Quick hit: Another reason not to make weight loss resolutions

I can see why people find it really appealing to vow that they’ll lose weight in the new year. Of course there’s the eternal return of the FoBT — “this year is the year I get my new life underway.” But there’s also the fact that, man alive, is it ever easy to eat a lot over the holidays. Even those of us who are relatively secure with our bodies can end up feeling a little logy, bloated, and sugar-poisoned — I know I do. It’s tempting to think of a diet as the ticket to feeling cleansed.

Before you give in, though, check out this BBC News article on why now is actually the worst time to diet. You need your immune system during the winter months even more than usual, and surprise surprise — when you’re restricting calories, you can’t choose what gets shortchanged. At least in mice, dieting leads to reduced ability to fight off the flu.

The team at Michigan State University found even though the mice on the lower calorie diet received adequate amounts of vitamins and minerals, their bodies were still not able to produce the amount of killer cells needed to fight an infection.

As well as being more likely to die from the virus, the mice – which were consuming around 40% of the calories given to their counterparts on a normal diet – took longer to recover, lost more weight and displayed other symptoms of poor health.

“Our research shows that having a body ready to fight a virus will lead to a faster recovery and less-severe effects than if it is calorically restricted,” said study author Professor Elizabeth Gardner.

Hilariously, even though a well-fed body is described as “a body ready to fight a virus,” the scientists warn that their results “should not be seen as a carte blanche to avoid dieting all year.” Flu season is apparently the only time when you need the ability to fight off infection more than you need to be a pretty pretty princess. Still — thanks, guys, for giving us leave to care more about our health than our weight for four months out of twelve! (It goes without saying, of course, that we here at SP give you carte blanche to avoid dieting all year. We tend to think it’s foolish to court a compromised immune system, even in the summer.)

62 thoughts on “Quick hit: Another reason not to make weight loss resolutions

  1. Even those of us who are relatively secure with our bodies can end up feeling a little logy, bloated, and sugar-poisoned

    Oh man, no kidding. I have never in my life wanted vegetables and water more than I do this week. I normally love sweets, but the next person who offers me free chocolate is not getting my happiest gratitude face.

    I’m so glad that this year I know about HAES and can respond to this with “Dude, I really want some fucking salad” instead of going “YAY I’m finally being good and eating veggies!” and then beating myself up when I inevitably go back to a more balanced diet.

  2. Thanks! I needed this today. With my mom stepping up comments about how great my body “used” to look and how much I’m going to regret not listening to her when I’m old and my health is shot or whatever the fuck, I’ve been having a lot of diet thoughts lately.

    Frankly though, our house is freezing and I’d rather have the extra insulation, not to mention the extra boost to my less-than-stellar ability to fight off all the bugs that float around this time of year.

    Though I would highly recommend a nasal rinse as an extra precaution for anyone who has problems with that. Discovered it recently and even if it will not prevent the colds as it was suggested it might, it does wonders for my sinuses. And, fewer headaches! YAY!

    Stay well, Shapelings! I don’t know about you guys, but I’m totally still a pretty pretty princess. I’m even a pudgy pretty pretty princess, so that gives me extra alliteration powers, which come in handy. ;)

  3. I think being my snowed in prevented too many bouts of holiday overeating. I didn’t even get to make matzoh ball soup and red velvet cake until New Year’s Eve because there was no way to get the ingredients, and I’m still working my way through those. I also work at home, so I didn’t have to deal with bunches of holiday goodies at work. But yeah, I was happy to get my paws on some vegetables again, too. I kind of missed those.

    Well, gee, I’m so relieved that our media daddies haven’t granted everyone permission to quit dieting the rest of the year, given that it’s oh so good for us and everything. Or do I mean good for them?

  4. As I recall, earlier today the BBC Health section had three articles up top

    1 – the one that you’re quoting, saying that diets could be bad for your flu-fighting

    2 – one from british mental health agencies saying that dieting resolutions were bad for you because they failed and made you feel worse (so you should make sustainable resolutions like being a little bit more active instead)

    3 – and one mentioning the government’s new Change 4 Life initiative to desperately fight the Obesity Epidemic!!!

    Le sigh.

  5. …of course, it’s the middle of summer here, so it’s not only New Year Let’s Diet Season, it’s OMG FATTY IN A SWIMSUIT EW! Season. Personally, I’m rejoicing because my state has had the coolest, wettest December in years, so not only did I not have to suffer in the heat, but our chances of dying horribly in a bushfire is dramatically reduced…this year.

