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Fascinating Article About Fat Loss

Of course, it’s the media interpreting a scientific study. Still, it’s very interesting:

I think the article was well written and discusses an interesting topic: set points.

I think a lot of the literature has shown that it is MUCH easier to increase the weight or bodyfat level that the body wants to stay at than it is to decrease it.

This alone should be enough to make gym class MANDATORY in schools!

Soo… They put obese people on a 600 calorie diet and when they lost 100 pounds (NO DOUBT a large portion of muscle) they were surprised to find their metabolism slowed down?? Also, was any weight training involved in this study? Doubt it. Was any incorporated when they went off the diet(which is the real problem…they stopped dieting)?? I highly doubt it.

I’d be interested in seeing the diets these people went back too. My guess is EXACTLY the same as what they were before the study.

?Did those who stayed thin simply have more willpower?? Dr. Hirsch asked. ?In a funny way, they did.?

There were people who stayed thin, but they had to constantly work on it the rest of their life… Oh really? doesnt EVERYONE have to consciously stay lean for the most part? No bodybuilder wakes up ripped to shreds with 40 pounds of lean mass on them one day. I HATE THESE KINDS OF STATEMENTS!!!

“The results did not mean that people are completely helpless to control their weight, Dr. Stunkard said. But, he said, it did mean that those who tend to be fat will have to constantly battle their genetic inheritance if they want to reach and maintain a significantly lower weight.”

Who didn’t know this already? There are people who remain lean with little effort, and there are people who struggle to hit 10% bodyfat with diet and exercise. This idea of a set-point was well established many years ago.

[quote]Lonnie123 wrote:
“The results did not mean that people are completely helpless to control their weight, Dr. Stunkard said. But, he said, it did mean that those who tend to be fat will have to constantly battle their genetic inheritance if they want to reach and maintain a significantly lower weight.”

Who didn’t know this already? [/quote]

The article goes much deeper than “There is a set point.” It explains (or at least tries to) the extent to which the set point is fixed, and the measures one must take to overcome that set point.

So while it’s not news that losing weight for some requires an exercise of will, the degree of will required is indeed newsworthy.

Have you ever cut weight for a wrestling match or a fight? Do you know how thirsty you become?

What is the hardest thing you’ve ever done? Have you ever graduated as an honor grad from military training, passed a bar exam, earned a Ph.D. or M.D., studied for and excelled (re: scored in the 99th percentile) at the SATs or LSAT?

Imagine whatever it was that you did that required a major exercise of will. Now imagine having to exercise a similar act of will every time you saw food.

That would be pretty hard to do, no?

Again, I’m not saying that there aren’t problems with the article and studies. But if the metaphor is accurate (a fat person turning down food is like a man on the desert turning down water), then it explains why losing weight is so hard for some. And it means, if we care about losing fat (because we struggle with our own fat loss or have watched a loved one struggle), we need to come up with something better than, “Oh, have some will power, you fat fuck!”

It’s also worth noting that people are indeed getting fatter. So the answer isn’t that “Being fat is genetic.” If that were the case, why is obesity positively correlated with industrialization, the lack of exercise, and the availability of shitty food.

But, again, the article raises many fascinating points, and helps us discuss these issues with greater depth and nuance.

[quote]CaliforniaLaw wrote:
The article goes much deeper than “There is a set point.” It explains (or at least tries to) the extent to which the set point is fixed, and the measures one must take to overcome that set point.

So while it’s not news that losing weight for some requires an exercise of will, the degree of will required is indeed newsworthy.

Have you ever cut weight for a wrestling match or a fight? Do you know how thirsty you become?

What is the hardest thing you’ve ever done? Have you ever graduated as an honor grad from military training, passed a bar exam, earned a Ph.D. or M.D., studied for and excelled (re: scored in the 99th percentile) at the SATs or LSAT?

Imagine whatever it was that you did that required a major exercise of will. Now imagine having to exercise a similar act of will every time you saw food.

That would be pretty hard to do, no?

Again, I’m not saying that there aren’t problems with the article and studies. But if the metaphor is accurate (a fat person turning down food is like a man on the desert turning down water), then it explains why losing weight is so hard for some. And it means, if we care about losing fat (because we struggle with our own fat loss or have watched a loved one struggle), we need to come up with something better than, “Oh, have some will power, you fat fuck!”[/quote]

Good post.

