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Old 04-13-2013, 08:46 AM   #41
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Just a random observation:

I've lost count of the number of people who have commented that "you put on about a pound a year after you reach adulthood."

That does seem to be generally true (on average, for most Americans), so it has become a generally accepted rule of thumb.

Since it is so generally accepted, many of us consider it "normal" and don't get concerned when we see it happening to us.

I'm personally convinced that this psychological factor plays a significant role in the current overweight/obesity "epidemic."
I agree. It got to me. Like I said, I noticed my friends going up and was more or less accepting it as my fate too. We were all in the same "club". And after all, every time I tried, it was 'impossible' to lose.

Wrong. Very possible. But it takes a real mind shift and discipline. It is not normal. I see only a handful of overweight people in my dad's senior living center. That says something.
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Old 04-13-2013, 08:51 AM   #42
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Well I would not be so "sure". But I don't want to argue, it's Saturday, life is good :-)
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They have all tried dieting, you can be sure.
This got me curious. I read that idea in Taubes' books and, not that this article is definitive, but it suggests that there are some fat people out there that, when surveyed by a big pharma company, SAID they never dieted. How they ask the question would make a big difference in how they answered, though. I think the common impression that most every fat person just consumes a lot of calories without thinking is probably not a fair representation of the facts.
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according to the drug and healthcare company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), which says 61% of South Africans are overweight, obese or morbidly obese.Despite the country's sporty reputation and the prevalence of gyms in cities such as Johannesburg, the research found that ... 71% have never dieted.
South Africans among world's fattest people, survey finds | World news | The Guardian

So if my math and logic hold, that's saying that of the people who might need to consider a diet, about half of them said they never tried to diet. It would be interesting to get these figures with only the obese people, since I assume many of the half haven't tried dieting are the "overweight", not "obese". But this survey should be taken with a large grain of salt since we do not know the context of the survey. For instance maybe the survey taker thought they would get consideration from the company for answering the survey one way or the other (call me cynical, but usually big companies have a trick up their sleeve for spending money on surveys).
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Old 04-13-2013, 09:20 AM   #43
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There may be significant cultural reasons why so many in South Africa are obese and never diet. While this sounds racist many African cultures prefer women with very large behinds. There are also cultures that admire obesity because many years ago it was the mark of wealth.

These studies have to be considered in the context of the culture. You cannot necessarily apply them to all cultures. Here in North America the last thing people want is an enormous behind. For one thing, judgmental people will assume you are a glutton that doesn't care about how you look.
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Old 04-13-2013, 09:22 AM   #44
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I have a theory that some smaller men and women pack on pounds so they can occupy more space in the world, and therefore avoid being run over in crowds, shoved off benches, etc. You may laugh, but my petite, 100-pound mother was routinely shoved, bumped into and almost knocked down by others. I used to act as her "bodyguard" (almost literally) when my dad wasn't with her. Mom was not frail, she was just small. I suspect if my mother had been fatter, she would not have been treated like a spot on the floor to be walked over.

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Old 04-13-2013, 09:24 AM   #45
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+1

The obesity in the US has come on quite suddenly in the grand scheme of time. It's unlikely that our genetics have changed that quickly, so that means the cause is ultimately behavioral.

I love certain foods like pasta and also rich, cream-based desserts and delicacies. I have the means and the ability to eat enormous amounts of these. I *want* to eat lots of these, but I choose to eat them in moderation because I want to be thin and healthy MORE.

Likewise, I could afford to live in a much nicer home or drive a much more expensive car. I want both of these things, but I choose my more modest house and older-but-fine-car because I want FI/RE MORE.

The key word above being "choice". I realize individuals' means vary and a small portion of the US population truly doesn't have a choice. But there is a bigger and significant portion of the population in both scenarios who have enough means to have a real choice, but make the "wrong" choice and then bitch the result.
Agreed. Isn't it curious that the wealthier and more educated in the US are 'magically' thinner and healthier. It does imply that they make better choices. Maybe the poor need educating on how to eat in moderation and excercise regularly. I don't think a high fat diet is the problem. The problem is the quantity of food they eat. Many places around the world have high fat diet but they're not overweight because they are active and don't have as much food to eat. I have first hand knowledge of this because I see weight problems among my low -income tenants. They eat large quantities of food and spend a lot of time sleeping and watching TV, a perfect recipe for health issues. Some of them don't even cook or do chores but they surely buy and eat a lot of processed/pre-cooked and fast food.
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Old 04-13-2013, 09:27 AM   #46
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+1

But there is a bigger and significant portion of the population in both scenarios who have enough means to have a real choice, but make the "wrong" choice and then bitch the result.
You need to understand that most people don't know enough to make the right choices even if they have the means. Even in these few comments on this subject I see people referring to how dietary fat is bad and wraps are good. This is simply not supported by the science. It does explain the fact that people today have a very hard time maintaining a healthy weight. They are getting bad advice even from their doctors.

