Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Why They Never Lose Weight

Nobody likes fat.

Sorry, that's a truth, if you don't like it I'm sure there are some Oprah youtube videos spewing lies that will make you happy.

But if you wish to live with us in the real world, nobody likes fat.

It's disgusting.

It's unhealthy.

It damages relationships.

And it damages the host.

However, during one of my long days working by myself, allowed to ponder the meanings of life, I was trying to figure out what was the resistance to people losing weight when the solution is well known and obvious.  And I think I have figured it out via economics.

Understand when you are asking somebody to change something about them be it losing weight, giving up smoking, increasing muscle mass, etc., you are not merely asking them to hit the gym, watch the calories, or give up smoking for that month.  You are asking them to do that for the rest of their lives.

This prospect, whether consciously realized or not, is daunting to the brain because you aren't asking that person to suffer temporarily for the next month.  You are asking them to dedicate a significant amount of their time for the rest of their days towards to something that their previous behavior proved they did not enjoy.  In other words it's the equivalent to asking somebody to take on a part time job when they really don't want to. 

In this regard I feel a little for my fellow overweight people or scrawny folk because who really wants to spend more of their lives working at what is effectively a part time job they won't enjoy?  I hate lifting weights, and if it weren't for MP3 players I probably would hate running too.  The question is whether the gains from engaging in such behavior (higher social status, better looks, better pride, better/more sex, etc.) is worth the cost (mind-numbing working out, opportunity cost to time spent running, lousy food, etc. for the rest of your life) and this cannot be answered for everybody.  However, for most people, that answer is yes.

I'll say it again for the cheap seats, if I had spent a fraction of the time I spent going to night clubs and trying to chat up girls and instead just hit the gym I would have been immensely more successful in my early years.  If you set down the booze and video games so you can knock out 3 miles a day, not only will your physical looks improve, so will your health.  And ladies the fact still remains that the ONLY thing a guy can first ascertain about you is your physical beauty.  The list goes on, but unless you REALLY hate working out (and I mean hate on a level of hating hipsters and child molesters) it is in your best interests to lift weights, hit the treadmill, watch what you eat and improve your physique.

Yes, it is going to suck.  And yes, it is something you'll have to do for the rest of your life.  But it will be worth it in the end.  And besides, if you find out it isn't worth it, then you can always go back to the status quo as it is very easy to get fat.

Part time job.


Acksiom said...

Fat is visual body odor.

James Wolfe said...

Back when I was dating and throughout most of my marriage I was thin and in good shape, and when my wife left I was depressed and stopped eating and got thin again, only because I was miserable.

But now that I'm happy and my situation has improved and I have finally decided like many men that pursuing women and dedicating your life to other people's happiness instead of your own is a tremendous waste of your own life and happiness I no longer care what anyone thinks of me. I'm not huge but I'm not thin either. I get enough exercise working on oudoor projects that I'm not worried about dying from a heart attack. And I'm comfortable with who I am.

If a woman walks by and doesn't even notice me because I'm not buff, because I don't dye my hair to look younger than I am, or spend most of my income on fancy clothes or cars, then good for me. I'd rather be invisible. I guarantee I'm ignoring her just as much because she's pretending to be something she's not. I've got no interest in fake people.

If you're dating then I totally understand it. You're competing with millions of other men out there. You need to look your best. But on the road to happiness all of that is just a diversion. I'll take the short cut and go straight to being happy.

Hamilton said...

A lot of us lifted weights to get girls when we were younger. Some of us decided to continue even when we got the girl we wanted because of the many benefits listed above. I love feeling good about my body, I love knowing that I am eating healthy and not part of the fat American culture, I love knowing that I can defend myself and my family if needed. Most of all I love the look I get from my sexy wife when I take off my shirt. All because I made a hobby of my lifting and eating habits.

James, I am happy for you and your satisfaction with your life. Just be prepared if your happiness with the current situation changes.

Robert said...

I can understand what James is getting at, though there are side benefits to working out beyond looking better and being healthier. The main reason I started getting back into working out was to raise my testosterone levels. This hormone plays a major role in a man's life. It makes you happier, healthier, more confident.

Great article, and I just wanted to say that working out doesn't have to be a major sacrifice. I work out 3 times a week for 30 minutes each doing compound power lifts. You hit all the major muscle groups, it challenges you (it can be fun), and it's over before you know it. As far as my diet goes, I am a total foodie and I always leave the table feeling satisfied.

During the week, I focus on limiting my carbs, and if I eat a ton of fat and cholesterol, I just eat more foods with olive oil, garlic, salmon, etc. During the weekend I literally eat whatever I want. My doctor said I will live to be at least 75 based on my blood test, and I have never been close to obese. It really doesn't feel like much of a sacrifice to me!