  6. “I’m even a pudgy pretty pretty princess, so that gives me extra alliteration powers, which come in handy. ;)”

    I finally stopped giggling for long enough to say: SugarLeigh – you’re my hero of the day!

  7. I’ve been telling diet-resolutioning friends that they need their nutrients because it is winter over and over for the last few days. It’s nice to see the BBC backing me up – maybe now some of them might listen to me.

    Maybe. :C

  8. lilacsigil, oh yeah, I mean to mention that you antipodal folks obviously don’t get to slack off on your princess duties. PRINCESS FASTER!

  9. Funny you should write this fillyjonk, because on New Year’s Eve I caught my coworker’s cold. On New Year’s Day, I was coughing, had body aches, sore throat, stuffiness, the usual symptoms. I rarely get colds during the winter—they like to visit me during the summer—so this must be my body’s way of testing me for the new year. Rest assured, I’m not skipping nutrients to look hawt for the media.

  10. 1st: the whole, its a New Year, I shall be reformed thing plagued me for years. I try to avoid that now, particularly in terms of body resolutions, but I will admit that I now have a new habit that I really like, between the Western New Year and Chinese New Year, I try to declutter my house and get all my give away together (it gives me a deadline). Its useful as a mental exercise too because it reminds me that calendars are culturally determined, not some kind of nature based system that has magical properties to begin anew.

    2nd: the study, I’m not trying to dispute the study based on some kind of mad diet defensiveness, but rather I just wanted to voice my concern of how we (readers and media persons) use or misuse studies to relate to vastly complicated human behaviors and bodies. I’m just saying, the study didn’t lay out some important factors–like, were the rats fattened up before the study? Do humans cut their calories by 60% on average when dieting? Etc. I don’t really need those factoids, but I want to make sure that the scientists took those and more factors into account before making vast generalizations. I do think that it has been demonstrated that humans dieting impacts the immune system, I don’t dispute that. I guess in general, I’d just like to see more critical use of studies rather than popular use of studies which may or may not be accurately represented in the press. I think that as an intelligent blog, its very important not to use studies with dubious origins just because they may demonstrate desired outcomes. You know, its like those MRA blogs that prove domestic violence is 50% women’s fault or something. Defensive wounds do not equal culability, etc.

    Happy New Year

  11. I agree with the idea that we’re not that far evolved that we can fight the biological urge to keep our adipose tissue in the cold weather. I’d hibernate if I could. :~)

    On a personal note, I’d like to share that my X-husband used to tell me that I got sick more because I was fat, as part of his “concern” for me and to spur some weight loss. Ironically, I am now double the size I was then (I’ve added 20 years and 150 pounds) and it turns out I rarely get sick because I don’t have the stress of living with a size-ist ass. Oh well.

    And my personal new year starts in August with the beginning of the school year, first for me, then when I had kids.

  12. Damn, Fillyjonk! I wrote up the same article about the same study over at Big Girl today…but I think you did a better job of it.

    Oh, and Sugarleigh? May I have your virtual web babiez?

  13. This helps a ton because I have been having a lot of diet talk in my head lately. Thank you for reminding me that my body loves me, so I should love it back.

  14. I was just mentioning to Al last night that like 80% of what I read on Twitter is either “Here’s what I’m eating,” or “I’m sick! Whine!” Perhaps there’s more of a connection than I realize.

  15. Thealogian said: “You know, its like those MRA blogs that prove domestic violence is 50% women’s fault or something. Defensive wounds do not equal culability, etc.”

    I saw your point up until this last line. This is such a badly chosen example. MRA’s often justify such statistics with sexist dribble that focuses on women not knowing their ‘place’. Whereas, even if you want to challenge the origin of the study, it’s not vastly outside our current accepted biology to realise that cutting calories can have an effect on the immune system.

    Also, although I do agree with you to some extent (my husband is a biologist so we’ve talked about good studies vs bad before), I think you need to take into account that not everyone in the world knows what to look for in a study in order to judge its accuracy. I don’t, and I have had more discussions on this subject than a lot of people. As long as studies aren’t obviously bogus, I don’t see the harm in linking to them and discussing them as general support for what should be common sense: don’t deprive yourself (which is what dieting involves), particularly not when illnesses are more common.

