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August 02, 2006

Why We Don't Lose Weight

Because we're a bunch of liars:

It's been reported in the New England Journal of Medicine that people attempting to lose weight tend to underestimate the amount they eat by as much as 47 percent and to overestimate their physical activity by as much as 51 percent. When scientists at the USDA's Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center in Maryland asked 98 men and women how much they ate in a 24-hour period, they found that 6 out of 7 women underreported by an average of 621 calories, and 6 out of 10 men underreported by an average of 581 calories.

Keep that in mind next time you hear someone explaining that, though they haven't let a single morsel of food pass their parched lips in days, they've nevertheless gained three pounds that week.

August 2, 2006 | Permalink


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Yeah, When I got serious about weight loss, I had to actually start looking at the calorie information on each and every item of food that I ate. Marie Callendar's Chicken pot pies, for instance, are over 1000 calories! at over 250 calories, Snickers bars became utterly not worth the time and expense. I've dropped 40lbs in about 6 months...

Becoming conscious of what you eat seems to be the key to any successful wight loss program. This is exactly what weight watchers does so effectively...

What did you do to lose wight, Ezra? You've mentioned before that you were fairly large in High School...

Posted by: Andrew Cory | Aug 2, 2006 12:31:27 PM

My (Jewish), fat-o-phobic step-father-in-law always likes to say, "there were no fat Jews in the concentration camps." I've always been a bit uncomfortable with the expression, but it's hard to argue with that brand of logic!

The Hindsight Factor

Posted by: urthwalker | Aug 2, 2006 1:11:24 PM

Because of my medical profile my doctor suggested I lose 10 lbs or so. I'm mid 60's male, never have been heavy. Instead of watching my diet, I started climbing stairs (iterations of 119 steps in a local park), walking and running. I lost 17 lbs while consuming vast amounts of my favorite food and drink. I've managed to keep it off, by agressively exercising. My doctor said she tells everyone to lose weight, but I am the only one who has actually done it. Everybody's physical profile is different, but I think the key is to get as much exercise as you can, be obsessive about it.

Posted by: jimbo | Aug 2, 2006 1:17:19 PM

Ezra, were you over-weight in High School? I ran 6 Richard Simmons fat farms in Metro Denver with 30,000 members and 350 employees. Let me help you.

The thought was "Never Say Diet." Don't worry about controlling your weight through your mouth. Just break a sweat 3 times a week and you can't be fat. It will roll off like a hot spoon thru butter. Your heart will be stronger too.

Marines eat 5000 calories per day and lose weight during basics.

Remember ezra, a healthy mind in a healthy body. Besides, fat people pay extra for their health insurance which could be a burden for low wage workers.


Posted by: Ron Greiner | Aug 2, 2006 1:17:38 PM

Sounds about right to me... when I was rail-thin (really too thin at one point), I could & did eat huge meals, but I didn't do that every day, having neither the time nor the money to indulge. And one downside of being older & more comfortable with myself is that I pace & fidget far less-- when I was 21 stress could make me a ball of anxious energy, while now I'll just flop on the couch with a remote and some Ben & Jerry's after a rough day.

Posted by: latts | Aug 2, 2006 1:51:41 PM

Um, I was breaking a sweat 10 times a week and was still quite overweight (5'8", never below 250 pounds).

Some people, like me, just have such horrendously bad eating habits that no amount of exercise will compensate. Friggin' 5 days a week of football practices didn't get me anywhere near what the BMI is supposed to be for my height, even for the "large frame."

Posted by: Kylroy | Aug 2, 2006 2:05:27 PM

I don't think people are "underreporting" because they are lying but because it really is difficult to know. I'm currently doing weight watchers and it's quite eye-opening. It's easier to watch when you are preparing your own food, but you have to be careful because things that look reasonable if you dig deep you'll find it's "6 servings" or something. If one eats out a lot, I think it would be impossible. There are some fast food items that are over 1000 calories!

I think our society is geared towards high calorie. As a calorie-watcher I feel like I'm swimming upstream all the time.

Posted by: Unstable Isotope | Aug 2, 2006 6:28:07 PM

Yeah, it is quite difficult for a person to know their daily calorie intake if they do keep track closely. I've lost 30 pounds in 5 1/2 months by recording the calorie content every single morsel I eat. There are days I go over my 1600-2000 calorie target, but those are becoming fairly rare.

