Thursday, March 25, 2010

Interesting Timing. What do you make of this?

I've noticed that even when I'm eating what I consider to be a normal diet of foods, my weight continues to creep ever upward. It is very discouraging.

This morning, I came across this article which basically states that the latest research shows that women who don't diet (like me) but just eat a regular diet of foods can slow weight gain (but not necessarily stave it off) if they exercise at a moderately intense level for an hour a day. And that means seven days a week.

When researchers followed more than 34,000 non-dieting women (average age 54.2) over many years, they found that regular physical activity was associated with gaining less weight over time—but only in women who weren't overweight or obese. (That means a BMI of lower than 25, or less than 150 pounds for a 5'5" woman.) And those women had to exercise quite a bit: An average of an hour a day of moderately intense activity—such as a brisk walk—or the equivalent (if you exercise more strenuously, less time is required) during a week was the amount of activity recorded for the normal-weight women who gained less than 5 pounds during the 13-year study. (Just 13.3 percent of women studied fit that bill.)

While it is encouraging that 420 minutes per week of moderately intense exercise will help stave off those extra pounds, I find it mildly heartbreaking that it won't make even the tiniest dent in them, in terms of losing some of them! To do that, I would have to exercise above and beyond those seven hours a week and probably go on a diet, too.

And truthfully, as I observe my normal routine, I believe that to be true. Here's the thing, though: I don't really want to go on a diet. Diets don't really work in terms of keeping weight off. That requires a lifestyle change, and my current lifestyle isn't excessive in terms of what I eat.

It seems like nature's way is for a woman to gain weight over time, and it is emotionally exhausting to be engaged in a never ending fight that it seems like I'm destined to lose.

For now, all I can seem to muster is to enjoy my food (which is hard to do when I'm feeling constantly anxious about it sticking to my hips and tummy), to try to eat a balanced diet, and to get out and exercise for the health benefits (ie. a healthy heart) even if I'm not losing weight in the process.

I'd love to hear thoughts from any of you women out there. I'm discouraged.

Note: I'm 100% aware that my body won't change if I don't change. I'm willing to make a change, but it's going to have to be something that I can maintain over time. Right now, I'm thinking that might mean going on a morning and an evening walk, to increase my amount of exercise.


Dana Cheryl said...

I saw this on the news this morning. A doctor was discussing the findings and he quoted another study that states 30 minutes is enough to stave off weight gain. Who really knows for sure?

I think it's comes down to each individual. Everyone is different.

I don't diet. I can't stand to diet. I won't diet. I've tried and I always lost & then gained more than I lost. That's not good for my heart.

Instead of dieting I bought a couple cookbooks. If I fix my own meals and limit eating out then I maintain my weight. I also exercise everyday but it's fun stuff. I'm an avid hiker & I enjoy my bicycle. I also like swimming & skiing. Kayaking is something I really, really wanna learn this year. Also horseback riding is great exercise. I have a friend who lost 60+ lbs just from riding horses a few times a week. She's kept it off for four years.

Another friend has lost 80+ lbs over the last two years. She goes to the gym for at least an hour a day & sometimes two.

Good luck finding what works for you!

Cheryl said...

That does seem a bit discouraging, particularly for women who don't really have 7 hours per week to devote to exercise. (I don't know if that's you or not)

I have been using a website called that is all about lifestyle change. It's working well for me, but then... I have a lot of weight to lose! Check it out if you're interested = it is completely free and very positive.

Laura said...

Very interesting. My husband and I were just discussing this last night. We believe that exercise is only marginal in helping to lose weight. Calorie-in-calorie-out is the real key to LOSING (my husband lost 100 pounds in a year and a half without really exercising). But you're not talking about losing - you're talking about maintaining an assumedly healthy weight.

If you're eating healthy foods, then it would probably be best to look at how MUCH of them you're eating. Portion control is a huge factor.

Of course, I am dieting right now so this is on my mind as well. It's very hard for me to lose weight, but I also don't gain weight easily. That's good and bad and when I'm dieting it's particularly bad because I REALLY have to cut my intake and boost the burning.


J at said...

