Monday, May 30, 2011


I thought I would share an analogy I've crafted in regards to eating and weight gain. It's one of the last things I haven't already written about so I can bring you people a new blog without repeating myself.

Imagine you have a day off and you decided to listen to some music while you do something else, like clean the house or rearrange your bedroom.

So you turn on the stereo/music choice channel/iTunes to a song you like, perhaps as part of a playlist.  You're really feeling the tunes so you turn it up a bit as you head bang and sweep or move your bed from one side of the room to another.

Next track is even better than the first so you turn it up a little more.  You're loving the tunes and getting things done.  It's a great day for you.  From here, you get a little more excited after every 3 or 4 songs and kick the volume up a notch.  

Later in the afternoon, your girlfriend/wife/boyfriend/husband/partner comes home and they are covering their ears.  'It's too loud!', they yell as they turn down the sound.  The problem now is that you can't hear it, so you turn it back up.  Eventually, the volume finds it's way back to where it was before.  Once again, the significant other turns the volume way down, but you complain that you can't even hear the music now and he/she just sort of gives you a raised eyebrow, 'Really??'.

Turning the volume up slowly is really how many of us increase our caloric intake.  You don't wake up one day and consume twice the calories.  If you do, you feel way too full and sluggish, and you don't overdo it the same amount the next day.  Imagine that you have a big lunch, but a normal dinner, and you follow this up with a little more food.  Then every few days or every other week, you reach a new peak for eating, slowly turning up the volume.

OK, so now is when the partner walks in and turns down the volume.  Instead of not hearing the music, with food, and you're still really hungry.  You can put it off for a couple days, but when you give in to hunger, you give in big, cranking the volume up to where it had been.  Imagine what would happen in my volume analogy if the partner walked in and turned the volume down by just a notch barely noticeable to the person listening to the music?  Then a few minutes later, he/she turns it down just a little bit more.  This is far more effective and works in the opposite way that turning the volume up slowly works.  Eventually, you'll be comfortable with a volume so low that the partner walks in and says he/she can't hear it and turns it up.

What too many people do is reach a breaking point where they just blame everything, and therefore, banishes everything.  They say no more meat, no more sugar, no more fruit, no more white foods because some journalism professor told them it was the problem.  So they turn the volume all the way down.  But none of us gained all the weight/fat in a day and our appetites are much stronger than our long term goals for body size.  So we fail and the yo-yo pattern begins.

A couple months back, I made the leap and cut regular pop, switching to diet in the home.  It's just a small step.  I didn't do this because hfcs is the devil or any weird conspiracy theorists explanation... and I didn't banish regular pop entirely.  When out to eat, I'll get a regular pop if I want, but I only buy the diet version for home.  I singled this out as a starting point because calories from pop are the most empty and easiest to replace.  I was drinking at least 3 cases a week which is 36 cans X 170 calories for Mtn Dew or 36 cans X 150 calories for Pepsi.  That works out to 6,120 - 5,400 calories a week... or 1.54 - 1.74 lbs a week.  It's a start and I'm not suddenly trying to run 10 miles a week and drastically cut portions, it's small steps, turning the volume down a little at a time. Next level will be adding some exercise or making a rule about only getting small sized combos when I get takeout.  Again, small steps.  Let me also say that this doesn't mean that you can't ever go to a buffet or have a big meal again.  You just take it easy the day of the meal and the day after, and in the context of that week, you are still ok.

So that's my analogy as well as where I am.  What you can do if you are what Kevin Smith calls normies - normal sized people - is not turn the volume down very far on someone else.  If you doubt me, try the volume experiment yourself.  Turn the volume all the way up and see how well you like it vs. turning the volume up slowly.  Also, don't snicker or mock fat people in public.  This one is huge... pardon the pun.  Ever wonder why you don't see fat people out running or at least walking?  Well, for one, they don't make tasteful athletic wear for big people(that's a whole 'nother blog) and second, they get laughed at and develop social phobias as a result.  So don't drastically adjust the volume, and be supportive.  See a fat person at the gym... give a high five... smile... spot them on the bench... give pointers on proper lifting technique... make a friend and stop shunning them because they are becoming us.