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Gender: Male
Hometown: New Hampshire
Home country: USA
Member since: Sun Oct 3, 2004, 04:16 PM
Number of posts: 12,523

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The author does go on to talk about the difference between nutrient dense...

...foods and low calorie food, differences in activities and goals, saying "A healthy highly trained endurance athlete or bodybuilder exercising several hours per day is going to have very different needs and tolerances than a sedentary diabetic overweight office worker.", etc.

Keeping in mind that "Fat loss is ultimately about calories in versus calories out" is important because, while it may not be a good guide to specific food choices and exercise plans, it is useful for setting boundaries that people are all too likely to ignore when they get tempted by hype about "fat-burning foods" and infomercial exercise programs that supposedly burn away pounds and pounds of fat "in only twenty minutes per day!" Too many people are either causing themselves unnecessary grief by avoiding foods that have been unnecessarily demonized, or are failing to lose weight because they consume too many calories while expecting some "superfood" that they're eating to "melt" their fat away.

As long as you're getting the nutrients you need, the most important thing about food choices for people with weight problems is managing hunger. That doesn't change the essential truth about "calories in, calories out", however, it just changes how much will power is needed to prevent excess calories from coming in.

To the extent that food choices may actually change your metabolism, change the rate at which you burn calories, if such effects exist I don't know how well proven these effects are, and I doubt that these effects ever amount to much more than tinkering around the edges of the calories in/out balance sheet.

As for red meat...

I looked at many of the studies that your search brings up, and what I see is a lot of "could", "may", "is associated with", etc. Some of the studies are about particular metabolic reactions, but not looking at the big picture of what's actually going on when people eat red meat. Other stuff is bigger picture, but so "big picture" that it's talking about comparing diets that are greatly different not only in the consumption of red meat, but many other ways at the same time.

No, I certainly didn't go through pages and pages of matches from the search you suggested, but if the OP article's author's point was that there isn't a solid body of research that shows a clear, causal link between typical levels of red meat consumption and specific health problems, that seems to be the case from what I've seen.

Perhaps some people want to "play it safe", avoiding certain foods even when there's only one or a few reported "could", "may", and "is associated with" problems, but I suspect if you take that route, pretty soon you'll be afraid to eat anything -- or, more likely, in order to avoid starvation, you'll start to rationalize believing the research that fits your preconceived notions of healthy eating, and dismiss the studies that would attack whatever is left that you like eating until there's more evidence.

I've lost 85 lbs. I mostly agree with you, with just a little qualification.

Certainly the fat jokes about Christie should go. It's his bullying approach to politics, and his Republican politics, that deserve the focus of our criticism. We all should be more sympathetic to how difficult weight issues can be.

On the other hand, I do think, if not taken to excess, a little bit of social pressure helps, as long as it's motivating, not too cruel or harshly shaming. I have never blamed others if they didn't find me physically attractive when I was fat. I don't find fat very attractive myself, and I'm not going to hold a hypocritical double standard. Chemistry is chemistry. People can't just will themselves into physical attraction for the sake of political correctness.

For my own case -- although I certainly don't hold everyone else to this standard -- my weight really is a matter of personal discipline and effort. My highest measured weight (it may have gone higher during some long, unmeasured spans of time) was 263 lbs, back in April 2012. For my height of 6', that's about 35.7 BMI -- so not as severe as you got, but still quite bad enough. I'm now 178 (BMI 24.1), and even though that's near the upper end of the "normal" BMI range, most people think I look not just normal, but skinny now.

I lost weight once before in the 90s, coming down from a then-top weight of maybe 245 (I never weighed myself until after I noticed I was losing weight), and I kept myself fit and trim for 7-8 years. Then I slowly let my fitness slide when life circumstances made it more difficult to stick with my diet and exercise routine.

For a while I just didn't care. I didn't feel like the first 10-20 pounds I regained was such a big deal. And when that didn't seem like a big deal, the next ten on top of that didn't seem like a big deal either. Eventually my excess weight started to bother me a little, but still not quite enough to get me exercising and eating better again. I had never been a "rah, rah, feel the burn!" exercise enthusiast. Exercise was never better than a dreary chore to be done as far as I was concerned, which made it tough to stick to it for as many years as I had once before, and even tougher to return to it. Fitness was a fond memory, but the process of staying fit was anything but.

