May 5, 2021

"Last year was not normal. There was stress snacking and procrasti-baking. There was no shedding for the wedding..."

"... in a year when most weddings were postponed or drastically downsized; no pre-high-school-reunion crash diet or worrying if Grandma would body-shame you at Thanksgiving.... But research from a company that makes internet-connected scales... found that people actually lost weight in 2020, or were more likely than in other years to hit their weight-loss goals, if they had them.... In any case, the weight-loss industry isn’t going to let a lack of data dull its zeal to convince Americans that yes, we got fat, and that now we need to get up off our couches and get back into shape.... I have one word for you: resist. As we should all know by now, diets don’t work. Studies show that 41 percent of dieters gain back more weight over the next five years than they lost, and that dieters are more likely than nondieters to become obese over the next one to 15 years. For some, the language of diet culture can be downright dangerous, contributing to life-threatening eating disorders. There’s nothing wrong with taking action to improve your health. Want to add more fruits and vegetables to your diet, or get back to regular workouts? Go for it. Get outside, now that we can do that again. But you don’t need to enroll in a program, download an app or buy frozen meals to do any of this...."

Writes Jennifer Weiner in "The Weight-Loss Industry Is Coming for Our Post-Lockdown Bodies" (NYT). 

"Diet" is just a word, and we all have a diet. Whatever you eat is your diet! But we've made it an unpleasant word. Anyway, Weiner is talking about the businesses that sell weight loss. Don't fall for them. But I don't think that should mean don't even try to lose weight. It is hard to overcome the natural urge to load future fuel into your body. We're all here because our ancestors weathered hard times by eating what they could. It doesn't work anymore for us, because even in this time of covid hardship, we've got plenitude. The food supply flow never constricted. 

I feel as though I ought to add some weight-loss advice here, but I'll just say, make your own little plan

and tweak it until you see that you're losing weight or, later, maintaining your weight. It can be shocking how much you need to do, especially if you are old like me, to get any positive action from the scale. But if you don't work at it, you'll put on pound after pound — maybe only very slowly, but 1 pound a year is 20 pounds after 20 years. I lost 20 pounds just before the lockdown began, and I did it with a combination of elements: running 1.6 miles nearly every morning, taking long walks, eating as low-carb as possible, and not eating at night (and even for the most part cutting out the meal called dinner). Doesn't that sound like way too much trouble?! And it's not as though you're done with it when you've reached your goal. You have to keep checking your weight and, as you let go of some of these elements, be ready to re-institute them whenever you regain even a pound or two. Maybe you don't want to live like that. It might help that I have almost no sense of taste, so food is relatively boring to me.

FROM THE EMAIL: Ron writes:

I lost a lot of weight during 2020 for a variety of reasons. Not commuting left me plenty of time to plan and cook meals, not going to the office meant no temptation to eat unhealthy but delicious food truck lunches, and plenty of time to exercise. At the beginning of the lock downs I told my wife that we couldn't walk our dog 2 hours a day. As it turns out, you can.