Weight Loss Support - "Naturally fat"??




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Beach Patrol
02-02-2012, 09:37 AM
We have the "naturally thin" friend post. What about "naturally fat" - the "flip side" of this coin? ? Does it exist?? (this kind of coincides with the post regarding set point theory.)


We know some "naturally thin" people, those who can seemingly eat whatever/whenever they want & never gain weight - is it safe/ok to say that we know some "naturally fat" people? Do we know someone who barely eats at all - EVER! - and still cannot LOSE weight?

This is where the water really gets murky, IMHO. Because really, it makes NO SENSE. You have to create a calorie deficit in order to lose weight (whether thru diet, exercise, or both). This is a proven factual method of weight loss. Then why do some people have bodies that seemingly hang onto every single ounce? Why is it that some people lose weight for awhile, and then get stalled, & then have to INCREASE their calories in order to start "losing again"? That whole thing of the body "thinks it's starving" so it hangs onto all the weight it can. That just doesn't make sense!!

These are the things that baffle the bedickens outta me!!!

And coincidentally, what I'm facing at the moment. Plateaued & can't get off it. Have tried lowering another 250 calories...NOTHING. I have tried increasing calories... and I gain. UGH. :?:


grneyedmustang
02-02-2012, 09:59 AM
This is a very good question. My short opinion is yes, I do think there are people who are "naturally fat". I'll come back and write more later - work is calling! LOL.

QuilterInVA
02-02-2012, 10:19 AM
"Naturally fat" people usually have a sedentary lifestyle and poor eating habits.


andrew80k
02-02-2012, 10:19 AM
I don't think there's really anyone that's "naturally" fat. I think mostly it's dictated by our choices. However, I do believe there are people who struggle to lose weight even in the presence of a calorie deficit. People with health issues such as thyroid, diabetes, insulin resistance. These things play a part in keeping people from losing weight efficiently.

Our bodies are in essence a very adaptable machine. It adapts to the things you do to it. Sometimes you have to break your patterns to keep it from over-adapting. Changing your exercise, calorie cycling, low-carb, carb-cycling, there are a number of methods that can help break them. Finding what works can be time consuming and frustrating. But worth it when you figure it out.

thistoo
02-02-2012, 10:36 AM
I'm convinced, after years of trying to get this weight off, that some of it, at least for some people, has to do with food sensitivity. It's *hard* to give up all grains and dairy when that's a large part of the standard American diet, but that's what it takes for me to lose weight. As soon as I add them back in I start gaining again, regardless of the amount of exercise I do.

Does that mean I'm 'naturally' fat? I don't think so. I think it just means that my body doesn't work the way science wants it to, so I have to figure out my own rules in order to meet my goal.

Eliana
02-02-2012, 10:52 AM
Two years ago I'd have thrown up both hands and said, "Me, me! I'm naturally fat!" But I was wrong. I was just uneducated about what works for MY body. My body works just a touch differently than others.

I think we all variances in how easily the weight will come off and on how easily we are able to maintain. I hate to say it, but I think for the vast majority of those who might consider themselves "naturally fat", in reality they just haven't found what works for them yet. And that's not easy.

freelancemomma
02-02-2012, 11:25 AM
<<Do we know someone who barely eats at all - EVER! - and still cannot LOSE weight? >>

Personally, I don't believe this is possible, because I trust that the laws of thermodynamics apply to everyone. Everyone uses up a minimum of energy to keep the life processes going, and that minimum can't vary TOO much because we all share the same heart, lungs and basic physiology.

In another thread (a sticky, I think) someone mentioned going to a lecture by a doctor specializing in weight loss, who said that he has NEVER seen an overweight person not lose weight when put on a medically supervised hospital-based calorie-restricted diet.