And oddly enough, for as much as people often recommend exercise to battle depression, I suffered the worst episodes of depression in my life while I was fittest I'd ever been. This made me fear that I might be prone to exercised-induced depression (turns out there is such a thing), and, whether it was merely another rationalization for hating exercise or not, that factor only added to my reluctance to get back to exercise and better eating.

It took a series of little shocks, spread out over a few years, to make me resolve to lose weight again. One of the first shocks I remember was when I was given, as a Christmas present, a visit to an indoor skydiving session. It turns out that there was a top allowed weight of 250 lbs. On the skydiving center's scale, in my winter street clothes, I came out to 253. They let the few extra pounds slide. When I was in the skydiving chamber, even though I'd previously watched others flying all around through the air while I waited, I barely managed floating 2-3 feet above the floor.

Then there were growing twinges of knee pain. Finding myself pushing off on the arm of the sofa to get up. Having to give into buying jeans with a 40" waist (I'm now wearing 30"!), and then having those 40-inchers starting to get tight. Suddenly having to chase after an escaping cat, but feeling I was mired in molasses up to my thighs the moment I tried to run.

The final straw came when my wife bought a new bathroom scale. I stepped on it and saw 270! It turns out that the scale had to be calibrated first, but even when that was done, and I stepped on the scale buck naked, I was still getting 263, which was bad enough. I think seeing that first uncalibrated, clothes-on weight of 270 was a good thing for me, however, because I not sure a "mere" 263 would have been, of and by itself, quite as much shock as I needed.

The next day I began regular exercise, and greatly improved my diet. I've been at it ever since. I lost 50 lbs in six months -- just in time to meet my first goal of losing 50 before turning 50. I've been under 200 for a full year now. I've been at my current weight of 178 about six months.

Having lost a lot of weight now twice in my life, and that first time having kept it off for many years, and showing all the signs that I'll again keep it off for many years to come, I can't, for my own case, ever accept any excuses about my weight being some weird biological or medical thing beyond my control. For me, discipline matters. Not being lazy matters. If I regain the weight I've lost, I will consider that a personal failing, and I think rightly so.

This time around I dumped the low-fat diet I used during the 90s. I didn't suffer too much from hunger while losing weight this second go round, and I hardly ever feel myself going hungry now that I'm eating to maintain my current weight. I still don't love exercise in general, but I've found stuff to do that I at least find more tolerable, and a few activities (that I unfortunately can't do often enough to be my main source of exercise) I actually do enjoy. The bad depression I'd experienced in the 90s did not recur.

One reason I'm not as tough on others as I can be on myself, however, is that I know I've got advantages working for me that others won't have (a gym at work, a very short commute that frees up time, getting an appetite suppressing effect from exercise), and I also know, having done it myself once before, how easy it is to fall off the wagon.

I'm hope GWBridgegate inspires the media to finally puncture the Christie/Sandy myth

Christie could conceivably recover from the bridge debacle, but he will be even more completely and truly out of the running for 2016 if the media finally look beyond Christie's well-crafted Sandy PR to see the far less inspiring real story behind his role in the storm recovery effort.

"Where is the money? Only 24% of Allocated Sandy Relief Funds Have Been Distributed" (as of 11/12/2013)

"Was Christie the Hurricane Hero?"

"Watchdog: Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund has raised $32M, doled out $0"

If Pope Francis were to be assassinated, admit it. Some of you already *know* it was a Conspiracy.

A capital-C Conspiracy that is, not just two or more run-of-the-mill zealots colluding with each other.

(1) I don't deny that a Big Conspiracy is possible, perhaps even likely. Pope Francis is certainly making enemies in high places.

But I also think it's the kind of crime easily committed by a lone assailant, working completely on his/her own. Francis seems to love moving around out among the people, in ways I suspect often leave his personal security somewhat lacking.

No matter how possible it is for one person to plan and carry out such an attack, however, if the news reports that it's a lone gunman, you won't believe it.

You will not. You can not. Everything that could point to that simple explanation will seem contrived to you, untrustworthy. It will be the "official story", which is, in and of itself, a damning comment. The "official story" is always and only for suckers.

You will find "inconsistencies". Someone will have said something the day before that sure sounds like it foreshadows the upcoming event. Perhaps a few more cardinals than usual will be in Vatican City at the time, "clearly" there to be ready for the next papal election. Some transfer of funds within the Church will seem very suspicious. Some billionaire CEO will have recently met with some archbishop. There will be unexplained sounds. There will be odd glints and shimmers and puffs of smoke found in videos, played endlessly on YouTube with arrows and red circles drawn in to point them out.