I’ve wondered for a little while if this is the mechanism that explains why bulking and cutting cycles are needed to get big and lean. Does a person need to fight and move their “mass set point” and “BF% set point” at different times? If a person just goes through “bulk-cut-bulk-cut” phases without maintenance phases, are they not allowing their set points to move enough?

[quote]CaliforniaLaw wrote:
The article goes much deeper than “There is a set point.” It explains (or at least tries to) the extent to which the set point is fixed, and the measures one must take to overcome that set point.
[/quote]

Very good post. I’m going to have to think about this.

[quote]CaliforniaLaw wrote:
It’s also worth noting that people are indeed getting fatter. So the answer isn’t that “Being fat is genetic.” If that were the case, why is obesity positively correlated with industrialization, the lack of exercise, and the availability of shitty food.

But, again, the article raises many fascinating points, and helps us discuss these issues with greater depth and nuance.[/quote]

I think you answered your own question. In non/pre-industrialized society it is not economically possible for as many people to get as fat as they are becoming today.

[quote]HoratioSandoval wrote:
I’ve wondered for a little while if this is the mechanism that explains why bulking and cutting cycles are needed to get big and lean. Does a person need to fight and move their “mass set point” and “BF% set point” at different times? If a person just goes through “bulk-cut-bulk-cut” phases without maintenance phases, are they not allowing their set points to move enough?[/quote]

Professor X has long said that after every bulking cycle a person needs to maintain that weight for at least 3 months. This has always made sense to me.

Can you “re-set” your set point? Does it work both ways, i.e., can you re-set your set point lower (if you’re fat) or re-set it higher (if you are skinny)?

I truly have no idea.

As an aside, I was always the fat kid growing up. Then I went to basic training and got skinny (183 lbs). Then I got even skinner boxing (163 lbs.) Then I started gaining muscle and was big (a lean 220).

But I always struggled to get super ripped. When dieting, I would go on “crack head” like food binges. You either understand what it’s like to not be able to stop eating, or you don’t. Food was like heroine when I’d try dropping down really low bf%. I would get the shakes as I ate. It was a freaky, chemical reaction in my body that made me not judge alcoholics or other drug addicts. It truly was chemical.

My body generally wants to be fat; and I get drama when I drop down below a certain weight.

For unrelated reasons, I went up to 250 lbs. (I wasn’t able to train, so this wasn’t any sort of bulk.) I never went much higher than this. I stayed at this weight easily for over a year. Eating total garbage (literally, anything I wanted) and not meaningfully training. My body wants to be a fat fucking 250 lbs. But not any higher.

So I’m now back down to 210. Not ripped, but looking nice.

What did I notice last week? I literally felt like I was starving, even though my cals for the week were identical to the previous weeks. So I ate the toppings of an entire large Pizza Hut supreme pizza. Like it was nothing. And I was still hungry.

Now it’s a different kind of hunger. It wasn’t, “Oh, I’m on a diet. I’m craving food.” It was, “I am fucking starving to death and must eat or I will faint.”

It’s such a different feeling - craving verses feeling like you really need some food.

So I can relate to much of what the article said. While my problem isn’t with obesity, I deal with the same issues when leaning out.

[quote]CaliforniaLaw wrote:
HoratioSandoval wrote:
I’ve wondered for a little while if this is the mechanism that explains why bulking and cutting cycles are needed to get big and lean. Does a person need to fight and move their “mass set point” and “BF% set point” at different times? If a person just goes through “bulk-cut-bulk-cut” phases without maintenance phases, are they not allowing their set points to move enough?

Professor X has long said that after every bulking cycle a person needs to maintain that weight for at least 3 months. This has always made sense to me.

Can you “re-set” your set point? Does it work both ways, i.e., can you re-set your set point lower (if you’re fat) or re-set it higher (if you are skinny)?

I truly have no idea.

As an aside, I was always the fat kid growing up. Then I went to basic training and got skinny (183 lbs). Then I got even skinner boxing (163 lbs.) Then I started gaining muscle and was big (a lean 220).

But I always struggled to get super ripped. When dieting, I would go on “crack head” like food binges. You either understand what it’s like to not be able to stop eating, or you don’t. Food was like heroine when I’d try dropping down really low bf%. I would get the shakes as I ate. It was a freaky, chemical reaction in my body that made me not judge alcoholics or other drug addicts. It truly was chemical.

My body generally wants to be fat; and I get drama when I drop down below a certain weight.

