Saturday, 5 May 2012

Not dieting works

It's with very mixed feelings that I write this entry.

You could say that my experiment has been a success.

For some reason I had a look at an old diet board that I used to post in years ago.   Some of my old posts were still there, including the ubiquitous start weight/current weight/goal weight statistics that are appended to profiles on diet message boards.  All of the weights I'd put in seemed tiny to me now.   Although those posts marked a period of successful weight loss, they also marked the start of my serious weight gain.   It was after that point that I "ballooned" as the Daily Mail likes to put it.   I won't say at this point what diet I was on, and what diet I changed to (following advice about a health problem I had) as I don't know if it's relevant.

When I started this blog in 2008 I was the fattest I had ever been, but had decided to stop dieting.  By 2012, I had put on .... no weight at all.  NOT dieting appeared to halt my weight gain, and my weight remained steady (within a few pounds) for several years.   It appears that like many people, I gained weight, overall, while I was dieting.   When I stopped dieting, I stopped gaining weight.

There are other benefits, of course.  I can eat "normally" and enjoy my food, without spending too much time thinking about it.  I can live in the "now" instead of waiting for a slimmer time.  I'm reasonably happy with my body.  I've stuck with much the same bra size and clothes size so I haven't minded investing in attractive clothes which fit.  Most of all, I don't feel like I have an eating disorder.

So the "experiment" (not dieting) worked beautifully.   My weight has been stable and there have been added benefits.

The mixed feelings?  Possibly against my better judgment, I think I now do want to lose some weight.   I probably need a whole new post to explain why, but I have some health concerns.  I'm not convinced that losing weight will help with those concerns but I'm not sure I can continue to hold out against current medical advice.  Reluctantly, I'm looking at upsetting the status quo and going back down the diet route (you know, the route that made me gain weight before?).  Wish me luck!                                                

Monday, 9 April 2012

The truth about fat

I'm a bit late posting this, but I thought I'd comment a little on the Horizon programme, "The Truth About Fat".    It followed a (slim) doctor while she looked at some of the newer research into obesity.   It's a little while since I've watched it, which is probably a good time to post because the bits that I remember are probably the bits that made the most impact.

In fat people and thin people, the levels of hormones which control hunger and satiety follow different patterns.
I think they were saying that instead of feeling hungry before meals, then full afterwards, us fatties go through the day with a sense of wanting something to eat which is never quite relieved by eating.   That provides quite a neat explanation for why fatties seem to overeat and thinnies don't.

Genetics is a factor.
A big factor.  Part of the programme involved a search for twins who were different weights, and what was striking was how rare they seemed to be.  It was taken as read that genetics were a big influence.

Epigenetics/prenatal factors are also important.
The programme looked at the influence of your mother's diet during pregnancy: a malnourished mother is more likely to produce a child with a tendency to obesity, apparently.

Weight loss surgery has other effects beyond reducing stomach capacity
In particular, it seemed to reduce appetite dramatically.

What was perhaps most surprising was the surgeon presenting the programme had believed until then that weight was all about willpower - that slim people are slim because they have the strength of character to resist becoming fat.   I suppose that can seem to be the case to somebody who has always been "naturally" slim (even though it's obviously not the case for somebody like me who has gained weight whilst keeping the same personality that I had when I was slim :)).   I'm just surprised that a doctor would think that was the case.