April 03, 2009

Weighty Matters

I'm reading the part in Good Calories, Bad Calories about obesity now and I am kind of tickled about what I've seen so far.  For a long time, I've been saying that I actually lose weight without exercise.  This has been the case for years.

I'm nearly 6'2" and I presently weigh about 175lbs. (I'm guessing.) You'll recall that I was actually up to almost 195lbs last April.  In order to get up to this weight, I was exercising a lot and eating a lot.  It took me almost three full years to pack on those 20ish lbs and almost as soon as I stopped exercising, I lost 10 lbs.  And then 15.  I haven't weighed myself recently, but I am sure that I'm getting close to back what I weighed before I started working out and exercising.  In four months of inactivity, I lost what took me three years to gain!

This is why I've pretty much given up on the notion of being 195lbs and having a big, broad-chested body (with killer arms for the gun show!) like I admire on other men.  Instead, I'm aiming for an athletic body that is more in line with my natural disposition, which is to say, slim.  I just look more like a swimmer or runner than I do a wrestler.

I think there must be something genetic here.

My father's family has lots of obesity in it.  My dad has battled with his weight for years.

My mother's family, however, is largely comprised of very wiry people.  My mother, grandfather, and my uncle are all very slim people.  Narrow shoulders, fine wrists and ankles, and not a lot of body fat.

What is interesting to me is the fact that while I take after my mother's family in terms of body type, my sister is more like my father's family.

Taubes' book contains citations of studies that have shown that exercise can actually help people -- even fat people -- to gain weight, that it increases appetite and drives a person to consume more calories.  What's more, it has been shown that caloric restriction is not an effective method for reaching and maintaining a low body weight. 

There are lots of people out there who just don't seem to get fat even though they eat a lot and exercise little and people who don't seem to lose weight even though they are very active and are careful about how much they eat.

I've run a few half marathons before and there have always been people who finish way ahead of me who are way chunkier than I am.  They have more body fat, but it's pretty safe to assume they've been training longer and are at least as active.  This has amazed me, but when you read about these studies and observations, it's not all that surprising.

I don't mean to suggest that body weight cannot be controlled or changed through diet and exercise, but in reading this book, I am sure the relationship is more complex than the conventional wisdom would have us believe.  I am also inclined to believe that how much one eats is less important than what one eats when it comes to controlling one's weight.

I am just pleased to see that my experience with trying to gain weight is actually documented as really pretty normal.

Posted by: Flibbertigibbet at 01:27 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
Category: Fitness with Flibby
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