Friday, November 9, 2012

Why am I fat?

I read an interview yesterday with Melissa McCarthy, star of the series "Mike and Molly" and it really frustrated me, so I wanted to talk about it today.  First and foremost I don't want anyone to think that this is a bashing session - it is NOT.  I think Ms. McCarthy is hysterically funny - I watch Mike and Molly every week and she was brilliant in the movie "Bridesmaids".  Also, from everything I have read on her, she seems like a genuinely good and down to earth person.  

Does everyone know who she is?

She has made no bones about her weight struggles personally and her character's weight and attempts to lose is a main plot device on her show.

So in the interview, she said the following:  "I don’t really know why I’m not thinner than I am," she says, adding, "I don’t really drink soda; I don’t have a sweet tooth, and we eat healthfully at home."  She adds that she does Pilates and takes tennis lessons.

I have seen a lot of this type of talk on weight loss forums and have heard it from people in person lementing that they "should be" thinner because they eat right and exercise.

Well, let me tell you Melissa and all those other people.  I know why you aren't thinner - you eat more calories then you burn on a regular basis.  It's that simple.  Weight loss is not a mystery.  It's a matter of calories in and calories out.  The difficulty is not in the KNOWING it's in the DOING!  Which, trust me, I totally get!

When I was morbidly obese, I ate a ton of fresh fruits and vegetables and lean meats.  I also worked a full time job and was very active hiking with the dogs.  I did have bad habits, like my soda addiction, but I wasn't a binger and I've never been a sweets type person and I RARELY snacked.  But when I ate a meal, I ate A LOT.  So it was no mystery why I was fat.

So it's just that easy and just that hard, you have to burn more calories then you consume in a given period of time to lose weight.  Now we all know that it's not quite that simple - our bodies are funny and some times they hold on to weight for no reason, or we get a "whoosh" and drop 5 pounds in 2 days.  And weight can be effected by salt intake and a woman's time of the month and how much you exercised the day before.  BUT, in general, if you are consuming less calories per week then you are burning, the weight comes off.

We all know my lectures about exercise, but you can't rely on pilates and tennis lessons to be thin if you're eating isn't in order.  For example, yesterday I ran 6 miles at lunch.  According to my heart rate monitor, I burned 448 calories in the 47:09 it took me to run it.  Let's say I decided to stop at Starbucks on the way home for something to drink (I didn't, by the way, I'm just giving an example).  And let's say I decided to order the White Hot Chocolate - doesn't that sound YUMMY?  And let's say that because I'm trying to "be good" I tell them to leave off the whipped cream - aren't you proud of me?  So I order this in a large (16oz.).  According to Starbuck's website, I just drank 420 calories - yikes!  So in one fell swoop, I just undid almost all the calorie deficit I got from my hard earned running.   

Melissa also said in the interview that she sometimes wishes that she was "magically a size 6" and never had to give her weight another thought.  I spent YEARS of my life wishing that the weight loss fairy would visit me in my sleep, wave her wand and I would wake up thin and fit.  Alas, it never happened.  It took me getting off my ass and getting to work that made me "magically" a size 2.  

Finally I want to say that Melissa states that overall she is pretty happy with herself and her life.  She indicates that she is healthy and doesn't want to constantly focus on her weight.   I sincerely think that is fantastic - she should not lose weight unless SHE wants to.  But let's not pretend that it's baffling why people are overweight...  

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