While I was young and single, my fit (regularly running and lifting weights) weight was around 185 lbs. After getting married and having kids, my weight slowly crept up to a peak of 231.6 lbs on 2008-09-21. Afterwards, my weight would drift between 212 to 220 lbs. Besides the unhealthiness of being overweight, I didn't like the way I looked. I have been slowly working to become much leaner but, like for many people, this has not been easy. The tailor fitting me with a tuxedo back when I was getting married in 1993 rolled his eyes when I said this size is temporary and I am going to lose weight. Over the years, my weight increased but every summer I had ambitions of burning off the extra pounds with exercise (biking, cutting my lawn, splitting wood, etc). By winter, I saw that the weight I had lost by autumn was temporary and insufficient. As I got older and heavier, my blood sugar increased and eventually needed medication to control diabetes.
In February of 2018, my doctor switched me to new medication that caused me to excrete excess glucose, which resulted in an immediate weight loss and reduction in my blood glucose. This also resulted in a reducing in my other medication. With that advice from the diabetic clinic's dietician, I've been making an effort to eat a healthier diet and I've lost about 20 pounds since the medication change. Since my wife and I have both been following the dietician's advice, she's been losing weight too.
The population of western societies and especially those living in North America tend to be overweight. The obvious causes are poor diet and a lack of exercise due to a sedentary lifestyle. When it comes to shedding excess weight, exercise for the sole purpose of losing weight is unsustainable. It is important to stay stay active and keep moving as much as possible - easier said than done though.
- A Brief History of Fat, and Why We Hate It | Slate
- Why Am I Still Fat? | ABC
- What if we're wrong about diabetes? | Peter Attia | TedMed
- The mathematics of weight loss | Ruben Meerman | TEDxQUT (edited version)
The states of being overweight and obese are medical classifications based on BMI (Body Mass Index). Dr Arya Sharma explains that a person's highest body weight is the normal state that the body attempts to maintain at all times. If a person loses weight, the body has a various of responses that try to return the body to the "normal". Whatever method is use do lose weight is the method that must be continued to remain at that weight. Effectively, this means that obesity should be treated as a medically chronic condition. This is the reason that fad diets generally do not work in the long term and result in yo-yo weight loss.
In contrast, Dr Jason Fung believes that Type 2 Diabetes is a reversible condition that CAN be cured with a low carb diet and fasting. Unlike caloric reduction, intermittent fasting doesn't reduce the basal metabolic rate. A ketogenic diet is compatible with low carbohydrate consumption and works well with fasting. He says that it isn't easy to regularly fast, presumably because extended periods of hunger are uncomfortable, although he says that it is easier to fast while on a ketogenic diet.
- How to Lose 50 Pounds and Keep Them Off | Arya Sharma | TEDxUAlberta
- Obesity as a chronic disease Dr Arya Sharma (Webinar)
- Is your diet bulls**t? (CBC Marketplace)
- The Mindset for Healthy Eating | Gillian Riley | TEDxChelmsford
- Why dieting doesn't usually work | Sandra Aamodt | TEDGlobal 2013
- Dr. Jason Fung - 'A New Paradigm of Insulin Resistance'
There are two kinds of diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2. Type I Diabetes (aka Diabetes Mellitus Type 1) is an autoimmune disease but Type II Diabetes (aka Diabetes Mellitus Type 2) is more of a lifestyle disease that can be controlled with diet and exercise. Insulin Resistance is the body's inability to properly utilize insulin and the main cause of Type 2 Diabetes. Obesity can be a side effect of insulin resistance and, to add insult to injury, obesity adversely affects Type 2 Diabetes because it increases insulin resistance. Not sure if you're insulin resistant? Your body has a couple of signs of this condition: skin tags and dark skin creases (Acanthosis Nigricans).
Being Type II diabetic now, I've been reading up on leading a healthy lifestyle and I've learned a few things. In no particular order:
- Exercise has great health benefits but isn't very effective in rapid weight-loss. It doesn't burn-off nearly enough calories although you're probably not snacking while you're exercising. It's a lot more effective to avoid ingesting unnecessary calories than it is to metabolize them. For example, a 300 calorie donut will require about 60 minutes of walking (3.5 mph / 17 minutes/mile) or 30 minutes of running (5 mph / 12 minutes/mile) for a 155 lb person. See Calories burned in 30 minutes for people of three different weights.
- A healthy diet and lifestyle result in longevity, of which a healthy weight is a characteristic
- No-one becomes overweight overnight and the weight you've gained over the years should be shed slowly.
- Your body is extremely good at energy conservation. If you loose weight too quickly, your body will reduce its metabolic rate and make weight loss even more difficult.
- The body's mechanism for conserving energy is the Famine Response.
- Gut health is extremely important and you need to keep your microbiome healthy and well nourished.
- A good attitude is important. It is better to have positive thoughts that you are becoming healthier or more attractive than to to have negative thoughts about having a deadline for losing weight.
- Muscle is a denser tissue than fat so it is possible to become heavier even though you're becoming leaner.
People want to become less overweight for a variety of reasons (need to fit into dress for an occasion, going on vacation and want a beach body, etc). This will not work in the long term and will set you up for failure. Instead, a better reason is because you want to become slimmer because YOU like the way you look and feel. As you start to shed weight (or rather fat), the changes will be positive reinforcement for your efforts.
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