Further, I marked item (1) for a reason. I can say (1) as many times as I like, but if I express any skepticism about the inevitable would-be conspiracy theories, you will either ignore that I have said (1), or treat it as a throw-away disclaimer. You'll be sure that I must actually be a shill or a dupe for the dreaded "official story", totally unwilling to question authority, like you so bravely do.

If anyone calls you a conspiracy nut for whatever wild theories you spin for what "really" happened, you'll snap at them, asking them what's wrong with "questioning" the official story. It will be clear from your tone and attitude, however, that your "questioning" is really damn near 100% certainty that only a big plot motivated by evil corporations, corrupt governments, and threatened church conservatives could have done it.

Lone gunmen? Puhlease!

That's exactly the kind of thing I had in mind.

I've seldom seen anyone who responded to a disagreement with "Why are you against asking questions?" who was truly just asking questions... except perhaps of the "When did you stop beating your wife?" style of question.

To use an example not likely to raise hackles on DU, take climate change deniers as an example. When one of them asks something like, "If the earth is getting hotter, how do you explain snow falling on the pyramids in Egypt!?" (this did happen a couple of weeks ago), you could try to explain how climate change leads to wilder weather conditions, not just uniformly more heat everywhere, but you know damned well that person isn't going to listen to you. Their question is a rhetorical question, delivered with the smug assumption that you don't, and can't possibly, have a good answer -- certainly not an answer that's going to be good enough to satisfy them.

These people are pretty much always stating conclusions, and their passion belies any pretense that they're really reserving much doubt that they could be barking up the wrong tree.

How often has someone actually given you grief for *questioning* something?

And I mean just for questioning, and no more than questioning a policy, a plan, a system, an authority?

Other than a religious zealots who might get angry with you for questioning their dogma, dogma that they quite literally expect people to accept without question, and perhaps a few non-religious zealots who treat other political and philosophical issues with the same degree of fanaticism, I don't think this supposed offense of being giving grief for just asking questions really happens all that often.

What does happen more often, however, is that people pretty clearly state a point of view on a subject, have clearly reached what, for themselves, is a fairly definitive conclusion, they might even be talking about a plan of action based on that conclusion... and then, when someone disagrees with them, disagrees with their logic or their supposed facts, doubts the wisdom of their proposed tactics for achieving change, they disingenuously whine:

"What do you have against people asking questions!"?

"Why don't you want me asking questions!?"

"What do you have against questioning authority!?"

Please, people, just own it. Own what you say you stand for and believe in if you're going to speak out passionately about it. Don't pretend that something that's got you fired up to change the world, has already changed the way you live, has changed how you vote (or don't bother to vote), has changed who you trust or don't trust, is somehow "just asking questions".

You say a problem rates a 10. I say it rates a 7. You react as if I said the problem doesn't exist.

You react as if I'm all for causing the problem, that I'm part of the problem, that I don't think the problem is a problem at all, that I'm doing just what the problem-makers want us to do.

Unless I set my hair on fire and my flames reach as high as your flames, I am the problem.

It's really annoying that most of the internet, DU included, is like this.

What if Lincoln had run on immediately ending slavery, pro mixed-race marriage, pro integrated...

...military and police forces, pro integrated schools, etc.?

Those are worthy and necessary goals. Anything less is immoral. That's completely true. I understand the disgust with accepting anything less. Every moment that a slave remained a slave was a tragedy. Every moment African Americans were denied equal standing in society was a grave injustice.

Nevertheless, the only way any of that eventually happened was in slow steps. The hellfire anti-slavery Lincoln I imagine never would have come close to winning the presidency, or yielding any sort of significant political power at all. Lincoln only ran against the spread of slavery beyond where it already existed, not for it's immediate cessation. Emancipation came only as a strategic move in the war with the South. I'm pretty sure Lincoln would have been shocked by blacks marrying whites. By modern standards, Lincoln would likely be considered a bigot.

That made him the right man for the job at the time. Just ahead of the curve of the American public, and not so far ahead that no one would follow.

There are times when too much patience is wrong, when waiting for tomorrow has got to stop. What's difficult is knowing when patience is a virtue and when patience is a vice. It's always more complicated that simply knowing what's right.