Working out has also really payed off.

Posted by: andrew | Aug 2, 2006 10:33:59 PM

Tell me something I didn't know. I guess its of some interest to see objective evidence. I see obese diabetic patients virtually every day who respond to advice to reduce their food intake with claims that they don't eat hardly anything.

As some have noted above, exercise does have considerable impact on whether attempts at weight loss are successful.

Posted by: Ron Chusid | Aug 3, 2006 12:26:28 AM

So, since being a fat-ass is largely controllable, is it OK to use this attribute against them? Well, Pam Spaulding of Pandagon doesn't think so even though she does uses age and looks to demonize her perceived enemies, most recently Fred Phelps. Now, I'm no fan of the Reverend Phelps, but calling someone "The Cryptkeeper" while you, yourself, also have your own physical flaws is just rediculous.

Why is fat, an arguably controllable attribute not OK to use, but old and ugly is?

Posted by: Fred Jones | Aug 3, 2006 9:07:54 AM

lose wieght lose wieght

Posted by: lose wieght | Aug 9, 2006 6:38:52 AM

Look - I'm IN Weight Watchers right now.... SOME people in my group LOSE a pound or two even after what they KNOW to have been a 'bad' week where they consumed far more than their target Points and exercised little if at all. I on the other hand have reduced my food intake to several points BELOW the allowed target per day, using NONE of the special 35 points allowed per week, WITH vigorous exercise (running 2-3 miles AND lifting weights) 3-4 times every week plus walking 2 miles every day. The result? Weight loss of a pound or two some weeks, gain of a pound other weeks. Net change? Very slightly negative (loss of 6 pounds over 10 weeks). I'm a scientist - there's a VERY WEAK apparent correlation between calorie reduction and weight loss in my case until I get down to 1000-1200 calories per day, a level I can only maintain by smoking to blunt the hunger pains. THIS works. Yeah - smoking's not healthy - neither is being overweight. Name your poison. So far, Weight Watchers appears to be vastly overrated for me. It will work for some people; not for others. The simplistic notion that weight's a zero-sum game chooses to ignore biochemical differences and is based on ignorance, not fact. Some of us will need to starve oursleves to achieve what others can get even through negligence. People are physically different - if not, then why can't you hit a major league fastball, genius? Everyone could be Ted Williams with a little practice and willpower, right? WRONG. Basically, work with what you've been given, watch every calorie, go WAY below food intake guidelines which work for SOME people if experience shows they don't work for you, and ignore simplistic mantras repeated ad nauseum by self-proclaimed 'experts' who claim to understand this very complex and individualistic area of human biochemistry. Sure - it's not fair. It's not fair that you weren't born rich and beautiful either. That doesn't mean you should be a sucker for hucksters plying beauty creams and get-rich-quick schemes. Run and starve. True - there were no fat Jews in Auschwitz - they ran and starved. Even the most resilient body loses weight on THAT regimen, but it's even worse than smoking....

Posted by: JL | Dec 12, 2006 5:29:17 PM

I think the main reason why people don't lose weight is that they are not ready to do this.They don't want it so desperately and many of them aren't ready to do everything needed to achieve this goal.

Posted by: Cara Fletcher | Jul 4, 2007 5:23:04 AM

I agree with Cara, losing weight is about a change in lifestyle and eating patterns. If you're not prepared to make that change you can't lose weight.

Posted by: Burn the fat feed the muscle | Jul 22, 2007 9:00:29 PM

Hey guys. I was wondering... Im 18 years old and have a great figure. I eat well and exercise everyday. But both of my parents are overweight. Not obese, but they could definitely lose some pounds.

Does anyone think that me becoming overweight when I get older is unnavoidable? Both my parents were in great shape when they were my age, and I just wanted to know if me keeping up with a good diet and exercise will be enough for me to avoid getting fat??

Posted by: LeAnne | Sep 11, 2007 8:59:45 AM

I was overweight in my teenage time.My mother was but my father not.So after some weightloss programs I decided to do do more exercises and so I lost weight.I think it is the most important thing to do a fitness program when you want to lose weight.

Posted by: Sabrina "online fitness programs" Sander | Nov 20, 2008 5:30:33 AM

Expensive Supplements Or Long Gruelling Hours At The Gym! - But When They Saw Me In A Bikini ...

Posted by: Loose Weight | Mar 18, 2009 7:53:10 PM

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