  16. I think Thealogian (great name) makes a good point that we should be careful not to overinterpret studies and draw meanings that aren’t supported by the data. Obviously a study only really “counts” once it’s been done in a rigorous way on humans (i.e., as far as being something that one would base formal health guidelines on). I do think it’s reasonable to speculate about a study’s implications as long as we’re clear that it’s speculation. The scientists talking to the press, and the science journalists, should do the same.

    So in the name of speculation — all the “very-low-calorie diets make rats live forever” studies are, by necessity, taking place in very controlled lab environments. I wonder how those starved rats would fare in a more natural environment where they have to deal with various stressors of temperature and disease and so on.

  17. Thealogian (great name)

    Is it a pun? Like your real name is Thea?

    Anyway… leaving the MRA example aside, if you’ve spent any time on the blog you know we spend a lot of effort on complicating glib study results. But one of the major points against the “everyone knows fat is unhealthy” claim is that if you’re going to take studies at face value, there are PLENTY of studies showing that dieting is ineffective and unhealthy. No study is perfect, which is why we have a whole scientific literature — and that literature is far from monolithic on the subject of fat. That’s why we critique studies with oversimplified anti-fat conclusions and not studies with oversimplified anti-diet conclusions. The point of both kinds of posts is the same: the science isn’t as clear as people want to think.

  18. I assumed it was a pun because the usual spelling is theOlogian, so a theAlogian would be someone studying a goddess vs a god.

  19. Thank you! I really needed this after spending New Year’s Eve listening to my dad and step-uncle discussing their workout regimens non-stop and giving me shit for having brought Coke to the party (“that’s stuff just terrible for you, I only drink water”). Yeah, you know what? I drink water too – a lot of it – because it tends to quench my thirst better than flavored beverages. But it’s a fucking party, people! Lighten up!

  20. I’m a verry long time lurker on this blog; I love it, and it keeps me half-way sane. I just wanted to pop in to say, thank you for this post, which helped snap my mind back to reality, and thank you for all of your good work here. I have found myself coming here for refuge more times than I can count this week. It seems like the New Year’s diet insanity is the worst it has very been this season. Last night, I woke up and couldn’t go back to sleep, so I turned on the TV only to hear some woman going on and on about the menace of “back fat.” BACK FAT?? God god.

    Anyway, thanks for the great work, and I wish you all the best in the new year.

  21. Were the dieting and non-dieting mice both practicing adequate hand-washing? :P

    I actually resolved to eat vegetables, because when I’m honest with myself I know I’m not eating as healthfully as I could. But that’s the whole resolution: “eat vegetables.” Not instead of something else, not “sneaking” them into dishes where they don’t belong, no restrictions on flavor enhancers (i.e., I can put butter on them…). Just think about adding veggies to a meal, or having them as a snack, until I do it automatically.

    I made the mistake of mentioning this to my mother, who immediately told me about a free trial offer from Weight Watchers. Sigh.

  22. I think I’m going to start going around telling people all the ridiculous things they don’t have “licenses” and “carte blanches” to do, as determined by the unassailable authority of me myself.

    I mean, seriously, can anyone do this, or just “experts” quoted by the media? Couldn’t I just walk up to someone with long hair and say, “Your long hair is probably keeping your neck warm, but that’s NO LICENSE to grow it so long that it overtakes THE WHOLE CITY!!” Or, “You obviously enjoyed that pie, but that’s not a carte blanche to steal your neighbor’s car so you can sell it for scrap and USE THE MONEY FOR MORE PIE!”

  23. Fighting a cold right now… ugh.

    I personally do not get colds during winter so much as I get colds at periods of sharp temperature change. Here in upstate NY we’ve had a week or so of freezing weather alternating with highs in the 40s and 50s. So… presto, I has cold. I can has my pseudoephedrine nao plz.

    Not that anyone should consider this carte blanche to examine their own personal health patterns and live their lives as they find best for them. I mean, where might that lead? /snark

  24. I like that A Sarah “I know you keep seeing people on TV who seem to have very firm opinions, but you still have NO LICENSE to an opinion of your own. The only people with a carte blanche to think things are the people on the little talking box.”

  25. a theAlogian would be someone studying a goddess vs a god.

    Oh, you’re smart.

    You obviously enjoyed that pie, but that’s not a carte blanche to steal your neighbor’s car so you can sell it for scrap and USE THE MONEY FOR MORE PIE!

    A Sarah, I love you so fucking much.

