Wednesday, May 30, 2012


I thought pregnancy math was bad. I realize now that grown-up weight loss math is so much worse.

For example, take a woman who weighs, say, 150 pounds before conceiving and add on 50 pounds for the pregnancy (it is her first baby -- nobody makes that mistake twice). If she gives birth to a 7-lb baby and a 1.5 pound placenta, how is it possible that she leaves the hospital weighing 202 pounds?

You see? Pregnancy math never adds up. And neither does weight loss math if you ask me.
I have tried a little bit of everything over the years, having been slightly overweight for my entire adult life. I have tried Laws of Attraction, Vision Boards, meditation and the Power of positive thinking -- my Zen-like mindset resulting in a growing sense of appreciation for nothing more than my growing ass. I have done Weight Watchers, gluten-free diets, veganism and I flirted with eating ‘right for my blood type.’ FitDay. Com. Something about being but I can’t remember that one anymore. My username – and my clothing size – hasn’t changed.

But I am starting to wonder if maybe the mathematical approach isn’t entirely flawed. Maybe those math minds have the right idea, and this should be well within my capabilities. I come from a long line of semi-autistic math nerds who can barely look you in the eye but who can solve the world's problems via quadratic equation. People for whom the term "nerd" is the highest of praise.

Calories in, calories out – isn’t that the way weight loss is supposed to work? Recent research has supported the notion that it isn’t necessarily that simple – that eating high-protein food with a low glycemic index is a more important focus than counting calories or points or whatever. In other words, it’s what you eat and not how much of it you are eating.

But in many ways, I am starting to come full circle back to calorie counting while using the knowledge I have accumulated in guiding my food choices within the caloric range I am shooting for. Maybe now I will stand a chance in the battle of the bulge.

Calorie counting? Meh. It hasn’t been a successful approach for me, personally, but maybe I have fudged the numbers a little too much. For example, if a glass of wine is supposed to have 162 calories, maybe I can’t use my glass beer stein and expect everything to add up.

Maybe the search term on SparkPeople has to be a little more specific than “Ice Cream Cone.” Anyone in Massachusetts who has eaten at Kimball’s knows full well that their kiddie-size ice cream cone could feed an entire Girl Scout troop.

And maybe when I click little icons indicating that I drank 10 glasses of water, I might – mathematically speaking – have to be more specific and indicate that the water was actually carbonated tonic water mixed with gin.

Clearly, I need to revisit the idea of calories in, calories out. These days, I am measuring calories, ounces, slices and minutes on the treadmill – just for shits and giggles – to see if it does boil down to simple math. My trainer – who I demonized last week but who was really just trying to help – warned me not to give up too easily. She said it can take up to a month for the results to really start kicking in.

Which indicates to me that even though it’s based in math, there’s still a little magic in there somewhere.

1 comment:

  1. You should read Dr. Linda Bacon's research on calories in, calories out. It just doesn't prove to be true. It's all about set point. Her book is Health at Every Size. It is a weight neutral book.