You are a liar.

You have lied about something, sometime, haven't you? In fact, if we include "little white lies" in this discussion, your lying is probably a weekly, if not daily, occurrence. If we could examine the whole of your life, there are almost certainly a few whoppers in there -- lies to cover your ass, maybe even a few mean-spirited lies that hurt someone.

Technically speaking (with maybe the occasional one-out-of-a-billion exception?) every last one of us is a liar.

But you're still going to be pissed if someone calls you a liar, and in most cases rightly so, if they do it with condescension, with an accusatory tone, as if lying defines your very nature.

Consider this something to think about with many of the other labels and blanket characterizations being tossed around DU lately, about DU members, about Snowden and Greenwald, about the president and other leaders, about the nature of governments and countries. Is it enough that you have in mind one or two issues or incidents (if you're even sure you're right about those one or two things) to apply a label to a person or a situation, a label that could be technically true, but only in the same sense that you're a liar, hurling that label about in a sneering tone as if you're just defined the very nature of that person or situation?

There are even things that happen frequently in raw numbers, far more than one or two incidents, where nevertheless these frequent events are not representative events.

Take car accidents, for example. Imagine if a poster on DU started screaming about our "deadly" roads and highways. It's certainly technically quite true. That poster could have a field day posting page after page of links to stories about deadly car crashes.

What then if that poster acts like you're an absolute fool if you don't stop driving NOW, after they've shown you THE TRVTH!? What if you try to explain how automotive safety has improved over the years, and for your trouble you get shouted down as a shill for the automotive industry or an apologist for the highway department?

Is it a person's "fault" if they're fat? What does that question really mean?

I'm writing in response to various comments in another thread a few days ago where people were getting all steamed up about "fat shaming" and "taking personal responsibility" and the like.

Just to get this out of the way, I'm currently 178 lbs at 6'0", having lost 85 lbs since last April, along with 10" from my waist, taking me down to 30" waist jeans that I had to mail order since 30x34 is a hard size to find locally. (I guess it says something about the average American male that 34x30, not 30x34, is in plentiful supply.) My last physical (when I'd only lost about 50 of the 85 lbs.) showed I was very healthy in terms of cholesterol, blood sugar, and plenty of other measures. (My blood pressure, oddly enough, went up for a while, just crossing into Stage 1 hypertension, but it's back to a healthy value again. I blame the then on-going election! )

I say this not to fish for compliments (well, OK, maybe a little!) but because some people don't seem to take you seriously about diet and exercise unless you're in good shape, even if same information and opinions you might convey are shared by both fit and fat people. I would have said much the same things I'm going to say now back when I was 263 lbs.

Was it my fault I'd gotten so fat? Is it to my credit that I've become fit and trim? Does what applies to me apply very much to anyone else?

I grew up an out-of-shape geek, the kid picked last for teams in high school gym. I didn't get fit until my 30s, I let myself go during my 40s, and in just the past year I've gotten myself back on track at 50. Clearly I can make up my mind to eat better and exercise, and I get good results when I do. Just as clearly, I can also fail when a situation that makes it a lot easier for me to take the time for exercise (a work-at-home job I held for seven years) gets replaced with a less conducive situation (losing 1.5-2 hours a day to commuting, feeling more worn out from working and driving).

I don't think "fault" is always such a clear concept, even though people get very impassioned about what is and isn't a person's fault. It's more useful to consider of how easy or hard some personal choices might be. Does a choice require trivial or heroic effort, or something in between? Can 8 out of 10 people resist an extra cookie in one situation, but change circumstances a bit, and only 3 out of 10 can resist?

As a thought experiment, imagine an overweight prisoner locked in a cell. The only food he can get is what a jailer provides him through a narrow slot. Imagine further than the calories burned by the prisoner are closely monitored -- not just calories burned via exercise and general motion, but calories burned by all metabolic activity.

Human bodies follow the laws of physics. I can guarantee you (minor issues such as water retention aside) that if the jailer puts fewer calories through the slot than the prisoner burns, the prisoner will lose weight over time. He might be very unhappy about it, he might suffer from frequent and distressing hunger pangs, and if the jailer makes poor nutritional choices the prisoner might become ill or malnourished -- but he will lose weight.

