Summer – In all its sticky glory

The plateau that is my weight continues. I went for a 2 mile jog before weighing in, so I shed some water and dropped 1.5 lbs from last week, but it’s basically the same ol’ same ol’.

Today’s weight: 182.5 lbs.

I find it a bit demoralizing that the new Withings scale shows a “normal” weight range that starts around 122 and ends around 168 lbs.  I cannot imagine myself being a normal, reasonably happy person at 130 lbs.  I would need to have radically changed everything about how I consume food and had liposuction to get down to that kind of weight.

In other news, here’s another defense of “calories in, calories out.”  The latest was a Opinion piece by Frank Bruni in the Times:

[Aggressively marketed pills, products, and plans] show no signs of going away anytime soon. Worse yet, they belong to, and are complemented by, a brimming culture of micro theories and boutique science that seeks explanations for excess pounds in equations well beyond the sturdy maxim of calories in, calories out.

Yes, that maxim oversimplifies. Yes, we learn more all the time about the asterisks to it and about which kinds of calories set you up to be hungrier (and to continue eating) or not.

But consult the most respected physicians in the field of weight loss and they’ll tell you that the maxim remains as relevant as ever. And the vogue for painstakingly tailored eating regimens and dieting techniques is to some extent a distraction from that, a dangerous one, because it promotes the idea that basic nature and fundamental biology can somehow be gamed, cheated, transcended.

“In terms of diet, the general laws of thermodynamics hold,” Rudolph Leibel, an obesity expert at the Columbia University Medical Center, told me. “The issue of — ‘If I eat a diet of all watermelons as opposed to a diet of hamburgers with the same number of calories, will I be able to lose more weight on the watermelons?’ — that’s a specious argument. We’re dealing with chemistry and physics, not imagination.”

I’m no doctor.  I’m not even a Times OpEd writer who gets quotes from doctors.  I agree that miracle pills aren’t the way to lose weight.

My “woo-woo” integrative health doctor – who my husband thinks is a quack and whom I am considering ditching because she is routinely 20 minutes late for appointments, even when I schedule early in the day so there won’t be a back log of people waiting – last year suggested I try cinnamon pills as a way of suppressing appetite and increasing my body’s use of sugars.  Didn’t seem to work.  There’s $10 down the drain.  So what did I do this year?  I let her suggest another supplement – lipoic acid.  Both of these supplements, when I look them up online, appear to be primarily for diabetics.  Does she think I’m pre-diabetic?  If so, she’s never mentioned it.  Nor did I get even a “good job” for losing 20 lbs this past year.  It’s all very discouraging.  Also, she told me to drink more water, and when I said it makes me use the restroom ALL THE TIME (by which, I mean, about every 45 minutes) she said to drink mineral water or put salt in my water to increase retention so I wouldn’t use the restroom so much.  When I did that, not only did I continue to use the restroom constantly but I also gained nearly 3 lbs in retained water.  It worked all right, but not in the way I had hoped.

So, I agree with Bruni about miracle pills, but I think the falling back on calories in/calories out is not as useful as it could be, because, at least for me, exercise makes me hungrier and I don’t think I get enough metabolic burn going from the exercise to make up for the uptick in calories.  Plus, it’s hot and muggy out.  Hello summer!

I’d like to try to stick to Michael Pollan’s rule: “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.”  

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