Thursday, May 16, 2013

So why DO we get fat?

later Thursday:

My zombie-fleeing friend told me that the original Zombies, Run! app (not the C25K one I have) doesn't actually require you to run, it is designed so you can walk as well -- you just have to speed up from whatever you were doing when a zombie appears. A brisker walk is fine. So I downloaded it today and am happy to have my zombies back. Unfortunately it hadn't finished downloading by the time I went out, but I'll use it to walk to work.

I walked half an hour to the hairdresser (and incidentally found it will take me about 20 mins to walk to work, where I start on Monday) through a chilly morning. I love the massage and the hair-washing. The hairdresser did what I asked and I think the cut is ok, but it's hard to tell at present because despite my saying at least twice that I don't like my hair straightened, she blow-dried it straight down beside my face. It really doesn't suit me. And two minutes after going back into the wind I was left with a mouthful of hair and a bird's nest on my head. I'll wait and see until I wash it next and get its natural wave back.

I went to the shops and found myself a pair of black work pants (yay!) and put them in to be shortened. Then had a lovely lunch at a Thai restaurant. It was a lunch special with rice and a chicken/vegetable dish, and when it came out it was so big my first thought was to take half home. But I ended up eating it all except I only had a little bit of the rice. On my tracker, I counted it as my own home-made stir fry plus extra meat, the cashews, the bit of rice, and presumably sugar in the sauce. So quite a lot more calories, really!

Then I walked home, another half an hour of briskness (carrying a backpack full of fruit this time), then into the afternoon routine of taking Child 2 to gymnastics, Child 1 to the library, home for a while, pick up Child 2, make dinner...

Since everyone else in the house loves pasta (so do I, for that matter) but I'm not eating it at the moment, I made myself a baked chicken breast and vegetables with really hot sauce. It was great! I didn't miss the pasta at all. As long as I make myself something yummy, I don't resent not eating stuff like that.

A book I picked up for myself at the library is Gary Taubes' Why We Get Fat and what to do about it, and although I don't like the title (it just seems a bit dumbed down) I am finding it fascinating. I should disclaim, first, that I don't necessarily believe everything I read -- it would be almost impossible these days as everything contradicts everything else. But I enjoy exploring the arguments. Anyway, Taubes argues that there isn't, and never has been, any evidence that either low calorie diets OR exercise do anything to help you lose weight. He looks at the original studies that this idea was based on and debunks them. I am only a quarter of the way through but he says up front in the Introduction that it's easily digested carbohydrates that are the problem, not the balance of calories in/calories out, because of their affect on hormones like insulin which then trigger you to get fat.

I have been convinced for quite a while that exercise -- while good for you in many ways including strength, endurance, and mood -- does not make me lose weight, but the idea that the number of calories I eat doesn't have relevance is a bit hard to get my head around. I will read on.


  1. Hi Natalie! There are quite a few medical professionals who disagree with Taube's point of view. They have written professional responses to his book's claims.

    That said, I think I only keep off about 10 pounds by exercise, the rest by eating less calories. I eat about 700 less calories per day than I did at my fattest weight. However, the exercise has made my body shape younger and me act younger so I still can't say enough about exercise.

    :-) Marion

  2. Thanks Marion, I'll have a look for those responses. I like to see both sides. Quite frankly I find it difficult to form a reasoned opinion to anything diet-related these days; I've read too much and everything is contradictory! But cutting out (or down on) processed food seems to be helping me reduce cravings.

  3. It's a really complicated matter, for sure. I honestly don't believe that much of what we were taught growing up is really all that true. It's far more complicated than calories in/calories out, the quality of your food is probably more important that the quantity! I'm glad you found a way to keep the Zombies in your life! My sister mentioned that app just last night and I thought of you!