  26. “You obviously enjoyed that pie, but that’s not a carte blanche to steal your neighbor’s car so you can sell it for scrap and USE THE MONEY FOR MORE PIE!”

    Hahaha!

  27. I love you too Fillyjonk!! But that’s NO LICENSE for me to write your NAME on the side of the Washington Monument in Silly String. NO LICENSE!!

  28. The question I’ve got is, given that the balance of current evidence suggests that weight loss diets are neither healthy nor likely to succeed long-term nor necessarily safe, why *shouldn’t* I take that as carte blanche to avoid diets?

  29. Well, Eucritta, I think the important thing is that you remember that you have to seek permission from a third party before you decide what you may do in order to be acceptable. (I’m snarking, but not at you, I hope it goes without saying.) :)

  30. A Sarah, just ’cause you are so funny and crack me up all of the time is NO LICENSE to build a giant ray gun and aim it at the Eiffel Tower so you can bribe the world’s leaders into following your evil plans. NO LICENSE!!!

    As an aside, if there were giant ray gun aimed somewhere in the world, wouldn’t you be glad that Barack Obama would be calmly (while smoking, probably) resolve the whole crisis with rational discussion?

  31. So, I have to ask a third party, ay?

    *eyes husband*

    ‘Hey, hon, is it okay with you if I avoid diets this year?’

    *husband looks startled and then squints suspiciously*

    ‘Wha …? This is a trick question, isn’t it?’

    ‘Nope. I have it under authority here, “you have to seek permission from a third party before you decide what you may do in order to be acceptable”.’

    ‘Oh, right. Good try. So’s mine, must be the salt water.’*

    So there you have it. I think I’ll take that as permission.

    *This surreal phrase is, supposedly, the punch line of a joke. No-one I know, however, remembers the joke, so we all use it when a surreal phrase seems appropriate.

  32. Listen, wellroundedtype2, we all love Obama, but that is NO LICENSE to climb over the White House fence to deliver perfume-scented Polaroids of his name tattooed on your arm.

    (To be totally fair to the researchers, of course, this time they were telling us we had no license to do what’s actually a perfectly reasonable thing. But of course what they meant is “dieting may compromise your immune system, but that’s NO LICENSE to eat everything you see whether it is food or not.”)

  33. I read it as a ‘fear of flu’ trumps ‘fear of fat’ article, rather than being health positive. Being fat will kill you slowly (allegedly) but flu will kill you quick.

  34. “we all love Obama, but that is NO LICENSE to climb over the White House fence to deliver perfume-scented Polaroids of his name tattooed on your arm.”

    But…. but… ::pouts::

  35. Just wanted to share… thanks to your site… my NewYearsResolution is to fall in love with my body this year. Already started, in fact. I have rheumatoid arthritis and I am what the charts call “over weight.” I’m learning to love my food, love my body, and love the abilities I do have. And I feel very supported every time I read your posts and the comments that follow. So thank you, and Happy New Year!

  36. I don’t make New Year’s resolutions anymore. If I find something about myself I want to change, I start trying to change it. It’s always a process and it takes time. Whether it’s trying to be more organized (a REALLY looooooooong process!) or dealing with body image issues.
    I work in a gym, and we see the same pattern every year: people get all gung-ho, sign up in droves on Jan. 2nd, overdo it for 3 months, then get tired and sore and stop coming. I wish they’d take a cue from our older members: they come in, do an activity they enjoy, hang out and socialize for a bit, then go home. And they must be doing something right, ’cause they’re in their 80′s and 90′s and healthy as can be.

  37. Oh, right. Good try. So’s mine, must be the salt water.’*

    *This surreal phrase is, supposedly, the punch line of a joke. No-one I know, however, remembers the joke, so we all use it when a surreal phrase seems appropriate

    And here’s the joke:

    A woman who’s been living in Europe decides to travel back home to America for good. Fortunately for her, she’s wealthy enough to bring all her worldly possessions with her, including her old, saucy parrot with a wildly risque vocabularly.

    Unfortunately for her, she’s traveling on the Titanic. So, you know, Kate Winslet, Leonardo di Caprio, “king of the world,” “Nearer, My God, to Thee” and so on, and thankfully she makes it to a lifeboat. With the parrot.

    They float all night and all day, and the parrot says nary a word. The woman is unhappy, but then the parrot starts talking–and things go from bad to worse.

