Weight Loss Support - It's just not fair.




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LiannaKole
07-02-2013, 12:36 AM
It's just not fair.

This is a bit of a vent and a bit of reflection that I just wanted to put out there. It's not new, but I'm feeling it today. And I feel a bit alone in it today.

You know those studies that tell us that even when we lose weight, we'll be eating on average 20% LESS than someone with an identical body size to us in order to maintain our new weight. Why? For several reasons, our metabolisms become more effective at running our body on much less food. Hooray - we'd survive way easier in times of famine... But where I live in the USA, we don't have famine. We have 24/7 opportunities for gluttony.

I've known all this information for some time, but sometimes it gets to me. For example, today my sister who has ALWAYS been very slim mentioned that she counted her calories recently just to see, and she maintains her 95 lbs at 5' 3" with 1700-1800 calories, give or take. And she doesn't exercise. (Just a note - she's very healthy and proportionate for age and her teeny tiny frame - her doctors are always thrilled with her). If I did that, I'd gain weight (and I'm overweight now).

And when I eventually hit goal, I'll always have to eat less than everyone else my size. My sister has effortlessly maintained her weight, and I've struggled with overweight and obesity since age 6 (when I started to get chubby).

None of this is new, none of it is shocking, but it is a downer sometimes. I don't know if I've always had a more efficient (read: irritating and so not fit for my modern existence in the USA) metabolism, or if it is because I've lost/gained weight several times over the years. Or both.

I'm not upset by it necessarily, nor am I depressed by it or dishearted, but it is kind of saddening and I sometimes feel a little bitter about it. I never had a chance to be normal and healthy with my weight. I was overfed from a very young age by well-meaning parents (things had changed a lot after my sister was born - way less strict with food consumption). I think that's the part that gets me - for a long time, I had no control over it and I got off to a really bad start before I could do anything at all to stop it. Now I'm dealing with the fallout of bad habits, excess fat for years, and a ton of crap. It definitely could've been worse, but it also could've been so much better.

I don't have kids, but when I do I want to give them a better start than that. I'll work darn hard to do that. I was never taught about healthy choices - spaghettios and hot dogs were "healthy" for my childhood. I was forced to finish my food (my dad would sit in front of me and stare at me for an hour or so until I ate, even if I wasn't hungry). I had no idea what was healthy until I educated myself years later.

But I'm figuring out what to do now, and it works when I do it. I want to live healthier, and overall I don't mind eating less (better for me, better for the planet), but I have to be dang smart about it for it to be a success. There is little effortlessness for me.

At the same time as feeling sad that I'll never get to have what my sister has, I'm glad she'll never have what I have. I hope she never does.

Anyone else?


BrittBit
07-02-2013, 01:34 AM
As for the studies of people, once they have lost weight, eating 20%more than other people their own size....I'd like to see those studies.
I don't think that is the case. I have made a long living doing personal training and teaching my clients about nutrition and I have not come across anything this general to be a statistic.
Your sister may have counted her calories on a high day. She probably doesn't think about food too much and may have busy days where she eats 900 cal. Her average, I am sure is lower than that 1800 cal day.
I am very aware at how the people around me eat and what I have found is the people that seem to eat so much, kinda don't.
For instance, my best friend seems to be the most unhealthy eater on the planet and she is a stick. As I continued to observe her eating habits, I realized that even though she may order the most unhealthy thing on the menu she can be satisfied with a few bites and then takes the rest to go. Or, she will have a really high calorie day but then will forget to eat most of the following day.
However, I do remember a woman I trained whose BMR only burned 1000 cal a day... So, tough times for her. But everyone else tested above 1400-1600 and some females over 1800.

This is a very long response. I guess my point is, don't apply any general statement to yourself especially if it discourages you or brings you down. And don't worry about it now anyway. It's not a problem for you to deal with yet.
I think that once you hit your goal, you will be able to up your average intake more than you think. But do it slowly, steadily, and truly. It may not be as good as your sisters but I think it will be good for you. :)

I hope this helps, or is somewhat encouraging.

luckymommy
07-02-2013, 01:43 AM
I've heard of this being the case and I tend to believe it, although I wish to be proven wrong. All it means to me is that I just have to workout more than the average person. I can still eat the same as they do (once I hit goal and maintenance) but the fact that I HAVE to workout is actually a good thing. Maybe you can think of it as a blessing in disguise? Of course that doesn't mean we can just eat whatever we want....no, not at all. We can eat exactly as much as the naturally skinny people our size who don't work out.

