I could afford at various times in my life.

      Now however, I  have found an amazing food co-op that is fresh, local, and very, very affordable. I can stretch $50 there with fresh produce and meats further than I could ever stretch at the grocery store, and I am thankful every week that I found it!

      "There's an iPad 3 and a Mitt Romney 4 now. They've worked the bugs out. He's not killing hobos at night anymore."

      by muzzleofbees on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 04:28:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Social Stigma Has Its Place (0+ / 0-)

    There is just one quibble I have, and I know not everyone will agree, but here goes.

    The diarist suggests that "...negative, hurtful comments directed regularly towards larger-sized people helps reinforce this poison [of obesity].  

    I sort of agree and sort of disagree.

    On the one hand, yes, nasty comments and looks can make someone who is fat feel bad.  

    However, you are also not doing them any favor by pretending that everything is OK either.  

    I had a morbidly obese Aunt.  As kids, we were trained to bring her whatever she wanted to eat.  If any kid had the temerity to ridicule her on her food choices, they got cursed out and, on occasion, smacked upside the head.  Said obese Aunt went on to die an early and probably preventable death from a variety of weight-related diseases and illnesses.  Were we doing her any favors by not pointing out that what she was doing was unhealthy?

    On the other hand, I recall clearly a few years ago when I really needed to get serious about my weight (I need to lose about 30 pounds).  It was when I went into a business meeting and, in the pre-meeting chatter, this guy I knew came up to me, took one look (he hadn't seen me in a few years) and said - in a loud enough voice so that everyone could hear - "wow, you're a fat fuck now!"  I laughed although inside I was mortified.  But I was also pissed.  Pissed at him,  but also pissed at myself because he was right.

    So I am not sure telling fat people that everything is wonderful is helping them either.  Sometimes stronger medicine called ridicule and social stigma has its place.

    "Hidden in the idea of radical openness is an allegiance to machines instead of people." - Jaron Lanier

    by FDRDemocrat on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 04:48:57 PM PDT

    •  In 15 years of Overeaters Anonymous (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      teemel, renbear, freesia, TiaRachel, LSophia

      I never heard anyone say that they lost weight because of ridicule and bullying. On the contrary, people said that those experiences caused them to numb out by eating more food. Glad it worked for you, but if it worked for the general population, the general population would be a lot thinner.

    •  Please re-examine your assumptions. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TiaRachel, LSophia

      And re-read the article. That just increases the person's stress. Which will NOT HELP.

      ... there is always an easy solution to every problem -- neat, plausible and wrong. - H. L. Mencken

      by renbear on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 11:47:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  There is line between bullying and stigma (0+ / 0-)

        I am not talking about harassment and bullying.  I am talking about people expressing disapproval at your self-destructive behavior.

        There aren't any magic bullets.  

        But the Self-Esteem Movement approach, where everyone is congratulated regardless of results, everyone is declared a winner, and everyone is allowed to claim victim status doesn't seem to have a great track record either.

        "Hidden in the idea of radical openness is an allegiance to machines instead of people." - Jaron Lanier

        by FDRDemocrat on Fri Jul 13, 2012 at 03:02:42 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Stress is a normal human reaction (0+ / 0-)

        We feel stress for a variety of reasons.  Eliminating unnecessary stress is useful.  But stress because it is warranted is not a bad thing.

        What is worse - a stress-free descent into morbid-obesity and an early death?  Or stress that exists because of an honest realization that you need to change your habits or die?   Maybe it still won't get you to change....but it a least gives you a chance.

        "Hidden in the idea of radical openness is an allegiance to machines instead of people." - Jaron Lanier

        by FDRDemocrat on Fri Jul 13, 2012 at 03:05:36 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I've never heard anyone describe (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          the descent into morbid obesity as stress-free. On the contrary, people had whatever stressors life was throwing them and the stress of weight gain and its associated sufferings.

          There are ways to offer support and understanding without "congratulations regardless of results" and ridicule, harassment, social stigma, and bullying. I'm not sure why the general public thinks that (1) fat people don't know that they're fat (2) they've never tried to correct the situation (3) they're too stupid, weak willed, or otherwise incompetent to succeed--and must be lying about their attempts.

          •  People Have A Choice (0+ / 0-)

            There is a percentage of people who are obese through factors beyond their control.  But the vast majority of people are obese through the choices they make.  No one is putting a gun to your head to take a second slice of that chocolate marble fudge cake.  

