It used to be so easy. I used to weigh 302 with about 35% bodyfat so i decided ‘lets lose some weight’ so i got down to 262 and about 26% bodyfat pretty easily over maybe 4 months. All i did was exercise on a stationary bike about 40 minutes 5x a week, eat around 2800-3100 calories a day in low fat foods (my normal metabolism w/o cardio is about 3500 a day. With 40 minutes stationary biking it is 4300 or so a day) and the weight came off. I went from a 50.5" waist to a 42.5" waist, this started in june/july of 2003. If i wanted a wendy’s hamburger i went up and got one, and i didn’t feel deprived or hungry. Then around late October the weight loss stopped. Around early dec i decided to really push myself so i did 2400 calories a day, a few weight loss drugs and 60 minutes of cardio a day. I dropped to about 253 in a week (mostly water naturally) and when i quit i went up to 259. So i lost about 3 pounds doing that, not bad. Around Dec 12th i quit altogether. I was only going to quit for a couple weeks to reset my metabolism before dieting again but due to severe stress and problems at the time i quit everything as i didn’t have the mental energy to keep at it. I quit dieting, quit working out and ate whatever/whenever i wanted to from mid-december until late March. In that time i didn’t gain any weight but my waist went up to about 45". So i figure since the stress is gone why not try again. So i do the same thing and i get down to the same point i was at before when i hit my plateau (42ish waist). Weight stays the same the whole time. I guess that is good, i only gained about 1 lb a week because in my experience 5lbs = 1" on the waist. Over maybe 12 weeks i gained maybe 3".
So now instead of easy dieting i have to virtually starve myself and do alot of crap with my biochemistry. Now i try to eat 2400 calories a day and do 60 minutes of cardio on the elliptical. The elliptical says i burn 1200 calories an hour at my weight.
Im not concerned about the dieting, just the fact that its not working painlessly anymore. Like in the old days i would do cardio whenever i felt like it. 3pm, 9am, 7pm, all good. Now i try to do it first thing in the morning (when you are supposedly more likely to use fat stores for energy since you haven’t eaten in 10 hours). and i take an alpha 2 antagonist to release fat stores in the abdomen. And i have to take my supplements in the morning ‘but’ you can’t have an insulin release at the same time you take your alpha 2 antagonist for fear it will reabsorb the fat so i have to find a food that has no/low carbs. And one of the drugs (one that actually works mind you) can’t be taken with calcium which sucks because i am trying to get in 3 servings of dairy a day to encourage lipolysis. So i can’t take calcium or carbs for breakfast so i guess i’ll have to take the supplements with metamucil or protein powder mixed with water. To top it all off, i’ll bet alot of that crap i just wrote is snake oil and meaningless, but i do it anyway.
I think i am reasonably well educated about weight loss biochemitry buuuuut about 70% of it is old wives tales, snake oil, propaganda, wishful thinking, and downright crap. I post on diet/exercise boards and alot of the info comes from isolated studies, studies with rats, or woulda/coulda/shoulda thinking, or hearsay. I take alot of weight loss supplements. Why you ask? because i bet a few actually work a little bit, and they are cheap only about $3 a month each.
Don’t get me wrong, biochemistry is fun. But the biochemistry of weight loss is about as reliable as psychic phenomena research. One example: I am on one drug that ‘may’ upregulate Beta 2 & beta 3 receptors on white adipose tissue, encouraging fat loss from adipose tissue if you actiave these receptors. So i am looking into adding beta 2 & 3 agonists to my list of drugs but there are so many reasons why it might not matter i don’t have time to list them.
I miss the old days when i ate when i wanted and did cardio when i wanted and lost weight painlessly. I didn’t have to take metamucil with each meal to trick my body into thinking it was full and to lower the GI of foods (GI is another one of those potential snake oil formulas for a variety of reasons). I didn’t have to wade through snake oil or time my meals or have hunger pains or not be able to get a whopper w/o mayo whenever i felt like it (actually i can still do that, i just choose not to unless i have a craving for one. if i have a craving for one i’ll get one). Well, the hunger pains aren’t that bad but overall it sucks more than it did before.
I realize im rambling. HOpefully i will get responses from people in the same boat, people who realize there is alot of crap and snake oil in the diet industry, and that we don’t know nearly as much as we’d like to think we do about the body. I’m doing alot of research on RMR and metabolism and lipolysis and i don’t know whats true and whats not.
It bugs me when i see someone on tv say ‘just cut 500 calories of food and do 500 calories of exercise and you will lose 2 lbs a week’. Mathematically that is true, but i don’t really buy it personally. It works, yes but only within reason. I also don’t buy the whole ‘if you eat an extra 100 calories a day you can gain 10 lbs of fat a year’ line. They have done studies with identical twins and overfeeding them. Some twins converted almost all the extra food into fat while other sets of twins, when overfed, started doing things like tapping their fingers or shaking their legs nervously and burned off the extra calories.
Overall i guess this is a rant about our ignorance about the body (my ignorance included), all the snake oil, and the fact that everyone wants to think its just simplistic math when there are so many other factors that come into play. ANd the fact that now i have to do all this crap now with cardio, drugs and diet when in the old days i just ate a little less, did exercise, and the weight came off painlessly.