I totally hear you though because it IS frustrating! What I find most frustrating is the inability to eat like a normal person. I also can't maintain a loss for any substantial amount of time. I'm either losing or gaining, but I digress. ;)


freelancemomma
07-02-2013, 02:09 AM
You know those studies that tell us that even when we lose weight, we'll be eating on average 20% LESS than someone with an identical body size to us in order to maintain our new weight.

There's some controversy around those studies. Some evidence suggests the effect is permanent, but there's also good evidence to suggest that metabolism eventually bounces back. That's certainly been my experience. I've lost the same 30 to 50 pounds about 6 ot 7 times and my metabolism does not appear to be impaired. I maintain a 145-lb weight by eating 2,000 cals per day -- and I'm 56.

Freelance

kaplods
07-02-2013, 02:19 AM
Maybe your upbringing was different than your sister, or maybe your biology is different. You may have simply inherited a slightly different metabolism.

I also grew up in a family and a time when cleaning your plate and spaghettios were healthy. Of four children, and of everyone in the immediate and extended family, only my brother and I had childhood weight problems. He was too thin and I became fat. We were adopted and not related to one another

We all have unique social and biological experience. It's both fair and unfair. You can't compare lives, because you have no idea what's in store for the other person. In the long run, you may be the luckier sibling in other aspects of your life.

You can't even compare you and yourself at a different time in your life, or you can drive yoursel miserable. When I was in my early 20's, I weigh what I do now, and I probably ate somewhere between 5,000 to 7,000 calories per day just to maintain my weight. I was far more active then, but my hunger was also out of control and I ate nonstop.

Now, I struggle to lose weight on 1800 to 2200 calories. I'm disabled and unable to be active enough to burn calories like I used to. Thank God I found ways to bring my hunger levels down, or I'd be miserable.

It's not unfair anymore than anything else that happens to people in their lives - cancer, car accidents, miscarriages, divorces, alcohol and drug problems, wrinkles, baldness, birthmarks, scars, bad skin, chronic diarrhea.....

Of all the horrible things that could have happened to me, I'm pretty happy with what I ended up with. I'm unable to work because of chronic pain and fatigue from fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, and autoimmune disease attacking my skin, joints, and respiratory system.

A

Wow, that sucks. Not really. I'm lucky. My husband inherited a disease from his mother that is destroying their joints. She's barely sixty and has had seven joint replacements including four hip replacements. We've had a lot of cancers and other terrible health issues in our families.

I can look at what's been taken away from me, and what I've never had and feel miserable, or I can be grateful for what I have and make the best of it

Maybe I've been blessed with an optimistic nature (which I definitely didn't learn from the family I was adopted into, at least not among the women.)

The advantage though of living in the moment, without comparing yourself to anyone including your former self, and counting your blessings and doing the best with what you've got is living without bitterness, resentment, or regret.

I'm not sure if optimism and acceptance is a choice or a personality trait you're born with, but I know that in many ways, I'm luckier than my thin, beautiful sisters. They've never struggled the way I have, but I've never struggled in ways that they did.

I know if I could give them the ability to feel as fortunate as I do, I would.

Wannabeskinny
07-02-2013, 09:31 AM
... I never had a chance to be normal and healthy with my weight. I was overfed from a very young age by well-meaning parents (things had changed a lot after my sister was born - way less strict with food consumption). I think that's the part that gets me - for a long time, I had no control over it and I got off to a really bad start before I could do anything at all to stop it. Now I'm dealing with the fallout of bad habits, excess fat for years, and a ton of crap. It definitely could've been worse, but it also could've been so much better.

I don't have kids, but when I do I want to give them a better start than that. I'll work darn hard to do that. I was never taught about healthy choices - spaghettios and hot dogs were "healthy" for my childhood. I was forced to finish my food (my dad would sit in front of me and stare at me for an hour or so until I ate, even if I wasn't hungry). I had no idea what was healthy until I educated myself years later.



