Monday, July 12, 2010

Quest for My Pretty: Do we hurt ourselves with a lifetime of dieting?

You know how you read something and you have to share it? I mean HAVE to share it? This is how I am feeling right now.

I read a blog post a couple of weeks ago that really stuck with me. It's from Chalene Johnson's blog Turbo Kick, entitled "I'm Dieting by I Can't Lose Weight". Someone I follow tweeted this out and I happened to actually look at it and read it. A few things just suddenly snapped into place for me and left me a little astounded.

In the article, Chalene discusses her experience creating Chalene Extreme and the problem with people's individual metabolism. She discusses cases of people she found that had extremely low metabolisms, were eating very few calories, and still were obese. How could that be? Her hypothesis was that the dieter's bodies got used to in-taking so few calories that their metabolism adapted to the deficit. She stresses her observations were not scientific, but simply observations.

Chalene discusses us always being taught the magic number being "1200", that if you eat about that much you'll lose weight ("the number for me on Jenny Craig ended up being 1100 eventually,  and when I tried Weight Watchers once you translated point value to calories it was around 1200). But 1200 being the "wrong" number was never once something I thought about. Why don't we take a look more at what we are actually burning vs. what we actually putting in?

Remember when I did the Shakeology cleanse and I mentioned that my mother used to diet quite a bit when I was younger? This article once again made me think about my mother and her 700 calorie Weight Loss Clinic diet. Now, today, she has difficult losing and maintaining weight loss. Did she hurt her metabolism?To help her answer that question I purchased her a BodyBugg for her birthday. If she can figure it out and work with it, I think it will be a useful tool.

I love my mom so much. I hate to think that all her years with weight loss could have hurt her metabolism to the point that she struggles with weight loss now. I always see her trying a new diet, different exercise (yay to Andrew Phelka, her trainer, who has been awesome for her). She's trying so hard. And she has lost some weight, but only to a point. What's her metabolism? Probably higher than mine is right now. But I have followed in her footsteps, being on and off diets all of my adult life.  I certainly don't want to run the risk of still being on the diet-go-round when I am her age. I want to get that metabolism up now!

So what is my individual number? I have no idea. But I've been working out and losing weight. I've also been keeping track of my calories. I tend to eat around 1400 calories, and burn a good chunk off working out, making my net intake much lower. But I'm losing easier and faster than I ever lost sticking to a 1200 calorie diet. I'm a little mad at Jenny Craig, but I guess that's reactionary anger. I did lose with that program, but was I also hurting myself? It was the type of program that absolutely stressed food over exercise, and there was not much examination of my personal metabolic rate. I certainly did gain all the weight back back and then some... Twice. But that's really beside the point.

Could Chalene be on to something in her blog? I think she is.

I encourage you to take a look and read through that post and think about it. I'd like to hear your reaction to it as well and get a discussion going. What are your thoughts and experiences? Do we hurt our metabolism with a lifetime of dieting?

I've shared this article I read with a few people informally - here's me sharing it with the rest of my readers.