Freelance

grneyedmustang
02-02-2012, 11:49 AM
I'm convinced, after years of trying to get this weight off, that some of it, at least for some people, has to do with food sensitivity. It's *hard* to give up all grains and dairy when that's a large part of the standard American diet, but that's what it takes for me to lose weight. As soon as I add them back in I start gaining again, regardless of the amount of exercise I do.

Does that mean I'm 'naturally' fat? I don't think so. I think it just means that my body doesn't work the way science wants it to, so I have to figure out my own rules in order to meet my goal.

So maybe "naturally fat" is the wrong terminology, but I totally agree with this.

Petite Powerhouse
02-02-2012, 11:55 AM
I have a hard time with this theory mainly because I remember what people looked like when I was growing up in the 70s and 80s. And we have all seen pictures and movies from long before that time. It's a fact that people have gotten larger and that that trend continues. And to me that means that the biggest issue is the changing lifestyle and eating habits, not a natural propensity to be overweight.

Does that mean that some people do not have slower metabolisms and other impediments to weight loss for a variety of reasons? No. But, by and large, I do believe that the obesity epidemic is a result of life choices.

NEMom
02-02-2012, 12:01 PM
I don't know about 'naturally fat' but I have a son who is 'naturally big'. Is he overweight now, yes and he could lose some weight. However, he is a BIG boy, I mean tall, big boned, barrel chested, big hands and feet. I knew when he was born he was gonna be a big boy. It's in his genes. He plays football and he is strong but he is still overweight. Can he lose weight? Yes and I hope that someday he cares enough to give it a real shot BUT he is always going to be a BIG boy.

Rana
02-02-2012, 12:32 PM
I'll add to this that if you do have a disease that makes you overweight or makes it difficult to lose weight, you can also have a disease that can keep you skinny (hyperthyroidism, anybody?!).

So, is it natural? Is a disease considered natural?

I think a lot of people don't know what's best for their bodies and the calculation of "calories in versus calories out" is too over-simplified. Being overweight isn't just simply a question of eating less.

If it was -- we would all do it and never be fat/overweight.

Studies are showing more and more that there is a link between how much the combination of fat/carbs rewards the pleasure centers of the brain, the addiction of sugar in on our bodies, the damage that's done after years of being overweight on our adrenal/pancreatic systems, and the result is that even when you ARE ready to lose the weight, you may find it's no longer easy as simply eating less and moving more.

Thus, it may seem like it's natural to be at set point that's higher than what's considered "healthy."

I agree with the concept that you have to find something that works for you, not only physical (i.e. the diet plan and exercise plan that works for you), but the medical and the psychological aspects of weight loss too.

I really think we should all be striving for better health, rather than thinness or a specific weight goal. I struggle to find the right balance of these things too..... :(

sontaikle
02-02-2012, 12:41 PM
Just like the "naturally thin" thread, I think it boils down to mostly lifestyle than anything else.

Granted, there are differences in how people eat, taste and feel full. Would this have an effect on how a person struggles with their weight? I think so! If you like feeling overly full, then you might struggle with your weight vs someone who only likes feeling satisfied. If certain foods do not appeal to you, you may or may not struggle with your weight.

Frame size comes into the equation, certainly, but the weight variances in that are not all that large and can even overlap.

Health issues are certainly another matter entirely! There are issues where people cannot lose weight, but they are few and far between. I think that for the majority weight loss is possible but considering how little information is taught about nutrition and portion sizes (and instead we have smear campaigns trying to shame people thin) is it any wonder that many of us are overweight or obese? Not to mention that the majority of us are sedentary—there are fewer "active jobs" now than 60, 70 years ago—and coupled with increased portion sizes leads to weight gain.

Lastly, we need to remember evolution. We did not always live in such abundance ;) Those of us not wired to pack on the pounds and save for harsher times died out and did not reproduce. Those of us made to last through famine and hard times lived and had children. So now we struggle where our predecessors did not because they left us with the genes to make it through times when food is scarce.

mandalinn82
02-02-2012, 12:58 PM
We know some "naturally thin" people, those who can seemingly eat whatever/whenever they want & never gain weight - is it safe/ok to say that we know some "naturally fat" people? Do we know someone who barely eats at all - EVER! - and still cannot LOSE weight?

