T Nation

The chronically obese and chronically skinny...are they really that different?

I think a parallel can be made between those that say “I can’t gain weight” and those that say “I can’t lose weight”. I’ll take myself as an example.

I started lifting in 1991, and for the first 10 or so YEARS I had little success. In 1991 I tried Cybergenics. (Remember that??!!) I probably trained harder than I ever have since, working out 2 hours per day / 6 days per week / for 8 long weeks. End result: I gained 3 pounds. What was my problem? I failed to eat BIG.

This goes to show how stubborn we can be in our thought processes. I spent the next 10 years tinkering with different lifting routines, but ignoring totally the concept of eating big. For some reason, which I’ll never understand, I thought I could grow by training alone. I didn’t eat poorly, but I didn’t eat enought. Plain and simple. But look at how long I fooled myself? TEN YEARS is a long time to do that. I had a subconscious fear of getting fat, which prohibited me from eating big.

When I finally faced my fear and began eating big (eating until it HURT, folks!) the gains were fast and remarkable. The information was always there for me to use, but my own fear prevented me from doing it.

Is that really so different from fat people? I think they have fears, too, not of losing weight but of NOT BEING ABLE TO EAT. It’s a panic situation, like the smoker who says he’s going to cut down on cigarettes and ends up smoking twice as much. The fear of not being able to smoke makes him smoke even more.

I finally woke up and smelled the food…the same way that many fat people can, if they choose, to wake up and NOT smell the food. Our own perception of what we’re doing right and wrong can sometimes be our own worst enemy. I was just fortunate enough to have an epipheny, even though it took 10 years to realize it.

I am the same way. I have been working out on and off for the last 5 years with minimal gains to show. I was working hard but my nutrition sucked. When I finally got serious about gaining weight I took a look at my daily intake and I was lucky to hit 1500 on some days. I also knew that squats were the way to go but for some reason had an aversion to doing them. Now I am on a 4000 calorie diet and doing squats and deads. The gains are finally starting to come and I look forward to the future now.

Mike, I think your observation is quite accurate. I’ve never thought of it that way before but there are some interesting parallels between the nutritional perceptions of fat and skinny people.

Well put, Mike!