you know a lot less than you think you do when it comes to energy, intake, energy output, deficits, surpluses, and all of the thermodynamic shit related to weight gain and weight loss.
don’t worry. i’m just as dumb as you are. to light this bouquet of roses ablaze, read Part 2. if Part 2 doesn’t make sense, then read Part 1. i’m not feeling clever enough for a more spunky introduction. this is Part 3 and thus a fetus of the first two Parts. eat the placenta.
this here Part 3 starts with an argument of semantics that makes me want to scoop the corneas out of my eyeballs with a gardening spade.
a lot of people say they want to lose weight.
why “weight” is bogus
“i want to lose weight.”
using the word “weight” allows persnickety punks like me to crawl outta’ our caverns, slowly slide sun shades up our septums, click our tongues, and then (intelligently) declare:
No, sire. You do not want to loseth weight. if that was alleth you wur concerned aboot, simply chop off thine arm. now if you’ll excuse me, i’m going to get my butt hole waxed. thanketh.
alas, i know what the phrase “lose weight” means. when someone says they want to ‘lose weight’, they want to lose fat. duh. it is known.
so persnickety punks like myself are out here majoring in the minutiae… or so it would seem. but, well, sometimes words matter. actually, most times, words matter.
otherwise, language would be retarded.
(C WAT I DID THUR?)
you don’t want to lose weight
perhaps the biggest point persnickety punks like me try to make when qualifying this “weight” thing isn’t about chopping off limbs, but, rather, clarifying the fate of muscle mass.
cue stage right, to the Instagram chick with a before and after picture to showcase the bat shit world of “weight” in relation to body composition.
- the before picture, 150 pounds and fat.
- the after picture, 150 pounds and ripped.
the difference? in the before picture, the weight was fat. in the after picture, the weight was muscle.
(true story: in order to bolster my Instagram chick claim, I Google searched ‘Instagram muscle versus fat‘ and, no surprise, most of the search results were chick pictures.)
“weight” can be muscle or fat. if your sole focus is on scale weight, you won’t be able to tell which biological mush you’re losing. as the Instagram chick clan can tell you, this is certainly no bueno.
smaller problems with weight loss
this phenomenon, your body being able to melt muscle instead of burn fat, shouldn’t make much sense.
we have to return to the car analogy i created oh so long ago in Part 1, because the car analogy tells us how surpluses and deficits are handled.
intake more than your immediate tank can store? fuel goes inside of the red canisters in the trunk, our backup fuel cells. need 2000 calories, eat 3000 calories, then 1000 calories go into storage.
output more than what your immediate tank has? the red canisters feed the fuel line. need 3000 calories, eat 2000 calories, then 1000 calories get taken outta’ storage.
you’ve probably took the intellectual leap (long ago) and paralleled the red canisters to body fat, even though I never made the connection. in fact, i went out of my way to avoid that connection, which is why, in Part 1, i only mention “weight” and not body fat.
although body fat is like fuel inside of red fuel canisters, so are other bits of your bytes. muscle, too, can also be fuel inside of the red canisters. and, while we’re at it, why not mention bone and organs?
although the red canisters do represent body fat, they, in total, represent all of your “body stores” — tissues available for breakdown in times of need.
the initial logic unlocked by the car analogy was very… homeostatic. meaning, there was one variable regulating the system.
TEMPERATURE DROPS, THERMOSTAT FEELS, HEAT KICKS ON; ENERGY DROPS, BODY FEELS, FAT IS UNLOCKED.
this makes things nice and easy to understand, but, well… nah bruh. things don’t work that way. your body is much more allostatic. meaning, there’s a host of variables that can be manipulated to deal with the situation at hand.
the heat doesn’t have to turn on if you’re cold. you can change into warmer clothes. you can throw a blanket over yourself. do a shot of tequila. drink hot chocolate.
there’s rarely one option.
and, truth be told, this whole “body stores” thing is just the tip of the smirnoffberg.
i’m going press pause on current train of thought because it leads down a dark alley i’m not sure you’re ready for. just kidding, i’m not ready for it. because it’ll take us off the topic at hand, which is the downsides of focusing on “weight.”
and i’m not done with that. here are some other things to think about…
A. People have weight goals, but don’t have weight ambitions.
People want to lose weight and gain weight. That’s what they decide to focus on, as a goal. Lose ten pounds, or whatever. But no one looks at the number 140 and says, “I want to look like that number.” They look at people and say, “I want to look like that.”
People want to look like Brad Pitt in Fight Club because of the way he looked, not because of how much he weighed. I know this because 99% of the people that say, “I want to look like Brad Pitt in Fight Club,” will not know how much Pitt weighed when filming the movie.
so there’s a disconnect. you want to look a certain way, but your metric for success isn’t looks. it’s a number.
B. People aren’t equipped with the right numerical expectations.
Just about anyone that wants to lose ten pounds probably really actually just about needs to lose thirty pounds… of fat, of course.
unless you’ve dieted down to a low body fat before, there’s a good chance you’re underestimating how much weight you really need to lose in order to be lean. this fucks with expectations. and expectations are everything.
if you think you only need to lose ten pounds to get shredded, and, after losing ten pounds, you aren’t shredded, maybe five of those pounds were from muscle..?!?1?!?1?1?!1 WHAT ILLUMINATI IS IN CONTROL OF MY BAWDI?
or maybe they weren’t. maybe you were just fatter than you thought you were. don’t be upset. happens to all of us.
C. People attach an irrational emotional connection to certain weights.
I see this all the time. People say, “I’m losing fat, but I’m afraid to keep going because I don’t want to drop below 150 pounds.” (Or whatever weight.)
you’re holding two conflicting ideas. on one hand, you want to be lean. on the other hand, you don’t want to weigh less. it doesn’t make sense.
if you’re afraid of dropping below a certain weight, its likely because you feel like you’re too thi,n (read: non-muscular). and you’re probably non-muscular because you’re focusing on WEIGHT LOSS as opposed to… well, just keep reading!
i exclaimed that last sentence. did you see that? exclaim. i never exclaim. John Romaniello would be so upset.
zee Mathematization of Humanity!
weight is a number. usually measured by a bathroom scale caked in one too many pubic hairs. don’t worry, the inch of dust expertly preserved atop the scale garners more attention.
you are a human. not a number. yet many people choose to see themselves as a number, for body composition purposes. I get the sentiment. but this is a Mathematization of Humanity. it seems innocent, but it’s not.
combine the three things above and your body becomes mayhem and mystery. people want to look a certain way, but use numbers as their sole success metric. it just doesn’t make sense.
why care about how much you weigh when you don’t have a fucking clue how much the people you want to look like weigh?
now, to clarify…
i’m not anti-weight checking. weight is a powerful metric to use, a great source of fast feedback. but it shouldn’t be the SOLE success metric. it should be one of many.
unum e pluribus
okay, so that’s round one
the Mathematization of Humanity causes some problems. and here’s where we can link back to the BIG issue I started this on: “weight” versus body stores.
I said that when regulating, body has options. fat isn’t an absolute guarantee. and, to make matters worse, this goes much deeper than body stores.
suppose now is the time to cut the umbilical cord and let a new life begin.
This is the end of Part 3. Part 4 is in the works. If you want to know when it drops, signup for my weekly email column.
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