If you define "naturally thin" as "Can eat significantly more calories than would be expected to maintain a normal body weight", then yes, I believe there are "naturally fat" people, those who can eat significantly less calories than would be expected to maintain a normal body weight. That doesn't mean that there isn't a level of calories where that individual wouldn't lose weight (just as someone "naturally thin", if they ate 1000 more calories a day, would gain weight), but that the individual's calorie needs are far below what is considered "normal".

I am probably one of those people. My maintenance calories, with about 8 hours a week of solid/intense exercise (2 hours of circuit training strength work, 6 hours of cardio) and another 4 hours of walking the dog, plus lots of NEAT activity (I don't sit well) are around 1500 a day, despite being fairly young and having a lot of muscle mass. Pregnant, with the same exercise routine, my weight gain goes off track if I get over 1750-1800 calories a day. In fact, even at that level, I'm gaining slightly faster than my midwives want (but they don't want me to cut my calories any further, to ensure I get all the nutrients the baby needs, so I'm sort of stuck with whatever my body does at this point).

That doesn't mean I can't maintain my weight loss, or that I can't lose weight by cutting calories - no one gets to defy the rules of thermodynamics. It just means that my body requires far fewer calories to keep itself running, despite exercise and etc, than do typical bodies. If "naturally thin" is defined as someone who eats more than would be expected without gaining, I think it's reasonable to define "naturally fat" as someone who eats less than would be expected without losing. But neither one has a weight that is immoveable (again, if the naturally thin one ate 1000 calories more a day, he or she would surely gain, just as if the naturally thin one ate 1000 calories less a day, he or she would surely lose).

serendipity907
02-02-2012, 01:09 PM
I think again, unless you know the persons diet it's hard to tell. I've known friends who ate 3-4 doghnuts in an evening and were very skinny, but all they'd had for breakfast and lunch was coffee and cigarettes.

Likewise, I've never eaten very much in the company of other people due to feeling self conscious, and I probably looked as though I should be 15lbs lighter than I was regarding how I appeared to eat. But then they didn't know that I would eventually wind up binging on my own.

I think there are definitely people who will naturally be a little 'chunkier' than others, but naturally fat is quite ambiguous :p

Eliana
02-02-2012, 01:09 PM
We have to remember too that a person can "not eat much", but if "not much" is high calorie food, there's a big difference. I dare say people would think I eat quite a lot now, eating 6 mini meals a day. When I was at my heaviest I only ate three meals a day and not a whole lot of food but what I was eating was highly caloric. Breakfast for instance: sugar oatmeal, buttered/jellied toast, glass of OJ. I didn't count drinks as calories and I was drinking 1-2 cans of pop per day. That right there is 846 calories before lunch.

runningfromfat
02-02-2012, 01:19 PM
I agree with mandalinn82 that it comes down to semantics. How do you definite "naturally fat"? If you meant that a person living in nature or like we did thousands of years ago would still be fat, then no. However, if you define it as someone who is more likely to gain when there is an abundance of food or maybe better put if you put everyone at the same weight/height on the same calorie diet then a "naturally fat" person would gain while others would lose? Definitely.

However, I also think that some people just have seriously messed up metabolism due to years of yo-yo dieting so it might not be that the necessarily have a disease or other underlying health problems that make weight loss difficult. Certainly, there ARE people who health issues that cause weight gain but in general, I'd guess they are the minority rather than the majority.

All that being said, it IS possible to lose weight no matter what but it might be a much larger struggle for some compared to others. There are just so many factors that go into that.

Additionally, like others pointed our current eating habits are HORRENDOUS. I love to watch The Middle but I swear what that family eats makes me itchy. Pretty much every day they eat fast food, they are constantly sitting in front of the TV and they normally eat pop tarts of frozen waffles for breakfast. WHY ARE THEY ALL THIN????