            I have struggled with being fat.  The turning point for me came when I stopped listening to people telling me I was a victim and started realizing that I could take control of my life, what I ate, how I exercised.  It is hard, it is often two steps forward one step back, but there is a real feeling of accomplishment when you keep even a few pounds off.  It would never have happened if I had let others make excuses for me or try to keep me in some sort of feel-good cocoon.

            "Hidden in the idea of radical openness is an allegiance to machines instead of people." - Jaron Lanier

            by FDRDemocrat on Tue Jul 17, 2012 at 08:06:46 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  great diary. you have the perfect attitude -- (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    you exercise b/c you like to! -- & that's the secret to any weight loss/exercise program.  humans will only do something like exercise or change their eating habits (which is all a diet is, anyway) because they want to -- it's fun or makes them feel good, or whatever -- bottom line is, they want to.

    good luck reaching your goal & have fun!

  •  I LOVE this diary (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Love it, love it, love it.

    Empowerment leads to health, and sometimes to weight loss, but health is what matters.

    Lack of empowerment leads to poor health, and sometimes weight gain, but health is what matters.

    Your points are correct and shatter misconceptions that so badly need to be shattered.

    In an almost excruciating irony that proves it, your diary popped up with a weight loss add in the top right corner with Jillian from The Biggest Loser, asking "How BIG is your weight loss goal" with a list of several options in pounds.  I find that maddening  - and I say that as a skinny guy who can't weigh more than 119 lbs. at 5'10 no matter how much I eat or don't eat; the fact is I've been very close to enough people in my life (particularly women) who have dealt with the range of emotional and psychological (and physical) pressures that surround these issues, which is how I know your diary is 110% correct.

    It reminds me of the same point I made in a diary a couple years ago when an Obama appointee was being targeted online en masse for her weight:

    77% of voters support a public option, Congress.

    by ShadowSD on Wed Jul 11, 2012 at 06:11:36 PM PDT

  •  I thought I posted but can't find it so (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Southcoast Luna, muzzleofbees

    just wanted to let you know that I haven't logged in here in over a year but this diary was so well written and so inspiring and so EXACTLY what I needed to hear, I had to write to say: thank you.

  •  I also want to say that I was overweight for my (3+ / 0-)

    entire childhood (during which I was being sexually abused by my grandfather). My dad gave me dirty looks whenever I ate what he considered the wrong thing or too much of whatever it was. Maybe he suspected I was not eating because I was hungry but instead to handle my feelings. That was the truth. And you know what? Out of all the ways I could have taken care of myself then, that was one of the few I had access to. So I'm glad I had that solace.

    I was up and down the scale with an emphasis on up until I realized I was gay and started acknowledging what that meant to me. Here I was living a whole life that I loved in many ways but it was denying huge parts of me! And now, I can't keep the weight on. A lot of that is because it's really hard making my life congruent with my self. But it's also because I don't need food to be my solace any longer.

    Poverty = politics.

    by Renee on Thu Jul 12, 2012 at 08:16:20 AM PDT

  •  Than you for this. (0+ / 0-)

    Thank you for sharing this excellent and helpful diary. I finally made the effort to learn how to "Recommend" a diary. I hope this is read far and wide.

