Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The Ugly Truth About Weight Loss

Adam and I lost lots of weight a few years ago. 
Adam lost 66 lbs., and I lost 31 lbs., and we looked good, if I do say so myself!
May, 2015. We were already beginning to gain it back again.
We started reducing our calories significantly on June 1, 2013, my birthday. So ... we had pictures!

We were tubby. One year later, June 1, 2014, same restaurant, we were much improved:

Of course, it helps to have smiling faces. But we've got the records and numbers to prove it. We looked better because we'd lost weight. The photo at the top, from Philip and Kara's wedding, is one more year along, May, 2015. Already, we were struggling to keep our weight down. The weight loss regimen that had worked so well for a while, was failing. At first, when were dieting together, we'd sometimes say, "Wow! This is great! This doesn't really feel hard! I can't believe we waited so long! We can eat this way the rest of our lives and attain any weight we want to!" Ha! Adam's goal was to weigh 165 lbs., and he truly believed he would just keep going down until he got there. Why wouldn't it work that way? 

We were eating very carefully. On a food log on his iPad, Adam entered every morsel he put between his lips. We looked at that old food/weight log again last night. We didn't stop dieting, and he didn't stop exercising. Why did it fail? I remember well when he'd come back from his daily 20-mile bike rides, wondering why he had plateaued on his weight loss, why he was again gaining weight slowly, even though he was riding more than before, and he was still logging his food, weighing himself daily.

We watched a video last night by Dr. Jason Fung that quite clearly showed us why our calorie-reducing plan failed, why it's designed to fail. If you struggle with this painful reality, please watch it. Find out why cutting calories and increasing exercise will not work because the human body is not designed that way. It's not "calories in/calories out." It's "fewer calories in/your body stores it up and rebels and shuts down your metabolism/gain the weight back." Yeah.

Fung is a kidney specialist and cancer doctor who advocates fasting. He has many other videos and a book too, so you can find out more about his theories of how the body works, and why our usual diets let us lose weight and then regain it.

He talks about insulin, obesity, metabolism, and fasting, and how the body stores fat. And it makes good sense. Adam noted in himself that the caloric intake that allowed him to lose weight back in 2013 will now cause him to gain weight. His metabolism has slowed so much, he can't lose weight unless he goes on about a 1300 calorie/day diet. That's insane!

When you've been morbidly obese -- a weight that is killing you -- and you lose lots of weight and feel great, it's crushing and depressing to gain it back and feel helpless about it. The feeling of failure, the disappointment of family and friends, the decreased mobility, the daily food restrictions that accomplish nothing -- it's all horrible. So we are ready to hear what Dr. Fung says.

I've never fasted. I've never been convinced that, as a spiritual discipline, it would accomplish for me what it is supposed to, although I'm happy for those who find it useful in that way. But perhaps for losing weight again, it would be useful. I'll keep you posted. If you have any thoughts on this, please comment. I have so many friends who've dieted, lost, and regained. I have one friend who had the surgery Dr. Fung mentioned, and she has kept off her weight. I have one friend who's lost lots of weight and seems to keep it off with huge amounts of exercise. Other than those two, I really don't know anybody who's lost weight from being morbidly obese, and kept it off. (I'm not talking 15 or 30 lbs.; I'm talking 50 - 100 or more lbs.) I have many friends who've had the failure we've experienced.
Here's a second video where he talks more about the fasting concept, if you're interested:


  1. I had heard about how dieting makes the body think you're starving, so it slows your metabolism to make up for it. I try not to look at the scale. I just try to eat more real food and less junk. I'm not morbidly obese but Bob was, and I know how discouraging it was for him. He also had a bad knee and a navel hernia and it was almost impossible to think of any kind of exercise he could do. Finally he just decided to enjoy his food rather than being miserable. I'm interested to know if you try the fasting and if it works.

