I started writing this when I heard that this Sunday’s Reading was slated to be based on a book called “Body of Truth” by Harriet Brown and the Sermon was “Eat What You Love”. Prior to the service I had started typing my blog, detailing some of my ups and downs I experienced and wanted to get some thoughts together so I could comment.
Rev Chip at some point mentioned that some may not agree and as I listened, there was some items I didn’t agree with but I’m not here to disagree but hopefully to add to what he said. He mentioned that people today, who are eating the same amount of calories as their “1980” predecessors are about 10 lbs heavier. He mentioned a few scenarios but I’m not sure he covered the fact that people today seem to be less active. When I was a kid, any free moment we were outside. We played catch, running bases, baseball, stickball… but most of all we ran home at mealtime and hopefully before our curfew!!! Today we tend to be stuck behind a computer screen, a video game or some sort of electronic gadget. Back in the 80’s, I remember mostly home cooked meals and today as he pointed out, we are inundated by food advertising (and diet advertising). It actually shocks me to see that the home cooked meal has somewhat become a thing of the past… but not in our household where it is a high priority to put the love and care into our meals.
Chip also mentioned that only 5% of people are able to keep the weight off after 5 years, they tend to gain the weight back. I thought this was a bit outlandish but I have noticed with each weight loss I have had in my life, it always involved a weight gain. For me, I believe it is the lack of goals or the falling back on old habits but…
Let me give you some background. I have always been near the 180 lbs (168 lbs a little over 15 or so years ago) mark but at some point between a desk job, some weight gain and some health issues, I stepped on the scale one day to find myself near 250 lbs! I snored, I didn’t sleep well, had high cholesterol and had a great deal of issues from that extra weight on my frame, it was time to do something about it. I counted my calories, added some exercise and slowly over a year or so I made it under 200. I spent a short time on an SSRI medication and before I knew it, I was back up to 227 lbs, after getting off the medication, I slowly worked at getting back under 200, I counted calories, I started to run, it took two years but I reached my previous normal weight of “180”. Running injuries and falling back on bad habits brought me back up near 200.
All along I was counting calories but the amount of calories you need really comes down to how active you are. When I was running and working out, I needed 2500-3000 calories per day, when I was injured and less active, I needed somewhere in the 1800-2200 calories per day. Over the years, counting my calories has been a really great tool. I use to indulge in massive quantities of pizza but when I realize that I was eating most of my daily needed calories in one sitting, that was an eye opener. Same thing with Fast Food, that Burger, Fries and soft drink really back on the calories quickly. It really is about portion control. When I think about the topic “Eat What You Love”, you really can! but again, understand your portion size and the amount of calories in it.
Earlier I stated running injuries and falling back on bad habits brought me back up near 200, I used my knowledge of calories burns vs calories taken in and slowly reduced my calorie intake as I kick started the exercise. At 1900-2200 calories I was on a slow weight gain. When I reduced to 1600-1800 calories I was slowly losing a pound of two a week in a 3 month experiment of playing with the numbers I was able to los 30 lbs (average of 2.3 pounds per week) Towards the end of my little experiment I was eating 1200-1300 calories per day which is the absolute minimum anyone should do. I am currently 168 lbs and have been maintaining between 1600 and 2000 calories a day. I ran 5.5 miles on Saturday so my calorie intake was on the higher end of that scale.
I fully anticipate being part of the 95%, after all, it’s happened for much of the last 15 years of my life but at the same time, I have been conscious enough to catch myself resorting to bad habits. I’m sure when I come to a happy number between “calories in” and “calories burned”, my metabolism may change again and I will have to re-adjust. I’m fine with trying to find that magic number. Other people don’t have time or the desire to do this, that doesn’t mean I look down on them. I would, however, be there for them if they need advice.
Prior to the service, I have always felt there was a correlation between weight and survival after an illness. I hypothesized that someone who has a bit of extra weight on them may benefit from those extra fat/protein stores during an illness that has incapacitated them in some respect. Someone who is lean, skinny or underweight does not have those same energy stores available to them and that could affect them negatively. While I don’t think Chip mentioned that, I noticed the mention of an “Obesity Paradox” which I found while researching Rev Chip’s Reading and Sermon.
Most of what I have posted is based on my personal experience or my own thoughts on the matter. While I believe Diet and Exercise has raised my self-esteem, made me more comfortable in my body, there are people who are perfectly happy inside their body even if the field of medicine tells them they are over weight. That is where “Mind” comes in. I struggle with “Mind” and I have an envy for people who are happy and comfortable in their own skin, that’s something I’m still working on. While I enjoy seeking balance between Diet and Exercise, I know in the future I need to focus more on the balance between Body and Mind.