It drives me nuts to see that portrayed on TV because it normalizes behaviors that will lead to a very unhealthy lifestyle. Additionally, it gives completely unrealistic expectations of what you'd look like if you ate that way everyday. It seems emotional eating and fast food is 100% normal if you watch TV, yet it's always portrayed by svelt celebrities (I'm thinking of Two and Half Men here too..).

MariaMaria
02-02-2012, 01:23 PM
I think 5'3.5 and 155 without eating horribly is well within the range of "naturally this size," FWIW--that a reasonably healthy, reasonably active person could have that setpoint. Some bodies hold more weight than others. It sucks if you've got one of those bodies and don't want it.

kaplods
02-02-2012, 02:59 PM
Scientists have bred rats for diet/metabolic experiments for their propensity and resistance to obesity. They refer to them as obesity-prone strains and obesity-resistant strains. If rats can be bred to be obesity-prone or obesity-resistant, I suspect the same is true of human genetics.

Obesity-resistant doesn't mean obesity-proof, and neither does obesity-prone mean thin-proof.

I think the most important information to take away is that there is no one-size-fits-all strategy for maintaining a healthy weight, and some people will have to work much harder than others. We have to stop assuming that all failure is due to lack of effort.

Eliana
02-02-2012, 03:02 PM
We have to stop assuming that all failure is due to lack of effort.

AMEN to that! :D

Not that anyone here is assuming such a thing. ;) When I was at my heaviest and had been trying to lose weight for 10 years I wanted to wear a sign on my forehead that read "I am trying!"

Like I said before, it wasn't about effort, not for me. It was about education, and not the little "eat less, move more" advice. :no: No, I needed to know the physics, really, of how my body worked and why I needed to do what I needed to do.

JohnP
02-02-2012, 03:25 PM
There are people who have massive difficulty losing weight because:

A) Their BMR is very low. Just as some people have abonormally fast metabolisms there are those who have very slow ones.

B) Their bodies rapidly adapt to reduced calories. Everyone's metabolism will slow down a bit while dieting, the amount varies as does the length of time it takes to do so.

There people are very rare but they do exist.

EagleRiverDee
02-02-2012, 03:51 PM
"Naturally fat" people usually have a sedentary lifestyle and poor eating habits.

While this is mostly true, there are people with medical reasons for being overweight. A thyroid disorder, Cushings, etc. can cause weight gain and an inability to lose weight. They have also linked some virus antibodies to higher incidents of being overweight. Some drugs also cause people to gain weight.

My Aunt is a "naturally fat" individual. She eats like a bird. She doesn't eat sweets. Her food choices are amazingly healthy, and her portions are very good. She exercises. And she's 300+ lbs. As I was diagnosed with a thyroid disorder that is hereditary, I have mentioned it to her in the event she would like to be tested. I know that I gained weight and was unable to lose it until I was diagnosed and began treatment.

Italiannie
02-02-2012, 03:59 PM
I'm naturally fat.
When someone asks me if I want another slice of pie I say, "Naturally!":D

Munchy
02-02-2012, 04:24 PM
Pregnant, with the same exercise routine, my weight gain goes off track if I get over 1750-1800 calories a day. In fact, even at that level, I'm gaining slightly faster than my midwives want (but they don't want me to cut my calories any further, to ensure I get all the nutrients the baby needs, so I'm sort of stuck with whatever my body does at this point).

It's funny that you say this. I severely under-ate from the time I was 11 years old until my pregnancy at 25. I started to eat small, moderately healthy meals when I was pregnant and gained a lot (70lbs!) very quickly. My family even commented on me "eating a lot" because they had hardly seen me eat in all those years.