I don't want to discredit your experience, but I don't think this matters as much as people think it matters, at least in my experience. I'm the opposite actually. I grew up in a very healthy environment in my early years. There were always fresh salads and vegetables served at every meal. My Mother made food from scratch, we were never given processed foods although all my friends grew up on chicken nuggets and chips as most american kids did in the 80's. We always sat at the table together and I was always taught to fill up on veggies and salad first and encouraged NOT to finish everything on my plate. If I didn't want to eat my parents respected that. All I'm saying is that I think my parents did a good job of giving me healthy habits. I fell prey to fast food and unhealthy food choices on my own in my teenage years when I had a car and more freedom. Who am I supposed to blame?

onalongmission
07-02-2013, 09:43 AM
This is interesting. I tend to believe that a person who has been 100 lbs or more overweight has this issue with having to eat less to maintain a lower weight than someone who has never been obese. I believe that very much. There is some proof to that if you look around at studies. People who have been 50 lbs or less overweight usually don't have that problem as much. It's when you become morbidly obese that it tends to become a problem long term. The longer you are morbidly obese, the more it tends to mess up your metabolism.

I do think that this can be helped to an extend. Building muscle mass and exercising can help increase your metabolism at least somewhat.

Wannabehealthy
07-02-2013, 09:46 AM
Maybe your upbringing was different than your sister, or maybe your biology is different. You may have simply inherited a slightly different metabolism.

I also grew up in a family and a time when cleaning your plate and spaghettios were healthy. Of four children, and of everyone in the immediate and extended family, only my brother and I had childhood weight problems. He was too thin and I became fat. We were adopted and not related to one another







I think the fact that you were not biologically related had a lot to do with that. My two step children came from parents who were both naturally thin. Growing up, they ate freely of whatever we had in the house. They were never force to eat, but their snacks etc were never limited. They were both thin. Now, in their 40's they have gained weight, but are at what I call "normal weight." I will say, during their teen years they didn't have access to fast food as many of their friends did. Neither had a car or the money to spend on food outside the home.

I don't know what to think when I hear of biological siblings who are complete opposites in weight. Possibly one takes after the mother and the other takes after the father.

2FatCats
07-02-2013, 11:24 AM
For what it's worth, I'm throwing my opinions in!

LiannaKole: I think that genetics play a role. And behaviors, emotions. Heck, even gender and maybe sometimes just luck-of-the-draw. That doesn't mean you have to accept someone else's predetermined idea (eat 20% less calories, etc) of your future. You read about people everyday that refused to accept what they were told and 'beat the odds'. Why can't you be the exception to any rule you choose?

For me, eating was predominantly emotional. Food=love in my formative years. Fast forward to 42 - I've been chubby, obese (258lb - so I'm in that lost over 100 club) and rail thin. Repeatedly. I was a cardio queen, too! Now I lift heavy free weights (no more elliptical) to keep/gain lean muscle mass.
As for calories consumed: I lost at 1600 and then added calories back in - 150 each week - until I found where my body likes to be. Currently I weigh 139lbs and I can maintain at ~ 2400 calories. At 2200 I still lose! So it seems my metabolism has forgiven me for years of abuse. Give yours a chance - maybe you can surprise yourself!

“Fairness means everyone gets what they need. And the only way to get what you need is to make it happen yourself.” ― Rick Riordan

kaplods
07-02-2013, 02:13 PM
I think the fact that you were not biologically related had a lot to do with that. My two step children came from parents who were both naturally thin. Growing up, they ate freely of whatever we had in the house. They were never force to eat, but their snacks etc were never limited. They were both thin. Now, in their 40's they have gained weight, but are at what I call "normal weight." I will say, during their teen years they didn't have access to fast food as many of their friends did. Neither had a car or the money to spend on food outside the home.

I don't know what to think when I hear of biological siblings who are complete opposites in weight. Possibly one takes after the mother and the other takes after the father.



