Sunday, December 3, 2017

You're fat, and always will be

I like the title of this article.  It's super click baitey.  When I wrote it, I heard Jimmie's Rustling from the penis tip of Florida to the armpit of Ohio.  Which is all of Ohio in case you didn't know.

Now I've got fat people from Ohio hating the shit out of me right now and I'm only a few sentences in.

Championship white trash achievement unlocked.

But for serious now, let's get down to bidness.

This past week in a passing conversation someone....well, it was through text actually, not in real life (I don't think we know people in real life anymore or have in person conversations) made a statement about some guy who was complaining how hard it was to get into contest shape.

He wrote "how hard is it, really?  You eat some chicken and some rice.  You just do it."

I have no idea why that seems so obvious to me but truly, that's about the gist of getting into contest shape.  Or just dropping some excess bodyfat all together.

So why can't people do it?  Not everyone wants to do the spray-tan, underroos, and salad dressing flex party.  So we can eliminate getting into contest shape for the sake of this article.  In fact, most guys that are getting into contest shape....don't even get into contest shape.

And for the most part, it's for all the same reasons that fat people really can't turn into skinny people again either.  Or get jacked.  Or get anything but fatter.

So what's the problem?  Why is it so hard to unfat yourself once you get fat?

Before some former fatty jumps on this article, and proclaims that I am wrong (because they are a FORMER fatty) and that I need to be tarred and feathered in front of their favorite Ken-Taco-Hutt (that's one of those joints where KFC, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hutt are inside.  Also known as fat mans orgasmic paradise), then fried in a deep batter and turned into a delicious man-meat treat, lemme explain something about getting fat.

Once it happens, getting fat that is, it's like going black (or so I hear).  You never go back.  To being skinny that is.  Or being of normal size.  Or really being anything but trapped inside a mushy goo of squishness that will never look good naked.

Spare me your estrogen laden counter-point about "beauty at all sizes" that was written by some pixie cut feminist at Elitedaily.  Google told me so........

it's on the internet, so you know it's true

If you Google machine around for a while, you'll come across this figure thrown out over and over again, that tells you science has shown that approximately 95% of everyone who gets fat, and goes on a diet, will regain all of their weight within the next three years.

This appeared odd to me because the look AHEAD trial showed a much different picture, even after eight years.  More than 50% of the participants had kept 5% of their weight loss off, and more than a quarter of the participants had kept more than 10% off.  Now, depending on the degree of fatness said participant had when they started, that could be a lot, or very little.  But it clearly shows you're not doomed to regain all of your previous weight once you decide to take matters into your own hands by removing the burger from them.

The dietary method they used was complex, and completely and utterly scientific.  It combined nutrient timing with....wait no, none of that happened.  This is what they did.

1.  Reduced fat intake to less than 30% of the total calories for the day
2.  Reduced intake of highly processed foods like sugary drinks and high calorie snacks.

My favorite part was this, however.....and there's no sarcasm in that either.

It is impossible to say whether a different dietary approach would have given different event rates. The investigators opted for an approach that had been found to work.

With all of the complexity in the diet industry, what they had found to work was just reducing fat intake and processed food and drink. Back to that later...
The total amount of exercise done by these people amounted to an average of 175 minutes a week.  Or about 35 minutes a day, if you're training 5 days a week.  It's a measly 25 minutes a day, if you move that to 7 days a week.  Mind you, these were "extremely sedentary and elderly" people.  So I don't think the degree of savagery in those 175 minutes a week was off the charts.  I doubt very seriously that fat Netflix grandpa was doing kipping pullups and vomit worthy WODs.

But notice the wording in what they asked the participants to do when it came to the diet (I said we'd get back to it).  To REDUCE fat intake, and to REDUCE the intake of highly processed foods.  It wasn't eliminated.  Just reduced.  This falls directly in line with what I've always called the 90% rule about nutrition in that if you're making proper choices 90% of the time, then weight loss and body recomp should happen (though it's not always linear) over time.

Not only that, there was no elimination of a certain macro-nutrient nor the elimination of certain types of foods all together.  There's a bit of psychological warfare at play with this.  When something is eliminated or put into a "you can't have this" category then the scarcity effect kicks in hard and suddenly we desire it far more than when we had access to it.  Truly, as humans, we most often desire the very thing we're told we can't have.