For unrelated reasons, I went up to 250 lbs. (I wasn’t able to train, so this wasn’t any sort of bulk.) I never went much higher than this. I stayed at this weight easily for over a year. Eating total garbage (literally, anything I wanted) and not meaningfully training. My body wants to be a fat fucking 250 lbs. But not any higher.

So I’m now back down to 210. Not ripped, but looking nice.

What did I notice last week? I literally felt like I was starving, even though my cals for the week were identical to the previous weeks. So I ate the toppings of an entire large Pizza Hut supreme pizza. Like it was nothing. And I was still hungry.

Now it’s a different kind of hunger. It wasn’t, “Oh, I’m on a diet. I’m craving food.” It was, “I am fucking starving to death and must eat or I will faint.”

It’s such a different feeling - craving verses feeling like you really need some food.

So I can relate to much of what the article said. While my problem isn’t with obesity, I deal with the same issues when leaning out.[/quote]

good post x2

-dizzle

[quote]Lonnie123 wrote:
Soo… They put obese people on a 600 calorie diet and when they lost 100 pounds (NO DOUBT a large portion of muscle) they were surprised to find their metabolism slowed down?? Also, was any weight training involved in this study? Doubt it. Was any incorporated when they went off the diet(which is the real problem…they stopped dieting)?? I highly doubt it.

I’d be interested in seeing the diets these people went back too. My guess is EXACTLY the same as what they were before the study.


[/quote]

Very true.

Trying to extrapolate what happens after a 600 calorie a day diet to what happens after a reasonable diet and exercise program is folly.

Even us skinny bastards get cravings and end up eating a half gallon of ice cream and a box of Girl Scout cookies. This type of stuff is not unique to the obese or former fat boys.

Doesn’t seem like anything new is here, just another person trying to sell a book on diet.

It is interesting but not unexpected.

To sum up, people are different and life isn’t always easy.

Most of what we do in life is determined by our genetic code. You can’t fight ‘fate’.

[quote]CaliforniaLaw wrote:
So I can relate to much of what the article said. While my problem isn’t with obesity, I deal with the same issues when leaning out.[/quote]

CLaw,

Good discussion here. This is a bit of an aside but I it was the first thing that came to mind as I read the article.

A couple of weeks ago, my wife and a friend of hers were discussing rehab programs for drug addiction (they both work in the field). My wife’s friend made the point that the success rate for most programs was only about 2%. This isn’t really surprising.

However, the only program that consistently shows a higher success rate is AA. In her discussions with many psychiatrists, doctors and social workers the reason for the success rate was the addiction was “replaced” (for lack of a better word) with a substitute “obsession” (again for lack of a better word), usually religion.

I found this were interesting. When I think of people whom have changed their weight over a prolonged period of time, they generally become the fitness or nutrition “fanatic”, rarely is maintenance a moderate interest.

[quote]Headhunter wrote:
Most of what we do in life is determined by our genetic code. You can’t fight ‘fate’.[/quote]

Only true to a certain extent. I have three brothers. Growing up I was always the smallest. I am 6’ tall. My brothers range from 6’2" to 6’4".

They all have bigger bone structure, hands, wrists etc.

I outweigh each of them by at least 30 pounds because I lift.

People genetically predisposed to put on fat may not be able to stay super lean for long but they do not have to be obese and they can stay reasonably lean with some effort.

Like the doctor/scientist said, this deals with less than 20% or so of people… Where genetics plays perhaps a greater role in their weight. The other 50% of people in the U.S. are just lazy, don’t care, don’t know the right foods, etc.

This reason for being fat is an acceptable excuse for less than 20% of the population in my own opinion. Perhaps this “set weight point” would be achievable if you added 20lbs of muscle… (or was it talking about BF%?)

Anyways, I refuse to believe that 50+% of the population is overweight because of genetic factors and not the shit they eat day in and day out and lack of exercise.

Also, I disagree with the way this experiment was setup. I don’t this this was a good way to run a fat loss experiment to determine whether or not genetics play a great role.
By this, I mean, such an extreme calorie restriction(600 cal shake?) to induce major weight loss will work… but it will only work for that short period of time.

Thats why fat boy camps don’t work either. If you send your fatty to camp and he loses 40lbs(from 180 or w/e) during the 14 week camp doing tons of exercise and eating a pretty good diet, he’ll undoubtably put it back on when he gets home and starts his normal cycle(eating tons of crap, and watching TV) back up again. How is this hard to understand?

