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Paper Towel Theory

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Old 07-17-2008, 12:14 PM   #1
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Default Paper Towel Theory

I found this "analogy" a while back, and I think it really helps in understanding why the weight and inches can come off and not show so much in the beginning. I remember losing 20-30 lbs. in the beginning, and I was so thrilled, but nobody else seemed to notice. Very frustrating. I think that's why so many folks become disillusioned and give up. Now I can lose five pounds and folks comment about how quickly I lose weight and they wish they could do the same.

It was written pertaining to the Body For Life Challenge, but it really applies to any weight loss program.

Paper Towel Theory by Bob White

Let's assume you go out and buy two rolls of paper towels, each with only 84 paper towels on it (one for each day of the challenge). You put one aside, and keep it for future reference (your before/ picture).

The other one represents you (I'll call your paper towel you "Ed"). The core represents the lean Ed. The towels represent the fat that is covering the lean Ed. For sake of argument, let's say that Ed wants to lose 21 pounds of fat, so (84/21) each sheet represents a quarter-pound of fat lost. Let's also assume that Ed loses his fat equally during each day of the challenge.

Each day during the first week, you tear a sheet off of Ed, representing the fat he has lost for the day. Next, you put Ed next to the full roll ("Big Al") for comparison. No noticeable difference!!! Even at the end of the week! This can't be working for me!

But, being a good Ed, you continue to follow Body-for-LIFE. At the end of weeks two and three, you continue to compare Ed to Big Al, and still notice very little difference. That stinkin' Bill Phillips MUST be a liar!

But Ed is determined! He works hard! Three more weeks go by, the sheets peeling off day after day, before Ed gets up the courage to stand next to Big Al again. Holy Myoplex! Ed is skinny! OK, not skinny, but less huge!!!

By the end of the 12-week Body-for-LIFE program, Ed is down to his lean dream, or somewhere near it. Ed is happy. We are happy. Big Al - well he's not so happy.

The lesson to be learned is that fat, like paper towels, comes off in sheets. When you are heavy, you are big around. And when you are big around,that fat is spread over a MUCH larger area - just like that outside towel sheet. The closer you get to the lean you, the more each lost pound of fat shows, because it is spread over a smaller area.

While the outside sheet may only cover 1 layer of the roll, the inside sheet may go around 4 times. That last sheet looks like it gives you 4 times the results of the first sheet, but in reality, the results are the same - your perception is just different! And you'll never see the inside, if you aren't patient while the outside is coming off! - Bob White
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Old 07-17-2008, 12:34 PM   #2
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What a clever analogy! By the way, you look fabulous! It only took you a year to lose all that weight? Wow!
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Old 07-17-2008, 01:21 PM   #3
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What a clever analogy! By the way, you look fabulous! It only took you a year to lose all that weight? Wow!
Thanks ;-) Roughly 90 lbs. They told me less than a year. I lost steadily until I hit 150 lbs. I stalled there FOREVER!! It was like a 2 month plateau if I remember correctly. It has been hard to keep the weight off under that. I should just be happy at 150 I know, but I can't seem to be.
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Old 07-17-2008, 05:44 PM   #4
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I wish I would have read this a couple days ago. It makes sense. I have been on MRC since May 27th, started losing so quickly the first few weeks, two weeks literally. Then the brakes went on, of course the first losses is what I have played with for the last few years, I haven't seen 160 for 3-4 years and 150 for longer. I'm thinking that maybe this just seems like new territory to my body because it can't remember 160 or 150. Patience is NOT my greatest trait but I need to learn to strengthen that part of my character. Thanks for sharing that story.
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Old 07-17-2008, 06:50 PM   #5
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Have patience. I know it is hard, but even if you feel stalled, things are changing slowly. You'll wake up one day and things will start moving again. I spent about two months at 150. I cheated once during that time (my only cheat the entire program). I was so good, but I was just stuck there. My body was happy. Then one day, I started moving again and lost nearly 10 more very quickly.

I hope I can get below that 150 easier this time, but we will see.
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Old 07-17-2008, 07:20 PM   #6
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150 or 140 You look amazing.
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Old 07-17-2008, 09:00 PM   #7
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Thanks ;-) Roughly 90 lbs. They told me less than a year. I lost steadily until I hit 150 lbs. I stalled there FOREVER!! It was like a 2 month plateau if I remember correctly. It has been hard to keep the weight off under that. I should just be happy at 150 I know, but I can't seem to be.

You look fantastic...Gives me hope.
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Old 07-17-2008, 09:41 PM   #8
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betcoleen--Did your center let you set your goal weight at 130? I would just LOVE to get to 135. Never made it though and my center made me stop at 145. They said the 135 was too low for me. I'm 5'5" as well.
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Old 07-21-2008, 02:51 AM   #9
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I am so glad I came across this. I was really having a difficult time figuring out why I couldnt see results.

