Saturday, December 31, 2011

Ah-ha, I can so blame my mother, well at least her DNA

My friend sent me this article from the New York Times about an Australian study that addressed the question of why it's so hard to keep the weight off after it's lost.  They actually looked at physiological reasons rather then concentrating on the emotional factors of losing weight (which are important and I in no way mean to discount BUT it's an entire the physiology should ALSO be addressed - right? well I think so and it's my blog).

It was very interesting.

Not to mention it totally backs up the metabolically efficient theory for which I named my blog.

The premise is when a person loses weight, and it looks like it doesn't matter how quickly, the person creates a new set-point for themselves.  Creating that new metabolic set-point puts them at a caloric disadvantage.  A whole host of physiological changes occur that make it difficult for the person to 1. maintain the weight loss and 2. continue to lose weight (difficult -- but.not.impossible.).  Ghrelin increases (hunger hormone) and leptin decreases (satiety hormone) and a bunch of other hormonal changes geared to not only make you feel hungry but also to increase your cravings for high fat foods (can you say wooly mammoth -- cave man genes, they're a killer).   To add insult to injury, muscle fibers change becoming highly efficient (there's my theory back-up) reducing the fat burning capacity of the muscle (making them more low-twitch) which means that a brisk walk that normally would burn 200 Kcals now only burns 150-160 Kcals.

Sucks to be people like me.

Does explain why a a sausage biscuit sounds much yummier then a grapefruit though (I miss sausage biscuits).

I got distracted there for a minute, sorry.

Okay, back the the New York Times' article which also mentions there's a DNA component that makes some of us better equipped to gain and hold on to the gain better then our fellow pepsi-drinking-sausage-eating-chocolate-cake-devouring-skinny tribal friends  Most of the people on both sides of my family are husky.  I tip the scales, maybe I got a double dose? Or maybe I screwed myself over with a nifty eating disorder in my teen years.  Who knows.  I blame my mother.  She luckily never tipped the scales above 200, although close and it was amazingly close the the end of the world for her.  She would go on diets of one eclair in the morning and coffee the rest of the day.  Because her body was thin, she figured she was healthy.  She said she had no hunger -- although I suspect (and I could be wrong....snicker) that it was the continual supply of oxy and cigarettes that helped with that.  The oxy-cigarette-eclaire-coffee diet is not one that I've tried, but it did keep the pounds off of my mom.  So we have a combination of the constant reminders of the possibility of getting fat (and I wasn't actually fat when I was being reminded of this on a daily basis), the awesome nutritional advice (saltines -2 and broth for my lunch) and that awesome DNA.  Thanks mom (FYI, lots of counseling and a stint in an eating disorder unit in my twenties has given me a lot of closure...she is who she is and I love her, she's my mom, crazy mom, but still my mom and she really thought she was doing a good thing, so not evil, just highly misguided).   That DNA however, also blessed me with some awesome hair, great skin and enough intelligence to be able to become a nurse -- so I can't complain too much (even if I'm good at it).

Anyhooo, the thing is, even with all that DNA stuff, getting here was because of too many Kcals and not enough exercise.  Getting it off is difficult, keeping it off will be a life long struggle of being hyper vigilant about what goes in and how much you exercise.  Tara Parker writes, "People who are anxious to lose weight, don't fully understand what the consequences are going to be".

This is so true.

It's like having babies, you can read all you want about it, ask questions, understand intellectually the sort of the commitment you are making BUT, until you get there, hold one in your hands and become responsible for another human being, you just don't know.

When I get there, I hope I don't screw up, I'm not sure there's enough oxy to get me through a major weight-loss.


  1. I also read somewhere that your fat-cells don't disappear... so even when we lose weight, we're still SO sensitive to gains and those cells want to be filled up. Fuck obesity.