    “Hey, Mabel, how’s your ass?” says the parrot. And then he says it again. “Hey, Mabel, how’s your ass? Hey, Mabel, how’s your ass?” Over and over.

    Mabel, who had resolved to stay calm in this emergency, gritted her teeth and tried to bear it. “Hey, Mabel, how’s your ass? Hey, Mabel, how’s your ass?”

    “SHUT UP!” she screamed.

    And the parrot said, “So’s mine. Must be the salt water.”

  38. As if you needed any more reasons to snark at the entire diet industry, I just saw a commercial for NutriSystem (in Canada) where the testimonial lady says (direct quote):

    “I decided to stop thinking and start living!”

    For real.

  39. “I decided to stop thinking and start living!”

    Damn, Enomis! My gob is well and truly smacked at the thought that nobody figured out how inane that was before it got filmed.

  40. hey – Help! Can I please make an impromptu request for sanity support on this thread? It is related to the futility of dieting, after all…

    I just realized I’ve been doing that thing, for the last couple of weeks, where I’m subtly planning to lose weight without really telling myself about it – do you know what I mean? doesn’t that sound crazy when you type it out loud?

    it’s compartmentalized in a small part of my brain that doesn’t talk to the other parts of my brain that are all wise and self-loving and food-relishing and body-accepting. And it lives in that little isolated brain room, chattering to itself, making me skip breakfast without really completely noticing why I’m doing it, or having it somehow masquerade as intuitive eating (but I really *wasn’t* hungry!).

    do you do that? that insidious process where truly skillful and self loving approaches (don’t eat when you’re not hungry, eat when you are) get subverted for the old dieting agenda – the language stays “self-loving” but the underlying intention has totally shifted, and you’re not really connected to your body anymore? Oh my god, please tell me I’m not the only one doing this:).

    Anyway, this part of my brain has decided I am totally gorgeous and lovable – it’s true – but I will be especially more so when I lose *exactly 8 pounds* – no pressure – but that HAS TO HAPPEN OR ELSE NO ONE WILL EVER LOVE ME. I’m doing the whole heart-sinking-at-sight-of-arbitrary-numbers-on-a-scale thing, and everything.

    People, I KNOW better. WTP.

    what do you do when you fall into the same old shit for the umpteenth time, and believe it *again*? I mean, because this time, you know, it happens to be true.

    hhmph.

    I find this disconcerting.

    please advise.

    p.s. A Sarah, you don’t know me, but I’m afraid I adore you too. of course I realize this gives me no license of any kind to do anything whatsoever. but still.

  41. Muz,
    I would say that a good step to not focusing on your weight is to throw out your scale. If you don’t know how much you weigh then how can you focus on the numbers? Plus, your heart wont sink as much. (Sinking hearts can lead to seriously complications, I hear.)

    As far as skipping meals and stuff goes maybe if you go out of your way to make sure you have delicious nutritious stuff on hand that you can’t resist? (For me, right now, Frosted Flakes and Bananas, OMG HEAVEN!) Maybe part of the reason you’re able to skip breakfast is because breakfast doesn’t sound really really good?

  42. First time commenting… eeep! LOVE this site!

    All this diet resolution stuff does my head in. My SiL is about 8 weeks pregnant and commented the other day that this is the first New Year’s ever that she hasn’t been going on a diet on January 2 (depressing much?). She also pointed out that the diets usually only last about 2 weeks. *sigh*

    Plus everywhere I look there are the ads for diet whatever… “Look good, feel trim with CelebritySlim” and of course the latest Biggest Loser ads – talk about a FoBT!

  43. JupiterPluvius, I’m amazed! And here I’d been thinking there’d never been any such joke! And it’s nearly as surreal as the punch line by itself. Woot!

  44. A Sarah, you don’t know me, but I’m afraid I adore you too. of course I realize this gives me no license of any kind to do anything whatsoever.

    Actually, adoring A Sarah gives you license to eat whatever you want.

  45. muz, you are totally not alone. I normally go through craving swings where I LOVE fruit and can’t get enough for a few weeks, and then it drops to a more balanced level for a while. Maybe I’ve topped up all my vitamin levels at that point or something.

    But I’ve been on one of these FRUIT! NOM! kicks lately, and in the back of my mind I hear a little voice saying “you know the amount of fruits and veggies you’re eating now is really what they recommend all the time…maybe if you keep it up indefinitely, you’ll quit gaining weight.” UGH.