Jill, Renee, ginabroom, Ed in Montana, buffalo soldier, Terri, northsylvania, CJB, Sean Robertson, sagesource, Chi, filkertom, murphy, grollen, Bendygirl, native, Emerson, MouseThatRoared, OLinda, ChurchofBruce, rhubarb, Earwicker23, Mlle L, polecat, red moon dog, Matilda, Just Saying, expat germany, bookbear, bdizz, alain2112, scribe, Gustogirl, opinionated, Babsnc, cskendrick, wonkydonkey, susakinovember, whenwego, boadicea, shanikka, BornAgainLiberal, taonow, Clues, Boston to Salem, limae, jennifree2bme, sngmama, Bill Roberts, evelette, askyron, splashy, Cardinal96, aitchdee, wader, jdmorg, Oke, VexingEyes, emmasnacker, sockpuppet, Kamakhya, Miss Jones, pat bunny, Tracker, TiaRachel, ccr4nine, cosette, HeyMikey, NYFM, dwahzon, Catte Nappe, HLGEM 1, riverlover, Diana in NoVa, Matt Esler, KateCrashes, zett, ybruti, Kitsap River, Hillbilly Dem, lurker123, solesse413, Josiah Bartlett, rmx2630, xxdr zombiexx, sebastianguy99, guppymoo, Hyuga, Gowrie Gal, Skennet Boch, maybeeso in michigan, historys mysteries, radarlady, greycat, Kestrel228, qofdisks, JanetT in MD, revbludge, Jensequitur, chimene, OpherGopher, Militarytracy, truong son traveler, Brooke In Seattle, YucatanMan, reflectionsv37, eru, owlbear1, imfunnytoo, Sara R, ladybug53, Barcelona, lotlizard, kaliope, brentut5, noemie maxwell, Shotput8, Ginny in CO, Floja Roja, FindingMyVoice, loggersbrat, Rogneid, JanL, Ekaterin, littlewren, kathny, K S LaVida, redcedar, stef, rhonstet, myboo, tobendaro, profundo, Russgirl, Triscula, New Rule, ceriboo, luckydog, neecie100, blueoasis, Alexandra Lynch, triv33, twigg, jerseyjo, real world chick, PapaChach, middleagedhousewife, Stripe, Statusquomustgo, Mr Horrible, Bernie68, bstotts, kml, sea note, lorzie, Nulwee, AntKat, Michellebird, Thinking Fella, out of left field, anotherdemocrat, Robert Fuller, Habitat Vic, FWIW, SharonColeman, LSophia, mamabigdog, gloriana, gtghawaii, edsbrooklyn, FishOutofWater, some other george, tbirchard, Via Chicago, HeartlandLiberal, Matt Z, Dave in Northridge, mhanch, bnasley, stratocasterman, crose, SeaTurtle, millwood, fallina7, bewild, janatallow, JDWolverton, cynndara, rogerdaddy, Amor Y Risa, ChocolateChris, HappyinNM, Chacounne, World Citizen, ScottyUrb, Sixty Something, Youffraita, Involuntary Exile, elwior, LucyMO, Cassandra Waites, dano2l, home solar, J V Calin, get the red out, msdobie, DixieDishrag, BYw, enufisenuf, lissablack, woodtick, JBL55, 207wickedgood, MrsTarquinBiscuitbarrel, McGahee220, WhizKid331, J M F, No Coast Nate, greengemini, LinSea, banjolele, Carol in San Antonio, maryabein, FinchJ, indres, mkor7, bfitzinAR, Shelley99, cachola, jfromga, schnecke21, davespicer, Leftcandid, BlueOak, teemel, commonmass, smileycreek, coppercelt, mamamorgaine, RhymesWithUrple, anatman, FogCityJohn, eXtina, Tea and Strumpets, politik, yellowdogsal, Luma, lorla, Gertrude, CayceP, samanthab, ramara, NYWheeler, sharonsz, Oh Mary Oh, fiercefilms, Its a New Day, Actbriniel, Wisdumb, newusername, translatorpro, renbear, Dretutz, ozsea1, slowbutsure, MaryinHammondsport, La Gitane, OldGrammy, BillyElliott, FarWestGirl, asterkitty, kiwiheart, SoCaliana, Josiology, theano, mrsgoo, marleycat, Hohenzollern, sethtriggs, badscience, Muskegon Critic, awsdirector, EverGrateful, rk2, floridablue, whytewolf, Dreidlgirl, antimony, peregrine kate, CorinaR, bluedust, Imhotepsings, Marihilda, blue aardvark, Miggles, Sunspots, jham710, DRo, Kurt from CMH, jaebone, Lucy2009, allergywoman, zenbassoon, DawnN, BlueDragon, YaNevaNo, bearette, SuWho, DrPlacebo, quill, stormicats, Heart n Mind, anodnhajo, Flying Goat, angry marmot, Siri, EclecticCrafter, Joieau, pimutant, FloridaSNMOM, congenitalefty, Horace Boothroyd III, mapamp, belinda ridgewood, Syoho, Spirit Dancer, reginahny, Arahahex, flume, Margd, cassandracarolina, Noddy, rat racer, Spirit of Life, wasatch, mumtaznepal, Stills, Canis Aureus, BabeInTotalControlofHerself, allensl, mygreekamphora, Blue Bell Bookworm, Janetrhodes, idbecrazyif, Thornrose, MiddleClassMom, Setsuna Mudo, averblue, entrelac, topazOR, Jollie Ollie Orange, sweetsister, LaraJones, GreenMother, BitterEnvy, smalakoff, Laura Wnderer, ApatheticNoMore1966, Demeter Rising, Fairlithe, NGUinBuffalo, Another Grizzle, suka, houseless

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site