I know that the phrase "calories in, calories out" infuriates some people, but when you fully account for every bit of the "in" and the "out" (which can be complicated and nuanced) you can't help but lose weight when your body is burning more calories than it is taking in. The energy your body uses has to come from somewhere, and if that energy is not in your food, your body has to start breaking down fat and/or other body tissues to provide that energy. People who struggle with weight loss, whatever their real you-don't-want-to-blame-them-for-it problems might be, do not have a magical ability to suck energy out of the aether. A "low metabolism" can only go so low if you're still alive.

If you aren't locked in a cell, if you aren't being fed by a calorie-counting jailer, it's a difficult question how much calorie-counting knowledge and discipline (or adherence to good non-calorie-counting habits which yield equivalent results) is a reasonable expectation for any given person, especially when we're not just talking about food calories ("in", but knowledge of your own metabolism and activity in terms of caloric values ("out".

Some people stay at a healthy weight with little effort at all. They aren't especially disciplined or conscientious, they aren't counting calories, they eat what they want, they don't go out of their way to exercise -- they're just lucky. Others have to work hard at reaching and maintaining a healthy weight, but they succeed. Some work hard and fail. Some, for good or bad reasons, don't make much effort at all.

When you look at the American population as a whole, clearly something is going wrong with our high and growing rates of obesity. A large portion of the population didn't simply transform from good, hard-working responsible people into bad, lazy, irresponsible louts. Many things about our food supply, eating habits, and physical activity have changed. You can, of course, blame the Evil Capitalists and Evil Corporations for that, and they certainly bear some of the blame, but they can't do all that they do without the public cooperating to some extent. They won't sell it if we won't buy it.

It is simultaneously dastardly yet eminently understandable that a snack food maker, given resources like focus groups and food laboratories, will be driven to figure out how to make you want to keep eating their tasty treats until your hand reaches the bottom of the supposedly six-serving bag.

Would you outlaw this kind of irresistibility in food? Would you tax it? Warning-label it? How much responsibility do you place on the consumer to resist temptation and exercise self-control?

Some people say, for example, diet soda makes you gain weight. Let's suppose this is true (might be real cause and effect, might be more a matter of mistaking correlation for causation), and the reason it's true is that diet soda increases your appetite for foods that contain the calories that the soda doesn't contain. If so, you still have to give into those cravings before the unwanted weight gain occurs. If you drink diet soda, feel those cravings, yet still manage to restrict your calorie intake, you will still be able to lose weight. It might be a more stressful, unpleasant task, more prone to eventual failure, but in the bigger picture the diet soda can only be an indirect cause of weight gain. It's an unclear value judgment whether a person's susceptibility to induced cravings and ability to battle those cravings when they occur constitute a blame-worthy failing.

I've been able to change my eating habits and even my food cravings themselves so healthier eating comes more naturally. Can I expect that will work for everyone? No. Do I think people who are eating poorly should at least give it a try? Yes.

I now do lots of exercise, several hours worth every week, cardio and weight training. But I've now got a blissfully short commute to work, and a free gym at the office. I'm quite sympathetic to people not being able to find the time to exercise as much as I do now. On the other hand, I think people should reconsider their priorities if they aren't doing what they can do to make at least some time for some exercise.

There are good medical reasons why the potential for exercise is limited for some people. On the other hand, I've seen people like my own father use every excuse he could for inactivity, not fighting to do as much as was still possible for him to do, until he essentially crippled himself for the last 10-15 years of his life.

I have no clear conclusion to present, just a mixed bag of feelings and a sense of many gray areas. I know that many individual people could improve their health if only they decide to do it. I know that's easier said than done. I know good excuses for poor health exist, I certainly don't want to go as far as the mindless "motivational" rhetoric of people who smugly shout "NO excuses!", but that many of those excuses aren't as good as many people think. I'm pretty sure that most people who claim to "eat like a bird" but can't lose weight are simply in denial about how much they eat and/or suffer badly from "portion distortion". I believe that real metabolic disorders exist, but that they aren't as common as claims to suffer from them are. I believe we've created a food environment that makes it harder to find healthy food, harder to resist overeating, but that with some effort we can all eat better. I believe a lot of improvement in diet can be made without getting fanatical about all-natural, all-organic, non-GMO, gluten-free, etc. -- you shouldn't give up on eating better just because the whole package deal of "clean eating" fanatics seems horribly restrictive and overwhelming (and perhaps, in some areas, absurdly and needlessly puritanical).
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