Dispelling Misconceptions

I saw my endocrinologist yesterday.  My second visit with him, and it was much more productive than my first one.  In my first appointment with him we mostly just discussed current symptoms and possible diagnosis, however this visit we actually had test results so we were able to actually discuss what I'm trying to do in this "getting healthy" thing I'm trying to do.  Here's what I learned:

Your weight is best thought of as a spring attached to a ceiling.  The point at which the spring is attached is your max weight or starting point.  As we reach a new max weight that point is ratcheted up further and it doesn't ever come down.  Now imagine that you are standing under that spring and pulling it down is you losing weight.  Pulling that spring down at first won't be too difficult, but the further down you try to pull the spring the harder its going to be not only to get it down to that point, but to keep it there.  You ever noticed how at first the weight comes off easily and quickly, then it slows down and gets harder and harder?  Pulling that spring down and holding it there by 5% is going to be a lot easier than 10%, so on and so forth. 

With this analogy in mind it makes it easy to see notions such as BMI, height/weight ratio, and dropping your weight by 50% as the bullshit that they are.  In the obesity medicine community 5% sustained weight loss is considered successful weight loss, and 10% sustained loss greatly reduces health risks associated to obesity (such as diabetes and heart disease).  10% is about the most maintained weight loss that most of the population can reliably keep off.  Medical intervention (bariatric surgery, medication, etc.) can and will get people below that 10% point, but the average for these is 20-25% sustained loss; and even then the majority of participants will see their weight increase back to that 10% loss point.  None of this should be discouraging, in fact it should be encouraging.  Weight loss should be about getting healthy, first and foremost.  So what if you don't have a six pack or a 28" waist? You've brought your weight down by 10% vastly reducing your risk of obesity related disease.  Anyone who says that isn't good enough because you don't conform to the visual ideal of what successful weight loss is can fuck off.

I know most people have heard that BMI is bullshit, and it is. It was created as a mathematical way to gauge insurance rates, turning people into numbers that can be quantified.  Height/weight ratio is just an extension of that.  I can't speak to men, as I'm not one, but when it comes to women it's pretty easy to see how these ratios and indices can't be trusted.  Using me for example:  I'm 5'2" and I weigh 177.  That puts me at a BMI of 32.  If you compare me to another woman who is 5'2" and 177 we'd look identical on paper.  Now, say that woman has A cup breasts while I have an F cup; now there's a very apparent difference between the two of us, but if you're just looking at BMI or height/weight ratio you'd never know.  All I'm trying to say here is that these systems are detrimental and shouldn't be used as a gauge for weight related health.

Well, moving on: here's my weekly personal update.

I reached a new low this week! I feel pretty good about it, but I'm tweaking my routine a bit.  For breakfast and lunch I'll be eating a meal replacement bar (previously I was only eating them for lunch), and weather permitting I'm going to start walking at lunches.  I hope to see an increase in the rate of my weight loss with these changes.