  2. When I have a computer with sound I will watch the video. As far as fasting goes, I've only done it for religious reasons. Weight loss was a side effect but not what I was going for.
    Otherwise, the only time I lost weight was giving birth. I lost 20 lbs but was unable to keep it off. My health is good so I don't fixate on weight loss. I exercise to maintain core strength and help my body carry itself.

  3. Dieting and trying to lose weight and then keeping it off is so frustrating. I recently lost 14 lbs, which isn't even close to the amount I need to lose in total, but I was feeling like it was a good start. In just a matter of three or four days, while worrying about the outcome of a medical test, I gained 3 lbs back due to stress eating. That fat comes back on so much faster than it goes off. It seems like when I am dieting carefully, it takes so much concentration to control what I eat. As an insulin using diabetic I don't think fasting would be safe for me, but I can see how it could work well for some people.

    The only time I was ever successful at losing a lot of weight and keeping it off for a couple of years was when I had undiagnosed Grave's disease, which causes an overactive thyroid. I didn't have much of an appetite, so it was easy for me to diet, the overactive thyroid also made me hyperactive, so exercising was fun. I thought I was just feeling invigorated from losing weight, and the weight was coming off so fast. I thought that I had at last discovered a diet that worked for me. Then I started getting sick, anemic, and weakness in my leg muscles, and a fast heart beat. That was when I went to the doctor and found out I had a serious thyroid disease, and hadn't discovered "The Secret to Dieting" after all. They irradiated my thyroid gland to treat the disease and now I depend on thyroid medication for my thyroid to work at all. The 90 plus pounds I lost came back on and don't seem to want to come off. I hope scientists are looking for a way to use people's thyroid glands in some way to help them lose weight.

    I find it is much easier for me to lose weight in the summer than in winter. Does anyone else find that to be true?

  4. What about speeding up the metabolism by exercising first thing in the morning? Has David tried that?

  5. I honestly don't know much about this as I have never really dieted but I have been putting on weight over the last 4 years since I got married. I actually don't think I eat loads but I eat too late at night with not so much in the day!

  6. Many years ago I read the first edition of The Carbohydrate Addict's Diet in which the author tells about her accidental discovery of the benefits of daily fasting -- she ended up restricting all carbs to one meal of the day. The book goes on to explain the reasons why this works, about insulin resistance, etc. I have had a lot of experience with variations of this fasting and low-carb program since then, and it's definitely the best in my book!

  7. Having lost over 60 pounds in the last year and a half and still losing, I learned that the key is your Basal Metabolic Rate. I got a free body composition test at 5 Star Fitness (check for one near you). I stopped losing and ACTUALLY gained a few pounds back when I failed to eat more calories than my BMR. Once I start to eat over 1500 calories a day, my body responds with weight loss. I now understand that if I fail to do so, my body responds by burning off the muscle rather than the fat; hence, I stop losing, gain a few pounds back, or worse, I just plateau. My struggle is in having so much pain, I cannot prepare the proper foods. I would like to lose 10-15 more lbs. In just six pounds, I will have beaten Severe, Moderate and Mild Obesity. I will simply be OVERWEIGHT. And I can have all my favorite foods in moderation adding as many fruits and veggies as possible. My weight loss started after my Hip Replacement Surgery as I was then able to move. I'm on a break from walking this summer, but will return in the fall doing several miles a week. I will swim and do aerobics exercises in our pool now ( I taught water aerobics class at the YMCA in the 90's) and will continue to participate in Aqua Zumba class twice a week to at my YMCA. Hope any of my journey encourages you both. It's a lie for those of us who have severe chronic pain that exercise makes the pain better. Exercise makes me healthier, my heart rate is low (I am now off BP meds), blood pressure like a teenager's, Cholesterol is close to normal, I can move better, more limber but sadly exercise hurts me! But it gives me the opportunity to share how great our God is, how he saved me from paralysis twice and how he continues to mold me in His image, to spread His love with people I meet out walking, at apt pool or at the YMCA and how faithful He has been to walk by (for) me. I'm realizing there are many great reasons God wanted to use my legs!! Tired. Had another Spinal Injection today. Must rest!


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