    I also have a little weird converse-FoBT thing going on right now…I’m quite fine with not losing any weight, but TERRIFIED of continuing to gain. I’m at my highest weight ever, with no apparent endpoint in sight.

  46. “Actually, adoring A Sarah gives you license to eat whatever you want.”

    Hee! I *knew* there was a magic bullet:). thank goddess. I’m actually going to use that.

    (voice in head: “maybe you shouldn’t eat that”. me: “well, maybe, but I adore A Sarah, so I will.”)

    shinobi42, excellent advice, but I’m staying with my mom for a long visit and its her scale. might be part of what’s going on…

    Serinlea – *yes*.

  47. I never make resolutions. Ever. They’re a sure-fire way to disappoint yourself.

    I won’t say I’m gonna diet, ’cause I’m not. But I’ve been eating terribly unhealthy for the past two years or thereabouts, and I can feel it. My stomach’s upset way more often, my endurance is down, I feel tired constantly etc etc. what I need ain’t a diet, it’s a change of life-style i.e. more exercise and less over-eating and indulging in sugary goodness. Especially my teeth are feeling the sugar overload – my dentist will kill me, I’m sure.

    That’s what I get for shacking up with a man who has a sweet tooth and the metabolism to process 6 times as much food as me. He eats and is fine, I eat less than half of that and gain weight. No fair. I’ve always been the chubby kind, and I like me that way, but my health is declining due to my food habits, so they have to change. As soon as I find a job that is, ’cause eating healthy is fucking expensive and I can’t afford anything above and beyond cheap right now. Grrrr.

    And I don’t need anyone’s leave to do anything. Nor should anyone else. If people wanna diet, for one reason or the other, they shouldn’t need anyone’s permission/leave, they should just do it, ad the same goes for those who don’t want to diet, they don’t need anyone’s permission for that either.

    In other news: My cat is fat – really fat – but eats less than he ought to. I worry that his life will be shortened by his overweight, but I can’t bear to put him on a diet, because what will an extra year mean to him if he has to feel hungry and therefore miserable all of that time? I couldn’t do that to him. As long as he doesn’t over-eat I consider him self-regulating in the food-department and he is apparently genetically disposed for being fat. But I love him and he’s awesomely cuddly, so what the hell… As long as he isn’t in pain,let him be fat and comfy – and curled up on the chair next to mine. :D

  48. Well if you need me to I’d be happy to come over and booby trap it started yelling HAES catchphrases every time you put a tiny baby toe on it. “You are not what you weigh!” “Health Not Weight!” “Fatisticians recommend 4 large servings of Baby Donuts a day!”

  49. I do so love you all. So please, a word of encouragement or advise?

    I am avoiding setting up the doctor’s appointment that is due come March because I am hoping I will magically be a little thinner by then – my last appointment a year ago I was up to my highest weight ever and my pants sure haven’t gotten any looser and if I try to do jumping jacks I’ll give myself a black eye with one ginormous boob or the other, that is, unless my knees crack under the strain first. The weight just creeps up and up and up. My darkest fear is that perhaps I will end up 900 lbs and bedridden. Is there such a thing as a person with no biological set point? Could I have broken my set point by dieting viciously off and on for 30-odd years? Gave up dieting 10 years ago at 185, am currently 220 and climbing… argh. The temptation to climb on the Noo Year Diet Bandwagon is nearly irresistible.

  50. Just to point out that over 10 years you were not dieting you only gained 4.5lbs a year. Even if you did continue at that rate for another 40 years you would only weigh 400 lbs. Which is less than half of 900.

    400 probably still not a comforting figure, but, that’s only 50 lbs away for me!

    I totally can’t give you advice about goign to the doctor though, I’ve been putting that off since August.

  51. Could I have broken my set point by dieting viciously off and on for 30-odd years?

    Oh my yes.

    But that doesn’t mean you’ll keep gaining indefinitely — just that your set point will be higher. 220 is not particularly fat, so if you’re still able to be active I wouldn’t worry about it… you’ll eventually get comfortable at 220 or 230 in a way you wouldn’t have been at 185 and restricting at an accelerating rate to stay there.

  52. Shinobi and Fillyjonk, thank you both for prompt and helpful replies. Do you suppose if I eat intuitively (for some definition of that word) for the next forty or fifty years my set point will recover?