I would feel as if I had been starved to death too if I had such an extreme period of weightloss and change in exercise/diet as well.

Perhaps losing 1/4lb of fat a week while changing your body composition as well over a 5 year period would work better? hmm… i wonder…
1/4lb X 52(wk) = 13lbs x 5(yr) = 65lb
or if your a fatass
1/2lb X 52 = 26lbs x 5(yr) = 130lb

This doesn’t account for whatever the strength training will do for your overall body composition as well.

Basically, my point is that people want these Aktin/South beach diets as fast routes to success, when in actuality, it is a long term commitment to change if you are overweight.

just my .02

[quote]Ruggerlife wrote:
I found this were interesting. When I think of people whom have changed their weight over a prolonged period of time, they generally become the fitness or nutrition “fanatic”, rarely is maintenance a moderate interest.[/quote]

Yup. There’s also a line of thinking that people who get hooked on a drug tend to have addictive and obsessive personalities. The drug just triggers it.

Does the same thing apply to weight loss? Is the answer that the obese (or really skinny) need to obsess over their food intake by tracking everything? Would this be enough to satisfy their addictive personalities?

I don’t know. What I do know is that what is being done to help people lose weight is simply not working.

[quote]Zap Branigan wrote:
Lonnie123 wrote:
Soo… They put obese people on a 600 calorie diet and when they lost 100 pounds (NO DOUBT a large portion of muscle) they were surprised to find their metabolism slowed down?? Also, was any weight training involved in this study? Doubt it. Was any incorporated when they went off the diet(which is the real problem…they stopped dieting)?? I highly doubt it.

I’d be interested in seeing the diets these people went back too. My guess is EXACTLY the same as what they were before the study.

Very true.

Trying to extrapolate what happens after a 600 calorie a day diet to what happens after a reasonable diet and exercise program is folly.

Even us skinny bastards get cravings and end up eating a half gallon of ice cream and a box of Girl Scout cookies. This type of stuff is not unique to the obese or former fat boys.

Doesn’t seem like anything new is here, just another person trying to sell a book on diet.

It is interesting but not unexpected.

To sum up, people are different and life isn’t always easy.[/quote]

I think the outcome of the clinical trials (600 kcals)is obvious now, but at the time of the trials it was fairly new and so from a scientific stand point it was good science. at least it raised more questions than drawing final conclusions.

I found the more compelling argument the observational study of adoptees and twins raised separately.

[quote]Zap Branigan wrote:
Trying to extrapolate what happens after a 600 calorie a day diet to what happens after a reasonable diet and exercise program is folly.

Even us skinny bastards get cravings and end up eating a half gallon of ice cream and a box of Girl Scout cookies. This type of stuff is not unique to the obese or former fat boys.

To sum up, people are different and life isn’t always easy.[/quote]

As usual, you have a clever but superficial reply. Do you think about anything with depth or nuance?

The issue isn’t with obese people getting getting skinny-boy “cravings and ending up eating a half gallon of ice cream and a box of Girl Scout cookies.”

The issue is that obese people tend to get such cravings every time they eat. If skinny boys like you truly wrestled with such cravings, your rib cages wouldn’t be exposed.

Also, people like you are skinny precisely because it’s just as hard for you to eat as it is for obese people to not eat.

So waifs like you might have something to learn from the author, as well. After all, I found it incredibly interesting that some people had to eat upwards of 10,000 calories a day to gain weight.

[quote]ShaneM686 wrote:
Like the doctor/scientist said, this deals with less than 20% or so of people… Where genetics plays perhaps a greater role in their weight. The other 50% of people in the U.S. are just lazy, don’t care, don’t know the right foods, etc.

Anyways, I refuse to believe that 50+% of the population is overweight because of genetic factors and not the shit they eat day in and day out and lack of exercise.

Also, I disagree with the way this experiment was setup. I don’t this this was a good way to run a fat loss experiment to determine whether or not genetics play a great role.
By this, I mean, such an extreme calorie restriction(600 cal shake?) to induce major weight loss will work… but it will only work for that short period of time.


[/quote]

The original study wasn’t set up to determine the genetic component of obesity, it was set up to determine if fat cells shrink of disappear when dieting.

So the 600kcal diet is very effective to this end. The re-testing is to confirm the results of both the original test and the post experiment observations. These observations would then be used to determine future experiments/observations.

I agree with you on the fact that most people are likely fat due to laziness. If it was mostly genetic, I would expect the rate to either remain flat of gradual over time.