Thank you so much.
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Old 07-21-2008, 03:14 AM   #10
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This is a great analogy.

I've lost 50 lbs and I'm still mostly wearing the same size as when I started, so I thought that my weight loss wasn't at all noticeable. But another thing that happens when you're losing weight is that you look to the mirror for progress, and the image in the mirror today pretty much looks the same as it did yesterday. Unless you compare yourself to photographs, even after you've lost a few layers, you may not notice them because of the mirror thing.

I know I didn't think I had lost any noticeable weight, and then last month I renewed my driver's license. Comparing the two licenses, I could see a HUGE difference. My face is oblong again, rather than perfectly round. And I didn't even see it, because those layers came off so gradually.
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Old 07-21-2008, 10:59 AM   #11
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Kapolds--That's the way it happened for me. Mine was the bra. I didn't change one size until near the very end. Then I ended up buying new bras and barely wearing them until I needed a new size AGAIN!! Those things are expensive! Some things are just worth it though ;-)

You will eventually see the true you in the mirror. It does take quite a while to catch up though. First thing I do when I get up in the morning is take a good (naked) look at myself in the mirror. Every single day. I can tell if I've gained or lost even a tiny bit.

My hubby thinks it's funny that I do it. I told him that for the longest time, I was afraid I'd get up one morning and it would all be gone (actually the fat would be back). It was like a dream. I don't feel that any more, but I still look.
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Old 03-08-2010, 04:28 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pbolton1 View Post
I found this "analogy" a while back, and I think it really helps in understanding why the weight and inches can come off and not show so much in the beginning. I remember losing 20-30 lbs. in the beginning, and I was so thrilled, but nobody else seemed to notice. Very frustrating. I think that's why so many folks become disillusioned and give up. Now I can lose five pounds and folks comment about how quickly I lose weight and they wish they could do the same.

It was written pertaining to the Body For Life Challenge, but it really applies to any weight loss program.

Paper Towel Theory by Bob White

Let's assume you go out and buy two rolls of paper towels, each with only 84 paper towels on it (one for each day of the challenge). You put one aside, and keep it for future reference (your before/ picture).

The other one represents you (I'll call your paper towel you "Ed"). The core represents the lean Ed. The towels represent the fat that is covering the lean Ed. For sake of argument, let's say that Ed wants to lose 21 pounds of fat, so (84/21) each sheet represents a quarter-pound of fat lost. Let's also assume that Ed loses his fat equally during each day of the challenge.

Each day during the first week, you tear a sheet off of Ed, representing the fat he has lost for the day. Next, you put Ed next to the full roll ("Big Al") for comparison. No noticeable difference!!! Even at the end of the week! This can't be working for me!

But, being a good Ed, you continue to follow Body-for-LIFE. At the end of weeks two and three, you continue to compare Ed to Big Al, and still notice very little difference. That stinkin' Bill Phillips MUST be a liar!

But Ed is determined! He works hard! Three more weeks go by, the sheets peeling off day after day, before Ed gets up the courage to stand next to Big Al again. Holy Myoplex! Ed is skinny! OK, not skinny, but less huge!!!

By the end of the 12-week Body-for-LIFE program, Ed is down to his lean dream, or somewhere near it. Ed is happy. We are happy. Big Al - well he's not so happy.

The lesson to be learned is that fat, like paper towels, comes off in sheets. When you are heavy, you are big around. And when you are big around,that fat is spread over a MUCH larger area - just like that outside towel sheet. The closer you get to the lean you, the more each lost pound of fat shows, because it is spread over a smaller area.

While the outside sheet may only cover 1 layer of the roll, the inside sheet may go around 4 times. That last sheet looks like it gives you 4 times the results of the first sheet, but in reality, the results are the same - your perception is just different! And you'll never see the inside, if you aren't patient while the outside is coming off! - Bob White
i know this is a really old post but i love it..thank you
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Old 03-08-2010, 05:01 PM   #13
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I ask my husband every day if he can see a difference. I know I'm probably driving him crazy, but I don't see it. I know my shirts and bras are looser. My pants are slowly getting looser too. I've lost 23 pounds so far, and can't wait to drop a size. My consultant said usually between 10-20 pounds is the 1st size drop, but I'm not even close...at least it doesn't feel like it.

This analogy really helps bring perspective to what's happening. Thank you!
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Old 03-08-2010, 05:21 PM   #14
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Thank you for sharing this and you look amazing!! I cannot wait to look that good!!
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Old 03-08-2010, 07:16 PM   #15
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I am so happy that I read this post! I thought that I was crazy or that my body was weird because after losing 24 lbs. I'm still in the same size. I can notice that all body parts except for my stomach are losing. Because of my stomach, I still can't change pants. I'll be very happy when that changes!

Thanks for the story about the paper towels. That makes sense now. That also probably explains why nobody has noticed any weight loss from me. I feel so much better now.
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