From time to time on these "why am I getting so fat" threads I like to do a little math. It involves a hypothetical man who tries to watch his weight, particularly during the early springtime when he actually "diets" to try to reduce the embarrassment of showing off his flab during the incipient summer "swimsuit
" season. While he is dieting he counts calories but most of the year he eats what normal people eat but tries to seek out the lower-fat, lighter items on the menu. His weight goes up and down a bit from his efforts but the bottom line is that each decade he finds himself ten pounds heavier than he was ten years ago. At age 20 he was 165. At 30 he's 175. etc. etc..
So, from a calorie counting viewpoint let's see where he went wrong.
A pound of fat represents 3,500 calories, more or less. So ten pounds would be 35,000 calories. That's how many extra calories he must have eaten during the decade just passed.
Each year is 365 1/4 days long. So a decade has 3653 days (rounding the extra half day up).
So the extra calories each day, on average, is 35,000 calories divided by 3653 days. That's 9.58 calories per day. To put that in perspective, one typical, unbroken Lays potato chip represents 10 calories.
So, after a decade of watching what he eats, and after ten several-month-long "diets" where he made himself miserable with hunger, our poor hypothetical guy has missed his target by one potato chip a day.
If only he had possessed enough extra will power to resist one snack-sized bag of chips every two weeks
he wouldn't have gained all that weight. It's tragic that he came so close but failed because he was ultimately unable to control his behavior. Tragic...
Because it doesn't work that way.
Nobody parses their diet down to ten calories a day. Dieticians, who are math-with-calories professionals, round their daily recommendations to 100 calories, if not 500.
Do we really believe that if he had added a vending-machine-sized bag of chips to his diet every day during his 20s our man would have weighed 315 lbs on his 30th birthday? It's absurd.
The fact of the matter is that body weight and body composition are homeostatic processes -- negative feedback loops that try to maintain a target weight as certainly as body temperature homeostasis keeps us at 98.6 degrees most of the time.
There are a number of variables that affect that homeostasis. We can intervene in some of them but the reaction of the homeostasis determines the results. We can, for instance, cut back on calories. The reaction of our body weight/composition homeostasis varies from individual to individual but the typical reactions are increased appetite, loss of energy, reduced metabolism (less energy expended on thermogenesis), loss of lean body mass, and loss of fat. We can also change the macronutrient balance of our diets, eating more or less fat, protein, and carbohydrates (simple or complex). We can change the timing
of our food consumption, as Allen does with his alternate day fasting. We can exercise more or less. We can directly intervene in the biochemical processes, taking insulin or synthetic thyroid hormones or other drugs. We can take drugs and supplements that affect the way food is absorbed in our guts.
Depending on how your particular body weight/composition homeostasis works, different interventions will work better or worse for different people in adjusting their homeostasis the way they want.
Counting calories works for some people. When they reduce their food intake they don't become catastrophically hungry, or lethargic, or lose muscle, they just lose fat. Statistically, there aren't many of them but they do exist. If you are one of them, that's great. But if you find out that you are not one don't beat yourself up. There are other interventions you can try.
62 Slow PSA rise 2007-2012: 1.4=>8
4 bxs 2010-2012: 1&2 neg, 3 pos 1/14 6(3+3) 3-4% (2nd
opn. 7(3+4)), 4 neg
DaVinci 6/14/12. "some" nerve sparing on left
Path: pT3a pN0 R1 GS9(4+5)
Pos margins on rt
24 mo ADT3 7/12 - 7/14
Adj IMRT 66.6 Gy 10/17/12-12/13/12
8/2012-3/2015: Incont., Trimix, VED, PSA<0.015.
AUS & IPP installed 3/5/2015Forum Moderator - Not a medical professional
Post Edited (PeterDisAbelard.) : 5/14/2015 10:52:42 AM (GMT-6)