    Mortified side note: I can’t believe I mistyped “advise” for “advice”, too – just goes to show I get a little tongue-tied (finger-tied?) posting on a public forum.

  53. My doctor recently recommended that since I can’t afford a program like Jenny Craig or Nutri- system, I should just go buy up lean cuisines and eat those until I drop weight ….LOL

    I told her, I’m trying to keep my bp down, why would I want to eat something processed like that? Why not veggies, baked lean meats, etc?

    Her answer?

    “You don’t understand portion control”

    well, yes I do understand portion control, but i’m still not eating my dinner on a baby plate.

    I felt like tell her to eff off, take her diet plans and shove them where the sun don’t shine.

    Basically this doctor rather me eat lean cuisines, than a plate of veggies, folks.

  54. Doctors do some weird stuff. You think they hear you and then… wtf? In an early visit with my current doctor, she asked me if I wanted to go see a nutritionist for help with weight loss. I let her know that, having been on diets since the age of eight, I could probably tell her the approximate calorie count of any food she cared to mention and was pretty well versed in the whole varied diet thing generally, being a reasonably bright woman of a certain age. Thought she heard me, but a day or so later got a phone call from the nutritionist saying she had the referral slip from my doc and when could I come in?

    And yet I still go to this doctor. She has a nice dry wit and polite bedside manner, and I have dealt with worse.

    @Tabby, did your doctor never consider that as a person who doesn’t understand portion control, you might get all crazy and eat more than one Lean Cuisine at a time? Hilarious.

  55. Thread-Jack: I’m so sorry I thread jacked this post a bit! I was just grumbling about general uses of studies in the media. I know that this is an intelligent site (and certainly I don’t disagree that dieting has a negative effect upon health–that is certainly well documented!!!).

    Name: Thealogian, I was in Divinity School and part of our motto is Minister as Theologian (in Latin of course) and I noticed, hey, that’s specifically worshipping/studying a male god at its root and around the same time I took a reading course with a particularly cool professor that we called “Neo-Pagan Thealogies” (since of course, Neo-Pagan writers often work to study the concept of Female Divinity or the history of Goddesses or pantheons of male and female divinities or the Earth and natural cycles (most closely associated with the feminine in the Western tradition), so I decided to call myself a Thealogian (not because I believe only in Female Divinity–honestly, theism in general is a problem for me, but I do like the movements around Reclaiming the female face of the divine). Anyway, so the name serves to both identify me as someone who works in religious studies and to call out once again how the masculine form does not fairly serve as the universal form in English grammar accurately.

    Also, as a side, I’m fairly new to the site. I learned about Shapely Prose through Shakesville, one of my favorite Feminist/Political/GBLTQ/Smarty-Pants blogs. I’m also new to intuitive eating and currently I’m in training to do a 5k in August.

  56. @ Tabby: do we have the same doctor? LOL. I will say that I’ve found a great orthopedist and ob-gyn who have no comment on my weight, they just asked me to try to get to the pool to work out when I can.

    @ Harriet: I visited the nutritionist (on my doc’s referral) for the first/last time on December 10th (my b’day, what a nice way to celebrate), where she re-explained to me everything I’ve learned about dieting over the past 20 years. Since she was only in her early 20′s I didn’t want to hurt her feelings and tell her I probably knew more than she did about calorie content, portion size, etc.

    Amazingly, I stayed on her 1500 calorie diet (I weigh 316, so it was insanity, of course) for 3 whole days before 1) I gave up because I was starving and 2) I found this amazing web site and related blogs. I cancelled our follow up appt for next week because I don’t want to have to tell her she’s dead wrong. Poor girl.

  57. @Harriet – Thanks for laugh :) I should mention that next time at my appt.

    @Noelle – We might. :)

    I tried a 1,500 cal – 1,700 cal daily intake and I became cranky to live with!

  58. Fillyjonk, I finally saw your “NO LICENSE to climb over the White House fence to deliver perfume-scented Polaroids of his name tattooed on your arm” comment, and I did laugh.

    I know that trying to explain myself here will only come across as insecure and weird (and that I can’t stop myself, compulsive, too), but I was sort of picturing Obama as a movie president rather than a real president when I was thinking of a ray gun. As it turns out, I’m aware that there are real massive weapons aimed all over the place that are not being stopped from killing innocent civlillians, and the very real president Obama is probably not going to be able to solve those crises in the way I’m imagining he would defeat a cartoon-y super villian.

Comments are closed.