I'm quite positive that genetics plays a huge role, just not the only one. My younger sisters who are my parents bio-kids do take after our parents. One has never struggled with weight issues except for a few weeks after her third pregnancy. She seems to be following Dad's side of the family. If the trend plays out, she may gain a few pounds in her 50's or 60's. The other sister has followed Mom's side of the family and began creeping towards overweight only in her early 30's. She may become obese if isn't careful. Like Mom and her mom, extra weight goes mostly to her butt and upper thighs, a little to her boobs, and almost nowhere else. My mom, even when she reached her highest weight of 280 pound after my youngest sister was born, and even now at 67, has the flattest stomach I've ever seen on an obese person.

There are many genes known to contribute directly or indirectly to the tendency towards weight gain or slenderness, and there are also environmental factors.
Often you'll hear the adage, "genes load the gun, environment pulls the trigger."

There are so many genetic and environmental factors that it amounts to far more than taking after one parent or another. A child of two thin parents may take after a fat grandparent or grandparent or even great-great grandparent or beyond. Or a child may inherit the genes for fat storing tendencies, but may be the first in her family to become overweight because her ancestors had all lived in areas where food is in chronic short supply.

There are so many different variables that none of us can blame genetics, environment, or our choices entirely. It is always a combination of the three, but since we often can only change our behavior, it doesn't pay too worry about or resent what can't be changed.

I would find it interesting to see photos of my bio-family, as I wonder how much I take after them, but it wouldn't change how I have to live my life.

For me, it did help to realize I wasn't solely to blame for my difficulties with weight management. I didn't feel it was "unfair," but it did help me see why I might have to work harder than someone with a different genetic profile. I also had the consolation that there were probably also people who have to work harder.

Sometimes it's easy to see only the people running ahead of us, not the many straggling behind.

GlamourGirl827
07-02-2013, 03:18 PM
I think that biology and environment play a role. Unfortunately science is still trying to find the exact answer. I did have a professor once that said on the subject of health issues that "heredity loads the gun and environment pulls the trigger".

I think that some us us are "born" to be a certain way, and upbringing doesn't matter, but I also believe that some of us would have benefited from a healthier upbringing. I had a childhood like you and it took a go part of my 20s to relearn how to eat healthy. Now still love to over eat! But my food choices are worlds away from what my parents gave me. I also was discouraged from being active. Yes, discouraged! I was taught that people that played sports, did things like run or bike did so because they were too stupid in school and so did that stuff instead. Let me just say that my dad thinks my running is a waste of time and stupid.

Like someone else said, your sister could have easily counted on a high day. Also as we lose weight we need to do the right exercise/weights to prevent muscle loss. Muscle mass can also effect metabolism. What someone eats matters too. Two people can eat the same calories but completely different foods (carb, protien, veggies, sugar etc).

Also like someone said, when you really watch thin people that claim to eat a lot, they don't. You might see them eat a burger for lunch, but what you don't see if thhey don't eat anymore for the rest of the night after they are home, alone.

Also I will say that in my experience, people that are thinner when they are younger but do not maintain healthy eating habits and exercise...it catches up with them in their 30s and 40s.

lin43
07-02-2013, 04:37 PM
I don't know what to think when I hear of biological siblings who are complete opposites in weight. Possibly one takes after the mother and the other takes after the father.

This is the case with my husband and his sister. She is and pretty much has always been overweight whereas my husband has never had a problem. I don't think she is a disordered eater either. However, the foods she likes to eat are different from the foods my husband likes to eat. They're Italian, and she gravitates toward the "peasant foods"----lasagna, eggplant parm, etc. (my favs as well). He doesn't like any of those. He likes pasta, but not with mounds of cheese; he is the only person I know who requests less cheese when he orders pizza. She takes after my father-in-law, who was always chunky, but my husband takes after my mother-in-law, who was thin until she hit her early 60s. (By the way, even as he has gotten older, he has never gotten fat).

To the OP, I hear ya! We all deserve the occasional rant. Do you feel better? Just know that just because "studies" say something doesn't mean that the findings must apply to you. Studies say that most people who lose weight do not maintain their weight, but there are plenty of long-term maintainers on this board, so they don't fit the "study" profile.