I think gaining some weight is valuable for most women as they get older. I've heard that during and after menopause, women with a few extra pounds are less likely to suffer from osteoporosis than their thinner sisters out there. I don't know if this is true or not.

I've been talking to a nutritionist, who said that everyone has a different set point for their weight, a weight that the body wants to remain at. To try to diet too much and force it below that set point throws your metabolism askew, and you're more likely to start that dreaded yo yo thing, and end up setting that point higher and higher.

So two people can have the same height and build, and it is healthy and normal for one of them to weigh quite a bit more than the other. To try to force the issue (one way or the other), makes things worse.

The best thing we can do for ourselves is to try to accept our bodies as they are. And then, we can look at our lifestyle and see if there's something that should change. More exercise is great, because it does so much for your body. But you probably won't lose weight from it unless you exercise a LOT, like play a sport or something like that.

I've heard that lifting weights can help, because building more muscle means a faster metabolism. Also helps stave off osteoporosis.

I'm rambling. One thing I do know is that the studies contradict each other all the damn time. Eat a healthy variety of foods, exercise a moderate amount, and hopefully, our bodies will react accordingly.

Regarding my fantasy at lunch the other day of immediate results, can I say I've given up my evening snack and wine habit for 3 whole days now, and haven't lost any weight? ;) Duh. I wanted to wake up on Tuesday 20 lbs thinner. Never works that way. Never. At least not without losing a limb.

Tracy said...

Thank you all for your thoughts. Keep 'em coming!

Jules, I totally agree with you thought that "The best thing we can do for ourselves is to try to accept our bodies as they are." So true.

And after all, why shouldn't we? God has gifted us with these amazing bodies that are similar to but not exactly like anyone else's! I wish our society at large would promote THAT message instead of the "skinny" message that is so pervasive nearly everywhere you look!

The other day, my sister and I were walking through the mall and passed a "Lane Bryant" storefront window. (That is a ladies "plus size" store.) I knew immediately it was a plus size store because the mannequins were not the tiny ones I'm accustomed to seeing where I usually shop. Then I just had to stop and take in the fact that the mannequins at Lane Bryant weren't really plus sized...they just looked like what I would describe as average sized.

So, there you go: "average sized" retail stores sell us on the idea that "average" is super skinny. And plus sized stores are selling plus sized women on the idea that even plus sized women ought to be smaller and more "average sized". *sigh*

I'd like to see mannequins of all sizes and shapes and heights and skin tones, as well as images of men and women on the covers of magazines. And actors cast in movies....

The Moore Family said...

Okay, I have nothing important to say, just wanted to encourage you. You are beautiful and perfect just the way you are. As long as you're healthy (and I know you are, Mrs. Oat Groats!), then just enjoy the body God gave you. I know, I know, easier said than done, but I just wanted to remind you that YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL! Today I saw a video of a man who has no arms and no legs on YouTube (look him up for inspiration), he's Australian, and he has THE BEST outlook on life. He challenged me to quit criticizing my legs less and thank God that I have them! :) But on the other hand, I totally understand that it is super discouraging to gain weight when you are eating healthily. Ugh. I didn't want to preach at you, just encourage you, friend.

Liz said...

I just wrote a post about how frustrated I am with myself for not losing weight since having baby #2, but despite that, I am still doing nothing to actually lose the weight. Just like you, I don't feel like I'm eating horribly, and I do okay with portion control, but to lose, I really have to start exercising & eating less calories. I don't think my caloric intake is a lot each day, but it's obviously more than I'm burning off or I could actually lose.

My biggest issue right now is that I hate obsessing over food, and to lose, you have to obsess. I just want to live my life & not think about food. Haha, I know that's not realistic!

Speaking of mannequins, I was in H&M yesterday & almost gagged at how ridiculously skinny the legs looked on the mannequins. It grossed me out. Everyone says Americans are so healthy & overweight, and I agree that there are a lot of obese people in our country & we want to prevent our kids from getting there, but I think we may need redefine what is overweight & the whole BMI thing. I'm frustrated with how unhappy so many people are because they are "slightly" overweight.