Overweight people don’t trust their bodies. At least, I never did.
After all, I could ignore reality and eat whatever came within arm’s reach (and I have quite long arms) and the number on the scale would stay exactly the same.
And I could diet like a herb-eating hermit monk, adhering to barbaric rules for a shockingly long time and discover that I had gained weight. GAINED weight.
Plus – every time I lost ten to fifteen pounds, I gained back forty. I wouldn’t be this pudge today if not for diets.
All that leads to a “what the hell does it matter” attitude. We’re supposed to lead a “cause and effect” life. If you live off doughnuts, you begin to look like a doughnut. That’s what commercials and doctors promise us, anyway. If you live off kale and wheat grass, handsome people will invite you to join their beach volleyball game.
(Which sounds actually like a nightmare to me, as volleyball makes me cry and I hate the beach, so – no wheat grass for me, thanks!)
But fat people have contradictory experiences about weight management all the time. THE RULES ARE DIFFERENT FOR US. So all this training with the Body Dynamics team in Falls Church, VA has really opened my eyes, and I’m learning a huge amount about what actually has to happen if I want to go from a size 22 (two years ago) to a baggy size 18 (today) and eventually to some stopping point that I begin to trust will be even farther down the hall into the “normal” women’s clothes department.
Like – I’ve learned that the scale is almost certainly the worst measure of health you can use. It’s like saying “What color do you think this sweater is?” and the answer being “It’s definitely a color.”
Thanks for that info.
The scale can’t tell you how much fat you’re thoughtfully carrying around as you make your way through your day, nor how much muscle is carrying you around. It can’t tell you how likely it is that you’ll burn more calories in your sleep, or what your cholesterol is, or your blood pressure.
And here’s what I learned recently: It can’t even measure when you’ve lost fat.
Look at this article I got from Michelle Grady: http://100down.org/the-whoosh-effect/ or read my summary here:
Let’s say you’re a good girl and eat purely and healthfully for a WEEK (which is a damned long time to eat purely – Chip the nutritionist says that for every eight good meals you eat, you can and should have two that are just for joy). You know what happens when you get on the scale.
Nothing. Same as it ever was – same as it ever was. Look where my hand was, same as it ever was. (Are you making the Talking Heads cutting gesture down your arm? Wisdom from the Gospel of David Byrne.)
Well, it turns out that your body is obediently losing fat – but for reasons that are as yet unclear, it’s also replacing that fat with water, which it holds onto for a while. Your bulgy places might feel a little extra-squishy, or maybe you don’t notice a thing.
(In that case, I recommend envisioning your fatty liver getting a spa treatment. Ahh, that’s better!)
Then – and it’s often triggered by a higher-than-normal calorie meal – all of a sudden you find you’ve gotten up to pee a few more times than usual in the night and when morning comes, the scale has taken a nose dive. (Assuming you stayed pure and good and didn’t gorge on everything within arm’s reach.) (See above re: large wingspan). Whoosh – you peed away all that water your body was holding in place of the fat that had been melting at a constant rate.
It happened to me last night. I’ve been attempting to rein in the sugar cravings for a while, but yesterday was totally crowded. I’d spent the entire afternoon with my crazy mother. I still had many more things to accomplish in the evening. I had three things in my shopping cart: A rotisserie chicken. A head of cauliflower. A container of Ben and Jerry’s. (Oats of this Swirled; my particular brand of heroin.)
Tired. Grumpy. Stressed. Guess what I had for dinner? Right – the ice cream.
No, I didn’t scoop out a third of the container to carefully parse the sugar out over three days. I sat down with malice of forethought and a spoon and got around the entire thing in one sitting. And enjoyed it, too.
THEN I cooked up the cauliflower and ate it. The whole head. With butter.
So all things considered, this morning should have been a bloodbath at the scale, right?
I weigh 224 – the least I’ve weighed in modern history. I think I whooshed.
There’s mention in the article (check the link) of something called the Minnesota Starvation Experiment, which sounds MOST alarming, so I tend to think the magazine article is at least grounded in truth… plus I believe I’ve experienced the whoosh phenomenon myself.
And I bet you have, too. Whoosh, anyone?
The Whoosh Phenomenon is so astonishing to me – and yet I also feel like shouting out “I’ve experienced that!” – that I had to have a “you’re kidding – right?” meme staring the delicious Hugh Laurie. He is the most dreamy curmudgeon on the planet, IMHO. Whoosh.