Hello, generous therapists! I call ye that because of the beautiful avalanche of comments following last week’s “Lori’s having a breakdown” blog. It’s very easy to feel isolated when you’re in a frustrated, depressed place. When your comments appeared with such empathy, support, insight and hilarity, I felt so GD supported. I sincerely thank you. Also, I make a point to respond to every comment. Hopefully you get notification of that. Why do I do it? Well, because I love you… and, oh yeah, that pesky all-consuming need to make the world think I’m a saint. Bleeeaaagghhhh.
There was a comment made elsewhere that was kind of interesting. It went a little something like this:
“Okay, this might come off a bit snarky, but hear me out. It’s very easy to lose weight if you are truly driven to do it. If you know how many calories it takes to stay at your current weight per day, eat 500-1000 calories fewer than that. Seriously, that’s it… as long as it’s fewer calories (even if all those calories are pizza), you WILL lose weight.”
Now I’ll be dead honest with you. At first read, I felt defensive. I wanted to teach this dude a few things about weight loss and that the calories in/calories out belief has had the crap beaten out of it in recent years. The claim that ‘it’s very easy to lose weight’ was just… well, I have no words. Okay, maybe a few. If it is indeed very easy, how is it that 61% of Canadians are considered an unhealthy weight? If it’s very easy, does that mean they aren’t bright enough to figure out the math of calories? Or are they just lazy and unmotivated? Because if it’s that easy, then the vast majority of the population should be at a healthy weight. I liken that sentiment to telling an alcoholic, “It’s very easy to stop drinking. Just don’t drink alcohol.” No consideration is given to food being an addiction, bodies being different, hormones, medical history… well, I could go on but I’ll leave that to the experts. I was also briefly aghast at the insinuation that I’m not truly driven. Then I remembered one of The Four Agreements which is to not take things personally.
Despite the whirlwind of the above thoughts in my noggin, I responded thusly:
“Oh, I’m a driven woman (not like Miss Daisy). 60 pounds so far. While I agree that the concept of weight loss is a simple one, there are many other factors at work/play. My lesson today is that since beginning working out hard, the weight hasn’t changed much, but the measurements have (muscle weighing more than fat, of course). Thanks for that, though. You didn’t sound snarky.”
You see, after a couple of minutes, I came to believe that this guy had no ill intent with his comment. He doesn’t know me. He may have thought this was the first time I’ve tried to lose weight and he was helping me by imparting that information. So, there was no need to pile drive the lad. And after my comment, he wrote:
“Yes, sorry. I should have said ‘losing fat.’ Anyway, I agree. People need to ditch the scale and go by the mirror or tape measure.”
Nice, right? Nothing tickles me quite like a reasonable interaction between humans.
I had been wondering about weight training while losing weight. Some people believe that one should lose the weight before building muscle. I posed the question on Fit Bitch‘s new website, Weight Loss Rebels, and got this great answer:
Strength training builds muscle, and more muscle helps you burn more calories even when you’re doing nothing but sitting on the couch. Lifting creates a different hormonal respnse than cardio. The more muscle you have, the more fuel you are constantly burning. This is the advantage strength training offers if your goal is to lean out. A treadmill or elliptical trainer is often seen as the quick fix to shed body fat, but strength training is a more powerful tool. Muscles are the engine that drives your metabolism…Keep that in mind.
I was so glad to read this because I’m really enjoying lifting weights. I’ve been bumping up the weights steadily and am really proud of what my muscles have learned to do. And if you missed my Tweet, my favourite payoff is that my teenage sons can’t escape my hugs any more. *maniacal laughter*
The scale remains abandoned and ignored and in an extraordinary coincidence, my mood remains cheerful, buoyant and hopeful. Weeeeird, right?
Thanks again for sharing your thoughts, kindness, personal stories and humour with me every week. It’s just fucking great.