So what happens if you become master over your hunger? What if you only eat high quality food, slowly, and your body relearns the signals for hunger and fullness? Will you be able to conquer your setpoint weight then, assuring yourself of a body that can be used as a double for Kate Moss?
Nope. Unless your setpoint is already naturally low enough to move you safely into Kate Moss territory, you are screwed. You may lose weight, you may even get to the lower end of your setpoint, but if you go below that setpoint zone your body will start packing back on the pounds. This being America, where no woman is EVER thin enough, you will still feel “too” fat because you aren’t a size zero. But if you have circumvented the hunger/fullness issue, why do you still regain lost weight?
Because even if you don’t eat more, your body slows down metabolism to make the most of every fokking calorie you consume.
In spite of the misery of dieting, most fat people are actually able to stick closely to a diet for a considerable period of time. They keep their calories low and avoid The Cheesecake Factory like it Satan’s own temptation center. Surely this must work! Har. Your brain will get that fat back on your body, no matter what. People on a diet regain the weight they lose, even though they were eating the same low number of calories, no matter what kind of diet they followed. Convinced you are starving, your body starts desperately conserving calories, which it then converts to fat. Your body pulls the breaks on your metabolism, leaving you lethargic and miserable but making sure you don’t burn off any precious calories. Thus, you are left worn out after the effort of brushing your teeth, feel like death warmed over, can’t eat a damn thing you want – and yet you are still getting fatter.
But what about exercise? Won’t that give you metabolism a boost? Sure … if you are eating enough food that your body doesn’t panic about the dreadful famine happening around it. And even then your body is so dedicated to gaining and keeping fat that a lot of people gain more weight in both muscle and fat when they exercise. When a group of fat women were asked to do an hour or so of aerobic exercise 4 or 5 days a week for six months, there was no real change in their weight and body mass. In fact, about 1/3 of the women actually gained more fat. God, I felt so much better when I read this. I had been doing major, strenuous aerobic exercises for months and my weight hadn’t shifted an ounce. I thought it was something I was doing wrong. Nope. I am normal. It is simply biology triumphing over cultural constructions of exercise and weight loss.
The good news it that everyone in the above mentioned study, regardless of fat loss or gain, was healthier at the end of it. Exercise makes you feel better and makes you more fit, but it doesn’t necessarily make you thinner. Your body likes it when you jog, but don’t think for a moment it’s going to let you drop below the setpoint it wants.
Nevertheless, you should exercise. Not for cosmetics, but for your health. Don’t think, “How many calories am I burning?”; think “How tired and I? Do my muscles feel pleasantly used?”
Be healthy. It is better than just being thin.