Character vs. Chemistry, Part Three

By Tom Naughton


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Well, it’s almost February … so how are you doing on those New Year’s resolutions?

In my first post of the year, I wrote that most weight-loss resolutions fail because we keep making plans that require a change in character, when the actual problem is rooted in chemistry. I just need to have the discipline to stop eating even if I’m hungry, we tell ourselves. I just to get off my butt and spend more time at the gym.

Just eat less and move more. It must work, because that’s the advice doled out by nutritionists, doctors and personal trainers who’ve never been fat.

I can certainly understand why people who’ve never been fat or who lose body-fat easily like to believe getting lean is a matter of character. After all, that belief is quite flattering to them. It means their waistlines are a tribute to their superior discipline.

When I was in my 30s, I spent a lot of time hanging out with a buddy of mine – a naturally-lean jock type — who was about my age and also single. I remember mentioning to him (once … and only once) that I was frustrated with my efforts to lose weight. He did his best to muster a sympathetic tone and replied, “Well, I guess at some point you’ll have to learn to push yourself away from the table a little sooner.”

I didn’t bother pointing out that during our many outings together, he matched me burrito for burrito and beer for beer. I also knew for a fact that I hit the gym and worked out more often than he did. He joined me for a workout once and later admitted he was surprised that I was quite a bit stronger than he was. He had probably assumed my big belly and boy-boobs were proof I was lazy in the gym.

People like my naturally-lean friend (as well as millions of frustrated dieters) believe in simple calorie math: your adipose tissue is a like a savings account for stored energy, so all you have to do to lose weight is make regular withdrawals. By gosh, just cut 500 calories per day from your diet, and you’ll drain your fat cells of 500 calories in stored energy – one seventh of a pound of fat. Keep it up for a week, and you’ll lose a pound. …read more

Source: Donkeyrock_BlurBlog

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