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Weight: 213 – Pounds left to lose: 53

Man, I am zipping through the teens in comparison to how long it took me to get through the 20’s. I’ve probably jinxed myself by talking about it and it’ll be September before I reach 209.

I’ve revved up my exercise routine lately which might explain the losses. Now that I’m walking outside I have to divide the total time I want to walk in half, walk in one direction for that amount of time and then turn around. On the treadmill I used to just do 50 minutes, but it’s easier to add 30 minutes onto the hour than 25, so I’ve started doing 60 minutes of walking. Yes, I am now walking farther because the math is easier. Which just shows that people can lose weight for some of the most capricious reasons.

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M. • July 22, 2006 at 1:07 pm

Good job! … only a few more pounds ’til we get to see new pics. I’m such a sucker for those. Sad, I know.


Haystacks • July 22, 2006 at 1:26 pm

green with envy am I. Resemble yoda do I.


Kim • July 22, 2006 at 1:37 pm

Way to go Idaho!! (sorry, too much exposure to Toy Story) :) I’m looking forward to the next progress picture too.

Are you still doing pilates? I’m thinking about giving it a try, but not I’m not quite convinced I’ll see any kind of results since it doesn’t seem to make one sweat like those tae-bo videos. Just wondering your thoughts on it.


Peter Audrain • July 22, 2006 at 5:42 pm

I’m just checking in on Eric Oliver, Fat Politics. I haven’t had time to read it yet, but I’ve read about it (dangerous, I know). Anyway, if this is a fair summary of the heart of the argument, in terms of health and excess weight, I’m worried that the book will make me crazy (from a New Yorker review essay on obesity):

“A high B.M.I., in Oliver’s opinion, is most likely a proxy for things that are the direct causes of both obesity and disease, such as poor diet and lack of exercise. If you have a high B.M.I. and you’re fit, Oliver thinks that there’s no evidence that you’re more likely to suffer ill health than anyone else. Fat people are not usually fit, and they often eat foods rich in saturated fats, sugar, and refined carbohydrates, but it’s the lack of exercise and a poor diet that make for bad health, not ‘excessive’ weight. Oliver discusses a number of studies purporting to show that weight loss is responsible for remediating a range of illnesses. However, epidemiologists are too quick to ascribe to weight loss what might be better attributed to the life-style changes that produce weight loss.”

This seems very, very close to scholastic theology (assuming it’s fair). As a practical matter it doesn’t seem to recommend continuing to be overweight, either, since being overweight is such a reliable proxy for diet and exercise (even if, in Oliver’s view as a political scientist, “only” a proxy), which even he allows very powerfully affect health outcomes.

Anyway, I will get the book and read it with as open a mind as I can manage, but I’m worried that this may be well-meant misinformation that is genuinely hurting people, and could hurt public health policy.

But if his message turns out to be that it’s healthier not to be overweight–even if the “real” reason is that when you’re not overweight, you’re overwhelmingly more likely to be getting some exercise regularly, and eating higher-quality food, rather than “weight itself,” which, given the studies reviewed by Willett, strikes me as a large and wishful “if”–maybe there are no practical consequences to his view, anyway.

I’d be interested to know what you think, but I can of course wait till I’ve actually read the book! You might want to check out Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy by Willett, and the article by him that I posted a link to earlier. Or not.

I just feel that in view of what professional students of the health effects of diet, exercise, and weight like Willett are uniformly saying, Oliver’s debate may be pretty contrived. The bottom line is that it gives me a bad feeling when science is interpreted wishfully by outside parties to be uncertain, or pointing toward no certain conclusion, when the scientists involved don’t feel that way at all, whether it’s with smoking or global warming (a list to which I guess we now get to add evolution). Especially when powerful business interests are actively seeking to dictate the “who really knows?” point of view (for proof of which, do spend a few moments at http://www.consumerfreedom.com, then Google it). McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Kraft and the like have it all over Jenny Craig in terms of raw economic and political power, as far as I can tell.

I simply don’t have the sense from other reading that there is a live scientific debate over the health consequences of obesity. Of course no one is saying that diet and exercise aren’t hugely important: it’s just that no one is saying obesity (avoiding it, ideally) isn’t hugely important, either. But, as I say, I haven’t read the book and shouldn’t get all down on it before I have.

Congratulations on the faster-than-expected pace–that’s wonderful.


PastaQueen • July 22, 2006 at 10:21 pm

M – Well, I’ve got another 11 pounds to go before another progress photo. If I keep up the rate of 1-1.5 pounds a week, that’s between 2 and 3 months. So, don’t hit the refresh button too often :)

Kim – I *am* still doing Pilates and love it, though the benefits aren’t really that it makes you sweat (though I hear intense sessions can) but that it improves your strength and flexibility. Part of the reason I plateaued in the 220’s was because I started Pilates and built muscle. My posture has improved, which is good since I sit at a computer all day. My mom says I look taller. I can also just do things like squat down to the floor and bounce back up much easier. However, to get those results you do have to stick with it for awhile. I probably didn’t start to notice much until a month into it.