Carbohydrates are addictive and harmful. Wraps are great if you discard the refined flour based wrap itself.
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Old 04-13-2013, 09:30 AM   #47
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In my decidely pseudo-scientific opinion, modern lifestyles have much to do with the "epidemic":
  1. Sedentary lifestyles involving sitting - in meetings, at a computer, in a car or mass transit, in front of the TV, etc. A corollary to this is the I believe mistaken impression that you can counteract all this with some time on a treadmill or elliptical...
  2. Too many calories for our activity level. A corollary to this is the wrong-headed "food pyramid", promoting high intake of carbs, especially grains, and demonizing "fat". I'm always amazed at the ads on TV and elsewhere that tells us a sugary cereal is "low in fat", and therefore presumably healthy.
  3. Speaking of wrong-headed, the ads for junky POS exercise equipment, which show some buff, 20-something actor/actress, with zero body fat and muscles galore, implying that 30 minutes a day on the "pie master" (apologies to Suzanne Somers) will result in you looking like that "model". A corollary to this is the "fat burning" substances, aka "speed", that will magically melt away the fat, with no effort!
  4. Too many empty calories in the form of soda, alcohol, donuts, etc.
  5. All this confusion about what to eat has turned us into a nation of neurotic dieters. Eat real food, not too much...
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Old 04-13-2013, 09:34 AM   #48
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Agreed. Isn't it curious that the wealthier and more educated in the US are 'magically' thinner and healthier.
This is only partly true but it must also be acknowledged that it may well be a chicken and egg thing. People with highly functioning metabolisms are generally more active and have more energy that the average Joe. This enables them to be achievers and achievers get wealthy.

You probably go out and have a nice steak in a restaurant while your tenants are chowing down on french fries or pasta. Something they can afford to feed their larger families.
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Old 04-13-2013, 09:38 AM   #49
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I did not simply say "wraps are good". Read my post again.

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Even in these few comments on this subject I see people referring to how dietary fat is bad and wraps are good. This is simply not supported by the science. It does explain the fact that people today have a very hard time maintaining a healthy weight. They are getting bad advice even from their doctors.

Carbohydrates are addictive and harmful. Wraps are great if you discard the refined flour based wrap itself.
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Old 04-13-2013, 09:45 AM   #50
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You need to understand that most people don't know enough to make the right choices even if they have the means. Even in these few comments on this subject I see people referring to how dietary fat is bad and wraps are good. This is simply not supported by the science. It does explain the fact that people today have a very hard time maintaining a healthy weight. They are getting bad advice even from their doctors.

Carbohydrates are addictive and harmful. Wraps are great if you discard the refined flour based wrap itself.
I realize there are nuances to different foods and that nutrition is constantly evolving. However, the ultimate equation is that if you consume more calories than you use, you put on weight. If you consume fewer calories, you lose weight. If you match evenly, you stay steady.

Just like if you spend more than you make, you go into the red and will eventually have a disaster. If you spend less than you make, you are "getting ahead".

I'm sorry, but it doesn't take any special education to make the correlation between eating and putting on weight, just like it doesn't take anything more than common sense to realize that if you spend more than you make, you're getting into trouble.

Now, there may be easier and harder ways to accomplish the above, in terms of both food and money. And, one has to listen to oneself and adjust. For me, a no-carb diet just doesn't work. I'm too hungry all the time. So I ignore some of the current "wisdom" and do what makes my body happy and consume a moderate amount of carbs. And even so, I maintain a BMI in the high 17's or low 18's. Likewise, if I (we) don't spend money on travel, we go nuts. The amount we spend on travel would probably stagger some of the really thrifty types on here, but it works for us and we still live well below our means.

My point being that the basic tenants of obesity or financial ruin are obvious. Some of the specifics of how to apply those basic tenants are individual.
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Old 04-13-2013, 09:52 AM   #51
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This is only partly true but it must also be acknowledged that it may well be a chicken and egg thing. People with highly functioning metabolisms are generally more active and have more energy that the average Joe. This enables them to be achievers and achievers get wealthy.
Are you suggesting that this metabolic divide has only recently emerged?
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Old 04-13-2013, 09:53 AM   #52
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There may be significant cultural reasons why so many in South Africa are obese and never diet. While this sounds racist many African cultures prefer women with very large behinds. There are also cultures that admire obesity because many years ago it was the mark of wealth.

These studies have to be considered in the context of the culture. You cannot necessarily apply them to all cultures. Here in North America the last thing people want is an enormous behind. For one thing, judgmental people will assume you are a glutton that doesn't care about how you look.
No arguement from me on those points. It's just that the South African study was the one that popped up when I googled, hehe. I would have preferred a north american example.