I actually have a story about this from when I was in basic training.

There was this patio that had been deemed off limits by our drill instructors.  Sitting inside said patio were some vending machines.  Inside said vending machines were "foods" (I use the term lightly) that I had never had cravings for before.  I was all about my bro-diet before military life.  But I remember wanting to get onto that patio and eat every candy bar and bag of chips that was contained within those machines.  Which clearly had been created by God.  Never before in my life had I desired a Baby Ruth as much as I did during that time.

After a few weeks we received the news that patio access and vending machine sustenance would now be allowed.  I'm sure we looked like the kids from Narnia looked when they walked into that closet into a land they had never seen before.  We were finally allowed to venture into the previously forbidden land of snacks.

I ate nine candy bars and three bags of chips.  I remember each bite feeling completely and utterly orgasmic.  Junk food had never tasted so good in my life.  Inside every Airman there was a chocolate orgy going on and we might as well have been lying around on that patio naked, slathering ourselves in melted Snickers bars while fairies sprinkled crushed up Doritos on us.  Which I believe was in fact a scene out of Narnia.  But maybe I'm remembering wrong.

If so, it doesn't matter.  We were all in a complete state of bliss.

Life did get better than a few Old Milwaukee's.  Those dudes sitting around drinking beer by a campfire in those commercials were wrong.  Right there in San Antonio, Texas I had found the Stairway to Heaven that Zeppelin had sang about.  And you did in fact have to buy it.  Except it wasn't a stairway at all.  It was this big vending machine that ate your dollar bills and then uncorked some chocolate for you and dropped it into this little bin at the bottom.  I was inserting dollars into that thing faster than a retired dude could insert coins into slot machines in Vegas.

I could blather on about this for a while but I need to make a point here.

Restrictions generally fail because we just end up desiring what it is we're aren't supposed to have.  I'd never pined for candy bars like that before.  But having that freedom taken away made me want them more than I ever wanted for anything else in my life.  All diets that actually work have calorie restriction in them in order to facilitate weight loss.  But this can be done without demonizing certain macro-nutrients or food choices all together.

So my title of this article is incredibly misleading.  And I don't care.

Here's what people who struggle with diets and fat loss really need to understand.

1.  Understand the role food may have played as a coping mechanism in your life when you were young.  All of us found coping mechanisms in our youth to ease the pain of some emotional need we had.  Don't be dismissive of this.  Our entire framework for navigating through life gets imprinted upon through the experiences we had when young.
2.  Don't eliminate.  Reduce.  Making solid nutritional choices 90% of the time will get the job done.
3.  Falling off the wagon doesn't make you a horrible person.  Driving a Prius does.
4.  You're not destined to be overweight for life.  You get to decide what goes into your body and your level of activity.
5.  Empower yourself each day, one day at a time, by reminding yourself that you get to decide the outcome.  Your words, your actions, your choices.  People are often afraid of empowerment because it puts the onus on them to be responsible.  Accountability to oneself is often the hardest kind.
6.  Create habits that are sustainable for you that don't circumvent your desired goals.  If your desired goals are to create the body of a Greek God, but your habits are playing World of Warcraft for 16 hours at a time, I feel as though it won't happen.  Your eating and your functions create your form.  Figure out if they are in alignment.

Most importantly, it's vital to understand that hitting a goal for weight loss is really just step one.  Keeping the bodyfat off afterwards is about the transition into a lifestyle you can maintain.

It's not dissimilar to seeing a pretty lady across the room, and making your way over to her and throwing a lame opening pick up line on her.

There's nothing magical in the pick up line.  Any pick up line will work, so long as you're interesting enough to make her forget about it in the conversation that flows afterwards.

The magic happens in sustainable transition after initiation.  Where you go on dates to fancy restaurants, buy her favorite wine, and put your sexual A game on her.  I kid, actually.  Where the magic happens is still making an effort on an average Tuesday.  The average conversation while stuck in a traffic jam together.  Another meal of chicken and rice.  Another average day at the gym.

The cultivation of anything exceptional is mostly about doing the work even when it doesn't feel good, is boring, and feels terribly unrewarding.  It's about unstitching the painful fabric we've been woven into and then sewing ourselves back up together into something greater.

You aren't doomed to remain anything.  You just have to decide what it is you really want, and what you're willing to give up in order to attain it, and keep it.

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