Anonymous said...

Another factor. Results are slow in coming, imperceptible for most of us, especially if you're female. Estrogen likes to make women fat.
Another factor, dieting long term results in lower metabolic functioning.
Anyone can lose weight on 500 calories a day. Not many can keep to that for a lifetime.

Reluctant Paladin said...

This is something I struggle with personally. Just before nursing school I got into the best shape of my life. I went from 180 (before that I had ballooned up to 240) to 167 lbs. I did P90X to do this. So 6 days a week I was working my butt off for an hour and half. I was also running whenever I got bored.

Then nursing school started. I didnt have time to cook for myself so I ate fast food again. Then my grades flagged so I quit working out ostensibly to study. I went back to my old habits. By the time I graduated I was 205 lbs again.

Since then I've been stuck at 193. I'm working full time now so I just don't have time to do p90x. Even if I could would I want to? Do I want to do p90x not just until I get to where I want to be, but for the rest of my life? Not only that, but I can't eat what I want the way I want. No more cake, cookies, biscuit and gravy, mashed potatoes, Taco Bell, pie, and definitely no more eating until I'm stuffed. Its a big change and a big source of conflict.

Also, I've never been fit and trim so I have no idea how big of an improvement it will be. Also, I've been a video game playing inside guy most of my life so I have no idea what sort of outdoor hobbies are out there that I could learn to do and how I would go about learning them.

Fitness is a complete lifestyle change and its totally alien to me. When I was doing p90x I would spend a good portion of my day running just because I was bored. I didn't know anything else to do that was good for you. If I hadn't of just gone outside and ran I would have sat in the house and played video games.

Alexander said...

As James points out, it should be about self-respect, not about what others think... however, isn't being in top shape a top priority for respecting yourself?

How can anyone be happy when they're so under-achieving on their potential?

Pax Empyrean said...

"Nobody likes fat."

Everything is somebody's fetish. Some people get off on farm animals; you can bet there are people out there who like fat girls.

They are not widely respected.

adiaforon said...

To be fair, one cause of obesity in the industrialized world is the food itself. Not fresh, processed, highly sugared, not local, etc. If you start with food, then you have to pay very close attention to what you're eating.

I eat bread and processed carbs sparingly, juice fruits and veggies, and eat non-hormone beef. Then again, I've always been thin and in good shape for a short period when I was 20 lbs. overweight. Reason? Shitty food choices. Exercised help, but until I made the connection, the weight didn't come off like I wanted it to.

Also, I second James's emotion about women. If you're invisible to her, all the better. At least you don't have that distraction.

Matthew King said...

Acksiom wrote: "Fat is visual body odor."

Awesome. Is that your formulation? I will use it.

Mina said...

I love working out. My problem seems to be, as a female, is that I like big muscles. On me. Don't know why - it's just a "thing". I am using the summer to take a break and shrink a little and focus on my gardening and riding instead. I think my husband is a bit relieved.

Badbrass said...

You can never out-exercise a poor diet. Controlling what you stick in your mouth is the single most effective tool you have to control your weight and overall health. Everything else is a distant second, but I still lift several times a week. Personally, I pursue a high-protein and fresh vegetables diet. Wheat, corn and other grains are treated like dessert -- small portions and rarely eaten. Eating out is only for special occasions. The more you cook, the better you look! I'm 53 and I can still bang out 50 pushups, squat more than my body weight, deadlift over 300.

Bob said...

You hit the nail on the head Captain. I tried to quit smoking before. Not smoking for an hour, a day, a week, was not hard. The thought of never smoking again TERRIFIED me and ultimately made me decide not to quit.

Anonymous said...

If you live in a decent sized metropolitan area, there will be plenty of adult recreational sporting leagues. If you hate running for the sake of running, pick up a sport with lots of running (or a close equivalent) involved. Hockey and basketball are good, and soccer is great (soccer is essentially rigorous interval training, with the occasional kick of a ball, six and seven-a-side leagues even moreso).

If you've never played a sport before and want to get your feet wet, join a co-ed rec league. The difference between the best and worst gals will be far wider than the best and worst guys, and as a result, the best teams will be those with the best gals, so all a guy needs to do to earn his place in these leagues is play within himself and hustle. That only requires effort and a pinch of self awareness (if you're not good enough to dribble around a defender, make a simple pass to a teammate, etc.).

Adult sports leagues have the additional benefit of expanding your social circle (even moreso with co-ed leagues).

I loathe working out for its own sake, but playing soccer three to four times a week keeps my gut at bay and left me with some rather large thighs.