The Fat Trap and Why Lost Pounds Come Back


Here I am running up the Santa Monica Pier

Tara Parker-Pope has an interesting piece in the New York Times exploring obesity, and weight loss.

In this week’s New York Times Magazine, I explore new research that helps explain why most dieters who lose weight end up gaining it all back.

“If anything, the emerging science of weight loss teaches us that perhaps we should rethink our biases about people who are overweight. It is true that people who are overweight, including myself, get that way because they eat too many calories relative to what their bodies need. But a number of biological and genetic factors can play a role in determining exactly how much food is too much for any given individual. Clearly, weight loss is an intense struggle, one in which we are not fighting simply hunger or cravings for sweets, but our own bodies….”

Read it all and especially the comments about others’ personal stories of weight loss trials and tribulations.

There is a critic of her New York Magazine piece over at the Atlantic and I agree – albeit somewhat.

I’m not a scientist, but I have lost roughly a quarter of myself. I’ve done it at a glacial pace–almost eight years. So glacial in fact that I wouldn’t even call it a “diet.”: I’ve gained some in that time, but never yo-yoed back to the heights of my girth. The pattern has been more like lose lot, gain a some, lose some gain a little, lose a lot etc.

Obviously I wish this had happened faster and smoother. But the upshot of taking the long way is that I’ve learned a lot about how to negotiate  world where, at almost every step, cheap high calorie food is at the ready. You can’t get that understanding in a lab and you’re unlikely to get if your trying to burn of 3-4 pounds a week. That sounds like masochism.

I, now weigh 233 pounds, on my way down to 180 (I am 5-11). 9 years ago I weighed as much as 370 pounds.

Exercise, diet and accountability to myself and others (spouse and friends) have all helped.

It has been a lifestyle change.

There will be NO relapse – after all it is MY health at stake.