When I finally went for nutritional therapy, my RD put me on a 1600 calorie a day diet and I gained 15lbs. After nutritional planning and therapy/blind weighing (and a doctor who told me to drop some weight despite knowing what I was going through) I maintained the high weight. I finally decided to go down to a very nutritionally dense 1000-1200 and dropped that extra.

So, I would consider myself to be "naturally fat" but only because of the years of damage I put my body through by eating so few calories a day.

Arctic Mama
02-02-2012, 04:46 PM
I think bodies come in all shapes and sizes with a huge spectrum of natural variation. Add to that the various genetic and metabolic conditions/propensities that might predispose someone to a particular accumulation of, or lack of, fat, and the short answer is yes! Some people have heavier, fattier bodies than others. And that can be completely independent of their health markers.

That said, I don't think it looks like what many people claim. Just like there are not many women with naturally low body fat or BMI's (less than ten percent body fat, lower than 15 on the BMI scales, etc) I don't believe the dramatic converse is true - that people naturally exceed the outer limits of our standard deviations in weight and frame to the degree we often see. That is, the naturally fatter people are likely not as fat as many of us who abuse food or compulsively overeat - and when you look at these women and men, they likely look 'thick' or 'dense' but not 'fat'.

The accumulation of fat that characterizes a naturally heavier person looks different than the type and locations of accumulation that seem to indicate over fatness. It's the same reason a woman my height might look pudgy at 130 when I look fit at 150 - for her body, her fat accumulation is abnormal. But my frame accumulates fat different and has a different 'normal' range because of my composition than hers does.

I say all this to indicate that yes, I do believe there are large variances in frame size, fat distribution and amount, muscle composition, etc. But just as there aren't too many naturally slender women who look emaciated (the latter has a very different appearance than the former), there aren't too many heavier people who appear the same as an overfat body.

It's a really complicated discussion, and when I hear people say their bodies are fit and happy at large sizes I believe it may well be true, depending on their individual health, but overall much of the body composition we see isn't typical, ideal, or healthy, on either extreme of the scale. I am one of those women who runs the 'stockier' side of the scale of normal, but at my fittest and best I don't LOOK fat, despite what the scale might say. This is where understanding your natural proclivities and frame really helps in realistic goal assessment. Waist circumference ratios, fat location, blood panel markers, dietary compositions... All of these are better indicators to go by than weight, for all the above variances and reasons. But I would hesitate to call myself (or anyone else) naturally fat unless their own health indicated that they were in their top shape and living a healthy, vibrant life (internally and externally) in a body that refused to change up or down.

JayEll
02-02-2012, 05:01 PM
You know, it sounds to me like we're all guessing on the basis of not very much concrete information.

Human metabolism is way, way more complicated than most discussions make it out to be. So rather than worrying about whether one is "naturally fat" or "naturally thin," it might be better to look at lab tests, nutrition, and exercise levels, and make sure one is healthy and eating well, getting enough activity without overdoing it, and so on.

There indeed may be people who eat less than others and gain weight, just as there may be people who eat more and lose weight. But so what? You have no way of telling which you are!

Stress can cause weight gain, by the way, so if your dissatisfaction is adding to your stress... well...

Jay

Arctic Mama
02-02-2012, 05:17 PM
JayEll, if you're interested in some of the more concrete information on human body composition, dietary needs/changes, and the like, might I direct you to the Suppversity blog? It is hard to summarize so much diverse research, but that one does an excellent job of critically interpreting and translating the papers on these subjects.

http://suppversity.blogspot.com/

JayEll
02-02-2012, 07:18 PM
Sorry, Arctic Mama, but that site was a complete turn-off to me. To each their own...

Jay

Arctic Mama
02-02-2012, 08:59 PM
Turn off? I'm not sure I understand?

The archives contain discussions on many of the most recent studies regarding the technical side of body composition. If that is your interest or you're looking for facts, it's am excellent place to start. If you're not interested in facts, it's a lot of Greek and noise. But turned off? That's a bit of an odd reaction to a weight science blog! I might be misunderstanding your word choice, though...

