I have a new favorite quote from weight loss doc Yoni Freedhoff:
Lose weight in the kitchen, gain health in the gym.
Read the backstory in Yoni’s Weighty Matters post on exercise and food intake.
Blogger and activist Candice Russell writes frankly about life, major weight loss, excess skin in the Truth About ‘Before and After’ Weight Loss Photos:
Life as an “after” is not perfect. You won’t suddenly get the guy, the promotion, or the popularity you’ve always wanted just because you are thin. If you are looking for a fairytale ending, you won’t find it no matter how much weight you lose. And if you focus only on the aesthetics, your journey won’t ever really be complete. …
You are the same person you were, just with slightly different packaging. And unless you learn to love the person that you see in the “before,” nobody will ever accept you as an “after”. Not even you.
Canadian obesity doc/researcher/professor Dr. Arya Sharma has the results of a new meta-analysis of 37 RCTs looking at behavioral interventions and weight loss. The result? Not exactly promising … ~5 pounds weight lost over 12 months.
On calorie counting:
[T]here is enough evidence in the literature to show that most “successful” dieters develop a somewhat obsessive relationship to accounting for every bite they put in their mouths – measuring, counting, adding, journaling, avoiding and restricting become part of their daily routine. For some it becomes so automatic a behaviour, that they are no longer even conscious of doing it (nor do many stop to realise just how “abnormal” such a behaviour actual is).
If this helps them better manage their weight – good for them. As a strategy for the population – or in other words when measured in terms of “effectiveness” – such an approach is bound to fail. This is because most people are simply not going to live their lives that way (and who can blame them?).
On behavioral interventions and weight loss (emphasis mine):
This is not to say that behavioural interventions in obese individuals (including physical activity) are not beneficial – they are, just not for weight loss.
As I have said before (and restate every time I get a chance) – improving health behaviours can certainly lead to a healthier you – whether that you is leaner or not is an entirely different (and less important?) question.
It turns out that getting your cortex to run your hypothalamus is far more difficult that you may think.
While I’m not sure I’m on board with all of Dr. Sharma’s approaches to obesity (he’s not opposed to interventions like weight loss surgery or prescription drugs), I think the point about looking at this at a population level is important. Not everyone is ready or able to do a VLF or VLC diet and/or avoid grains or dairy or meat and/or turn into Michael Pollan and start cooking every meal and/or do weight loss surgery.
IMO, that’s what makes it a cultural or societal issue.
Many moons ago, I blogged author/pastor Steven Furtick’s perception vs reality quote about insecurity:
One reason we struggle w/ insecurity: we’re comparing our behind the scenes to everyone else’s highlight reel.
I was reminded of this when I came across this pic/post by Michelle Yeager on my Facebook feed recently:
Yeager’s “behind the scenes” might surprise you:
I feel like if everyone, myself included back when I was this lean, actually shared how we are really feeling deep down instead of just positing [sic] a picture of a body and saying “eat clean, train hard” or something along those lines, people would be a lot better off. … But no one wants to talk about how miserable they might be feeling. I know for me I was trying to put on a happy positive face, but on the inside I was a mess. I had sooo much anxiety around food. Everything I put into my body had to be perfectly measured to the gram and calculated for the day. I couldn’t focus on much other than the next time I got to eat, my workout for the day, and taking selfies.
Across the pond, twin doctors Alexander and Chris Van Tulleken attempted to “answer the hottest question in nutrition” for the BBC documentary Sugar v Fat. In a piece for the Daily Mail, they share their take on the sugar vs fat question:
The most interesting thing we found was that we were asking the wrong question. It’s not which is worse for you, fat or sugar, but rather which foods are making so many of us gain weight and why? …
What we discovered is that the real reason we’re all getting fatter isn’t fat or sugar.
Furthermore, sugar alone isn’t very addictive – only horses snack on sugar cubes and very few people gorge on boiled sweets or dry toast.
And fat isn’t really addictive either: when did you last sneak a spoonful of butter from the fridge late at night?
The modern processed food industry knows this and that’s why you’re rarely sold the two separately – what is addictive is the combination.
As it turns out, the relatively short duration of the experiment — one month — meant that the low-carber had issues with adaptation (ref his comment that ketones aren’t “great brain food” or his performance problems in tests against his twin). OTOH, he had more weight loss thanks to the loss of his stored glycogen.
But it turns out that neither diet was palatable to either twin: “both of these diets were miserable.”
If you want to lose weight it will be much easier if you avoid processed foods made with sugar and fat. These foods affect your brain in a completely different way from natural foods and it’s hard for anyone to resist eating too much.
And any diet that eliminates fat or sugar will be unpalatable, hard to sustain and probably be bad for your health, too.
Their experiment has its flaws, but on the other hand, I think it does show that for the average person, either diet is too restrictive for the long term. That said, I suspect that the real truth is that any diet that has you minimizing hyperpalatable foods is a step in the right direction. Here’s hoping this program helps get that message across.
Are you in the market for a New Year’s resolution related to your weight in 2014? If so, please consider Yoni Freedhoff’s suggestion to treat yourself with love and respect:
New Year’s Resolutions are a dime a dozen, and many will have to do with weight management, healthful eating and fitness. This year, in addition (or instead), consider resolving to treat yourself with just as much love and respect as you do your closest friends and relatives. … Because you deserve to love and respect yourself too; no doubt, doing so will confer onto you tremendous health and life benefits.
If you need another resolution, then Go Kaleo’s Amber suggests making consistency your goal in 2014:
When you eat a reasonable, healthy amount of mostly healthy food, and engage in reasonable, healthy physical activity, consistently, over time…your body will eventually stabilize at a healthy weight.
Until your habits are consistent, your weight will be inconsistent. …
Create the healthy balanced habits, and let the healthy balanced habits shape your body. And there you will stay.
I wish you a happy and healthy 2014!