Are obese men like this the new health studs of the 21st century?
Just when you think you've heard it all, along comes something like this that turns rational thinking upside down and leaves you scratching your head wondering how in the world people can come up with this stuff.
But that's exactly what we have here with a fellow blogger named Ampersand from the "Alas, a blog" blog in his April 3, 2006 post entitled "The Case Against Weight-Loss Dieting."
This is NOT a joke! This guy is dead serious in his hypothesis that people who are fat are better off remaining that way rather than trying to lose weight to improve their health and image. He's even got graphs and charts to make his case, too!
His three-point theory against weight loss will at least make you stop and think about why you want to lose weight in the first place. That's a good question to ask yourself -- why do you want to lose weight? Are you doing it for yourself out of a real concern for your health and the way you look or are you simply succumbing to societal pressure that you must lose weight to be a person of value and significance?
While you are mulling that thought around in your brain just a bit, let's look at what Ampersand has to say on the subject of remaining overweight or obese as a way to live a longer, healthier life (I'm not kidding, that's what he's asserting!):
THEORY #1 - For The Vast Majority Of Fat People, Weight Loss Dieting Doesn't Work
Ampersand contends that the failure of diets to bring about long-term and lasting changes in body composition means they are and ineffective means for helping people lose weight. He adds that no weight loss program has ever been found to work over the long term to keep weight stabilized.
"Isn't that amazing? It's not as if Weight Watchers, Slim-Fast, diet clinics, Jenny Craig, and the thousands of other companies making billions of dollars from promises of weight loss haven't been trying. If anyone could reliably make fat people thin, they'd soon have more money than Microsoft and Haliburton combined."
That's true, it would be something if there was a weight loss method that worked for everyone every time it is tried. But this is the real world and the human body is complex. Since each individual person has a different metabolism, tastes in food, heriditary health conditions, and more, it renders the search for a one-size-fits-all diet plan futile.
Is this a reason to give up on weight loss, though? Absolutely not! If you have tried to lose weight on a certain weight loss plan and it doesn't work, then try something else. I did this for many years of my life until FINALLY I was able to find a way to eat that would not only help me lose weight but keep it off forever. Of course, that's livin' la vida low-carb.
Had I just thrown my hands up in the air and said the heck with it, as Ampersand is suggesting people do, then I would be in serious trouble. I was already on medication for breathing, cholesterol and blood pressure with a very real possibility of having a major heart attack when I weighed over 400 pounds.
I shudder to think what might have happened if the Atkins diet had not rescued me from that dreadful scenario. I don't want to think about it because I've lost the weight and improved my health now. And I'll keep being healthy as long as I continue to apply those principles I learned during my weight loss. I'm in this for life because it worked for me!
Ampersand would retort that I haven't kept the weight off long enough to declare victory over my obesity just yet. That's fair, I'll concede that point. But time will prove that this is a sustainable way to eat over the long term that will keep my weight under control. I will tell you this -- this is the longest point in my life after losing weight that I have been able to keep the weight off. Sixteen months since losing 180 pounds and counting! Do you know how good it feels to say that?!
Meet me in January 2007 after I've kept the weight off for three years and I'll be having my victory party ready to go! Am I just the exception to the rule, Ampersand? Or perhaps could you be WRONG about weight loss plans? Hmmm?
THEORY #2 - Losing Weight Makes It More Likely You'll Die Sooner
Say what? Talk about your twisted thinking! But let's see what he's talking about. Ah, now I get what he's thinking. People who go on a diet and lose weight almost inevitably gain back the weight they lost and then some. Studies have shown that this yo-yo dieting can cause people to die sooner than if they had just kept their weight steady.
Ampersand provides statistics that claim people with the lower body mass index have the highest mortality rates while people who gained weight after college had a "significantly lower mortality risk." He said people who intentionally lost weight died sooner from conditions such as cancer and cardiovascular disease.
"It's worth noting that the negative effects of weight loss seem to exist regardless of if the weight is regained or not."
So I guess that I'm MORE likely to die sooner now that I am an athletic, healthy 230-pound man than when I weighed 410 pounds and gasping for air to breathe with high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Is that what Ampersand is claiming?!
There is one bit of good news at the end of this theory by Ampersand -- he encourages moderate exercise to "increase your lifespan" even if it doesn't result in weight loss (the Health At Every Size concept). Well, kudos for at least making SOME sense...FINALLY!
THEORY #3 - The Idea Of "Normalizing" Eating Habits Is A Myth
"The case for weight loss dieting typically assumes that fat people are fat because they eat more and exercise less than thin people; that thin people, if they ate as much as fat people, would also be fat; and that if fat people only "normalized" their eating habits, they would be thin."
Narrow-minded thinkers may believe this to be true, Ampersand, but most of us realize that we each have our own customized factors that make losing weight easier or harder than other people. That's one of the reasons why weight loss is not an exact science and why the weight loss industry is a multi-billion dollar business.
Everybody has their theory about how people should eat, but there are some generally good guidelines for eating better that livin' la vida low-carb has taught me: avoid sugar, processed foods, white flour, starchy foods, while consuming lots of healthy fruits and vegetables, high-fiber foods, high-protein foods. Combine those eating habits with at least 30 minutes of moderate cardiovascular exercise per day and you will be well on your way to being healthier than you've ever been.
This notion that people who are fat are eating the wrong way and need to change their habits is absolutely dead on! While there are some people who gain weight beyond their control (i.e. people with thyroid problems), most people pack on the pounds because they eat too much of the wrong kinds of foods. If you eat at McDonald's every day while slurping down cup after cup of sugary sodas and then raiding the snack machine of all the potato chips, candy bars and other junk food, then there is nobody to blame for your obesity but yourself. YOU are the reason you got fat and nobody else!
Ampersand cites studies that say fat people don't eat more calories or eat much different from thin people. And yet their weight discrepancy exists. Furthermore, Ampersand notes that studies have shown the fat people who somehow manage to get their weight under control and keep it off are actually "effectively anorexic."
HAHAHAHAHAHA! That's funny, Ampersand! Anorexic?! Hee hee! I guess you haven't seen what I eat lately, my friend. I am ANYTHING but anorexic. At the very least, I'm making BETTER choices about what I put in my mouth rather than grabbing at whatever is the cheapest food I can find. While I am much more discriminating in my food selection, I am certainly not doing without to the point that I'm anorexic. That's the most absurd thing I've ever heard!
There's an excellent question Ampersand asks at the end of this theory point.
"Why is it that people cannot seem to lose weight, despite the social pressures, the urging of their doctors, and the investment of staggering amounts of time, energy, and money?"
The answer to that question is found in the question itself. Society, doctors, and the rigors of dieting cause people to become frustrated by it all and they just give up. But if people would set aside all of those things and look at weight loss as something that THEY want to do for themselves to improve their lives, then and only then can weight control happen.
Do you remember the question I asked at the beginning of this post about why you want to lose weight? If your answer is anything other than because YOU want to do it for yourself, then you are doing it for the wrong reasons. As much as my wife Christine wanted me to lose weight, it wasn't until she stopped bugging me about it and I made up my own mind to do this for ME that it finally happened. I can confidently say that is why I have been able to keep the weight off, too, because I wasn't trying to impress anybody else when I did it. I did it for ME and nobody else.
What do you think about this? You can e-mail your feedback directly to Ampersand at firstname.lastname@example.org or feel free to post your comments by clicking on the link below. Share your thoughts about Ampersand's theories supporting staying fat being healthier than weight loss.