DietVet
02-02-2012, 09:23 PM
Turn off? I'm not sure I understand?


The first thing that I noticed is all the pictures of the flexing muscle man. I haven't even looked at any of the words and I'm afraid of what the site might be about!

(I jest, and I'm interested in checking out the posts, but I can fully empathize with JayEll's reaction!)

lin43
02-02-2012, 09:35 PM
JayEll, if you're interested in some of the more concrete information on human body composition, dietary needs/changes, and the like, might I direct you to the Suppversity blog? It is hard to summarize so much diverse research, but that one does an excellent job of critically interpreting and translating the papers on these subjects.

http://suppversity.blogspot.com/

Thanks for posting the link, Arctic Mama. I'll have to bookmark it; I'm always interested in learning more (even if I don't always have time to! :) ).

chickadee32
02-03-2012, 01:38 AM
I've been wondering about this lately as well, for much the same reason as the OP. I've lost weight extremely well on my "plan" (1200-1500 cals/day of nutrient dense foods, balanced macronutrients, and 5 days/week exercise that's a mix of cardio and weights) over the past year, and now I'm losing almost nothing. Throughout my weight loss I haven't noticed any food sensitivities, and I haven't changed what I'm eating lately. And it's not a matter of not creating a big enough calorie deficit: in the month of January I had a deficit of nearly 30,000 calories (determined by a religiously kept food log and a BodyBugg), and yet lost only 2.4 lbs. I've held to the theory that the culprit is likely the hormones I'm taking for medical reasons (all the stalls I've had over the past year have been hormone-related), but recently I'm not so sure - or maybe I'm just afraid that's not the true reason I'm not losing what I should be. What if my body is meant to be at my current weight, and I can't lose further? I look healthy and fit and I know that I am, but I am still overweight and I'm not ready to stop losing! It's frustrating, and worrisome.

Arctic Mama
02-03-2012, 02:12 AM
The first thing that I noticed is all the pictures of the flexing muscle man. I haven't even looked at any of the words and I'm afraid of what the site might be about!

(I jest, and I'm interested in checking out the posts, but I can fully empathize with JayEll's reaction!)

Haha! I hadn't even thought about today's post - the man is self experimenting with the upper/lower limits of muscle building/fat reducing with limited mobility - he is wheelchair bound. The whole series is insane and interesting all at once :)

I think I get what she was saying, the tone wasn't coming through when I first read the post and I was totally confused!

Eliana
02-03-2012, 08:49 AM
It's a really complicated discussion, and when I hear people say their bodies are fit and happy at large sizes I believe it may well be true, depending on their individual health, but overall much of the body composition we see isn't typical, ideal, or healthy, on either extreme of the scale. I am one of those women who runs the 'stockier' side of the scale of normal, but at my fittest and best I don't LOOK fat, despite what the scale might say. This is where understanding your natural proclivities and frame really helps in realistic goal assessment. Waist circumference ratios, fat location, blood panel markers, dietary compositions... All of these are better indicators to go by than weight, for all the above variances and reasons. But I would hesitate to call myself (or anyone else) naturally fat unless their own health indicated that they were in their top shape and living a healthy, vibrant life (internally and externally) in a body that refused to change up or down.
We sound like we have similar bodies. I was annoyed listening to the radio this morning as someone selling some new miracle drug spouted off that "If you are 30 pounds overweight you ARE obese", read just like that with heavy sympathy in her voice. :p I'm 10 pounds under obese at this point and I in no way feel close to obese nor do I feel I even look over weight. I was watching Dr. Oz the other day and one of his guests was the same height as I am and he was very concerned about her weight and she weighed 10 pounds less than I do! :dizzy: You are so right that it isn't about weight. It's about waist circumference (28!), muscle tone, blood work, etc. We aren't all built to fit the same BMI mold.