But the reason I came back to this thread was, as I was closing old browser windows, I came across this bit of the article:
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Meanwhile, 74% of South Africans think their fellow citizens are overweight and only 34% consider themselves as overweight or obese.
So in the earlier post I figured that about half the people that "should" diet, never dieted (32% of the total population). Those that "should" diet and have tried dieting is 29% of the population. If the 32% that have never tried dieting are in the 34% (a good bet), that would mean that it's a perception or definition issue. Glaxo is using the medical definition of "overweight" based on BMI or something, and the general public doesn't think a little roll in the middle is "overweight".

The bottom line for me is that I would be highly surprised to find an obese person (not just an overweight person, but someone who's crossed the obese line), in the US or other developed country, as never having tried to change their diet to lose weight.
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Old 04-13-2013, 09:57 AM   #53
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Some Guy,

Everyone is different but most people that try the low-cab diet report the opposite. They are not hungry and lose weight. The diet does not require you to count calories at all. Just steer clear of carbohydrates and you will lose weight. Almost guaranteed.
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Old 04-13-2013, 10:02 AM   #54
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One other thing I thought of. I have repeatedly read that women's clothing sizes have been distorted over the past few decades. Today's size 10 is technically a size 14. But marketers discovered that clothing lines that are "generous" in their nominal sizes sell more than those that are strict.

Although men's sizes are supposedly in inches, I have found that the actual waist size varies considerably between and even within brands.
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Old 04-13-2013, 10:07 AM   #55
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Some Guy,

Everyone is different but most people that try the low-cab diet report the opposite. They are not hungry and lose weight. The diet does not require you to count calories at all. Just steer clear of carbohydrates and you will lose weight. Almost guaranteed.
Most people aren't as active as I am.

If you take the average person's regular food diet and cut out everything containing carbs, you will have cut a significant chunk of calories out. So of course they will lose weight. To me, it is like people who have to set an alarm setting their clock ahead 20 minutes, so they feel like they are getting up later and/or getting more sleep. I guess if it works for you, then who cares?
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Old 04-13-2013, 10:09 AM   #56
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However, the ultimate equation is that if you consume more calories than you use, you put on weight. If you consume fewer calories, you lose weight. If you match evenly, you stay steady.
But if you ignore the metabolic bully (and the associated appetite effects), the "consume fewer calories" becomes close to impossible for some people. Appetite is a knife edge that most people don't appreciate. If you had two M&M's in addition to each meal (presuming those two candies did not change your appetite), you'd go from lean at 20 to obese at 35.
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Old 04-13-2013, 10:10 AM   #57
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Are you suggesting that this metabolic divide has only recently emerged?
No. It has always been true. Energetic people are almost never obese. They are often high achievers though and with that comes wealth.

What has changed is that the average "Joe" has easier and cheaper access to carbohydrate laden foods and their governments and even their doctors are telling them to eat it.

I am not poor and so I have spent the time and energy required to investigate this whole diet issue and I now know what has gone wrong. I have never been obese but I was overweight. Since I can afford what is an expensive low-carb diet and I know it is healthier than what I had been eating I discarded carbs a few years ago. I am now at a healthy weight, my blood work is vastly better than it ever was and my hypertension is gone.
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Old 04-13-2013, 10:15 AM   #58
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Most people aren't as active as I am.

If you take the average person's regular food diet and cut out everything containing carbs, you will have cut a significant chunk of calories out. So of course they will lose weight. To me, it is like people who have to set an alarm setting their clock ahead 20 minutes, so they feel like they are getting up later and/or getting more sleep. I guess if it works for you, then who cares?
That is not how it works at all. You eat all the protein and fat that you want. in other words, you replace the carbs with protein and fat turning back the clock to the first half of this century before the government and bad researchers decided that we should replace fat with carbs.

People that embrace this diet do not count calories. They eat when they are hungry. They just don't eat carbs. They do lose weight. It is almost certain.
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Old 04-13-2013, 10:24 AM   #59
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But if you ignore the metabolic bully (and the associated appetite effects), the "consume fewer calories" becomes close to impossible for some people. Appetite is a knife edge that most people don't appreciate. If you had two M&M's in addition to each meal (presuming those two candies did not change your appetite), you'd go from lean at 20 to obese at 35.
One area that I cede may not be initially obvious is that if you eat until you feel full, you've almost surely overeaten.

I'm not sure I follow or buy your M&M example. If you use a 5'11" man, a BMI of 20 is 144lbs. To get to a BMI of 35, that same man would have to put on 106 lbs (or nearly 75% weight increase) and weigh 250lbs. Assuming 3 meals a day and that this took place over ten years, that's 30 extra calories a meal for every single meal of every single day. I don't eat candy but I doubt 2 M&Ms contain 30 calories.

But, using your M&M example, if you are at BMI 20 and add M&Ms, when you get up to around 22 or so, wouldn't you think "Hey, maybe those M&Ms are making me put on weight?" Either cut out the M&Ms, or cut back a little on something else?
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Old 04-13-2013, 10:46 AM   #60
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I think 20 and 35 were meant to relate to ages and the intervening 15 years, not BMI.
Just trying to help. Maybe I'm wrong.
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