Peter – If the book makes you crazy, don’t feel obliged to finish it for my sake. There is no required summer reading list for this blog :)

I think this comes down to a correlation/causation debate. Does obesity cause bad health or do bad eating habits and poor exercising cause bad health and in turn obesity? Similarly does good BMI cause good health or does good health cause good BMI? Is it a mix of this? I don’t know if this is something either of us can 100%, for certain, totally, prove either way, though we can both go back and forth citing different studies and books. I think ultimately you just have to stay informed and make your best guesses on the information you have. I suppose it’s like looking through a glass darkly as you mentioned on the previous post.

I think the point of books like “Fat Politics” is not so much to say “Being fat is great for your health!” (which I don’t think the book does nor do I personally believe), but to point out that society puts a lot more emphasis on the obesity part of the health equation instead of the “eat right and exercise” part, probably due to the negative sociological impact of being obese. People get made fun of for being fat, not because they eat nothing but Ho-Ho’s and don’t exercise. If you could do that and be thin, no one would probably care, except to figure out how you manage to do it and make millions selling the secret.


Peter Audrain • July 23, 2006 at 12:19 pm

Well, the don’t-be-unkind-to-overweight-people part certainly sounds completely inarguable. I think it’s pretty entrenched in the culture, too, certainly on the interpersonal level (though perhaps I’ve just not yet been obese enough to encounter cruelty that is more widespread than I quite realize).

I’m going to look forward to really reading it through when I can, since I do really enjoy finding out about issues related to weight, health, and weight loss–as with many people trying to lose weight (exercise more, eat healthier, whatever), it’s become one of my major hobbies. Sometimes I think the books are pretty silly, in terms of what their authors believe–as with William Leith’s charming memoir of weight loss–but there’s something of value in all of them.

I think as long as a correlation is sufficiently tight, the causation becomes a question with few practical applications, and that since there is no evidence that more than three or four supermodels (who are probably fibbing about having eating disorders anyway) can genuinely eat Ho-Ho’s and loll around with no weight gain–Willett estimates that only 10% of people in the US are so constituted, in terms of how their bodies work and the environments they inhabit now, that they need not consciously try to avoid gaining weight–the correlation seems pretty inescapable, together with its consequences.

Okay, though. Totally. Shutting. Up. Now!


Peter Audrain • July 23, 2006 at 12:21 pm

P.S. Is there one unusually good Pilates book?


Heather • July 23, 2006 at 3:51 pm

You are AMAZING.

I’ve commented some, and have just been reading back.

Awesome progress… very funny… and I


PastaQueen • July 23, 2006 at 7:07 pm

Peter – I recently got “Pilates for Dummies” which seems to be pretty informative and easy to read. I haven’t finished it yet, but the Dummies series is pretty good in general.


Kelly@dietFacts.com • July 24, 2006 at 3:17 pm

Hey pastaqueen:

You rock! A 157-pound weight loss is an incredible feat. You should be oh-so proud of yourself, gal. Keep up the good work.

All my best to you, ~Kelly


kim • July 24, 2006 at 3:19 pm

What pilates dvd are you using? I think you mentioned previously? I have been lurking around for a while – and thought that I’d speak up by breaking out in a little tune “You’re my inspiration.” Ok, I don’t normally sing Chicago… but wow you are doing amazing.


hopefulloser • July 24, 2006 at 3:52 pm

Amazing! You’re awesome.

I currently have 48 lbs that I need to lose still. And actually if I’m being honest I really want to lose 53 (bringing me to 125 rather than 130)

You have already lost twice what I set out initially to lose. And I think that we both started losing around the same time.

you kick butt!


Peter Audrain • July 24, 2006 at 10:11 pm

The Dummies version of pilates now seems to be a DVD instead of a book. I need better posture, so I’m gettin’ it.


PastaQueen • July 24, 2006 at 11:26 pm

kim – I’m using the Ana Caban series distributed by Gaiam. I started on the Beginner’s DVD and have been doing Intermediate for a couple months. I like Ana’s style. She’s friendly and encouraging without being perky annoying.

Peter – Huh, I guess there is a DVD and a book. I know there is a book because I just bought it about a month ago.


Marla • July 25, 2006 at 9:11 am

Heh. I’ve made similar math-related decisions too!

I was thinking – if you were to carry weights while walking, that would increase your energy expenditure, and hopefully prevent you from having to walk farther and farther. I’ve been trying to come up with a convenient way to do that myself – I want to carry at least 20 pounds extra, and two 10-pound dumbbells is going to challenge my grip over the course of 2 or 3 miles! Not to mention I wouldn’t be able to scratch my nose. I looked at scuba weight belts, but they’re very expensive, as are fitness belts designed for that purpose. But at any rate, it might be worth investigating.


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Jennette Fulda tells stories to the Internet about her life as a smartass, writer, weight-loss inspiration, chronic headache sufferer, and overall nice person (who is silently judging you). She does this at JennetteFulda.com now, but you can still have fun perusing her past here.

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